Meet the team

Fran Embleton-Smith

Chief Executive Officer

Fran manages the team at The Churn Project. She directs the work of the Project and sets strategy, seeking to make the most of partnerships with local and regional organisations and defining Our Mission. Fran also works with Ailsa, our fundraiser, identifying funding sources. A big focus is to develop opportunities which help us to deliver the most needed services to the local community. Fran's background is in teaching and youth work. Call:01285 380031

Ailsa O'Connor


Ailsa joined the team as fundraiser in 2009. She does a great job of ensuring we have enough funds coming in to keep all our projects and services secure and successful. For more information, see our Funding page. Ailsa also co-ordinates the production of our newsletter. Call:01285 380032

Liz Folkes

Good Neighbours Manager

Liz has previously worked for the British Red Cross running befriending schemes for older people in Bath & NE Somerset and Swindon. Originally a nurse, for many years Liz has been a researcher exploring the views and experiences of patients and carers to improve the services they receive. Call:01285 380030

Linda Davis

Office Administrator

Linda joined the Churn team in 2018. She enjoys working with people and is our first point of contact at The Churn. Her experience of systems, processes and quality assurance is proving very valuable. She deals with all our room bookings, safety requirements, systems development, quality and administration. Call:01285 380038

Amanda Griffiths

Skills & Employment Officer

Amanda joined The Churn in 2014 having previously worked in a women's prison, Cirencester College, Stroud District Council, Info Buzz and Festival Arts. Her role is part of the Gloucestershire GEM Project which offers intensive support to people looking for work or to improve their employability skills. She heads the team running our Friday morning Work Club. Call:01285 380033

Michelle Bradburn

Engagement Worker

Michelle joined the Churn Project in 2018 having previously worked for over 15 years within communities across Swindon in engagement and development, supporting individuals and community groups to reach their full potential. Michelle also has experience in running Domestic Violence/Abuse support services, supporting volunteers and engaging with hard-to-reach communities. In this role she works with individuals in the Help Through Crisis project with information, advice and support to access services across Cirencester with a particular emphasis on working with men. Call:01285 380039

Sarah Bourne

Family Services Lead

Sarah leads the Churn's Family Services offering the Families Matter group for parents needing extra support. She also runs Ready Steady Baby, relaxed ante-natal sessions for parents-to-be, and Ready Steady Baby's Here for young mums. Sarah has a background in Social Work. Call:01285 380034

Rachel Stainton

Family Support Worker

Rachel lives in Cirencester with her husband and 3 children. She understands how busy family life can be and how important it is to have support around you. She has previously been involved in supporting vulnerable families and mentoring young women.Rachel works with families attending our Families Matter group for parents needing extra support, and co-ordinates the New Baby New Life group for first time parents and their babies. Call:01285 380034

Lorna Stevens

Older People's Group Co-ordinator

Lorna moved to Cirencester in 2000 and has worked in Gloucestershire with a housing provider, assessing the short and long term needs of older people. She knows how important it is that older people continue to be socially involved in their local community and runs our Tuesday Club and Sunday Tea Club. Call:01285 380038

Barbara Russell

Young Neighbours Co-ordinator

Barbara is responsible for all aspects of running Churn Young Neighbours, which grew out of the main Good Neighbours scheme. It involves recruiting student volunteers to visit older people in local care homes, liaising with Cirencester College and other local sixth forms. Call:01285 380037

Julie Battishill

Memory Club Lead

Julie has worked as an Occupational Therapist and brings a wealth of experience to her work with people with memory issues. She also runs a business with her husband as well as being a very busy mum. Call:01285 380038

Katie Bannister


Katie started in 2008 as the Churn book-keeper - adding this to her position of book-keeper for the Parish of Cirencester. Katie looks after all the financial workings of the Project and produces reports to keep managers informed. She enjoys working for the Churn Project because of its important work in the community. Call:01285 380036