Meet the Team


Sonia (2)


Centre Manager & Safeguarding Lead


Beginning her career in early years at Newnham Early Birds, Sonia remained at the setting for over 15 years gaining a wealth of experience.  She lead the team to a status of “Outstanding” from OFSTED whilst achieving a BA HONS in Early Childhood Studies.  She has Early Years Teaching status, is a Total Communication Champion and studied Level 3 in Organisational Management.


Looking for a fresh challenge Sonia moved to be Lead Practitioner and SENCO at The Opportunity Centre and at the beginning of 2019 took on the challenge of Centre Manager.


Sonia’s passion and enthusiasm, not only for the children’s development  but for the amazing team that she leads, is evident  as she aspires to ensure everyone has the chance to reach their full potential.

Jo G

Level 6 BA Hons in Early Childhood Studies
Early Years Professional Status
Forest Schools Leader
Total Communication Trainer

Jo George

Lead Practitioner & SENCO

Jo joined in September 2019 and with over 30 years’ experience she brings a wealth of ideas and knowledge to our diverse setting.  She loves the outdoors and is a big fan of Forest Schools.  In her spare time Jo can be found pumping iron in the gym.


Level 4 Early Years
Level 3 Cache

Haley Turner

Deputy Lead Practitioner

Working in childcare  for over 13 years ago Haley loves the challenges that an inclusive setting brings.  She enjoys driving our minibus and taking the children out to experience the local community.  In her spare time Haley enjoys walking, bike riding and baking cakes for our Community Café in Newnham.


Qualified Disability Nurse
Sleep Practitioner
Infant Massage

Claire Leighton

Family Support Worker

Claire joined the Centre in 2015 and is passionate about improving the lives of families in the Forest of Dean, she loves the ethos of the charity and believes in early intervention. Each Christmas she volunteers as an elf at the grotto and bakes and serves at the community café.  Claire enjoys running, Pilates and spending time with her grown up children.

Helen S

Level 3 Early Learning & Childcare
Level 2 Teaching Assistant
NCFE Level 2 Autism, Common Childhood Illnesses, Equality & Diversity

Helen Sollis

Early Years Practitioner

Joining in 2017 Helen brings 18 years of experience as an early year’s practitioner and teaching assistant to our setting.  She enjoys introducing the children to new experiences.  A founding member of The Community Café in Newnham, Helen supports our charity at every event.  Outside of work she loves to shop and spend time with her dogs, husband, 3 grown up children.


Level 3 Early Years
Level 3 Health and Social Care

Lauren Marshall

Early Years Practitioner

Lauren joined us in 2017 and enjoys everything about her work here at The Centre, from Rising 3s to Pre-Schoolers, Lauren’s passion for supporting children with special needs is evident.  She enjoys running Fledglings Group where children who need a little extra help enjoy music and movement.  Lauren is an avid Netflix fan and enjoys spending time with her family and friends.


Level 3 Early Years

Heather Brock

Early Years Practitioner

Heather started 10 years ago as a Playscheme volunteer.  Completing her apprenticeship in Early Years with us Heather has remained at the setting  because “there is nowhere else quite like it”.  She loves that all children are included.  Heather’s passion for the charity is shown by the thousands of pounds she raises with her family by organising our Santa’s Grotto each Christmas, and when she is not fundraising Heather enjoys canoeing on the River Wye.

Jade W

Level 5 Early Childhood Studies

Jade Williams

Early Years Practitioner

Jade joined The Opportunity Centre in March 2020.  Despite this being a turbulent time for everyone, Jade didn’t let it curb her enthusiasm for her new role!  Jade is an experienced Practitioner, previously working at settings Gloucester.  In her spare time, Jade enjoys music  and  drawing.  She loves to play X Box, Play Station and is a fan of Animal Crossing!

Jordan Resize

Level 3 Health & Social Care
Level 3 Early Years Educator

Jordan Cobley

Early Years Practitioner

After completing her apprenticeship, we are pleased to that Jordan will continue to be a part of The Centre as one of our Early Years Practitioners.  She enjoys cooking with the children and can always be found at the heart of any messy play activity!  Our Stay ‘n’ Play sessions for families from birth to 5 are hosted by Jordan every Wednesday and she offers a warm welcome.  On the weekend Jordan loves to shop and spend time with her friends and family.

Syd REsize

Studying for Level 3 Early Years

Sydney Haynes

Early Years Apprentice

We are delighted to introduce our new apprentice for 2020.  Sydney comes to us from John Kyrle Sixth Form, where she studied A Level English, Sociology and Psychology and is very pleased be continuing her studies whilst gaining hands on experience with the children at The Opportunity Centre.  Sydney is interested in how children develop and grow and enjoys seeing their progress regardless of need.  On the weekend she enjoys time with family and friends and is also a keen scrapbooker.

Julie T

Julie Turley

Transport Driver

Julie has been at the centre for 3 years and finds being greeted by the smiles of the children each morning makes her day.   She enjoys driving our purple minibus and is proud to be part of such an amazing team.  In her spare time Julie enjoys getting out and about in the countryside with her two dogs.

Marie J

Marie Jacobs

Transport Escort

Marie joined our team in September 2020.  She has been a Chef since she was 15, but a career break to look after adults with special needs meant she now has a real passion for working with and caring for others.  Marie found the change of direction very rewarding which has led to her taking the role of Transport Escort.  She loves caring for the children and her patience and enthusiasm is evident.  Marie loves spending her time with her family.

Helen 4

Helen L Cotton

Centre Administrator

Helen Joined the centre 3 years ago, after working as a primary school teaching assistant.  Helen loves meeting and greeting the children, families and visitors and is proud of all the great work that The Centre achieves.  She is known to occasionally pop in the playroom for a story or to help out but is happiest behind her desk!  On the weekend Helen is a singer in a band and plays the guitar.  She likes spending time with her teenage daughters and family.

Cherry B

Cherry Brain

Grants Co-ordinator

After a 40 year career working with children and families, first as a Nursery Nurse and then as a Social Worker, Cherry returned to The Centre which she had been involved with when it was initially set up in 1982.  When she’s not completing Grant applications she can be found running, exercising in the gym, reading or learning to play the piano ….. but not all at once!

Cath B

Cath Brock

Centre Cleaner

Cath keeps the Opportunity Centre spick and span and has been doing so for the past 6 years.  She enjoys working with the team and meeting visitors to the centre.  It’s a family affair for the Brocks with daughter Heather and husband John also part of The Centre.  The Charity is indebted to Cath as each Christmas she gives up every weekend from September onwards to build Santa’s Grotto and run it with the other volunteers, raising thousands of pounds for our Charity.

John B

John Brock

Centre Cleaner and Maintenance

Heading up the “Brock” family John has been keeping The Centre in good working order for 6 years.  John loves DIY and being outdoors and can often be seen riding his bike to work.  John supports Heather and Cath in their fundraising efforts by helping build the Christmas grotto.  In his spare time, John likes music and movies.