I am responsible for the leadership of the team, the overall implementation of the strategic and business plans, fundraising, finance, risk-management and HR. I came to Birth Companions from running Inside Job Productions, a social enterprise working with women ex/offenders. I have a background in communications, training at the BBC and working as a documentary film-maker in the UK and in Communications for Development in East Africa, before moving to the voluntary sector.
Head of Services
Denise Marshall, MBE
My role is to co-ordinate the services we provide for women in prison and in the community and to support the staff and volunteers who do this work. I also support our new birth companions through their training year. I joined Birth Companions in 2005 and it has been very rewarding to be able to extend our support to more women and to women in different settings as the organisation has developed and grown.
Community Link Coordinator
I joined Birth Companions in 2015. My role is to coordinate the support Birth Companions offer to vulnerable women in the community in London, working with service users, referrers and our volunteers. I am passionate about providing the very best support we can for the women we work with. My professional background includes work as a Breast Feeding Counsellor, Doula, Child Protection Officer, Welfare & Family Support Worker and Key Worker in a Children’s Therapeutic Residential Home.
Sarah Stephen Smith
I have been involved with Birth Companions since 2014 and joined the staff team as Prison Coordinator in 2016. I am responsible for coordinating teams of experienced prison visitors who visit weekly to deliver groups and on-to-one support to the women at HMP Peterborough, Low Newton and Foston Hall. My background includes birth, breastfeeding and postnatal support and other work with women with complex care and support needs, including women in prison.
Project & Prison Coordinator & Breastfeeding Lead
I joined Birth Companions in 2010 to help support pregnant women and new mothers in HMP Holloway. As our prison work has evolved, so has my role and I am now responsible for developing and delivering our antenatal and postnatal courses for women in prison and the community. I also coordinate and supervise our team of prison visitors who visit HMP Bronzefield in Surrey every week to deliver classes, groups and ongoing support for the women there. Most recently, I have also become Project Coordinator for our targeted community-based antenatal courses in Hackney and Islington, where I work with health professionals, referrers and multiple support organisations to reach vulnerable women in need of trauma-informed care, information and support during pregnancy.
Community Group Coordinator
I’m the Community Group Coordinator and I joined Birth Companions in 2019. I support women in the community postnatally, until their babies are 8 months old. I run a weekly group that provides support, advocacy, signposting, discussions and a space for women to connect. My aim is to empower women to build their own support and community networks. Prior to starting at Birth Companions I worked at Mind coordinating youth volunteers and advocates. I have also worked in support/therapeutic roles in a college, a women’s prison and an eating disorder clinic.
I have been involved with Birth Companions since 2007 and started out as a volunteer before joining the staff. My role is to ensure that all our systems run smoothly from our database to our external communications. I manage our website, and oversee all our evaluation and monitoring, tracking the different aspects of the support and generating all the figures and statistics required to support our fundraising activities.
Head of Policy and Communications
I lead our work to build greater understanding of multiple disadvantage during pregnancy and early motherhood, in order to inform and influence policy and practice. I work directly with the Lived Experience Team and with policy-makers, parliamentarians, commissioners and the media to help make sure women’s voices are heard and responded to. I joined Birth Companions after many years working as a consultant specialising in charity communications and campaigns.
Big Lottery Project Manager
I joined Birth Companions in 2012 and worked in HMP Holloway and co-ordinated our services at HMP Peterborough before moving to my current role of Project Manager. Our three year Big Lottery Project involves developing the role of service-users in the design and delivery of our services and in the governance of our organisation. We are extending the support we offer to women with our new community group and we are offering a menu of volunteering opportunities for our service users. I will be recruiting, training and supervising peer supporters across our services in prison and in the new community group. My background includes working with ex-offenders and I have worked for many years with new mothers as a breastfeeding counsellor.
Administration and Information Officer
Katherine Miller Brunton
I am the Administration and Information Officer at Birth Companions. I provide administrative support to the staff team across all aspects of our work, including service delivery in the community and in prison, and attend to our information and data needs. I joined Birth Companions in 2020, having previously worked for a number of other third-sector organisations in research, data and administration roles. I have a longstanding interest in pregnancy, birth and maternity care, and wrote my MSc thesis on experiences of multidisciplinary collaboration within the Dutch maternity care system.