Who we are

Family First is a Christian charity which has been based in Ipswich since 2013. The Charity is led by Trustees and a Management Team who possess a wealth of knowledge, skills and experience working in the public, private and voluntary sector. All have a passion to see  children and families supported to reach their full potential. All our paid staff and management team are Christians. Our volunteers, some of whom work directly with parents and others who support the charity in other areas, come from a wide variety of backgrounds.

We currently only work in Ipswich and the immediate surrounding area including the following postcodes; IP1, IP2, IP3, IP4, IP5. Referrals from outside these post code areas will be considered on a case by case basis. 

Our work involves two main services; one to one parent mentoring and parenting courses. 

Our aim is for parents and carers to increase their confidence, social support networks and mental wellbeing.

Our vision is to see families that are resilient, thriving, and happy.

Family First is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment.

The Team

Sarah Stapleton; Service Lead.

Sarah’s background is in Family Support with Suffolk County Council and experience of working with volunteers.  Before taking on her current role she had been supporting Family First as a family volunteer. Sarah is a licensed facilitator for Care for the Family Positive Parenting Courses. Sarah is also a Mental Health First Aider.

Michelle Jones; Senior Family Coordinator. 

Michelle’s background is in health visiting, SEN teaching and leading a Pregnancy Advice charity. Michelle is a Domestic Abuse Champion and a licensed facilitator for Care for the Family Positive Parenting Courses. Michelle is also a a Mental Health First Aider.

Karen McNeil; Family Coordinator.

Karen has a background in tutoring and experience of fostering, adoption and supporting children with special needs.



Dot Cordle is Chair of Trustees. She has a clinical background in Nursing and Health Visiting , with extensive experience in clinical, operational and management of Children and Family Services within the NHS.  Her career culminated in Head of these services across Suffolk. Following her retirement Dot has been involved with several charities including Family First.

Jan Baker is a Trustee and has been part of the Organisation since it began in 2013 . She has a professional background in nursing with over 35 years experience working both in the community and until retirement , as a Diabetes Specialist Nurse in North East Essex.

David Sansom is both Trustee and Safeguarding Lead for Family First. Having worked for over 20 years in the private and public sector for Connexions and Children’s Services he brings a wealth of experience supporting teenagers and families and ensuring safe practice.

Trustee Mark Crawley recently retired from Suffolk County Council where he led a team responsible for commissioning a variety of services for adults. Previously Mark was Director of Commissioning in an NHS Trust. He has over 30 years experience working in the public and charitable sector, much of it a senior level and brings a wealth of experience of developing and improving services for people with a wide range of health and care needs.

Trustee Steve Jones has been a teacher for over 10 years and works as a Head of Maths in a local secondary school. Steve brings knowledge of financial systems to Family First as he was Treasurer of a local church for several years. He is involved in volunteer youth work and was previously a Trustee of Perspectives Pregnancy Advice.

Trustee Daniel Somers runs an established marketing company but also has a passion for helping people to find a way out of addictions, money or mental health issues. Daniel is an avid campaigner of improving people‚Äôs mental health by working with charities, businesses and individuals.



We have a team of committed volunteers many of which have been with our charity for several years. Without our volunteers Family First just would not work! Our Trustees, Financial Support, Fundraising Volunteers & Creative Communications Volunteer do an amazing job, whilst our fantastic Family Volunteers commit to building a supportive long term relationship with parents.