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GROW-Wellbeing People

Duane Chong
Programme Director

Duane has extensive experience of lecturing and managing in early childhood education and care. Duane was Sure Start Programme Manager at one of the first programmes in the UK, and co-ordinated the Children First Forum at NML Liverpool, providing creative opportunities for children and young people. Duane developed and co-ordinated the early years programme for Merseyside's Find Your Talent initiative in 2006.

For ten years he lectured in early years education across Merseyside and North Wales, and collaborated with Natural Resources Wales to provide Forest School training for student teachers in North Wales.


Duane saw how important the natural environment was for providing opportunities to engage in all aspects of the curriculum but also in enhancing individual health, social and emotional wellbeing. 

Duane founded Grow-Wellbeing CIC in 2018 as a social enterprise, with the aim of supporting diverse communities to access the natural environment and, through forest school, helping to nurture future guardians of the planet.

Duane is a Forest School Level 3 Qualified practitioner and Therapeutic Forest CIC Approved Practitioner.

Angela Samata

Angela has worked in the Arts and Mental health for 15 years, speaking publicly nationally and internationally. With a Masters in Art History and Curating, Angela is a member of Tate Liverpool’s Advisory Board and based at the Walker Art Gallery, led the John Moores Painting Prize until 2015.


She has worked with several NHS Trusts including Mersey Care and the Surrey and Borders Partnership as well as helping to create additional Mental Health services such as James’ Place.


An advocate for early intervention in health and wellbeing practice, Angela believes that by creating curiosity during a child's early years and the opportunity to explore the natural environment, we can instil good practice for their long-term mental health. 

Angela actively supports the forest school activities whenever she can; taking a lead on developing Grow-Wellbeing's involvement in green social prescribing. 

Kate Brennan
Forest School Leader

I have been working with and facilitating groups for over 30 years now. My background is theatre and community drama and I have worked with all ages and abilities to create pieces of art/drama/ movement that have expressed and questioned people’s experiences.

When I discovered Forest School about 15 years ago I was able to merge my love of the outdoors and my leadership skills in a new and exciting way. I incorporated the Forest school ethos into all of the wellbeing work that I have been involved with since and am very excited to join the Grow team and facilitate, support and learn more as I go!

Ellie Meyer
Forest School Assistant

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Jade Lanceley
Forest School Assistant


Jade is a qualified primary school teacher, Yoga and Meditation Mentor, Musician and Dancer and is currently completing her forest school level 3. 


Jade has been teaching Yoga since 2014 to both adults and children in the community and is deeply passionate about connecting to nature, each other and the changing seasons and cycles of life.

In her spare time, you’ll find her out on adventures in her camper van, wild swimming, hiking, cycling and playing at festivals.

Dominic Wilkinson 

Dominic is an experienced architect, both in public and private sector, and currently a senior manager in the School of Architecture at LJMU.

As a Director, Dominic advises on feasibility of potential land developments as Grow searches for suitable sites which can support its development and growth.

Andrew Fitzsimons


Andrew is a former primary school teacher of over 30 years in Halewood and has a passion for outdoor learning. He has run after school growing activities and is keen for children to see how nature recycles everything and that we have to treat our planet with the respect it deserves. Making leaf mould by collecting leaves; seeing how the worms create soil in wormeries; identifying the beneficial mini-beasts which help defend plants form pests and disease; growing a range of fruit and vegetables; all give children a good grounding in nature and hopefully generate a lifetime of interest in protecting the environment.


Andrew is currently completing his RHS Level 3 in horticulture after passing his Level 2 and is mentoring a number of amateur gardeners into developing their own knowledge and skills as well as taking a more organic approach to protecting their gardens.

As a director, Andrew supports Grow-Wellbeing with the development of the growing agenda, as well as helping out at its community allotment at the Edward Kemp Gardens in Birkenhead Park.

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