Jo Parsons – Clinical Lead, Paediatric Physiotherapist

Jo Parsons has been the clinical lead at Heel and Toe since November 2016 and heads up the whole clinical team.  She graduated from Northumbria university in 2002, and has many years specialist paediatric training. She is passionate about helping children achieve the goals and loves to celebrate even the smallest step towards those goals.  She is particularly interested in hippotherapy – a therapy that uses the movement of a horse to achieve physiotherapy goals. She is a member of the association of Paediatric Chartered Physiotherapists (APCP), and the Northern Region Paediatric Special Interest Group (NRPSIG), as well as the chartered Physiotherapists in Therapeutic riding and Hippotherapy (CPTRH). She is also HCPC registered and a member of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists (CSP).

‘I love working at Heel and Toe Children’s Charity where every child has the opportunity for fulfil their potential using a range of therapies. It is incredibly rewarding to see children make the progress they never thought possible.’

Gemma McKenna – Paediatric Physiotherapist

Gemma graduated from the University of Hertfordshire in 2005. She has 16 years experience within paediatrics in the NHS, working with children and young people who have a range of disabilities. Gemma has a particular interest in rebound therapy- the therapeutic use of a trampoline to provide opportunities for enhanced movement patterns, positioning and exercise. She loves being able to deliver fun therapy sessions which give children the opportunity to become as independent as possible and reach their full potential. She is also a member of the chartered society of physiotherapy (CSP) and the association of paediatric chartered physiotherapists (APCP).

Gemma lives with her husband and 2 children. In her spare time she enjoys days out with her family, gardening and a decorating/upcycling project.

Amy Cullen – Aquatic Lead, Physiotherapist

Amy graduated from York St John University in 2012. She volunteered at a special needs school in Kenya after university and this made her want to work with children and young people.  Amy has lots of experience working at a special school with children who have a range of disabilities. Amy is our Aquatic Lead. She will be coordinating all hydrotherapy and pool activities. She is a Member of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists and Aquatic Therapy Association of Chartered Physiotherapists.

Amy loves being a physiotherapist and working for Heel and Toe as she is passionate about giving children and young people opportunities to be as independent as possible however that may be. She loves hydrotherapy as it allows so much freedom of movement, relaxation and fun.

Caroline Clay - Occupational Therapist

Caroline Clay – Occupational Therapist

Caroline Clay is an Occupational Therapist with over 35 years’ experience of working with children and adults. She specialises in sensory processing difficulties and uses innovative, creative and playful approaches to involve children and parents in OT sessions.

Occupational Therapy is about purposeful “Occupation” – in other words “what we do”

Children learn through playing and doing, so her sessions are both “Fun and Functional”

Caroline is trained in Sensory Integration and is a lead trainer in the Developmental Play approach. She spends her free time travelling, working and supporting children and families in India and Asia as a Consultant OT, and has a well stamped passport.

Caroline has lived in Durham for 30 years and doesn’t intend to move!

Rachel Farley – Speech and Language Therapist

Rachel qualified as a speech and language therapist from Newcastle University in 1996. She worked for the NHS in London and then in Durham, supporting children with speech, language and communication needs in schools for 10 years. She then set up an independent practice working in schools as a speech and language therapist around the North East. Rachel is passionate about working with children to support their play, interaction and communication development. She is very excited to now work with the families and other therapists at the Heel and Toe Charity.
Rachel is a member of the Royal College of Speech and Language, Association of Speech and Language therapists in Independent Practice and HCPC (Health and Care Professions Council)
Rachel lives with her husband, two children, Miniature Dachshund and 11 rescue guinea pigs, so you can imagine what she spends most of her spare time doing!

Nelli Czugerber – Senior Conductor

My name is Nelli and I worked (and played) with children affected by Cerebral Palsy and other physical disabilities since 2008.

I graduated as a Conductive Education Therapist in Budapest, Hungary where I gained an outstanding training experience in delivering a complex holistic approach to supporting children and their families through their journey of therapy and the related challenges of everyday life. I joined Heel and Toe Family over a decade ago where I became a Lead Conductor in 2015. It makes me proud to belong to such an amazing and dedicated Team!

Next to supporting people in need, I am also involved with various music projects in my free time – I am a lead singer of a North East-based band called Far Cry.

Rachel Short – Conductor

Rachel is a qualified Conductor originally from Essex who ​studied at the National Institute of Conductive Education in Birmingham. She has worked in London, Kent, Consett, France and New Zealand. Rachel enjoys upcycling furniture and baking fudge which she regularly brings into Heel and Toe.

Denise Wood – Massage Therapist

Denise has been a massage/holistic therapist for 16 years. She worked at Portland academy school for 13 year & ESPA (massaging adults with autism) for 10 years. She lives at home in Seaham, with her husband, 15-year-old son & dog Louie.

She enjoys running, walking Louie & reading in her spare time.

Denise enjoys providing a wide range of holistic/massage therapies at Heel & Toe including; reflexology, Reiki, Indian head massage & holistic facials. And always offers calming, relaxing environment for both parent & child.

Victoria Toulmin – Clinical Administrator

I have worked at Heel and Toe for over 7 years as Clinical Administrator, and more recently taken on the role of Pool Technician.

Over the course of the years since starting at Heel and Toe I have completed various training courses including Level 2 Principles of Business and Administration; Level 2 Counselling Skills; Hydrotherapy Pool Operators Certificate, and Legionella Awareness for Duty Holders.

I have an 18yr old son, a tortoise called Sheldon, and a Shih Tzu called Harvey. I am partial to cups of coffee and jelly sweets. In my spare time I enjoy reading detective novels and walks with Harvey on the beach (he loves sand!).

Nicola Burrell – Therapy Assistant

I have worked with children since 2001 starting my career as a nursery nurse and then senior nursery nurse working with children from the age of 6 weeks to 16 years old. I hold a Level 3 in Childcare and Education.  I went back to college in 2011 where I received a Level 3 qualification in Health and Social Care.

I have worked for Heel and Toe since 2016, in this time I have taken on many roles within the business and completed training in Halliwick enabling me to carry out Hydrotherapy sessions, I also carry a Hydrotherapy Pool Operators Certificate.

I love working with the children at Heel and Toe, there is nothing better than seeing all your happy faces when you achieve your goals.

I live with my partner Alan and our three girls Madeleine, Daisy and Heidi as well as Max our Golden Retriever and Willow the cat.

Gabrielle Dixon – Therapy Assistant

Gabrielle graduated in 2019 from the University of Sunderland in Bsc Social Sciences as she loved learning/studying about diversity within society around us & the inequalities people from different backgrounds may face every day.

She then went on to study a PGCE in Primary school teaching as this gave her more experience working with children.

Gabrielle’s step-daughter, Siena has been attending & accessing therapy at Heel & Toe since 2019. It holds a special place in her heart and she has witnessed first hand what hard work goes into the amazing achievements that happen here.

Gabrielle was overjoyed to join the Heel & Toe team in 2020 and has since assisted in a wide variety of therapies here on a weekly basis.