Zebra People

Nicola Barkla – background in community based relational ways of working, peer support, participatory decision making and co-creating exploratory conversation spaces. Focus on administration.


Vicky Brooks – With 16 years’ experience working in drug and alcohol services with people who have experienced profound and complex trauma, Vicky initially worked within the criminal justice system, then for the past 10 years in the child protection and safeguarding arena working with parents. Vicky spent 3 years working across the peninsula with the Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC), a fundamentally trauma-informed approach to supporting families through care proceedings. Vicky’s background is in delivering training and facilitating group work and she has been delivering training specifically on trauma informed approaches since 2020. Vicky is a facilitator & programme designer in Zebra’s trauma-informed programmes.

Debbie Freeman – comes with 25 years+ experience of work in the area of people facing multiple disadvantage. Her work within the community, voluntary and statutory sectors ranges from support work to service design and implementation, through to strategy and commissioning, e.g. in substance use, housing and homelessness. Debbie is interested in culture change within organisations, shifting power to communities, and alternative conceptions of ‘mental health’. Debbie leads Zebra’s community & youth work in Plymouth.

Gemma Gowan – has worked in various community based roles in Plymouth since 2005, including leading public health projects, working with substance use and social prescribing. She approaches her work with a trauma-informed lens and draws from asset- and strength-based approaches. Gemma co-ordinates Zebra’s youth work and is one of our youth workers.

Marc Gardiner – co-founder of Zebra, came with experience from multifarious roles in social care and community work. Leads on our trauma-informed and solution-focused practice work and involved in all elements of Zebra’s offer.


Alex Gude
– has a varied background in psychology, social work and research, and has worked in various roles in statutory, VCSE (voluntary / community / social enterprise sectors) and academic organisations. She has a keen interest in qualitative, participatory approaches to research and evaluation, aimed at designing better services by people, for people, with a particular focus on mental health and wellbeing. Alex is working on Zebra’s community projects.

Ryan Pearce – A history student at Plymouth University, Ryan began work with Devonport children and young people on a uni placement. At the end of the placement, he chose to continue volunteering with us, and has become an ever-present, core team member. In March 2024, we were very happy that Ryan accepted the offer of paid sessional youth work with Zebra.

Jamie Tucker-Last – has worked in the people services sector for 20+ years, and has a history of working within substance use service delivery and research, probation services, homelessness and community safety systems. His practice is grounded in operational delivery. Interests include the individual’s journey and experiences of multiple disadvantage, the fundamental importance of partnerships working, appropriate management and ownership of risk, and the well-being of teams. Jamie’s focus in Zebra is on external supervision and running workshops on ‘Skills for Helping’.


Community Cancer Champions Project Team 

Niqui Bond – is Project Manager of our ‘Plymouth Cancer Champions Project’, launched at the start of 2024. She’s been working in a primary school in Plymouth for 22 years, 18 as a teacher then 4 as an Assistant Head, and she brings this experience, and the many skills she’s gained from working with children and families, to the Cancer Champions role. The 3-year Cancer Champions project is a programme of action research, testing an asset-based community development (ABCD) approach to addressing evidenced health inequalities, i.e. that the entire cancer journey – from pre-diagnosis through to post-treatment – tends to be significantly worse for people living in low income communities.

Olive Dillon – is one of our Community Engagement Leads on the Plymouth Cancer Champions Project. Olive is the lead on the over 50’s branch of the project, working predominantly at Age UK Plymouth, to explore community-based solutions to health inequalities. Previously Olive has been working and volunteering within the not-for-profit sector in Plymouth and Brighton, and most recently was working for Plymouth’s Citizens Advice Bureau.  Olive brings with her lots of knowledge, skills and experience through these varied roles.

Joanne Hocking – is the Senior Social Prescribing Link Worker for our Plymouth Cancer Champions Project. She is based with Wolseley Trust’s Social Prescribing team. In the past, Joanne has held roles in education, supporting children and families, and in the care sector. Over the last two years, she has worked within primary care as a Social Prescribing Link Worker, providing personalised care that connects people to activities, groups and services in their community to meet the practical, social and emotional needs that affect their health and wellbeing.

Kirsty Lewis – is the Volunteer Coordinator for the Plymouth Cancer Champions Project. Kirsty came to study at Plymouth University in 1992 and has been here ever since. She has gained wide and varied experience of community and youth work over the past 28 years. She has coordinated advocacy projects and championed the voices of young people with care experience, so they can challenge and influence service design and delivery within Children’s Social Care. Through all this, Kirsty has built a strong belief that people are experts in their own lives and hold the key to finding real solutions to community needs.

Mingma Lhamu Pakhrin  – is the Community Engagement Lead (place based) with our Plymouth Cancer Champions Project. Mingma, who’s been living in Plymouth since her arrival from India in March 2023, has a Ph.D. in Modern History with specialisation in Colonial South Asia and the Himalayas. Her employment experience encompasses diverse roles, from working as a university teacher to contributing as a researcher for numerous projects and publications, whilst demonstrating a commitment to public history and community engagement.
In the past year, Mingma has volunteered in heritage (e.g. at The Box) and with various grassroots Plymouth organisations, whilst setting up a group to support migrant communities in the city. Her passion for history and for community service combine in her deep interest in people’s individual stories and experiences. She aims to bring a rich interdisciplinary and collaborative perspective to her community development work.

Thijs Mostert – is the Digital Inclusion Support Worker in the Plymouth Cancer Champions Project. Thijs has a healthcare background: he trained as a Nurse in The Netherlands, and for the last decade of his nursing career was working as a Practice Nurse. Since then, Thijs has completed his Masters in Design and has worked on a freelance basis for Nudge Community Builders, building digital skills in the Stonehouse community. Thijs is passionate about environmental justice and is also co-director of Precious Plastics Plymouth, a project that recycles plastic, shreds it and remoulds it for other purposes. Thijs is excited to bring together his past work experiences and his other current interests in his role in the Community Cancer Champions project.

Katy Stevenson – is a GP in training at Knowle House Surgery and an Academic Clinical Fellow with the University of Plymouth Community and Primary Care Research Group. She has joined Zebra as an embedded researcher on the Cancer Champions project to co-design, co-deliver and co-evaluate how an asset-based community development approach can address cancer care inequities.