Emily Lezzeri - Chief Officer
I moved to Devon when I was six and have loved it ever since; I grew up close to Dartmoor but now live in East Devon, after having travelled widely and studied at Universities in Sussex, Paris, London and Exeter. I have two lovely children and two fluffy rabbits.
I have sixteen years’ experience of working in Mid and East Devon in the education, mental health and charity sectors. I started out as a Modern Foreign Languages teacher and then became a Vocational Skills Coordinator for 14 to 16-year olds. I retrained as a Reader in Residence and ran projects for The Reader Organisation, Devon Libraries (now Libraries Unlimited) and Devon Partnership Trust. During this time, I was responsible for a range of clinical and community-based projects and specialised in working with people living with dementia and their carers. I then became Chief Officer of Upstream, a charity focusing on providing creative and social activity groups for older people across Mid Devon. I am delighted to have now been appointed as Chief Officer of Ottery Help Scheme, a charity with a huge amount of local support.
In my spare time, I am mostly to be found swimming in the sea with my partner and friends, but I also like to dip into rivers and lakes - even in Winter!
Jane Ross - Co-ordinator
I grew up in Alfington, a village just outside of Ottery. Before joining the Help Scheme (and ‘pre-children’) I worked at Ottermill Swithgear in the typing office, finishing up as Secretary to the Computer/Operations Manager.
Later, after having five lovely children who kept me very busy, I held a variety of part time jobs and worked in Manleys Newsagency and also in Coles in the soft furnishing department. My last job before joining OHS was for Rainbow Plants where I helped in the nursery with weeding, potting and delivering plants to garden centres.
I joined the Help Scheme in 2001, taking up the post of Co-ordinator and have seen the role and the Help Scheme itself change and develop hugely over the years. Over the course of the 14 years that I have been with the Help Scheme, I have found myself becoming more immersed within community life and feel very lucky that my role as Co-ordinator allows me to meet and, hopefully, help so many people within our locality.
With regard to hobbies, I enjoy walking my dog, reading, and meeting up with friends and family for a good natter.
I am a true Devonian having been born to a farming family in the Ottery St Mary area. However, I moved through work and marriage to Enfield, North London for around two decades; there we had our three children. We moved back to Devon in 2001. After many years of voluntary work with Tipton St John school and The Kings School I volunteered with the HelpScheme in 2014. I was asked to join as a member of Staff in the following year.
I enjoy my role as part time assistant coordinator - there is never a dull moment! I especially enjoy contact with our many Clients by telephone and occasionally at our Friendship Group and Memory Café and of course driving them to and from appointments. I particularly enjoy camaraderie with our amazing volunteers who are the workforce providing our services with such kindness and helpfulness. I think I am extremely lucky to be involved with Ottery Help Scheme as we really do get our community moving and offer many services to bring everyone together.
With my time away from the Office I enjoy reading, running, walking my dog in our wonderful countryside and am involved with Amateur Dramatics for a few local groups.
I moved to Devon from Yorkshire in the late 80s to pursue a career in Occupational Therapy, I also met my husband and had two lovely children who are now young adults making their own way in the world.
I worked for the NHS for over 20 years as a clinician and manager. I was involved in Mental Health, Learning Disability, Forensic and Elderly Care services, working in the community and within specialist units across Devon.
I then changed direction and started within the charity sector, working on a project for what was then Exeter Age Concern. This was all about supporting elderly people in the community maintaining their independence and prevention of hospital admissions.
My next post was that of an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate working for and supporting vulnerable people in our society.
Most recently I worked for the Charity Upstream, home-visiting people who had experienced life changing events, loss and social isolation. I also ran seated exercise classes to music all across East Devon.
I love film, theatre, eating, walking and travelling when I get the time. I regularly visit my home county to touch base with family and love spending time catching up with my grown up children who help me keep young and current!