Meet the Team

Deepa Patel_smDeepa Patel, Chair

Deepa Patel is an independent consultant, whose main areas of interest are the arts, campaigning, working with young people and the process of conversation, contemplation and collaboration. Her work involves strategic planning, fundraising, facilitation and managing people and resources. She started as a part-time education officer at a music venue in Norwich and then went on to train as a youth worker and counsellor in Portsmouth. She has worked with young offenders and those at risk of offending, young people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds and those living in rural settings.

She developed an award-winning magazine for young people in Portsmouth and worked on citizenship projects in schools for Common Purpose. Deepa was Co-Managing Director of Creative Partnerships, a 45 million pound national government initiative that was set up to foster creativity in educational settings. She also worked for the BBC learning team on music learning projects for the Proms, Radio 1 and Radio 3. Deepa helped establish an audience development and music education programme for Serious at the London Jazz Festival and for 10 years worked as a live music producer.

Her interest in issues facing young people led her into the field of sexual health and HIV/AIDS where she worked with the Terrence Higgins Trust and for Action Aid setting up its UK campaign on HIV/AIDS. She has been a mentor and trainer for the Sheila Mckechnie Foundation, which supports campaigners to develop their skills.Her past roles also include developing major donor fundraising strategies for Cancer Research UK, Brook Advisory and Prisoners Aboard. In addition, she has worked in the field of cultural diversity developing training and advising organisations on equal opportunities and cultural diversity for organisations such as EDF energy, the British Science Association and the BBC.

She was a founding director of Slow Down London that brings together the theory and practice of adopting a new pace of living to enable us to enjoy our lives in this great city.  At present, she is an Associate of the Helen Storey Foundation and for People United, a creative laboratory and arts charity, which explores how the arts can inspire kindness, community and social change.

The art and skill of collaboration and facilitation is one of Deepa’s main interests and she works with boards, staff teams, young people and strangers! She was a facilitator for Free Radicals, a NESTA funded project on innovative collaboration which brought together academics from different universities in the UK and now collaborates on issues around sustainability with the Centre for Sustainable Fashion at the London College of Fashion.

Volunteering has played a major part in Deepa’s life. She has worked with Theodore Zeldin on the art of conversation and volunteered at a children’s hospice in West Sussex. At present she is the Chair of Tamasha Theatre Company and sits on the board of the Loss Foundation. She is also a member of the Wisdom Council for Seven Pillars, a contemporary house of wisdom based in the USA.


Ruth Barnett, Trustee

Ruth joined the board of trustees in 2015 to help advise the charity on communications strategy and management. Currently Director of Communications for a technology company, Ruth is a former journalist and has a degree in politics.





Francine Bear, Trustee

I have been involved with The Loss Foundation since it began in 2010 and have thoroughly enjoyed contributing to its development with Erin and the rest of our lovely team. Like others, one of the reasons I wanted to be part of the charity was that I found it hard to comprehend the absence of existing bereavement support services, despite knowing how frequently people lose a loved one to cancer today. As a regular facilitator of the group meetings, I am repeatedly struck by how simple yet effective it can be for people to share their struggles and experiences of loss with others who understand what they are going through. Following my degree in Psychology, I have gained experience in supporting people within a range of different mental health contexts including those experiencing post-traumatic stress. I am now working as a Trainee Clinical Psychologist in London.

Dr Jeanne Magagna, Trustee

Dr. Jeanne Magagna was Head of Psychotherapy Services at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, and Consultant Psychotherapist at the Ellern Mede Centre for Eating Disorders in London. She trained at the Tavistock Clinic in London to become a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist, Family Psychotherapist and Adult Psychotherapist. Jeanne was also the Vice-President and joint coordinator of training for the Centro Studi Martha Harris Tavistock model trainings in Florence and Venice, Italy. Currently Jeanne teaches on the Tavistock Clinic programme. She has edited 5 books and published and talked on most continents. Jeanne is delighted to extend her expertise into the charitable sector by being on the Board of Trustees for The Loss Foundation, and to advise on direction and developments whilst always keeping our beneficiaries at the forefront of her mind.

Shereen Sally, Trustee

I have been part of The Loss Foundation since the beginning and watched it grow from strength to strength. As well as being a group facilitator, I am a Trustee. Erin’s idea of creating a service that did not exist and for it to grow into a charity has been inspirational. It is very special to be part of something that helps people get support every month from our groups and from each other.  I  have a keen interest in the charity sector having been involved in cancer and children’s charities now and in the past nationally and internationally. I have a Masters of Science in Charity Management and have a keen interest in helping people. I think the most important thing about The Loss Foundation is bringing people together to share their experiences and that it is open to anybody. To be part of something that makes a difference is a privilege and has been a learning experience into bereavement and support.

kirstenDr Kirsten Smith, Trustee

I have been involved with The Loss Foundation since Erin founded it in 2010 and have felt privileged to be a part of something that offers a free service to those seeking support through their grief.  Seeing it grow to helping people in North and South London as well as our online community has been an important learning experience and the future of the charity in the coming years will hopefully allow us to support even more people in more diverse ways. Professionally I am a chartered clinical psychologist with a particular interest in traumatic experiences both psychological and physical.  

In October 2014 I started a Wellcome Trust funded research fellowship at the University of Oxford investigating the factors that might make an individual  more prone to developing a prolonged or complicated bereavement reaction.  My work will hopefully lead to more effective treatment approaches for those in need of some extra support. This move has allowed me to set up our first support group outside of London in St John’s College, Oxford.

Working with the bereaved has allowed me to gain a broader understanding of the difficulties associated with one of the most stressful and heartbreaking events that we, as individuals, are likely to go through.  The hard work of our team and the courage of our members continues to inspire me to strive for better support systems and more effective ways of reducing distress.

Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 22.22.18Professor Helen Storey MBE, Trustee

Professor Helen Storey is a London based artist and designer. She is a Professor of Fashion and Science at The Centre for Sustainable Fashion, London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London. She was awarded an MBE for ‘Services to Arts’ in 2010. After graduating in Fashion in 1981, she worked with Valentino in Rome, returning to London to launch her own award winning fashion label in 1983. She wrote her autobiography called Fighting Fashion in 1996, published by Faber and Faber. In 1997, Storey, together with her sister Kate, an embryologist, was awarded a Welcome Trust ‘Sci/Art’ grant to develop ‘Primitive Streak’. This double award-winning project elucidates the first 1,000 hours of human life through textiles and dress. It still tours today and has been seen by 7 million people.

Following the success of Primitive Streak, the Helen Storey Foundation was launched by Helen and her long standing business partner Caroline Coates – and since 1999 it has produced 8 other major science / art collaborative projects. Notably, Storey’s work (Wonderland and Catalytic Clothing) with Professor Tony Ryan OBE, of the University of Sheffield has produced ground-breaking ideas and products utilising art, textiles, technology and fashion to engage the public with both co-creation and the scientific knowledge behind our everyday lives.

In her present work Helen continues to be a passionate advocate for collaborative projects with scientists and others. She seeks to instigate new ideas and suggest solutions to global problems on the environment, the fashion industry and what it means to be human in a rapidly changing world, and this includes her work on The Loss Foundation. Her work is constantly in the public domain and she is a much sought after speaker about her ideas and her experience.

Helen is happy to be a part of a team that works towards providing more bereavement support to those in need, and is interested in the varied and creative ways we can do this to reach more people.