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Our Expert Steering Group

Role of our steering group:

The National Steering Group will provide strategic direction and insight to the set-up and delivery of the Peer-to-Peer Support Service.

Members will give expert advice and guidance, and ongoing feedback on all core elements of the service to ensure that it meets the needs of kinship carers across England and demonstrates impact.   

The Steering Group is responsible for:

All members with lived experience will each receive an annual donation to their organisation or support group in recognition of their expertise and time.

We are currently confirming members of the group and more profiles will be added shortly.

Members of the Steering Group:

Sharon McPherson

Sharon is a kinship carer to her two grandsons and the co-founder of Families In Harmony (FIH) CIC. She is passionate about racial equality levelling up in kinship care and champions that agenda through FIH.

Sharon is also one of the founder members of Chill and Chat Kinship Carers, a peer-to-peer support service running kinship support groups and family activities across South London. She sits on the Experts by Experience Advisory Board of Kinship charity and is a member of the Kinship Care Alliance.

Sharon’s relaxation time is spent singing, dancing and all things creative arts. She has also recently started her Doctorate journey focusing on racial equality, diversity and inclusion in kinship care.

Sharon is part of the steering group because:

“I wholeheartedly believe who feels it, knows it! Peer support is an invaluable resource, a safe place to share, heal and learn.”



T: 07946 264313


Lorna Stabler

Lorna is a research associate at CASCADE, Cardiff University, with six years experience carrying out research with children, families and social work service providers. In recent years her research has focused on the experiences and needs of kinship families, and how services can respond in a family focused way to meet these needs. This is informed partially by her own experience as a sibling kinship carer.

Lorna is part of the steering group because:

“As someone with experience of being a kinship carer for my younger brother, I have insight into how research and services need to understand the unique circumstances of kinship families.

Kinship carers that I have spoken to through my research and in my personal life have often never met another kinship carer – or even realised that there were others out there. The value of speaking to someone who can relate to you, who has been there themselves, is huge and can make people feel seen and understood.

I am looking forward to supporting this work through the steering group and exploring how peer support can impact on kinship families.”


Debs Goddard

Debs Goddard is the Team Leader in the Connected Persons Support Team in Kirklees. She has been part of the team since it was established in 2013 and has driven the development of the carers and children’s support groups, carers forum and can see how peer support within Kirklees is proving to be invaluable to carers. Debs is passionate about Kinship carers feeling valued and supported in their vital roles of bringing children up within the family network.

Debs is a mum of three grown-up children and three stepchildren, she also has various pets, so has a busy and full home life with her family.

Debs is part of the steering group because:

“This is an exciting opportunity to help carers develop their own support networks, no one other than other kinship carers understand how challenging and rewarding their job is.”


Carers Kirklees Facebook page:


John Gregory

John is a retired Structural and Civil Engineer with extensive experience of project management, reporting and risk assessment. John and his wife are kinship carers to their youngest granddaughter and have been involved with supporting other kinship carers for many years, including being one of the first ‘Someone Like Me’ volunteers.

In his spare time, John enjoys walking in the North Pennines, watching live music, and working on restoring his 200-year-old house.

John is part of the steering group because:

“Having completed myriad calls as a ‘Someone Like Me’ volunteer, and being a member of a peer support group, I have a good understanding of the types of support needed by kinship carers.”


Pauline Thornley

Pauline is part of the steering group because:

Working with kinship families for over 20 years, I recognise the importance of peer support. While kinship families have very diverse needs there are common threads that weave through lots of our families, with a big one being the isolation that they feel. Developing strong networks of support with resources that meets their needs throughout their journey is vital, not only to prevent placement breakdown, but to better outcomes for the young person. I am excited to share my knowledge of peer support for kinship families in Liverpool to support this national project.”


Alan Hoole

Alan is an SGO carer for his 5-year-old granddaughter, who has special needs. “Julie, my wife and I took on Ella four years ago and we love it. Our lives changed dramatically at the time, but I wouldn’t go back now”.

Alan regularly attends kinship support groups both in person and online. He also volunteers at Leeds University, as a school governor for West Specialist Inclusive Learning Centre and for Kinship’s ‘Someone Like Me’ service.

In his spare time, Alan enjoys fishing and DIY. He also spends time making novelty garden planters which he sells to raise money for CHARGE syndrome.

Adam Dustagheer

Adam Dustagheer is a digital practitioner with twenty years experience of strategy, communications and senior management. After beginning his career in community organising, he has held roles across major organisations and businesses with a focus on healthcare and civic life. Recently, he has been working in providing technology solutions in Web 2, and 3, for enterprise businesses as Executive Director of NDP Studio, including digital solutions for healthcare professionals.

In his spare time he likes to cook, and because of that also has to go swimming fairly often.

Adam is part of the Kinship Steering Group because:

“This is a phenomenal opportunity to use technology to provide the support and information to people who find themselves in demanding situations, and recognising those who are sharing the benefit of their experiences. The impact and delivery of this work is transformative, unifying and important.”