Meet the team

Lianne Kirkman
Founder and CEO

I am privileged to lead the Helping Hands Community Project alongside a dedicated group of volunteers and staff.  The motivation behind establishing Helping Hands as a registered charity stems from my own mental health struggles. After overcoming a difficult period in my life, I wanted to give back and provide support to others who may be facing similar challenges. I understand firsthand the impact that the right help and support can have, and I am grateful for the opportunity to help individuals and families in the South Warwickshire area. At Helping Hands Community Project, our goal is to offer a "Hand Up, not just a Hand out" through our various support programs. We aim to foster connection, belonging, and restore hope and purpose to those experiencing tough times. I strongly believe that we can find purpose through our difficult experiences. My husband, Paddy Kirkman, is actively involved in the charity and leads our evening food outreach twice a week. We have two teenage children, a dog, and a ginger tomcat at home. As a family, we love to spend time near the sea (so I'm not quite sure why we chose to live in the Midlands!)...  Our collective efforts at Helping Hands Community Project have been profoundly rewarding, and I feel grateful for the opportunity to make a positive impact in our community.

Jo Merrick
Jo Merrick
Project Operations Manager

I oversee the running of all the Helping Hands projects. I love my job because every day is different. I love meeting new people and supporting them is very rewarding. I first became involved as a volunteer with the Esther Project for several years and then became employed here two years ago.

I have three children and two stepchildren which makes for a very busy house! I am very creative and love to try out different crafts with my children. 

Kerry Steward
Kerry Steward
Fundraising and Communications Officer

I first became involved at Helping Hands as a soup kitchen volunteer in April 2020 and immediately thought it was a fantastic organisation to be part of. Then in September 2023 I was lucky enough to join the staff and my role now is to engage with prospective donors and supporters. I also run our social media channels.

I love cats have one lovely British Shorthair – Elsie.

Alison Glover
Alison Glover
Volunteer Co Ordinator

Since joining Helping Hands in December 2022, I have found a new level of empathy with the people we serve.  The journeys that some people have travelled have inspired me.

I love spending time with my hubby, two amazing daughters and our crazy rescue dog.

I enjoy being out in the fresh air, being by the sea, going to the theatre, travelling, decluttering and relaxing with family and friends

Claire Protheroe-Jones
Office Manager

Working at Helping Hands is so varied…no two days are the same! I look after a lot of maintenance issues and the day-to-day running of the office. I really enjoy being part of a team of staff and volunteers where we all take pride in helping others. 

Away from my time at Helping Hands I enjoy working in Interior design which I’ve always had a career in. I love art, outdoor swimming, being near the sea and walking with my dog. 

Kevin Thornton
Kevin Thornton
Male Support Worker
Deborah McNeil
Debra McNeill
Female Support Worker
Sue Clifford
Sue Clifford 
Lighthouse Charity Shop Manager

I love working at Helping Hands because it's a charity that you can see making a difference. It is a success story that warms my heart and gives hope for other. We have a team of wonderful volunteers, each bringing something different to make it truly amazing.

It is our job to make the shop as welcoming and friendly as possible. I love people! I have two children and three grandsons and love going on holiday to see different parts of the world. 

Jamie Calder
Jamie Calder
Lighthouse Charity Shop Assistant Manager

My role is to offer a welcoming and supportive environment in the shop, providing a friendly atmosphere to all customers and managing volunteers. I absolutely love helping people and making people smile. I think it's one of the most important traits a person can have.

I love my family who I love more than life itself. Ooutside that my main things are music, I'm a guitarist in a rock band, and football, I'm a lifelong supporter of Manchester United (please don't judge me)

Paul Shakespeare
Paul Shakespeare
Lighthouse Charity Shop Assistant

In 2017 I was homeless and came to helping hands to volunteer, this gave me a hand up and a purpose to get up each morning . With the support of P3 I was given somewhere to live .

Helping Hands has been a great support to me , I am now a paid assistant 2 days a week and get to help lots of other people who need support