Our Staff

The My Choice Management Team

Alex Hyland


Alex has over 25 years experience working with children who display emotional & challenging behaviour.

His professional experience includes working with adults, children and young people who have left Local Authority care and those experiencing mental health difficulties. Alex has worked within the voluntary, public & private sectors in a variety of settings including hospitals, direct access homeless shelters and secure units. He has considerable management experience of various residential homes ranging in size from 3 to 7 bedded. Trained at Caldecott College (accredited by Greenwich University) he achieved a Graduate Certificate in Therapeutic Childcare.

Dawn Ives

Director and Responsible Individual

Dawn has over 22 years’ experience working in childcare and is qualified with the Registered Manager Award, NVQ Level 3 and 4 in Child Care and the Assessor’s Award. Dawn is also qualified as a Life Coach and in Counselling.

Dawn has developed her career with My Choice Homes, starting as Residential Support Worker developing and progressing within the care roles, to Acting Manager then Registered Care Manager at Kestrel House.

Dawn then progressed to Senior Management undertaking the role of Assistant Service Manager and Operations Manager for over a 10 year period.

From February 2018 Dawn has undertaken the role of Responsible Individual for all the nine Children’s Homes within My Choice. Dawn is also a company Director who has Operational responsibility. Dawn oversees the care of the children placed in the homes and the progress they are making. Dawn is able to objectively oversee the children’s care by regular liaison with Registered Care Managers and working in partnership with the senior management team, who discuss the care of each child and analyse the performance of each home through regular meetings and the daily sharing of information. This information is shared back to the homes and staff teams so we as an organisation continue to strive to meet the children’s needs in the best possible way.

Dawn works closely with Ofsted, Local Authorities and consultant therapists, co-ordinating and managing the company referrals with other My Choice Directors and Care Managers. Dawn assesses young people with the relevant Care Manager to ensure placement matching and assessment is appropriate within the home. Dawn will co-ordinate with the Practice Manager and Team Manager’s to ensure all necessary records are completed within this referral process.

Debbie Woodgate

Operations Manager

Debbie has over 16 years’ experience working within residential child care services which includes 11 years’ service at My Choice Children’s Homes. 

Debbie has developed her career with My Choice from Deputy Care Manager, registered Manager, Practice Manager to her current position of Operations Manager. Debbie has achieved her Level 5 Diploma Qualification in Care, Leadership and Management and the NVQ Level 3 (Children and Young People Award) and holds a certificate in Substance Misuse Early Intervention with Young People. Debbie’s role is to work directly with the homes staff teams and Managers reviewing strategies, plans, risk assessments and to ensure effective intervention and high quality care is provided at all times

Lisa Lawrence

Quality and Compliance Manager

Lisa has a Diploma in Social Work with the Post Qualifying Year & Management Qualification.

She has over 22 years’ service to My Choice Children’s homes, 15 years at senior/management level, Lisa worked prior to My Choice at a residential school for young people with emotional & behavioural difficulties.

Lisa has achieved the NVQ Assessors & IV Award, develops and implements our Polices & Procedures. Lisa is part of the recruitment process and interview panel, co-ordinates our training programme ensuring the care staff and managers receive high quality training and development. Lisa is the Head of the Training Centre that is registered with CACHE / NCFE. The training centre was registered in 2019 to facilitate Diploma 3 and 5,s to all My Choice staff. The training centre is in the developmental stage to introduce new courses to staff and external learners.

Annie Murphy

Head of Education, My Choice Schools

Annie has a BSc (hons) in Experimental Psychology and a PGCE from the University of Sussex.

Annie has 30 years experience of managing services for children and young people in residential, play, training and education settings and services for vulnerable adults. Annie has worked at My Choice for 20 years, including 14 years as the Headteacher of My Choice School. Annie is responsible for the management of all My Choice Schools, leading on development, school policies, ensuring school standards are met and monitoring student performance and progress, and school recruitment.

Ed Glaves

West Senior Team Manager

Ed has worked at My Choice for 11 years. Ed has developed his career with My Choice from Senior Residential Support Worker, Registered Manager, West Team Manager to his current position of Senior Team Manager.

He has worked in Senior Management at My Choice for 3 years. He has worked with a variety of different young people with complex needs and has completed the Level 5 Diploma Qualification in Care, Leadership and Management.

Pauline Gunnell

East Team Manager

Pauline has been employed at My Choice for over five years and progressed to Deputy Care Manager at Kestrel House in February 2016. Pauline was then promoted and commenced her role as Registered Care Manager at Kingfisher View on 2nd May 2017.

In November 2020 Pauline moved on from post as manager at Kingfisher and progressed to East Team Manager, overseeing four homes in the east team at My Choice.

Pauline has increased her knowledge and professionalism and has an extensive background in Social Care. Pauline worked as an SEN Assistant for seven years, Residential Care Worker for six years and a Family Support and Inclusion Manager. Pauline then started her own business for a short while to then return back into residential care services. Pauline has worked with a wide variety of young people with differing needs and has developed behaviour management plans and implemented transition plans. Pauline has strong leadership skills and develops staff members to ensure they reach their full potential.

Pauline has an extensive educational background: She has achieved her Certificate in Counselling Skills, BSC Hons in Psychology, Diploma in Therapy and Counselling, NCFE Safeguarding Children and Young People. Pauline is the Team Teach Instructor for the Company. She is also one of the two the Outcomes Star trainers. Pauline has completed the Diploma Level 5 Leadership and Management Award and has also completed the Advanced Therapeutic Practitioners Award.

Clare Wye


Clare Wye is the Headteacher of My Choice School Arundel with a PCE from the University of Greenwich.

Clare has 30 years experience of primary and secondary education with senior management experience in post compulsory education. Clare also has substantial DSL experience with a strong background in behaviour management.

Zoe Morgan

Recruitment Manager

Since 2005 Zoe has carried out various administrative roles, at different levels, for the majority Zoe held Office Management and PA roles.

Zoe held the Office Manager position for 4 years at the Key Stage 3 office within a secondary school in West Sussex. This role ensured interactions with staff, visitors and the pupils at the school on a regular basis.

Zoe fulfilled the same role in a telecommunication company giving PA support to Senior Management. In January 2022, Zoe commenced the role of Recruitment Manager at My Choice Children’s Home Ltd.

Georgina Colgate

HR Manager

Georgina is our HR Manager and has worked at My Choice for over 15 years and for the majority of this time, as our HR Manager.

Georgina’s role is to ensure HR procedures and policies are followed and providing direction by liaising with our managers and their staff team. Georgina deals with issues related to staff such as performance management, staff development, safety, wellness, benefits, communication and administration.

Mark Kazmarski

IT Manager

Mark has over 20 years’ experience working in the IT industry. Mark has worked at My Choice since the company was founded as the IT Manager.

Mark has developed our bespoke computer systems within Head Office, the Children’s Homes, My Choice School, Training and Maintenance departments. Mark consistently strives to improve our IT systems and he is readily available to assist with any difficulties experienced by the staff within the organisation. Mark also ensures the IT provision is kept safe and secure. My Choice work with Microsoft O365 and Clearcare recoding systems in the homes.

Darren Widdows

Maintenance Manager

Darren has over 30 years’ experience working in the building trade including managing a building supply store.

Darren has worked at My Choice as the Maintenance Manager for 15 years and has a staff team of five. Their combined skills range from general repairs, painting and decorating, carpentry, electrics, plumbing and more significantly any home improvement projects.

Pat Russell

Accounts Manager

Pat has over 40 years’ experience of working within the finance industry, 20 years at a senior/management level managing finance teams in the public and private sectors of business.

She holds the AAT qualification and joined My Choice in Oct 2014. She oversees all day to day finance and payroll functions for the company<./p>

Laura Thornley

Learning and Development Manager

Laura has worked in children’s services for over ten years. Prior to joining My Choice she worked for two years at Shoreham Academy as a Primary Link and Alternative Provision Key Worker.

She also has experience of working in other school environments working alongside vulnerable children and young people and those with behavioural and SEND needs. Laura’s is the lead Diploma Assessor at My Choice, she is responsible for the learning and progression of the staff in regards to the Diploma Level 3 Children and Diploma 5 Leadership and Management Award.

For five years, Laura worked at Aspire Sussex (formerly WSCC) ACL Tutor and Assessor Skills Centre. She provided learning opportunities for adults and young people over the age of 16 years. Her role encompassed to tutor and assess ACL for Level 2 and Level 3 childcare qualifications, ensuring high standards of course delivery in the classroom environment, producing Schemes of Work and Session Plans in line with standards, using a range of assessment methods in accordance with criteria, supporting learners with their professional development, access and observe learner portfolios in line with standards and observe learners in the workplace and participate in standardisation meetings.

Laura works with all staff registered on the Diploma 3 and 5 qualifications. Laura has an excellent staff achievement rate and is based at the company’s Independent Training Centre. Our centre is registered with NCFE.

Laura’s qualifications include:

  • 1. City & Guilds A1 Assessors Award
  • 2. Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector PTLLS
  • 3. Certificate to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector CTLLS
  • 4. FdA in Childhood Studies
  • 5. City & Guilds Level 3 Playwork

Grace Slater

Care manager at Ocean Pearl

Cian Hughes

Registered Care Manager at Willow Cottage

Cian commenced his role as Care Manager in November 2020.

Cian has experience of working as a Registered Care Manager in various settings since August 2012 for adults and young people with complex and challenging needs, including special educational needs in residential settings, adult health, social residential homes and most recently, supported living. Prior to joining My Choice Children’s Homes, Cian was the Registered Manager for Sussex Empowered Living. He has also worked at St John’s School and various other college settings. Cian has knowledge of the CQC Regulatory Standards and the Children’s Homes (England) Regulations 2015.

Cian is experienced in dealing with local authorities and regulatory bodies. He has strong leadership skills and supports staff members to develop their practice.

Cian develops professional relationships with the adults and young people in his care. Cian has completed a range of training and has qualifications in Health and Social Care. These include NVQ Level 3 Health and Social Care, Level 4 Introduction to Management and the Level 5 Health and Social Care qualification.

Luke Carr

Registered Care Manager at Pebble House

Luke started his career as a Youth Worker in 2008 and has previously worked for East Sussex County Council as a Youth Support Worker within youth clubs and school environments.

He has gained a wealth of experience and progressed within My Choice, starting his employment in September 2015 as a Residential Support Worker and progressed to Deputy Care Manager in April 2019 and to his current position as Care Manager at Pebble House during January 2023. Luke has achieved numerous courses at My Choice, and completed his Level 3 Diploma in residential child care.

Luke completed his Therapeutic Practitioners Award in December 2018 and completed the Advanced Therapeutic Practitioners Award in January 2022.

Stuart Halsey

Registered Care Manager at Ivy Cottage

Stuart commenced his role as Care Manager at Ivy Cottage on 2nd May 2017. Stuart has been employed at My Choice for seven years.

He has developed during his time at Ivy Cottage, promoted to Deputy Care Manager in January 2016. Stuart has worked closely with the previous Registered Manger to develop the home, particularly in regard to the completion of the Regulation 45 Quality Care Assessments.

Before My Choice, Stuart was employed for over 6 years as a Senior Support Worker at a social care setting for young people and adults with learning disabilities. Stuart has extensive experience working with young people who are at risk of CSE, absconding behaviours, drug and alcohol misuse and school attendance issues.

Stuart has achieved his Level 3 Health and Social Care Adults and Young People. He is currently completing his Diploma 5 Leadership and Management Award. Stuart has strong leadership skills and supports staff members to develop within the home, undertaking more responsibility and training where appropriate.

Stuart develops professional relationships with the young people and ensures the behaviour management plans are bespoke and supportive.

Theo Barclay

Registered Care Manager at Neptune House

Theo has worked at My Choice for six years. Theo has been Acting Manager, progressing to his current position of Registered Care Manager at My Choice Homes.

Previous to his current position he worked at an establishment providing care to young people with challenging behaviour. Theo has extensive experience in supervisory roles and leading staff members working in residential child care. Theo has worked as a shift leader, Senior and Deputy Manager. Theo has achieved his Level 3 Diploma and the Level 5 Diploma in Leadership and Management.

He has achieved his Therapeutic Practitioners Award. Theo’s experience and knowledge has enabled him to develop as an established practitioner and provide high quality care to the young people he works with.

Francis McCarogher

Care Manager at Kestral House

Fran commenced at My Choice in November 2014 as an RSW.

Fran has previously worked as a Deputy manager at Ivy Cottage, he then commenced at Kestral House as the manager from June 2023.

Fran has completed the Level 3 Diploma in residential work with children and once in a deputy position at Ivy Cottage commenced and completed the Level 5 Diploma in leadership and management, this was completed in 2023.

Fran has a child focused approach and is keen to develop the staff team to ensure the children are cared for within a caring and nurturing home.

Declan Lola

Registered Care Manager at Oak House

Declan has over 15 years experience working with young people and their families, 8 years in residential settings.

Declan has developed his career with My Choice from Residential Support Worker to his current position as Registered Care Manager. Declan is currently undertaking his Open University Degree in Social Work and has achieved the NVQ Level 3 in Care and Level 5 Diploma in Leadership & Management with Young People.

Chris Martin

Registered Care Manager at Maple House

Chris is the Care Manager for Maple House, this commenced on 22nd September 2021.

Chris has recently finished a period undertaking the role of Acting Manager for Maple House. Chris started his employment with My Choice Childrens Homes during November 2014 and he has developed his role to manager responsibilities.

Prior to working for My Choice, Chris worked for Home Group Limited, as a Support Worker/Housing Concierge at Eastbourne Foyer. Chris has also been trained by the National Youth Advocacy Service (NYAS), to work as an advocate for young people.

Chris has completed the Therapeutic Practitioners Award and has also now completed the Advanced Therapeutic Practitioners Award. Chris completed the Level 3 Diploma Children and Young People, in 2016 and is now undertaking the Level 5 Diploma Leadership and Management. Chris attended Swansea University, as mature student and gained a Bachelor of Economic and Social Studies in Social Policy and Criminology, Second Class Honours, Division 1, in 2016. During his time at University, Chris was offered a bursary, so he could carry on his studies and went on to gain an MA in Applied Criminal Justice and Criminology, in 2011.

Siobhan Coleshill

Registered Care Manager at Osprey House

Siobhan joined My Choice Children’s Homes in April 2019 as a Residential Support Worker following a career in hospitality.

Siobhan was promoted to Senior Residential Support Worker in April 2020 and promoted to Deputy Homes Manager in June 2022. She started her role as care manager at Osprey House in February 2023. Her role is to oversee the day to day running, safeguarding and management of Osprey House, working alongside the deputy manager and East Team Manager.

Siobhan has completed a wide variety of training including her Level 3 Diploma Residential Childcare and Therapeutic Practitioners Award Oct both completed 2021. Siobhan has start her Diploma level 5 Leadership and Management.