Carole Edwards, CEO, CASS+

Photograph by Malcolm Maciver

Our team

Carole Edwards

CEO

Carole is a Plymouth girl, born and bred. Her early career was in banking and prior to joining CASS+, a freelance market researcher. Carole started her criminal justice journey as a volunteer in prisons and probation and is an original member of the CASS+ team. Her 25 years of experience in the Criminal Justice System stand her in good stead to lead this organisation. She ensures that CASS+ has the funding in place to deliver a dynamic service and she oversees all staff and volunteers. She inspires and leads a passionate team focussed on getting people the advice and support that will enable them to turn their lives around.

I feel honoured to be working with such a talented team so focussed on guiding people towards healthier, happier lives and away from further offending. Coming from a volunteering background, I couldn’t be more pleased that we have continued to deliver the service with volunteers – they have contributed to our development and helped to improve our communities.

Ben

Ben, Coordinator, Exeter Crown and County Court.

Photograph by Malcolm Maciver

Coordinator, Exeter Crown and County Court

Ben ran a successful estate agency for five years. This means that he’s ideally placed to set up our hub in Exeter. Not only is he used to managing a busy office, but also, helping people through stressful times. These people skills come in handy, especially when supporting clients, and training and managing our volunteers. Ben is passionate about mental health and using his counselling skills.

This role enables me to combine my developing counselling skills and business experience. I’m excited to put all this into practice and help people reach their potential.

Christine

Business Manager

Chris is one of our stalwarts, a lynchpin since our foundation in 2015. Throughout her career, she has combined her training and administration skills very effectively. As a mother of two, Chris was told that she was only fit for a factory job. Determined to prove them wrong, she gained vital qualifications in IT, Business Administration and Customer Service and quickly found a job supporting people into the workplace. Chris is highly motivated to help others find opportunities in life. She feels honoured to have worked at Plymouth City College where she ensured that asylum seekers and refugees became integrated into our community. In her spare time, she’s continued to study to AAT standards in Finance and Bookkeeping. Since 2017, she has been a qualified bookkeeper and continues to work towards full accreditation as an accountant. She became a part of the CASS+ family in 2010 when she joined Rethink Mental Illness.

I’ve gone from half a day a week as an Admin Assistant to four days a week as Business Manager. I love the variety – I’m responsible for the smooth running of HR, recruitment, training, inductions, finance, and reporting. I really believe in this cause. We help people going through bad times and this continues through to the support we give each other in the team. Too many people wouldn’t give our clients another thought, but we all deserve another chance.

Debbie, Coordinator, Community Advice and Support Services, inside the Magistrates' Courts in Bodmin & Truro, Cornwall

Photograph by Malcolm Maciver

Debbie

Coordinator, Bodmin & Truro Magistrates’ Courts

Debbie is an original member of the CASS+ team. As a ‘Cornwall girl’, she brings local knowledge to everything she does. Applying strong values to her work with clients, Debbie is known for going the extra mile and working with passion. She balances a contract to work with victims of crime alongside her work with offenders and understands the crossover between the different hats that people going through the criminal justice system can wear. She has supervised and developed around 100 volunteers through Cornwall services – many of whom have remained in touch after they’ve left us.

Every day is different, and never have I felt coming to work a chore. I am extremely passionate about what I do, and enjoy covering other CASS+ desks when needed. Making a difference to people’s lives is such an honour and to have such a fantastic team working beside me enables us to give 100% to our service users, which makes CASS+ so unique.

Emma Stewart

Photograph by Malcolm Maciver

Coordinator, Plymouth Magistrates’ Court

Emma is a people-person and has loved living and working in Plymouth for the last three years. Throughout this time, she’s played a vital role managing hundreds of volunteers at the mass-vaccination centre at Home Park Stadium. Prior to this, Emma was in charge of revenue and sales for two independent hotels in Oxfordshire. As a result, she’s learnt to work flexibly and patiently in a fast-paced environment, alongside people of all ages and backgrounds. She can now transfer all these skills and her extensive experience in sales, reception, reservations, events and volunteer management to her role at Plymouth Magistrates’ Court.

CASS+ is part of an essential chain of organisations across Plymouth. I’m really looking forward to getting to know everyone and collaborating with new and current volunteers and partners across the city.

Photograph by Malcolm Maciver

Patrick

Peer Researcher, Plymouth Magistrates’ Court

When Patrick arrived in Plymouth in 2014, one of his priorities was to get some qualifications. After completing a local Access Course and a great deal of hard work, he graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Criminology from the University of Plymouth in 2019. Volunteering has been his bridge to meaningful work: by working with the Trauma Informed Plymouth Network amongst many other roles, Patrick is now with us and Improving Lives Plymouth, made possible by government funding, Changing Futures. We’re so excited to have Patrick with us inside Plymouth Magistrates’ Court two days a week. He knows what it’s like to go in and out of the system and each day, he is a living example that with the right support, it’s possible to turn your life around.

I’m so thankful I moved to Plymouth – this has saved my life. I’m now being paid to do what I love – helping others is what I get up for every day.

Patsy Oddie, Operations Manager, CASS+

Photograph by Malcolm Maciver

Patsy

Operations Manager

Patsy brings 16 years of criminal justice experience, having started out in the prison service. She is a seasoned manager and administrator, with skills, knowledge and experience at all levels, in many different roles within the Civil Service and the third sector. Her expertise in training and quality assurance are proving an invaluable addition as CASS+ grows in all aspects of its service. Patsy moved to Devon five years ago when she started working as a Victim and Survivor Liaison Manager for the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). She was promoted to Deputy Head of the South West Inquiry Office, taking a lead on the submission of written accounts. As a result, Patsy is our go-to as we work with our partners to embrace a trauma-informed practice.

I really love the way this team cares about each other and the clients. This is a truly unique service. It’s exciting that CASS+ is here for people – I know how much people need that extra care and efficiency when trying to navigate a very complicated and daunting system. The team goes over and above to find creative solutions, however long that may take. I’m very excited about the future.

Sam

Sam, Assistant Co-ordinator, Plymouth Magistrates' Court

Photograph by Malcolm Maciver

Assistant Coordinator, Plymouth Magistrates’ Court

After serving 20 exemplary years with the Metropolitan Police, Sam relocated back to her roots in Plymouth where she can explore the great outdoors with friends and family. She has extensive knowledge of the Criminal Justice System having been a career detective and taken many challenging criminal cases to Magistrate and Crown Court. Sam brings a great deal of experience, empathy and understanding of people from all walks of life. As a result, our team in Plymouth is learning a great deal about how to support the people who come through the door.

I am delighted to be on the CASS+ team. I’ve been made to feel like I’m very much part of the family.

Shona, Assistant Coordinator, Newton Abbot Magistrates' Court.

Photograph by Malcolm Maciver

Shona

Assistant Coordinator, Newton Abbot Magistrates’ Court

Shona’s experience as an Appropriate Adult within the Criminal Justice System is invaluable to CASS+. For the last five years, she’s been supporting people through some very distressing situations. Naturally caring and with a passion to help others, she is extremely well-placed to get people the help they need through court and into life beyond.

I am proud and excited to be part of the CASS+ team. I believe the only way to do great work is to love what you do. I love to strive and help, support people to find solutions, and, ultimately achieve the best outcomes for all involved.

 

 

Tessa Webb, Communications Manager, Community Advice and Support Services, Devon and Cornwall

Photograph by Malcolm Maciver

Tessa Webb

Communications Officer

Tessa moved to Plymouth in 2021 and her feet haven’t touched the ground since. She brings a wealth of experience in setting up professional communications from scratch, and she takes great pleasure in making things happen for charities. Tessa’s 30 years in marketing, communications, events, brand management, and PR across the commercial, charity, education and arts sectors stand her in good stead to raise the profile of CASS+.

Everyone at CASS+ goes over and above for the people we support. I feel privileged and excited to promote such a unique service. I’m looking forward to getting CASS+ known more and more across Devon and Cornwall and beyond.