Chip Ponsford: Founder and Lead Therapist

Chip is a person-centred counsellor (MBACP Accred) and supervisor with particular interest in and experience of working therapeutically with men outdoors. He facilitated a group for men convicted of serious offences at Katherine Price Hughes House in 2012 and has worked with male torture survivors at The Refugee Therapy Centre, London, and with people with psychological distress and diagnoses in a number of settings including at Islington MIND, Highbury Counselling Centre and in private practice in London and Northumberland.  Chip has trained in outdoor therapy with Rab Erskine, The Wilderness Foundation and in facilitating learning with Forest School. Having relocated to Northumberland in 2015, Chip ran a pilot project in partnership with NDAS (Northumberland Domestic Abuse Services). The positive outcomes of this project led to the creation of Heart Wood.

Rab Erskine (Ecotherapy Consultant)

Rab is a person-centred counsellor, a practitioner member of Cosca (Confederation of Scottish Counselling agencies). He has 32 years’ experience of working therapeutically outdoors. Alongside running a counselling service in primary care for the last twenty two years, from 1995 to 2005 he ran a small company offering short term residential ‘Wilderness Based” therapeutic experiences to individuals and group referred from social work, education and NHS secondary care referrers. From 2005 to 2016 he was commissioned to run the ‘Going Places’ project for the Borders NHS Adult Mental Health Psychiatric rehabilitation Service.

Sue James (Trustee) is a person-centred counsellor who, for over 25 years, has worked in a variety of contexts including universities, voluntary organisations, NHS, and working independently. Roles have included Head of Counselling at University of Lincoln, Therapy Service Manager at CancerCare, Development Manager for The Survivors Trust and Clinical Lead at Trust House Lancashire (a sexual abuse support centre). In addition, Sue offers lecturing, training and supervision. Sue has always been interested in work that encourages and enables men to find expression, reflection and connection so support mental health and well-being.

Katy Jewitt (Treasurer/Trustee) With over 15 years experience in the accountancy sector Katy works for a local Hexham firm of accountants preparing accounts for partnerships sole traders and limited companies. She is a member of the association of accountancy technicians.

Nancy Rios (Trustee)


Emma Ponsford (Project Manager) is an experienced arts producer, manager and fundraiser.  Emma has worked at Sadler’s Wells Theatre since 2002, first in the programme department before becoming General Manager for Breakin' Convention, managing the Breakin' Convention team and working alongside Jonzi D delivering an annual hip hop festival in London, national touring and overseeing all professional development activity. In 2015 Emma relocated to Northumberland and continues to work for Breakin' Convention.

Katherine Calder (pro bono legal consultant) is a senior legal public and procurement law consultant with city law firm, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP amongst others. Katherine is ranked in Chambers & Partners and Who’s Who Legal as one of the UKs leading procurement and public contract lawyers. Katherine has 18 years’ experience of advising public bodies on their commercial and grant funding contracts - and also companies applying for such funding contracts such as charities, school governing bodies and other not-for-profit vehicles.

Charity Reg in England and Wales: 1182889