Our Staff Team
Tina English - Director
Tina trained as a nurse many years ago and specialised in the care of older people. Following a career break to raise three children she worked in the third sector for local charities supporting older people, setting up projects for the lonely and isolated. She's completed a Masters Degree in Charity Management. Her Christian faith, coupled with a big heart for the older generation inspired her to establish Embracing Age.
Sarah Waller - Impact & Comms Manager
Sarah’s role covers everything from supporting existing and new Care Home Friends projects, measuring their impact and sharing their initiatives with other teams, seeking and establishing new opportunities and connections, building on our fundraising efforts, and coordinating our marketing and communications to build our network and share updates about our work. Sarah grew up in a clergy family and has a real passion for befriending, especially anyone that may be feeling isolated. She deeply respects older generations and believes that, “in this age of increased social isolation, it is vital for local communities to reach out to people that might otherwise have limited companionship.” Sarah lives in Twickenham with her husband and three young daughters.
Wendy's role is matching volunteers with care homes and giving support to both volunteers and care homes. Wendy believes, “Older people have so much wisdom to share and give, and I would like to help them to continue to do that”. Wendy is also a writer and actor and has created Performing Memories, a drama project linking secondary school pupils with care home residents and enabling the pupils to perform a play about the care home residents lives.
Jenny is our Chair of Trustees. She is a local GP and mum. Living and working in the borough gives her a good appreciation of the support currently available to older people and she strongly backs Embracing Age as it strives to address unmet needs.
Matt has spent most of his life living in the Borough of Richmond upon Thames. Having moved away with the family, he returned to study English & Classics at St Mary’s University where he met his wife, Gemma. Now well into his thirties, he attends Church of the Living God in Twickenham and works as Commissioning Editor for an aviation magazine and website. His active hobbies include ancestry, macro photography and writing. Matt has a big heart for people, a creative eye and great marketing skills.
Karen was brought up in Richmond and lives in the borough with her two daughters and extended family. She is a committed member of Holy Trinity Richmond and works for a Christian charity supporting vulnerable local families. She has a real heart for the elderly and the value they bring to community and family life.
Tim worked for many years as a Company Secretary in the City and, more recently, was the driving force behind a project to build a new children’s hospice in south London for a well-established regional charity. He came to know about Embracing Age through his wife, Jude, who is an Embracing Age care home befriender in Hampton. He is passionate about the need to make a difference in the lives of frail, lonely and isolated older people often living with complex conditions and those with no remaining living relatives.
Dr Fiona Costa originally trained at the Royal College of Music. Her lifelong interest in music, together with a calling to a ministry with older people, has led to a range of different initiatives and interests. Underpinning them all is a desire to address the loneliness and isolation so often experienced in older people. As a research fellow at the University of Roehampton, her principal research interest is the effect of music on the wellbeing and quality of life of older people. Her PhD and subsequent research projects have studied how music can alleviate pain, stress, anxiety and depression. Her most recent work focuses on the use of music to assist in maintaining memory and the ability to communicate in people with dementia. She has contributed to a number of academic journals. An active member of Holy Trinity Brompton for over forty years, she has been involved in several areas of ministry, most recently those involving older people. Over ten years ago, she initiated and set up a series of concerts and teas for older people in the community. Held six times a year, these concerts are attended by up to five hundred people per event. Attendees include Chelsea pensioners, residents from a number of local care homes as well as individuals living in the community. They provide opportunities for meeting new people, being part of a church community and enjoying music performed by some of the UK’s finest musicians. From 2008 to 2015, she was trustee and then Chair of the William Wilberforce Trust, a charity that works through the local church to care for those in need. Since 2013, she has been a trustee of the Amber Trust, a charity that provides musical opportunities for blind or partially sighted children and young people. She is a member of the Lambeth Partnership, which supports the personal priorities of the Archbishop of Canterbury.