MEET the team
The GECCO Board of Trustees comprises of staff members and friends of the Hadland Care Group who have so generously volunteered their support for this very worthwhile cause. Their voluntary collaboration has made it possible to establish this charity; I extend my deep appreciation to them and to the organisations that have so generously provided assistance.
As a result of the generosity of those around us, GECCO has no staff to pay, and no premises to upkeep, so the vast majority of funds raised can be invested directly into sustainability education, campaigns and the environment.
Cheryl Hadland is the Managing Director of Hadland Care Group, the umbrella company for Tops Day Nurseries, Aspire Training Team, and founder of GECCO.
Cheryl is an avid diver with many years of experience and has seen first hand the damage that plastic can cause in the ocean. After learning about how dangerous the consequences of our everyday actions can be, Cheryl founded GECCO in 2017. She then went on to complete a course in Sustainable Leadership at the University of Cambridge and has been working hard to educate staff, parents, children and the community on how to become more aware of the impact of our decisions and activities.
John Siraj-Blatchford provides both academic and practical, pedagogic expertise to the team. Following an early career in teaching, John was employed for many years in teacher education, most recently employed at the University of Cambridge Faculty of Education where he served as an Associate Director of the ESRC Teaching and Learning Research Programme. He has written widely on the subject of Education for Sustainable Development and been invited to speak on the subject in many countries. He has been closely involved in UK and in the research and development of Early Childhood Education for Sustainable Citizenship (ESC), and, since 2009 he has worked especially closely with the Organisation Mondiale pour l’Education Prescolaire (OMEP) in association with UNESCO, in actively promoting effective ESC learning through play. He is also currently providing leadership for the OMEP UK Early Childhood Education for Sustainable Citizenship Award Scheme in the UK and abroad.
Diane Boyd brings to the team an experience varied with over 40 years of education teaching a range of children from 3 – 11 years as an early years, infant and primary teacher. Additionally, for the last 18 years she has worked in Higher Education supporting students in understanding child development and teaching experiences on a variety of programmes.
The modules she was particularly responsible for have a strong education for sustainability focus, challenging students to become climate activists and give agency to young children.
The skills she offer as a trustee are both teaching/working with children, and strategic leadership on climate change. In her role as Vice President of the Early Childhood Degree Network, she lead a team of academics in promoting/researching and championing sustainability. Involving working with the DfE or strategic partners such as Manchester Met University and the National Virtual Park. She worked with the DfE leading up to COP 26 and was personally invited to the launch of the DfE Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy, which included having a one-to-one meeting with the Education Secretary Nadhim Zachawi. Her network consists of induviduals who can help infuse sustainability in the Sector in a much bigger and faster scale.
Barbara Chaitoff is a Trainer at Aspire Training Team.
“I, firstly, trained in Early Years whilst in Alaska, USA – when my now 35-year-old daughter was born. Working in a nursery which was attached to a large hospital. The nursery was open 365 days per year, from 05:00 – 12:00 midnight! I worked and trained for 0-5-year-old children, ending my tenure with them as a Preschool Teacher. Upon moving back to the UK, I took up a position in a new nursery in Romsey Hampshire as Manager, DSL, SENCO, HR, Learner support etc. During this time, I wrote and implemented policies, which drove quality practice, recruited team members both qualified and unqualified, and supported apprentices through their courses. Whilst at this setting, I completed a Foundation Degree in Early Years Management and went on to gain my BA in Early Years Practice as an EYP/YET. I also completed my assessor award.
My journey with Hadland Care Group started in 2017, when I joined as a Manager of Tops Havant. Since then, I have managed a number of other settings within the company and was the company deputy safeguarding lead for a while.
In 2019, I began a role as Mentor and part-time Sustainability Manager for the company. Over the years, I have experienced many different roles within Early Years – both in Education of Children and Learners.
In my current role as a Trainer with Aspire Training Team, I am involved as the team’s sustainability lead, developing their action plan and finding ways to engage the learners and the training to incorporate sustainability within the curriculum and planning to engage and teach the next generation of Early Years Practitioners the importance of sustainability, so that they can embed this with upcoming generations who are our planet’s future.
I have recently trained with John Siraj-Blatchford to be a trainer for OMEP ESC (Education for Sustainable Citizenship) Award and I am looking forward to supporting the nurseries through their bronze, silver and gold awards journey.
My underlying passion is the environment, sustainability and animal welfare. I am a vegan and have been for many years. I advocate for everything that involves living in harmony with nature and not harming our environment at the pursuit of our guilty pleasures. I avidly engage in protests through petitions, organised events and twitter.
Working with all the departments within the company as the Sustainability Manager, I’ve sourced and procured environmentally sustainable alternatives to products and equipment in use, developed an induction training for Managers and Senior Staff to support them in engaging their teams. I led Tops Havant into earning their title as being the country’s first nursery to be awarded ‘Plastic Free Schools’ award with Surfers Against Sewage’. Working with their education team, we were able to share our experience of the programme to support the development of a specific award for all Tops nurseries.”
Micah Faure is the Legal Director at Hadland Care Group.
“I come from a family with strong social consciousness and values. Both my parents were very politically active in the anti-Apartheid struggle in South Africa, and they were members of the African National Congress (ANC), at significant risk to their own safety and even possible imprisonment. The desire to make the world a better place and fighting for what is just and right is deeply rooted in me and my siblings. From a young age, I was always fascinated by the natural world. Growing up in South Africa, I had the privilege of seeing and experiencing nature in its purest and untainted form. There was nothing I loved more than to visit game reserves, to see this first hand. But as I got older, I also experienced first-hand the negative impact of globalisation. I have studied with interest the rise of globalisation in second and third world countries, and how it is driven the hunger for natural resources and giving us pollution in return. It is truly remarkable that I can find affordable flat pack furniture from IKEA- a Swedish company- in Southampton. But, explore convenience and affordability a little bit more and what you find are rapid deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest, exploitation, modern-day slavery and even child labour. If you consider that more than 20 per cent of the world’s oxygen is produced in the Amazon Rainforest (and is often called the “Lungs of the World”), it seems like we have lost perspective of what is more important. The same goes for issues such as plastics in our oceans and seas or the extinction of wildlife through poaching and trophy hunting. I used to think that my interest in the environment was just a hobby, but when I started taking courses in environmental science at university, it opened my eyes to what a terrible state our environment is in. I realised that if people like me with passion and ambition do nothing, then the environment doesn’t stand a chance. My long term goal is to be a leader in the conservation sector and use my skills and influence to achieve sustainable and positive change, and being part of GECCO, I genuinely believe I can accomplish this and more. GECCO started as an idea, a collaboration between the current Trustees. Many different charities do many different and wonderful things, but at GECCO we saw that many of these charities often focus on the solution rather than the cause. We also noticed that many charities are not set up in ways that include the donor in the pool of beneficiaries of their work. We set GECCO up to address these two gaps. This different way of thinking about social and environmental issues is the reason why I joined GECCO, and I am proud to be on the panel of Trustees.”