April course_central hall

Our Story

SAFE was started 25 years ago to address poverty and unemployment issues in and around the most deprived areas of Southampton.

When it soon became clear that mental health issues and low self-esteem/confidence lay at the root cause of many people’s ability to move forward the Safe Choices Programmes were trialed and developed using an expert team of clinical psychologists from Southampton University. They passionately believed that communities had the power to deliver much needed and effective cognitive therapy and training to those in need in the city.

They were particularly interested in helping unemployed people as in-depth research had shown that the right intervention could help them to shake off habitual and long term negative attitudes and influences, regain employment and powerfully transform their lives.

"The more we can enable the community to deliver psychological services and psychological knowledge the better that community will function. "                                        Professor Nick Maguire. Director of  Psychology.   Southampton University


Our Approach

Since our launch we have helped thousands of people turn their lives around, take control and go on to achieve great things.

We help people to:

  • Get past the barriers and sticking points in their lives
  • Build the self belief and confidence they deserve
  • Develop the thinking skills they need to get motivated and go after their goals
  • Learn how to take control of their lives so they can be their 'best selves'
  • Discover their skills, strengths and passions
  • Relate and co-operate with the people around them

All courses provide a chance for everyone to think and list the blocks and barriers in their life, causing a loss of motivation and preventing them from moving forward. These blocks and barriers can feel like a “brick wall.” One of the course objectives is to help find solutions to break through the wall. (see candidates brick wall above)

Meet the Team

SAFE employs both paid trainers and voluntary workers to deliver the training. We have a strategy in place to ensure we train beneficiaries who have attended previous courses, so they can become Community Volunteer Facilitators in their own right. This encourages people to bring about mental health improvements within their own communities.

Over the last three years 15 volunteers have undertaken our training programme. This is creating a sustainable model for the charity with trained Volunteer Facilitators training further volunteers creating a ripple effect and a maximum reach to potential new beneficiaries.

Nina Kelly

Chief Executive Officer

As CEO with Safe New Futures, Nina is proficient in financial control, and organisational and product development. Her natural leadership style is both marketing-led and people centered.

An engaging and passionate communicator, Nina has worked in both the international and UK charity sector for more than 20 years. 

Jacqui Hollick

Freelance facilitator and volunteer 

Jacqui has been involved, both as a staff member and a volunteer, since the very first SAFE courses started in 1994.

She now runs SAFE courses for unemployed adults at James Street Church in Southampton City Centre.

Anthony Scammell

Chair. Board of Trustees

Anthony is Strategic Service Development Director for Old Mutual Wealth Management. He brings a wealth of experience in managing budget and staffing responsibilities.

Anthony has a passion for community involvement and has been head of corporate social responsibility for OM Wealth and a governor of Solent University.

Michelle Hammerton

Training Manager  

Michelle is CMI level 7 qualified in coaching, mentoring, leadership and strategic project management. She is experienced at managing people to achieve their potential, through setting and achieving life goals.  Michelle has 13 years experience as a Learning and Development manager, working in corporate organisations such as HSBC.

Steve Nicholls

 Secretary. Board of Trustees

Steve has over 25 years’ experience as a business analyst working within the insurance industry.

He has given nearly 10 years’ service to local Street Pastor initiatives, and clearly sees the positive impacts that we can make by listening, caring and helping.


Michael Johnston

Freelance Safe Guarding officer and volunteer facilitator 

Originally joining as a candidate Michael went on to become a facilitator at the recovery college, using his vital experience to share with others how to transform their lives.

Michael is also the SAFE safeguarding officer, ensuring the SAFE team is competent and confident in carrying out their safeguarding duties

Christie Breen

Freelance Facilitator 

Christie has twenty years’ experience working as a trainer, community project manager and teacher in higher education and the corporate world. She delivers bespoke training in leadership, service and sales, stress management, team building and communications. She is a student psychotherapist and a qualified Mental Health First Aid trainer.

Mel Jarvis

Trustee. CBT and Wellbeing  

Mel is a qualified Cognitive Behavioural Therapist and holds accredited status with the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies.

She is currently working towards the completion of a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy) at the University of Southampton.

Keith Sammons

Freelance Trainer  

As director at Matchtech Group from 2000-2009, Keith went on to work as Operations director at companies such as Serocor Solutions before starting his own consultancy business Stackpole Associates in August 2013. He has always had a passion for working with people and for promoting Wellbeing in the Workplace.He is also an instructor with Mental Health First Aid (MHFA).

Jo Gibson

Freelance facilitator and volunteer

Jo, who is a qualified teacher, has been volunteering with SAFE since November 2016. she also pastoral and counselling training.

She has a passion for people, and always enjoys getting to know the candidates and working with them, to help them achieve their life goals


Norman Jones

Freelance facilitator and volunteer 

Norman has been involved with SAFE as a volunteer for more than 15 years.

He now works as a Facilitator helping unemployed adults move forward with their lives.


Zac Keu

Youth volunteer 

Zac is currently studying for a law degree at Solent university. He is great at building strong relationships with our younger candidates, always asking good questions with genuine interest so candidates gain new insights about themselves. He loves learning new things and sharing his experiences, motivating the group and encouraging deep discussions.


If you are interested in volunteering please follow the link below:

Sue Bartlett

Account Administrator  

As Bookkeeper and Administrator Sue works alongside staff, trustees and accountants to ensure SAFE meets its charitable and legal commitments.

She holds firm to SAFE’s values of giving people second chances and providing opportunities, support and mentoring to help them re-engage with working life.


Nick Strong

Board of Trustees  

Nick Strong works with successful companies that scale their growth via the business format franchising model. He is an accredited Affiliate of the British Franchise Association. Nick is passionate about personal empowerment in business and the workplace for all.

Joining the SAFE team

If you are passionate about mental wellbeing and have an interest in helping people re-build their lives, please get in touch.