Our Patron - Sarah Ulmer

As a mum of two young girls and a Cambridge resident, I am really proud to be the Patron of Cambridge Life Skills.

I think that the free counselling service this organisation provides to our Cambridge young people is just fantastic – having a place where our young ones can have access to help BEFORE the problems become too big is such an incredible asset to our town and its future.

Cambridge is such a fortunate town – with amazing facilities, people and positive community. But not everyone is lucky enough to grow up carefree.

Having Cambridge Lifeskills help our children and young people achieve their full potential – in the classroom and out in the big wide world I think is not just so valuable to our children and families, but is helping the future of Cambridge stay safe, vibrant and prosperous.

Keep up the great work you guys!!

Sarah Ulmer
Cambridge Lifeskills Patron

How Lifeskills can help you

Cambridge Lifeskills provides a free counselling service to the fifteen schools in the Cambridge district.
The counsellors work with children in the five to fifteen years age group. The counsellors find it is frequently necessary if not essential to also include families in the work they do with the children.
The counselling service has become an integral part of the support network available to the children of Cambridge.
Being local enables families with children in different schools to be seen and counselled in their familiar school environment. It also allows for close monitoring of the referred children.
The counsellors usually work with the children in their base schools, negating the need for children to travel during the school day.
There have been traumatic incidents occur in the Cambridge schools and having ready access to counsellors in the community has benefited children and school staff at these difficult times.
Changes in society have meant many children are now exposed to an increasing range and number of issues. Children do not have the skills to deal with these but they are with encouragement and support often willing to talk through their personal situation with trusted adults such as the Cambridge Lifeskills counsellors. We as a group greatly appreciate the support of sponsors and supporters and take every opportunity to make the wider community aware of these generous gestures of support.
Currently there are 7 counsellors on the team working for Cambridge Lifeskills. 

Our 2020 Counselling Team

Below are the amazing and superbly qualified counsellors we have on the Cambridge Lifeskills team:

Lee-Anne Fitzgerald
Sarah Thomas
Raewyn Langdale
Lara Lo Nobile
Shirlee Bennett
Natalie Gibbons
Sarah Court
Mike Townsend

Manager - Clinical Leader
Sandy Wesford

Our Board Members for 2020

Cambridge Lifeskills is governed by a Board - all volunteers in the Cambridge Community.
Board members attend monthly meetings, contribute constructive input into those meetings and support funding and profile initiatives, helping grow Cambridge Lifeskills. Below are our current Board Members:

  • John Bullick - Board Chair
  • Sandy Wesford - Agency Manager - Clinical Leader
  • Sarah Ulmer - Patron
  • Sherry Herkes - Cambridge Real Estate - Foundation Sponsor
  • Genevra Scott - Finance
  • Marilynn Jones - Retired Principal
  • Tina-Maree Thatcher - Principal Karapiro School
  • Hannah Newlands - Grant Applications
  • Quentin Glover - Sponsorship
  • Steff McNamara - Secretary
  • Karen May - Marketing

Our board member bios

John Bullick – Chairperson
John has been a Cambridge Lifeskills Board member since 1997.  He has seen many changes as the organisation has adapted to the changing needs of the Cambridge community.  John is also an active member of Rotary Cambridge.  Formally a local primary school Principal, he is currently mentoring First Time Principals in schools around the Waikato and Bay of Plenty.  John’s wife Sue also works in the education field.  They have 3 adult children, and 3 grandchildren.

Sandy Wesford - Manager/Clinical leader
Sandy has been employed by Cambridge Lifeskills since 1998 and has been a Board member since 2004.  Sandy’s original role was that of School Chaplin at Cambridge Middle School and once she completed her counsellor training, took on the role of counsellor.  Sandy is now the Manager and Clinical Leader for Cambridge Lifeskills.  Sandy lives in Te Miro with husband Adrian and their 2 sons.

Sherry Herkes - Events
Sherry joined us in 2015 and is a principal at Cambridge Real Estate.  Cambridge Real Estate is the Foundation Sponsor of Cambridge Lifeskills.  Sherry and her husband moved to Cambridge when she took up the position of Manager at the Cambridge BNZ.  She resigned from the banking business in 2006 and started a new adventure with the Real Estate profession.  Sherry has 2 adult children and she and husband Tim have 5 grandchildren between them.

Steff McNamara  - Secretary
Steff is a former primary school teacher, and currently  employed as  Office Manager at Accounted 4, she is passionate about the youth of our town. Steff taught for three years as the sole teacher in an Alternative Learning Programme set up in Cambridge to allow young people who had been put out of school a second chance to get themselves back on track and reintegrated back into the school system. Steff has three grown up sons and three grandsons.

Quentin Glover – Sponsorship
Quentin has recently joined the Board of having recognised the value of the work that Lifeskills does in the community. Quentin was a career banker before establishing the MTF Vehicle finance business here in Cambridge. In October last year he sold his interest in the business. Quentin and his wife live on their lifestyle block just north of Cambridge with their 3 children.

Marilynn Jones – Personnel
Marilynn came on board as a school principal representative in 2014.  Marilynn is passionate about the work of Cambridge Lifeskills.  She has recently picked up the portfolio of Personnel with John Bullick.  Marilynn too has adult children and some cherished grandies.  Marilynn is the Principal at Hautapu School.

Lea De Rooy – Treasurer
Lea became involved with Cambridge Lifeskills in January 2016, eager to be part of a team who really make a difference in the community.  Lea is a chartered accountant and is very keen to add her accounting and administrative experience to the Lifeskill’s mix.  She has a strong interest and deep appreciation of art and music, and enjoys spending time with her family and retired racing greyhound, Riley.

Tina – Maree Thatcher 
– School Principal Representative
Tina-Maree joined the Lifeskills board in 2016 as a principal representative. Tina-Maree has been involved in education in the Cambridge region for approximately 13 years. She is passionate about social justice in education and values the role that Lifeskills has in removing barriers to learning and ensuring equitable opportunities for our students. Tina-Maree has 3 adult children and is Principal at Karapiro School. 

Jack Reid – Funding
Jack has just recently retired from 52 years in education, 46 years in principalship and being Principal of Goodwood School for the last 31 years. His wife Glen has also retired from a lifetime of education and together they are now enjoying spending their time with their 4 children and 6 grandchildren. Since 1998 Jack has experienced first hand the rewarding and life changing benefits of having the free service of Lifeskills counsellors for the children and young people in Cambridge. He has enthusiastically joined the Lifeskills Trust to assist and ensure that this service continues to provide this much needed service.

Karen May QSM – Marketing
Karen re-joined the board in 2018, having taken a break for a year to look after a terminally ill family member. Passionate about Cambridge and children, Karen utilises her skills as a graphic designer and business owner (Kaz - Design. Brand. Web) to promote Cambridge Lifeskills through printed material, social media and networking.  In 2017 Karen was awarded the Queens Service Medal for Services to Community, of which Cambridge Lifeskills plays a large part. Married to Vernon with two daughters - Jacinda and Edyn - Karen is a keen fisherman and is always up for a chat with her clients about the latest fishing conditions!

Hannah Newlands is our newbie to the Cambridge Lifeskills Board, joining us in 2019 to assist with Funding and Grants. Hannah started adult life as an accountant and put that on hold to have 4 children. She then retrained as a massage therapist and more recently as a yoga teacher. A passionate advocate for the enormous health benefits of mindful movements, she runs Body Performance Clinic with husband Craig.

Genevra Scott - Finances
Genevra joined the Lifeskills team in June 2019. A Waikato girl through and through, Genevra is enjoying raising her two young children in the lovely town of Cambridge, with her husband Logan. An accountant at Accounted4, she is excited to bring her accounting knowledge into the Lifeskills team. Passionate about the work that Lifeskills does, Genevra truly believes in the support that Lifeskills gives to the young Cambridge community.

Positive Early Intervention


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