Sue Mason 

Positions held: Managing Director and Lead Faciliator

About me:- "I have always said that I have the best job in the world and now I am so pleased that I can share the pleasure with new facilitators! Even when I have one of ‘those days’, going into one of our lovely schools and seeing the enthusiasm of the children and those smiley faces lifts me like nothing else. Since I began Thumbs Up, we have presented to many schools throughout Wirral, Liverpool and Cheshire; every time a new school comes ‘on board’, I get such excitement from meeting new children and being inspired once more. As a company I will continue to evolve Thumbs Up as we work in new schools, meet new teachers, parents/carers and children, I will continue to learn from them – which I do every single time I work in a new school and I will ensure that Thumbs Up continues to offer that ‘personal touch’ that has been so successful with the company thus far. In my spare time I love to spend time with my wife, daughter and son (and our gorgeous cocker spaniel Louis), I also like to read, spend time with good friends, going on holiday - especially in our motorhome - 'Freda', cycling (on an electric bike!) and love nothing more than getting stuck into a really good box set on Netflix…and of course preparing for more sessions with Thumbs Up (does that make me boring?!!!)"

Fun fact about Sue:- “I love music and love to dance and sing, but can’t do either very well…but I don’t let that stop me.  Often can be seen in my Thumbs Up van belting out a tune or two.  Have recently become an 'AFOL' 'adult fan of lego', I find it incredibly calming'.

Cathy Morphy-Morris

Position held: Lead Faciliator and Co Facilitator

“I so happy to have joined Thumbs Up as a facilitator and have been working with Thumbs Up since September 2017. I bring a lot of experience of working with children to the programme, having been a dance and drama teacher for many years, I also do a little bit of singing teaching too. I have enjoyed my few months working with Thumbs Up immensely and have adored meeting the most inspiring children, and can’t wait to see how the coming months and beyond will progress with new schools coming along all the time. In my spare time I sing with three bands – mainly in Wirral which I enjoy very much and spending time with my husband, daughter and son. With my drama experience, I am hoping to bring some exciting new role play activities to Thumbs Up and use this to elevate the levels of confidence and self-esteem in the children. I love nothing better than having a really good laugh and I am sure this fun side of me will enhance the Thumbs Up ethos of the children learning through a fun delivery of the programme and the children learning well if they are feeling happy and positive.”

Fun fact about Cath:- “I have appeared as an extra in Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks!”

Louise Birdja

Position held: Lead Faciliator

“I am absolutely delighted to be part of the Thumbs Up team. I’m really looking forward to working with the children at the wonderful schools we have here in our community. Having been a teacher for 20 years and a mum for 11 years, I am aware of the many pressures and challenges facing young people in today’s society. I am passionate about encouraging young people to feel comfortable and at ease when talking about mental health.I believe ‘it’s good to talk’, and I am fully committed to help break the silence surrounding mental health, as the emotional and mental wellbeing of our children is paramount.I have recently worked as a volunteer CBT mentor at a local charity which helps people with anxiety and depression. I have a level 4 certificate in Counselling Skills and am currently studying for a level 4 diploma in Therapeutic Counselling. In my spare time I like to spend time with my husband and two sons, reading, enjoy writing poetry. I have recently started playing netball again and absolutely love it; it really takes me back to my school days!”

Fun fact about Louise:- "I can juggle and speak Dutch (sometimes both at the same time!)" 

Steph Bates

Position held: Co Facilitator and one to one provider for children with more complex needs

"I have worked with children for many years and schools and nurseries, and as one to one support for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.  I have a degree in Childhood and Youth studies, and as part of my studies, I chose to write a research paper investigating the provision available to support the mental health of children in primary schools. Sue kindly agreed to help me by allowing me to observe some of the Thumbs Up sessions.

I was so inspired and excited by the work that Thumbs Up are doing within our schools and I am thrilled to now be a part of the team.  I feel that the increasing pressures on young people and the rise in mental health issues makes Thumbs Up an invaluable resource to empower and support children, staff and families, and I hope to be able to use my knowledge and experience to contribute to this thoroughly rewarding role.

My particular areas of interest are the work of Carol Dweck on growth mindsets, mindfulness and the impact of autism of the mental health of children and I hope to explore these areas further as I continue my studies with a Masters in Child and Family Psychology.

I have two daughters aged eight and 11, who motivate and inspire me every day, so I find the age of child that Thumbs Up is aimed towards very relatable and understand the challenges that can be faced during these formative years.

In my spare time I love to spend family time swimming, cycling, ice skating, visiting our favourite places and watching Liverpool FC!"

Fun facts about Steph:- "When I was at school I wanted to be a nurse until I did a week of work experience at Arrowe Park Hospital and fainted six times!  I also used to take part in Latin American and Ballroom dancing competitions. 

Emma Mason (no relation to Sue!)

Position held: Co Facilitator and Administration Manager

"I am so excited to be joining the fabulous Thumbs up team! I met Sue at work 18 years ago when we were very very young, in fact when Sue left our place of work to have her daughter, I took over her job! We’ve stayed in touch ever since and I’ve followed the Thumbs up work since Sue began the programme.

After working in an office environment for the past 20 years, I’ve decided to make the move into working with children - where my passion lies. The area of mental health is of great interest to me in particular, not just children, but that of the teachers, parents and carers too, as it is becoming ever more apparent that our own good mental health and that of those around us is so important.   Following observing several Thumbs Up sessions in schools last term with Thumbs Up, I saw for myself what a difference the programme can make to the children (and adults), particularly in terms of their confidence and positivity levels".   

Fun fact about Emma:- "I like to take on a challenge, and recently climbed Snowdown in the middle of the night for charity.  Some people may not see this as a challenge, but given how much I like my sleep, it was quite an achievement!"

Jackie Breadner

Position held: Trainee Lead Facilitator and Grief and Bereavement counsellor

"I am hoping to add to the enthusiasm and energy of the Thumbs Up team, that has such a desire to improve and maintain positive mental health in children. As a mother of three boys and part of a very big family, I have many life experiences that have led to this path of wanting to make effective and worthwhile changes to the lives of children. I hope to educate young people to understand just how amazing they are and that what they are capable of achieving is endless.

Something I truly believe in, and what I constantly teach my own sons is that ‘it’s nice to be nice’. I hope to bring the passion I have for nurturing my own children into the schools that work with Thumbs Up. I adore being a mum and spending time with my boys watching their favourite TV programmes and YouTubers. We love going out walking, cycling and eating out together. When I finally get to sit down, I love to read a good book or watch my favourite show of all time - Friends.

To support my work in schools and whilst I am currently training as a counsellor, I will be able to use the skills I have learnt from recent training courses. I have specialised in:- Children and Adolescent Mental Health; Coping with Anger; Grief and Bereavement in Children and Adolescents. I am really looking forward to new beginnings and a successful future with Thumbs Up’.

Fun fact about Jackie:- "I really love to roller skate and wish I had more time to do it. I am amazing at word searches and I am very competitive!"