Meet the team

Your Maggie’s Centre is staffed by friendly professionals who can help you find the support you need. Their expertise is freely available to you in one-to-one sessions, workshops or supportive groups. 

Read more about our team below – and find out who they are and how they can help. 

  • Karen Verrill

    Karen Verrill

    Centre Head
    Accordian open icon Accordian closed icon
  • Michelle Hall

    Michelle Hall

    Cancer Support Specialist
    Accordian open icon Accordian closed icon
  • Mary-Jane Parker

    Mary-Jane Parker

    Counselling Psychologist
    Accordian open icon Accordian closed icon

Karen Verrill

Centre Head

I manage Maggie’s Newcastle, the permanent staff and the volunteers. A typical day can include meeting and greeting new visitors to the Centre and telling them about Maggie’s unique programme of support, there may be a specific cancer type support group to facilitate, or a workshop or course to run.

The daily ‘drop in’ can bring people through the doors with all manner of problems, such as those newly diagnosed with cancer who will want support to cope with the associated shock, or people who have been told there are no more possible treatment options for them, and so are facing the end of their lives. It’s such a varied and challenging role, but so rewarding to be able to help all these people.

Michelle Hall

Cancer Support Specialist

My role as a Cancer Support Specialist at Maggie's Newcastle is to provide emotional support and advice to visitors who come to the Centre. I will also chat to people about what groups and activities at Maggie's might benefit them as well as helping to co-facilitate some of our support groups.

The best thing about my job is getting the chance to meet so many inspiring people that visit the Centre.

My background in the oncology field as a specialist nurse has highlighted the vital need for places like Maggie's, where people can go outside the clinical environment for support. It's a wonderful place.

Mary-Jane Parker

Counselling Psychologist

I work with individuals, couples, families and groups to help people find practical and adaptive ways of coping with the psychological and emotional difficulties that often arise in relation to a cancer diagnosis. The focus of my work is on improving the emotional well-being of the people I work with.

As a Counselling Psychologist, I work from a humanistic philosophical perspective, viewing the therapeutic relationship as crucial to the potential benefits of the work. While my underpinning approach is person-centred, I integrate aspects of Mindfulness and Cognitive-Behavioural therapeutic models into my work to collaboratively agree a flexible approach to best meet the needs of each unique client.

The best thing about my job is having the opportunity to sensitively and compassionately help people deal with their distress, and find ways to live more meaningful lives in the face of adversity.

I was inspired to work with Maggie’s originally by the words of Maggie Keswick Jencks: “Above all what matters is not to lose the joy of living in the fear of dying”.

Maggie’s is important as it helps ordinary people at their most vulnerable to feel supported, less alone and less frightened.

  • Stephanie Howard

    Stephanie Howard

    Benefits Advisor
    Accordian open icon Accordian closed icon
  • Marissa Magee

    Marissa Magee

    Centre Fundraising Manager
    Accordian open icon Accordian closed icon
  • Krystyna Glinski

    Krystyna Glinski

    Clinical Psychologist
    Accordian open icon Accordian closed icon

Stephanie Howard

Benefits Advisor

My role is to provide advice and information to anyone affected by a cancer diagnosis to enable them to access their full entitlement to welfare benefits. I complete all of the paperwork and liaise with the relevant authorities on their behalf, and when problems arise, challenge decisions on their behalf. I try to make the whole process as stress-free as possible.

It’s great to work in such an inspiring and positive environment. A cancer diagnosis can be so stressful for all those affected, and this is often compounded by financial worries. It’s incredibly rewarding to be able to support people during such a difficult time and to help them to regain control of their finances.

Maggie’s is important because it offers support on a drop in basis, which allows any concerns to be addressed before they have the opportunity to escalate. It gives people a beautiful place to come to meet other people who are in similar circumstances and where support is available if it is wanted.

I’m really proud of the North East, and have even been known to construct local landmarks out of cake. Maggie’s Newcastle is such an amazing addition to this area.

Marissa Magee

Centre Fundraising Manager

I work with our community and corporate supporters to raise awareness and funds for Maggie’s Newcastle. All of the money raised in the North East goes towards the running of the Centre. It costs £590,000 a year to keep our doors open.

I wanted to work for Maggie’s because I’m passionate about art, design and culture and immediately saw how valuable Maggie’s unique approach to cancer care can be. I have previously worked in the cultural sector and for a leading cancer charity so was excited about the opportunity of merging these two worlds. 

Maggie’s is so important because cancer affects everyone either directly or indirectly. From personal experience, I know that a cancer diagnosis really does affect the whole family. Maggie’s is for everyone affected by cancer, including family and friends.

 

Krystyna Glinski

Clinical Psychologist

Psychology sessions offer a special kind of conversation that opens up ideas and spaces which can create real change in our lives. It is of utmost importance that painful experiences can be spoken, held and attended to. When we take care of the painful experiences of cancer we can reconnect with our vitality, meaning and quality of life. I offer these conversation spaces to centre visitors, but some of the most powerful conversations take place in our groups and courses where my role is to facilitate the group conversation space. I hope also over time to contribute to the team conversations here in the centre in order to promote wellbeing and sustainability in our work together.

I really value the opportunities that arise naturally to offer meaningful psychology input to folk who would never otherwise have thought to seek it out for themselves.

I had been working in cancer care in Western Australia and was looking for an opportunity to broaden my horizons. The Maggie’s model just made intuitive sense to me, so I was compelled to find out more. Two flights later and here I am!

Maggie’s is important because it is able to take care of the small stuff that really matters in the big picture.

  • Debra Connell

    Debra Connell

    Cancer support specialist
    Accordian open icon Accordian closed icon
  • Fiona Ray

    Fiona Ray

    Fundraising Organiser
    Accordian open icon Accordian closed icon

Debra Connell

Cancer support specialist

My role is to provide support to people visiting the centre, whether that is emotional or practical support. I will offer advice to people and will talk through the programme of support to enable people to decide what elements may be best to meet their needs.

The best thing about my job is meeting new people every day. Also, being able to see the difference our support makes.

I was inspired to work here because my background in palliative care highlighted the need to look at a holistic approach to supporting people, and Maggies really encompasses that.

Maggies is importanr because having a place that has such a welcoming atmosphere, where people can feel relaxed and also receive the support they need is vital. Being able to talk to other people who are having similar experiences , and getting support from each other is important also.

Fiona Ray

Fundraising Organiser

My role is to help organise and support fundraising for the Centre. This includes coming up with new fundraising ideas, working closely with supporters to make sure they have everything they need to make their activity a success and telling our story on social media.

It’s a very rewarding role and no two days are the same which I love! I get to meet inspiring people daily and hear wonderful stories of how Maggie’s has helped them which in turn inspires me to ensure fundraising continues to help others.

We are often described as an ‘emotional A&E’ and I think that is a lovely way to describe the work of Maggie’s. We are a lifeline to many people with cancer and however they need support, Maggie’s is always here.

Karen Verrill

Karen Verrill

Centre Head
Accordian open icon Accordian closed icon

I manage Maggie’s Newcastle, the permanent staff and the volunteers. A typical day can include meeting and greeting new visitors to the Centre and telling them about Maggie’s unique programme of support, there may be a specific cancer type support group to facilitate, or a workshop or course to run.

The daily ‘drop in’ can bring people through the doors with all manner of problems, such as those newly diagnosed with cancer who will want support to cope with the associated shock, or people who have been told there are no more possible treatment options for them, and so are facing the end of their lives. It’s such a varied and challenging role, but so rewarding to be able to help all these people.

Michelle Hall

Michelle Hall

Cancer Support Specialist
Accordian open icon Accordian closed icon

My role as a Cancer Support Specialist at Maggie's Newcastle is to provide emotional support and advice to visitors who come to the Centre. I will also chat to people about what groups and activities at Maggie's might benefit them as well as helping to co-facilitate some of our support groups.

The best thing about my job is getting the chance to meet so many inspiring people that visit the Centre.

My background in the oncology field as a specialist nurse has highlighted the vital need for places like Maggie's, where people can go outside the clinical environment for support. It's a wonderful place.

Mary-Jane Parker

Mary-Jane Parker

Counselling Psychologist
Accordian open icon Accordian closed icon

I work with individuals, couples, families and groups to help people find practical and adaptive ways of coping with the psychological and emotional difficulties that often arise in relation to a cancer diagnosis. The focus of my work is on improving the emotional well-being of the people I work with.

As a Counselling Psychologist, I work from a humanistic philosophical perspective, viewing the therapeutic relationship as crucial to the potential benefits of the work. While my underpinning approach is person-centred, I integrate aspects of Mindfulness and Cognitive-Behavioural therapeutic models into my work to collaboratively agree a flexible approach to best meet the needs of each unique client.

The best thing about my job is having the opportunity to sensitively and compassionately help people deal with their distress, and find ways to live more meaningful lives in the face of adversity.

I was inspired to work with Maggie’s originally by the words of Maggie Keswick Jencks: “Above all what matters is not to lose the joy of living in the fear of dying”.

Maggie’s is important as it helps ordinary people at their most vulnerable to feel supported, less alone and less frightened.

Stephanie Howard

Stephanie Howard

Benefits Advisor
Accordian open icon Accordian closed icon

My role is to provide advice and information to anyone affected by a cancer diagnosis to enable them to access their full entitlement to welfare benefits. I complete all of the paperwork and liaise with the relevant authorities on their behalf, and when problems arise, challenge decisions on their behalf. I try to make the whole process as stress-free as possible.

It’s great to work in such an inspiring and positive environment. A cancer diagnosis can be so stressful for all those affected, and this is often compounded by financial worries. It’s incredibly rewarding to be able to support people during such a difficult time and to help them to regain control of their finances.

Maggie’s is important because it offers support on a drop in basis, which allows any concerns to be addressed before they have the opportunity to escalate. It gives people a beautiful place to come to meet other people who are in similar circumstances and where support is available if it is wanted.

I’m really proud of the North East, and have even been known to construct local landmarks out of cake. Maggie’s Newcastle is such an amazing addition to this area.

Marissa Magee

Marissa Magee

Centre Fundraising Manager
Accordian open icon Accordian closed icon

I work with our community and corporate supporters to raise awareness and funds for Maggie’s Newcastle. All of the money raised in the North East goes towards the running of the Centre. It costs £590,000 a year to keep our doors open.

I wanted to work for Maggie’s because I’m passionate about art, design and culture and immediately saw how valuable Maggie’s unique approach to cancer care can be. I have previously worked in the cultural sector and for a leading cancer charity so was excited about the opportunity of merging these two worlds. 

Maggie’s is so important because cancer affects everyone either directly or indirectly. From personal experience, I know that a cancer diagnosis really does affect the whole family. Maggie’s is for everyone affected by cancer, including family and friends.

 

Krystyna Glinski

Krystyna Glinski

Clinical Psychologist
Accordian open icon Accordian closed icon

Psychology sessions offer a special kind of conversation that opens up ideas and spaces which can create real change in our lives. It is of utmost importance that painful experiences can be spoken, held and attended to. When we take care of the painful experiences of cancer we can reconnect with our vitality, meaning and quality of life. I offer these conversation spaces to centre visitors, but some of the most powerful conversations take place in our groups and courses where my role is to facilitate the group conversation space. I hope also over time to contribute to the team conversations here in the centre in order to promote wellbeing and sustainability in our work together.

I really value the opportunities that arise naturally to offer meaningful psychology input to folk who would never otherwise have thought to seek it out for themselves.

I had been working in cancer care in Western Australia and was looking for an opportunity to broaden my horizons. The Maggie’s model just made intuitive sense to me, so I was compelled to find out more. Two flights later and here I am!

Maggie’s is important because it is able to take care of the small stuff that really matters in the big picture.

Debra Connell

Debra Connell

Cancer support specialist
Accordian open icon Accordian closed icon

My role is to provide support to people visiting the centre, whether that is emotional or practical support. I will offer advice to people and will talk through the programme of support to enable people to decide what elements may be best to meet their needs.

The best thing about my job is meeting new people every day. Also, being able to see the difference our support makes.

I was inspired to work here because my background in palliative care highlighted the need to look at a holistic approach to supporting people, and Maggies really encompasses that.

Maggies is importanr because having a place that has such a welcoming atmosphere, where people can feel relaxed and also receive the support they need is vital. Being able to talk to other people who are having similar experiences , and getting support from each other is important also.

Fiona Ray

Fiona Ray

Fundraising Organiser
Accordian open icon Accordian closed icon

My role is to help organise and support fundraising for the Centre. This includes coming up with new fundraising ideas, working closely with supporters to make sure they have everything they need to make their activity a success and telling our story on social media.

It’s a very rewarding role and no two days are the same which I love! I get to meet inspiring people daily and hear wonderful stories of how Maggie’s has helped them which in turn inspires me to ensure fundraising continues to help others.

We are often described as an ‘emotional A&E’ and I think that is a lovely way to describe the work of Maggie’s. We are a lifeline to many people with cancer and however they need support, Maggie’s is always here.