OUR TEAM

Read more

Colin has over two decades of experience of managing and leading in charities delivering mental health and emotional wellbeing services. For much of this time he has led services specialising in addiction and working with clients and systems with particularly complex needs.

Colin has over two decades of experience of managing and leading in charities delivering mental health and emotional wellbeing services. For much of this time he has led services specialising in addiction and working with clients and systems with particularly complex needs. He joined Sporting Chance in 2012 and put in place systems and structures that we believe are key to achieving our vision: "When any sportsman or woman has the courage to reach out for help, there needs to be a professional and safe place for them to go. Sporting Chance can be that place."

His sporting C.V is slightly pathetic, although it does include a spell in Cornish rugby. He considers his lack of familiarity with the 'Who's Who' of the sporting world an unusual strength in his role.

Colin is answerable to the board of trustees and is charged with developing the reach and quality of our service in line with our stakeholders' expectations.

COLIN BLAND
Chief Executive Officer
SHELLIE HEATHER
Chief Operating Officer
Read more

Shellie joined the charity in 2011 following a successful career in teaching and school leadership. Her experience of mainstream and sports education spanned over fifteen at her time of joining Sporting Chance.

Shellie joined the charity in 2011 following a successful career in teaching and school leadership. Her experience of mainstream and sports education spanned over fifteen at her time of joining Sporting Chance. Her organisational ability was key in the re-structuring of the charity's services and the creation of the national network of counsellors and therapists. Shellie oversees all the charity's service departments ensuring governance, administrative and financial systems are robust and fit for purpose. Her understanding of sports administration and the financial structures that support it enables our services to be delivered to those in need with efficiency and the minimum of red tape.

Shellie has a thorough understanding of Sporting Chance combined with an ability to communicate how our services fit in the world of professional sport and ultimately help the player in need. Shellie trained as a dancer in her younger life and therefore has first-hand experience of the discipline, routine and commitment required in the world of the physical athlete.

Craig took up this full-time role with Sporting Chance well aware of the history of our charity and the work that we do; up until that point he had been a valued member of our counselling network for a number of years

Read more
CRAIG DEXTER
Head of Clinical Services

Craig took up this full-time role with Sporting Chance well aware of the history of our charity and the work that we do; up until that point he had been a valued member of our counselling network for a number of years, supporting current and former professional sportspeople in Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire. Since qualifying as a therapist, Craig has worked with individuals to address a wide range of issues that might be causing them problems in their personal lives.

 

As well as building up his own private practice over the last decade, he has also worked at a community-based substance misuse service in Hull, initially in the role of a counsellor, then senior practitioner and latterly as a team leader, responsible for managing the treatment team and treatment delivery. Having made the move to Sporting Chance, Craig now has oversight of all of the charity’s clinical operations as well as our longstanding relationship with Rugby League. He has an enviable collection of vinyl records.

IMG_0189_edited.jpg
BARRY TROTT
Senior Practitioner  

Barry trained as a humanistic therapist in 2001, motivated by his own experience of addiction and the interventions which helped him to turn his life around. He views sustainable recovery as a holistic package of the ‘three thirds’ of the human condition - mind, body and spirit

Read more

Barry trained as a humanistic therapist in 2001, motivated by his own experience of addiction and the interventions which helped him to turn his life around. He views sustainable recovery as a holistic package of the ‘three thirds’ of the human condition - mind, body and spirit - and has brought this philosophy into his extensive work in addiction-focused settings over the last two decades, primarily in residential treatment, but also in a successful day programme in the south of England.

Barry’s involvement with Sporting Chance goes back a number of years, firstly on a sessional support basis before stepping up to a full-time role when the clinic expanded in 2019. As part of this role, he works with clients on both our longer and shorter-term residential treatments. He is a keen follower of test cricket and local football in Hampshire, and is also a regular runner, with exercise playing an important part in his long-term recovery. In his own words he has been ‘daft enough’ to complete 5 marathons despite the excruciating physical and mental pain on each and every occasion.

Claire_edited_edited.jpg
CLAIRE JONES
Triage Team

Claire joined Sporting Chance in 2020 following two decades travelling the world as cabin crew, where she excelled in customer service. The wealth of experience and the wide-ranging transferable skills that she demonstrated in this role made Claire the ideal person to join our Triage Team, where she combines her professional attributes with her passion for people, sport, and mental health.

Read more

Claire joined Sporting Chance in 2020 following two decades travelling the world as cabin crew, where she excelled in customer service. The wealth of experience and the wide-ranging transferable skills that she demonstrated in this role made Claire the ideal person to join our Triage Team, where she combines her professional attributes with her passion for people, sport, and mental health.

Claire has recently returned to education and is studying for a degree in Sport and Exercise Psychology. Her dedication to both mental and physical wellbeing is strongly aligned with the ethos of Sporting Chance.

Claire provides a kind, empathetic and positive voice for sportspeople contacting Sporting Chance. She has excellent communication and organisational skills, which ensures that clients experience a sense of security, compassion, hope and direction when speaking to her.

ROSIE SQUIRE
Triage Team

After graduating with a degree in psychology from the University of Nottingham, Rosie has worked in the charity sector for over eight years, in a number of roles including support work on the frontline and managing volunteers.

After graduating with a degree in psychology from the University of Nottingham, Rosie has worked in the charity sector for over eight years, in a number of roles including support work on the frontline and managing volunteers. She has a wealth of experience and knowledge in relation to the issues faced by people who will be contacting Sporting Chance, thanks to her work in various fields including mental health, drug and alcohol support and domestic abuse.

As part of Rosie’s commitment to help those with mental health difficulties she has volunteered at numerous charities supporting those in distress over the phone and for the past four years has provided face to face support to those who feel life is no longer worth living.

Rosie’s warmth and compassion mean that she is a welcome voice to hear for those who are picking up the phone to us for the first time.

Read more

After completing a degree in English Literature at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Alex worked in industry on management teams responsible for large scale recruitment and procurement processes. 

Read more
ALEX MILLS
Head of Education, Communications & Athlete Engagement

Alex joined the charity in 2016 and leads our Education Department, managing the delivery of over 150 seminars each year to players, staff and governing bodies across the whole of professional sport in the UK. He works alongside academics, athletes and our clinical team to continually develop a comprehensive range of engaging, evidence-based content covering many of the presenting issues that Sporting Chance helps male and female athletes to address - and just as importantly, the steps athletes can take to mitigate the impact of these problems.

Prior to this, Alex, who has a degree in English Literature from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, spent more than five years helping educational providers in the UK to build capacity, including the recruitment of key teaching and learning personnel and effective senior leaders.  Since joining us, he has also played a pivotal role in establishing our specialist service to support adult survivors of sexual abuse in sport.

Alex's interest in sport and often encyclopaedic knowledge was nurtured by his father who was a leading UK sports journalist.

Eddie is a former professional footballer, starting his career in the Manchester United academy system and representing England from U16 level through to the U20’s. A midfielder who could also play as a striker,

Read more
EDDIE JOHNSON
Athlete Engagement Manager & Northern Education Facilitator

Eddie is a former professional footballer, starting his career in the Manchester United academy system and representing England from U16 level through to the U20’s. A midfielder who could also play as a striker, he was part of United’s FA Youth Cup-winning team in 2003 - scoring in the final against Middlesbrough - and made his first team debut for United shortly after when he came on as a 112th-minute substitute in a 3–2 League Cup victory at Leeds.

He was loaned out to Royal Antwerp, Coventry and Crewe in his late teens before being released by United in 2006, playing regularly in subsequent stints at Bradford and Chester in the Football League prior to a  move to US outfit Portland Timbers in 2010 for a then club record fee. Following his retirement through injury aged 26, he has scouted and coached at various levels, including north of the border as U20 manager of Dundee.

There isn’t much Eddie hasn’t experienced in terms of the highs and lows of a footballing life, and it’s this understanding, coupled with his ability to communicate to younger players as a former coach, that makes him so well suited to the interactive education sessions we deliver at Sporting Chance. Additionally, the analytical skills he has developed in his consultancy role with auditing giant KPMG are invaluable to the charity’s wider project work including our contribution to the development of the Premier League Mental Health Audit.

Paul is another of the former athletes we are very fortunate to have within our education department, a professional footballer until injury forced him to stop playing at 31 and who has since gone on to carve out a multi-faceted post-playing career –

Read more
PAUL MORTIMER
Southern Education Facilitator

Paul is another of the former athletes we are very fortunate to have within our education department, a professional footballer until injury forced him to stop playing at 31 and who has since gone on to carve out a multi-faceted post-playing career – one arguably as successful as his time on the pitch. As a player, Paul was best known for two fondly-remembered spells with South London side Charlton Athletic, either side of all too brief stops at Aston Villa and Crystal Palace. A combative midfielder, Paul’s time in the game was affected significantly by injury, particularly to his hamstring and back. After retiring from playing, he held coaching roles with Wimbledon, Arsenal, Torquay United, Brentford and the Sierra Leone national team before a return to Charlton Athletic to coach the club's women's team in 2007.

Since then, Paul has worked tirelessly and to great effect in and around the equalities agenda, as an educator for anti-racism charity Show Racism the Red Card, and in a similar role with the inclusion and diversity organisation, Kick It Out.

In recent years he trained as a counsellor and psychotherapist and also works on the Sporting Chance national network of therapists providing support to those in need - including many young footballers experiencing similar challenges to those he faced as a player.

For those that follow Gaelic football, Oisin McConville needs little introduction. For those that don’t (and don’t reside on the island of Ireland where Oisin is very much a household name regardless of your sporting knowledge), here’s a brief summary: Six All-Ireland Senior Club Football Championships,

Read more
OISIN McCONVILLE
All-Ireland Education Facilitator

For those that follow Gaelic football, Oisin McConville needs little introduction. For those that don’t (and don’t reside on the island of Ireland where Oisin is very much a household name regardless of your sporting knowledge), here’s a brief summary: Six All-Ireland Senior Club Football Championships, ten Ulster Senior Club Football Championships and 16 Armagh Senior Football Championships with his club, Crossmaglen Rangers. Up another level, whilst wearing the tangerine and white of his county, Armagh, he won an All-Ireland Senior Football Championship medal, seven Ulster Championships and a National League title.

Despite enjoying a glittering career which is still fondly remembered in his home county and beyond, Oisin developed a gambling addiction which nearly cost him his life. Hitting rock bottom, he spent 13 weeks at a rehabilitation centre in Galway in 2005, the first step on a journey of recovery which has raised the profile of gambling addiction in Ireland.

Oisin has helped hundreds of athletes in the UK and the Republic as a trained addictions counsellor and much sought after public speaker. He has worked for Sporting Chance for many years, speaking to England-based athletes as part of our gambling education programme and providing support to individuals who have reached out for further 1-2-1 help. In 2019, he led Sporting Chance’s education and triage programme in his homeland in partnership with our stakeholder, Sport Northern Ireland.

Oisin_edited_edited.jpg

A combination of Chris Murphy’s personal experience of gambling addiction, his recovery from it and a decade of working in professional sport placed him perfectly to be appointed in 2019 as Sporting Chance’s Gambling Specialist in our Education team. 

Read more
CHRIS MURPHY
Communications Manager & Gambling Education Facilitator

A combination of Chris Murphy’s personal experience of gambling addiction, his recovery from it and a decade of working in professional sport placed him perfectly to be appointed in 2019 as Sporting Chance’s Gambling Specialist in our Education team. 

 

Chris’ story started with a winning bet, aged 17, followed by six years of an all-consuming gambling addiction that culminated in a suicide attempt before he began the pursuit of a gambling-free life.  That journey has not always been straight forward for Chris, but along the way he has learned many invaluable lessons about the nature of addiction and the challenges of recovery, which he has turned in to a positive by helping others suffering from similar disorders. 

 

Chris and his expertise were utilised in the set-up and launch activity of the NHS Northern Gambling Service in 2019, and he continues to sit on an Experts-by-Experience panel. 

 

Professionally, Chris completed a BA (Hons) degree in Sports Journalism after returning to education as a mature student when he began his journey from addiction to recovery.  While studying, he was appointed as Press Officer for a sports management company and handled media operations for many of the world’s top professional darts players including Michael van Gerwen.  He went on to become a commentator and has covered the Pro Tour, European Tour and World Championship in that capacity, while also contributing written articles to mainstream national newspapers and websites.  Chris also has a role as Communications Manager for the Professional Darts Players Association.

In addition to his work in Education relating to Gambling, Chris was appointed as Sporting Chance's Communications Manager in 2020.