Ambassadors

We are very lucky to have a team of Ambassadors who support SWEDA and who have a wide range of skills and experience that they can bring to the charity.  Our Ambassadors raise awareness of the vital work we do, and are our champions out in the community. 

Introducing our Ambassadors:

Kate    Kate Williams BSc MA

In 1978, a year after qualifying as a dietitian, Kate went to a meeting about women and body weight.  She had never heard of the speaker, Susie Orbach, who was talking about the ideas in her new book 'Fat is a Feminist Issue'.  What she said led Kate to think very differently about the work she was doing with women, and sparked an interest in the complicated relationships we have with food and our bodies.  She pursued this by moving into specialist eating disorders work at the Maudsley Hospital.

Almost 20 years later, in 1996, Kate was invited to speak at a conference in Shepton Mallet, launching an expansion of the organisation supporting people in the area affected by eating disorders.  She found herself sharing the platform with Susie Orbach.  She was privileged to be invited to become a patron of the new organisation, now SWEDA, and has held that position ever since.

Kate continued to work with the wonderful team at The Maudsley until she retired in 2019.  She was able to contribute to the development of dietetics in eating disorders, and to teach and write on the subject.  Since retiring she has had some time to work more with the brilliant team at SWEDA, and offer whatever support she can.  Her concern remains personal, as a mother and grandmother of girls.

 

helen   Helen Lacey

Helen Lacey is the Director of HR GO Shepton Mallet and Yeovil branches, previously known as Red Berry Recruitment.  Helen launched her agency in 2007, growing it to 4 offices across the South West. In June 2019 Helen sold 51% of her company to a National Recruiter, HR GO Plc, where she is still very much hands on within the business.

Prior to setting up her company, Helen held roles as Training Manager, Corporate account Manager and Business Development Manager, all within the recruitment arena

Helen says that she over the years, she has felt at times she has really had to “dig deep” in what, in some cases has been a very male and oppressive environment for a business woman to be in. She states that throughout the years, she has been surprised at some of the narrow mindedness and sexist comments that women still face today. However, Helen is a determined woman and says that it’s foolish to think that everyone is kind and respectful, because they are not and you just have to rise above it, they embarrass themselves more than anything. She does stress though that this is a minority and most people she meet are keen to help and see a business succeed.

Helen first knew of SWEDA went she went to a 1920’s murder mystery at the Swan in Wells in 2019. After that she was approached by the team to be one of their ambassadors. Little did they know that when she was a teenage she suffered with bulimia.  After being bullied at school, being in a mentally abusive relationship, failing an A level and losing her Grandma in the same year, Helen felt that controlling her weight meant she had something in her life she was in charge of, so she was delighted to be able to support such a worthy cause and the work that SWEDA does.

Helen's passion, as well as business, is shopping.  She has over 150 pairs of shoes and 100 handbags, jokingly stating that she could open up a shop with the amount of clothes and wardrobes she has!  As well as fashion, Helen is a keen fitness addict, mainly the gym, with classes such as HiiT, boxing and weight training. When she isn’t working or at the gym, Helen spends her time watching cricket and rugby, depending on the season, spending time with friends and family and attending as may social events as she can.

Helen loves helping the community and during the history of Red Berry, her company has raised over £25,000 for various charities, clubs and organisations.  She is also Chair of the Somerset Chamber of Commerce and a Non-Executive Director for Inspire to Achieve.  She has previously been a Non-Executive Director for the Heart of the South West LEP, and Chairman for the Somerset IOD.

 

 


“I can’t emphasise enough what a massive part SWEDA have played in my journey to finding myself again. They are an incredible charity and are brilliant at their job. Over the past two years I have really started to understand myself and I have addressed issues that I had hid away in the past and with my counsellor’s amazing listening, non-judgmental and supportive skills I have been able to take back control of myself and rationally look at my emotions in day to day life."

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