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Our team

Everyone at Bluebell is passionate about using their personal or professional experience of perinatal mental health difficulties to help others. Meet some of our team below.

Ruth Jackson

Bluebell Founder & CEO
Ruth Jackson

Like many members of the team, Ruth has her own lived experience of perinatal mental illness. With support from her husband, other parents and professionals working in the sector, she set up Bluebell in 2009 to try to fill some gaps in local community provision. Before moving to Bristol and setting up Bluebell, Ruth lived in London for many years, working in fundraising and communications for organisations such as Barnardo’s and The Science Museum. Today she looks after Bluebell’s strategy, funding and governance, working closely with the leadership team and the trustees.  Ruth is married to Mike, has two grown up daughters and a fluffy Bichon frise called Teddy. She’s passionate about making sure no parent feels alone.

Rachel Jenkins

Therapeutic Services Lead
Rachel Jenkins

Rachel is an occupational therapist. She joined Bluebell in 2011, playing an early role in the design of our Comfort Zone programme. Today she heads up our team of Group Leaders who deliver Comfort Zone across the south west and oversees training for the whole team. She also leads Comfort Zone groups in Patchway, Yate, Bath and north east Somerset and Cadbury Heath. Rachel has two grown-up sons and is an amateur musician.

Kiran Bilon

Inclusion and Diversity Lead
Kiran Bilon

Kiran joined Bluebell in 2021. Having championed diversity and inclusion in her previous roles in TV and tech, she’s now working hard to make sure that Bluebell’s services can be accessed by everyone who needs them. She loves engaging with different communities around Bristol, working with families from diverse backgrounds and spreading the Bluebell message to new groups. Kiran has a particular interest in music therapy – she’s discovered that singing has hugely benefited her well-being. She is married with two children.

Paula Bentley

Peer Support Lead and Buddy
Paula Bentley

Paula joined Bluebell in 2013 and today oversees the recruitment, management, training and support for our Buddies. She is also a Buddy herself, supporting parents in east and central Bristol. Paula worked as a solicitor in Bristol for many years. After experiencing perinatal mental illness, she decided to leave the legal profession and devote her career to helping other parents. She is a trained pilates teacher and has studied counselling. Paula is married and has a son, a cat called Honey, a dog called Winnie and a selection of tropical fish!

Emma Peyton

Creche and Early Years Lead
Emma Peyton

Emma has worked with children and families for over 20 years. She has spent time as an early years teacher, child-minder and most recently as a family support worker in a children’s centre. Emma has two daughters of her own and can offer parents guidance and support on feeding, sleep and play. In her spare time, she enjoys singing in a community choir and walking her dog.

Jodi Dowse-Packham

Operations Manager
Jodi Dowse-Packham

Jodi was a Buddy and a facilitator with our Comfort Zone programme before becoming ops manager at Bluebell in 2020. She loves the variety of her role - being on the front line talking to parents one day and working behind the scenes on another. She’s a keen public speaker, aiming to normalise talking about perinatal mental health. Outside work, Jodi finds that running and keeping fit go hand in hand with bringing up her two busy boys.

Jess Sanzo

Operations Manager
Jess Sanzo

Before joining our ops team in 2017, Jess spent 10 years as a midwife, supporting many parents in the perinatal period.  Today she’s based at Bluebell Place where she organises the services that the Bluebell team deliver. Like her fellow ops manager Jodi, Jess is a big believer in exercise improving mental health - she spent several years running aerobics sessions for our Comfort Zone programme and has also helped many parents through her running club. At home, Jess has three daughters and an excitable Cockerpoo called Tilly.

Mel Williamson

Devon Project Coordinator & Bluebell Project Manager
Mel Williamson

Mel lives in Devon and joined Little Bluebell in 2016. She has spent many years co-ordinating and facilitating projects, working with families and children experiencing difficulties. She usually works behind the scenes, managing and supporting the Little Bluebell team. She also manages our Dads in Mind service. Mel is mum to two children, a textile artist and a keen gardener, and she loves to travel.

Abi Yardimci

Hearts & Minds Partnership Co-ordinator (South West)

Abi ran an arts and wellbeing organisation and trained as a mindfulness teacher before getting her dream job at Bluebell in 2018 Now, she loves the fact that her two roles (Abi is also a Bluebell Buddy, working with our Devon team) enable her to work on the ground, supporting parents directly, as well as at a more strategic level, strengthening perinatal mental health VCS organisations across England. Abi is originally from the North East and now lives in sunny Brixham with her husband and two sons. When she’s not working or parenting, Abi squirrels herself away and writes feel-good fiction. She has three novels published so far.  And just in case you’re wondering, Abi’s surname is Turkish and pronounced ‘yar-dum-juh’.  

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