About ESRA

ESRA (Employment Support Retraining Agency Ltd) was founded in 1980. Based in Redhill, Surrey, ESRA’s services are available to people with stress and mental health issues who are looking to find or keep work, and also to employers who want advice and support in recruiting and retaining valuable staff.

On average we help 250 to 300 people each year move towards work. We believe strongly that everyone has a right to work. We know that, with the right support, work can be a vital part of recovery and of maintaining positive mental health. Our qualified, experienced advisors give structured and impartial advice, with guidance sessions exploring training, employment and in work support options. We work closely with local employers and organisations, and are committed to changing the way people see mental health, improving attitudes and removing stigma.

Are you unemployed and looking for work? Apply to East Surrey Pathway to Employment!

ESRA has partnered with Raven Housing Trust, YMCA, Reigate & Banstead Borough Council and ESDAS to deliver a new employment service, funded by European Union and Big Lottery Fund.

East Surrey Pathway to Employment programme is a service that can provide you with the support and advice you need to help you find work if you are living in temporary accommodation or face homelessness.

For more information, talk to one of the team at ESRA.

Minding Your Business offers its services to employers throughout England. It has been running courses and training employers for many years, for which the feedback is overwhelmingly positive and available to see. The Employer Audit and Employee Retention Services were new additions in 2013, although staff have supported employers with employee retention previously made possible through health funding.

Trish NoakesGeneral Manager

With a background in adult employability training and government contract provision management, Trish joined ESRA in January 2018 as our new General Manager.

Trish will lead on partnerships, bid-writing and contract performance as well as overseeing the company’s day to day and financial running.

Trish will work across both ESRA and Minding Your Business.

Sara FerrisEmployment Manager

Sara has worked on a variety of employment programmes which have supported people to find and retain work and training. As well as leading on ESRA’s National Careers service provision, Sara is also an inspirational trainer, having developed and run our popular 'Moving On' programme of confidence boosting courses. Sara is also an artist and passionate about helping people develop.

Judy CorneyMYB Marketing Manager

Judy is the Training Services Manager and is responsible for developing the MYB training brand delivering Mental Health First Aid and a variety of courses relating to mental health.

Her role involves working alongside Donna to ensure that client companies get the very best quality training.

Joining ESRA in 2009 as an Employment Manager, Judy supported a caseload of clients suffering mental ill health, following an extensive career working as a recruiter for a number of leading agencies in IT and finance.

Judy strongly believes that the charity is a worthwhile cause and finds her role satisfying. Together with her colleagues she has a mission to make a difference to raise awareness and provide education about mental health.

Judy’s free time is spent keeping up friends, visiting the coast, doing pilates classes, experimental cookery, collecting vintage stuff, and spending time with her family and her adorable but naughty dog Mr Finn.

Donna Barrington-SmithMYB Operations

Donna started working for ESRA and Minding Your Business in 2015, joining with a wealth of administrative experience, gained within the travel industry. Having worked as a travel agent, Donna moved into system support and development, then into Tour Operating, and developing holiday booking websites. Donna has managed a number of specialist holiday product programmes, and been a freelance SEO copy writer for a number of travel companies. She is an integral part of MYB.

Donna's spare time is generally spent at an athletic's track - somewhere in the country - as she is a National UKA Technical Offical specialising in timekeeping. Otherwise, Donna is either walking her two dogs, enjoying her two twenty-something children or mentoring patients for King's College Hospital.

Barbara WalkerDirector

Retired Occupational Therapist

Barbara worked as an Occupation Therapist for many years specialising in work rehabilitation. During her employment, she was asked to be the link between ESRA and the Local Trust, which she continued to do until her retirement. Since then, Barbara has remained involved with ESRA in different roles.

Barbara is now a Southwark Pastoral Auxiliary, trained at the Church of England to work with both her church and the community. She works with local churches of all denominations and the Food Bank.

Lynn CrittendenDirector


Lynn trained as an occupational therapist working in the psychiatric field throughout her career, where she worked in a variety of roles prior to retiring as a mental health care-co-ordinator in the community mental health team. She worked as a BACP accredited counsellor after leaving the NHS.

Lynn was professionally involved with ESRA for many years before becoming a trustee in 2006.

Nicola SempleDirector

Start up Business Mentor

Nicola has 10 years of experience as a Management Consultant, working with large corporate companies and government departments, combined with five years’ experience working with small businesses in the online world.

Nicola is passionate about helping people to be the best version of themselves. She is a qualified Professional Mindfulness Practitioner, creator of a mindfulness programme for busy people, and is host of a life-style podcast.

Joining the ESRA team in 2017, Nicola is able to use her business acumen to help ESRA develop and grow in the ever changing and increasingly complex charity arena.

Helen GossetDirector

Piano Teacher

Helen's background is in teaching religious education, philosophy and ethics and also piano which is what she is currently doing.

She has had a lot of personal experience in issues surrounding mental illness including those which arise when attempting to find employment. Helen strongly believes that everyone has the right to work and that having a suitable role can make an important contribution towards improving a person’s mental health. Her role as a trustee of ESRA will hopefully contribute towards achieving the goal of finding appropriate employment for those suffering from a mental illness.

John HooperDirector

Solutions Specialist

John is a previous service user of ESRA and now a board member.

He is keen to promote and develop ESRA so that ESRA can continue to support the community. John lives and works locally, and is also involved with another local charity which supports people affected by domestic abuse.

Jon StoneDirector

Charity Manager

Jon has many years' experience of strategic leadership in the voluntary sector, focusing upon ensuring effective operational and strategic development.

He holds an MBA in Charity Management and brings practical experience of leadership in disability, educational and voluntary sector support charities.

Jon is committed to ensuring that people with stress and mental health issues are supported to enter and be successful at work, and that employers understand how to provide this support to their team.

David BorerDirector

Recently Retired

Since retiring after a career in telecommunications David has been very involved in both the NHS and disability access.

He served as chairman and patient member of a group of health service professionals for 5 years working successfully to improve services for stroke patients in East Surrey. He was also a member of a team at St Georges University developing new methods of rehabilitation for patients recovering from stroke.

David is currently chairman of the Patients Participation Group at Oxted and a member of patient groups at East Surrey CCG and the Ambulance Service.

He has been a member of the Tandridge Access Group for many years working to ensure access to buildings and services for those with disabilities.

Jane Cattermole Dip Couns MBACPInstructor

Jane has been providing training and recruitment / retention services to high profile, blue chip organisations as well as in the public and third sector, for over 20 years - both in the UK and Australia.

She is part of the MHFA England National Training Team, a MHFA Workplace Associate and approved to deliver all MHFA courses. She is also a Stress Management Society ILM Accredited Trainer and a qualified Integrative Counselling Psychotherapist.

In her spare time, Jane will be found outside on a bike in the woods somewhere.

Nicole PickettMHFA Instructor

Nicole Pickett is an experienced Trainer/Facilitator/Mentor and Coach, specialising in Mental Health, Managing Stress, Conflict Resolution, Change Management and Equality and Inclusion.

Nicole originally trained in the performing Art’s and travelled extensively, including war torn Yugoslavia where her interests in the theories of world conflict, the power of human relationships and how communication holds such powerful influences, started to develop. This led to her studying for a BA in International Relations and Communications, and a MA in Contemporary War and Peace Studies.

Throughout this time, Nicole found she had a talent for training, developing and motivating others, and she went onto join the Police, where later in her career, she took a personal interest in mental health and trauma recovery, and training in Counselling.

Cecile BowieMHFA Trainer

Cecile is a company Director and has been running bespoke mental health awareness training for employers for nealy ten years, becoming a MHFA instructor in 2015, primarily in the corporate sector. Feedback from delegates is overwhelmingly positive and Cecile takes great pride in making the training as interactive and interesting as possible.

With a clinical and academic background in mental health (PhD Psychoanalytic Studies) she has extensive experience of the difficulties brought by emotional distress and has developed an understanding of the challenges faced by Line Managers and HR when supporting employees.

Cecile retains a strong clinical interest and regularly returns to France, her country of origin, to deliver clinical seminars in hospitals and universities.