Katherine Harford

Executive Director

Katherine Harford began as Programme Manager when YK was formally established in 2015. From 2012 she led an interagency partnership in the development of the Programme. So she has seen it grow from an idea to a reality! From 2008 to 2015 she was Manager of NICHE CLG, overseeing innovative community health programmes. She has previously worked in homeless services and in community development. She has a background in Social and Political Science, Community Development and Organisational Management. She is a founding member and former Chairperson of Cork Healthy Cities, and participates in a number of local, city and national networking and policy forums on issues of children’s development, social inclusion, equality and health. She lives in Cork City with her growing family!

Trish Hurley

Infant Mental Health and Wellbeing Coordinator

Trish holds a BSC Nursing and a Master’s in Health Promotion from UCC. She worked in the acute hospital in the early stage of her career but gravitated over time to an early intervention and prevention model of care that encompasses the “whole person” or the Bio/psycho/social model of health. Trish has spent many years supporting caregivers and children in the community through home visiting. Meeting families in their own setting has always been one of the most enjoyable and valuable parts of her work. Trish in collaboration with the Interdisciplinary team, is responsible for integrating IMH principles, and mindset into all the Let’s Grow Together practices and supports. She hopes to build a strong relationship focused way of working within the team, so they can extend that sense of being held and listened to out to the families that they work with in the community. Trish is very interested in the integration of IMH knowledge and practice from the pregnancy stage, through to the early years of a child’s life. This stage is a prime time to nurture children’s social emotional development and a key transition point for the parents and professionals who support them, to become attuned and responsive caregivers. To relax, Trish practices and teaches yoga and gets out into nature to recharge.

Grace Walsh

Speech, Language and Early Years Coordinator (Senior Speech and Language Therapist)

Grace graduated from University College Cork with a BSc Hons in Speech and Language Therapy in 2009. Since then she has gained clinical experience in a variety of paediatric settings. Grace joined Young Knocknaheeny when it was established in 2015, and was seconded from her position as Senior Speech & Language Therapist (SLT) with HSE Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service until December 2019. Grace is passionate about developing the role of SLT in universal, prevention and promotion services to provide accessible information to all parents about how best to support their baby’s communication in the context of their relationship, ensuring a relational approach to meet families where they are at.

Jessie Shea

Information and Reporting Officer

Jessie has an MSc in Neuroscience, and her research focus was on secondary symptoms and improving quality of life after a spinal cord injury. Jessie then worked at a paediatric rehabilitation centre in Canada, where she coordinated the research programme. She taught clinicians how to do research and programme evaluations, and her overarching goals were focusing on quality improvement and ensuring child and family-centred care. Jessie also has a Higher Diploma in Social Policy from UCC. She is responsible for overseeing the research, monitoring, evaluation, and reporting activities at Let’s Grow Together! This includes: coordinating the Research Advisory Group and promoting research; working with other Area Based Childhood Programmes to monitor family outcomes; and reporting on our programmes, activities, and outcomes. Jessie aims to ensure best evidence is used to guide our programmes and services, and that our families receive the best possible experiences with us.

Tracie Lane

Infant and Family Project Worker

Tracie has over 10 years’ experience of working in community development, health and early intervention projects in Cork city. Tracie is committed to ensuring that she is providing evidence based interventions through attending trainings, workshops and staying up to date with research. Tracie feels strongly about developing caregiver’s understanding of their child’s social and emotional development and how caregivers can use their relationship to support their child’s development. Tracie believes in empowering caregivers to recognise what they already do, and support them build on their own potential and strengths.

Clíona Twohig

Infant and Family Project Worker

Clíona graduated from Mary Immaculate College, Limerick with a B.A (Hons) in Early Childhood Care & Education. Since graduating Clíona has worked in community based Early Years and Family Support services while continuing professional development in areas such as trauma, empowering families and children, child and youth participation and restorative practice. Cliona believes that through working with the whole family unit, better outcomes for the child will be achieved. She believes that empowering and supporting caregivers using a strengths-based approach is key to forming strong relationships and breaking the cycle of trauma and poverty. Clíona is currently pursuing a Masters in Trauma Studies with University College Cork and hopes to use the knowledge and skills gained to make a positive impact on the well-being of families and children at a community level.

Katherine Manley

Infant and Family Project Worker

Katherine graduated with a B.A (Hons) in Early years and childhood studies from UCC, working in the early years sector before returning to UCC to complete a MSC in Social Policy. Katherine went on to work in a community based Early Intervention centre continuing her professional development in trauma informed care, creative mindfulness and providing practical support to families within the community. Katherine has always been interested in a child’s social and emotional development and the importance of relationships in the Early Years. Katherine is both passionate and committed to the delivery of a high-quality service to the children and families she works with through prevention and early intervention strategies and a strengths-based approach.

Suzanne Rigby

Infant and Family Project Worker

Suzanne graduated from Waterford Institute of Technology with a B.A. (Hons) in Applied Social Studies in Social Care. Since graduating Suzanne has worked in a range of social care settings; working with children in care, domestic violence support services and in family support. She has a keen interest in offering prevention and early intervention strategies to families, infants and children to support them to break intergenerational cycles of trauma and poverty and to support child development. Suzanne works at the project full time.

Ellen Lucey

Infant and Family Project Worker

Ellen has 20 years’ experience working with families and children through the early years sector and voluntary community roles. She graduated from the University of East London in 2019 with a BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Studies. Her career in Ireland has included roles in early years management and curriculum development. She also worked in Germany for nine years as a Deputy Head of Kindergarten and Kindergarten teacher in international schools. Throughout her roles, she has delivered training and development events to both families and professionals, with the aim of developing partnerships with families and supporting all caregivers to recognize their strengths, feel confident and reach their full potential in the lives of young children.

Jennifer Harte

Speech and Language Therapist

Jennifer graduated with a BSc. Hons Degree in Speech and Language Therapy in 2010 at UCC. Since, Jennifer has worked in a variety of areas, including with adolescents and young adults in an education centre, the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA), CAMHS and a Child Development Service in New Zealand. Jennifer also spent 6 years working as a researcher in UCC, working with children with speech and language disorders and children with spina bifida. Jennifer joined Let’s Grow Together in 2021 to help provide a community service that promotes communication skills in infants and young children and the importance of parent-child interactions. Jennifer appreciates the value of research and using an evidence-based approach when working with families.

Kathleen G

Kathleen Gildea

Early Years Mentor

Kathleen is the Early Years Mentor at Let’s Grow Together! She holds Master of Arts in Leadership and Advocacy in the Early Years and a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree in Early Childhood Care, Health and Education. Kathleen has been fortunate to work with babies, young children and school age children in various settings in Ireland, Norway, New Zealand and Australia. Her worldwide experience has broadened her vision of quality and is something she supports other Early Years Professionals to explore in the Northwest area of Cork City. She works in collaboration with organisations, management and Early Years Professionals to deliver high quality, inclusive Early Childhood Care and Education for children and families.

Arhonda Lynch

Schools Community Support Worker

Arhonda has a background in Early Years Settings, Family and Community Work, as well as in Homeless Services. Arhonda has studied Early Childhood Care and Education and continued her studies in International Development and Human Rights at University College Cork where she subsequently completed an MA in Women’s Studies. Arhonda is currently a PhD Candidate in UCC's School of Applied Social Studies and was awarded a full scholarship. As Schools Community Support Worker, Arhonda is passionate about parent and caregiver participation within their child's education and the strengthening of relationships with and between parents, caregivers and educators.

Emma Murphy

Kidscope Administrative Co-ordinator

Emma graduated from Waterford Institute of Technology with a B.A (Hons) in Health Promotion. During her time in college, she worked in Alaska, USA, running programmes in an activity centre for children and teenagers with intellectual disabilities. After graduating, she has worked as a Smoking Cessation Officer with the HSE and has experience in administration roles in UPMC Whitfield and UPMC Kildare. Emma is passionate about health and wellbeing, with a specific interest in mental health. She is currently doing a Diploma in Personal Training and Nutrition. Emma is the Administrative Co-Ordinator for the Kidscope Clinic with Dr Louise Gibson. She has a Yellow Belt in Lean Six Sigma and aims to look at process improvement within the clinic.

Donna O'Keeney

Cork Child Friendly City Development Worker

Donna is a socially engaged theatre maker and facilitator. She holds a master in Dramatherapy and has spent her career developing, devising, and delivering high quality arts engagement projects across educational, community and Youth Theatre settings. Her work has focused on social inclusion, listening, and advocating for children and young people's ideas to be heard. Over the past six years, her work has focused on listening to and amplifying silent and underheard voices. Her conviction that all children and young people have valuable contributions to make is at the heart of all she does. She also works as the Inclusion officer with Graffiti Theatre Company, facilitating Theatre Making and Citizenship programmes with The Everyman and works as the artistic director for Breaking Barriers at the Crann Centre. Donna is excited to bring her creative expertise to her new role as Cork Child Friendly City development worker and looks forward to working alongside Let's Grow Together to continue promoting authentic and effective child participation.