“Working here has given us more confidence and independence”

Realise Futures – enhancing people’s lives through work placements, employment and training opportunities.

Our primary aim to improve and promote the economic and social wellbeing of those who are disadvantaged and/or disabled, across Suffolk and Norfolk.

About Realise Futures

The company is organised in three divisions, Learning, Coaching & Advice, Employment and RF Works (seven distinct social businesses). Together they provide professional and tailored opportunities that support people to realise their potential.

We are one of the largest social enterprises in the East of England, employing around 240 people, 41% of whom have a disability.

Success, for us, is measured by the positive impact on the lives of those we support and progress, as well as the profit we generate.

Our company values are:

Find out more in:
Realise Futures Annual Report
Realise Futures Company Brochure

Our Covid Risk Assessments for all sites are available on request. Please contact info@realisefutures.org with the area you are interested in.


Accreditations & Memberships

Realise Futures takes pride in its accreditation standards.

These standards not only represent the high levels of customer care we offer but also the dedication to everyone that uses our service.


Policies

Below you will find a list of our company policies:

Equality Diversity and Inclusion Policy

Safeguarding Adults Policy

PREVENT Statement


Directors

Sally Butcher
Managing Director

I lead and develop our organisational vision, strategy, image and direction to fulfil our mission and values.

An integral part of my role is to develop and maintain a positive high profile within the communities we serve.

I was appointed managing director in 2016 after working in various senior management roles within the business. I obtained a BA Hons 1st Class degree when my children were small and I used the qualification as a springboard to various teaching, assessing and management posts in both the private and public sector.

Baking and reading are two of my favourite stress-relief activities, alongside clothes shopping. I am a Francophile and enjoy spending time in southwest France, taking in the delights of this large wine-growing region.

Jane Sutton
Business Systems Director

My job responsibilities are to protect and promote the company’s brand and to take the strategic lead for…

property, supplier contracts, quality improvement, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and communications.

I started my career in corporate communications, before joining Suffolk County Council where I worked in a variety of roles within the learning and development team.  I have worked at Realise Futures since its inception in 2012.

I enjoy the north Norfolk coastline and spending time with my family and walking the dog. I studied a degree in business and enterprise at the age of 46, and I believe you are never too old to learn.

Mel King
Director of Finance and Corporate Resources

I am responsible for the overall control of all financial aspects of the company strategy….

I joined Suffolk County Council straight from school and worked in various roles, including in adult and community services.

I love eating out, reading, jigsaw puzzles, cross stitch, crochet and sewing.


Non-Executive Directors

Mel Cassedy
Non-Executive Director, Chair of the Board of Directors

I have a shared responsibility to ensure the company is managed in an effective…

and efficient way, it continues to be financially sound, and that it delivers on its strategic objectives remaining true to its values, purpose and ethos.

I am retired and was, by profession, an accountant having worked for Suffolk County Council for 43 years in corporate finance, social services and adult and community services.

I like to keep fit by going the gym and playing golf. I enjoy reading and watching crime and political thrillers. My wife works full time and so I do all the housework, shopping, laundry and lots of cooking as I love to bake.

Kelly Dowson
Non-Executive Director

I am Managing Director of Good Sense Research, managing a national team of field workers.

I started out in recruitment where my networking and people skills set me up well for a role in the food and beverage industry. A co-founder of Food Innovation Solutions, I grew the business from a start up to a team of 15 that currently successfully operates out of London. Four years ago I took over the running of Good Sense Research.

I love exercise and I run half marathons on a regular basis. I paint and write poetry, and I am also a keen horse racing enthusiast.

Lauren England
Non-Executive Director

I work as an external audit manager. My current job is the only job I’ve ever had…

which I started as a school leaver in August 2011. I studied for my Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) qualification, then moved on to studying for my Association of Chartered Accountants (ACA) qualification, whilst acting as an audit supervisor. This took five years.

Outside of work, I love to travel and I enjoy spending time with friends and family.

Phil Snowdon
Non-Executive Director

I have worked in HR at senior levels in the public sector, mainly in local government.

I run my own HR consultancy, which has now wound down but I still keep my hand in. .

In my spare time, having mainly abandoned my violin at the request of my wife, I have taken up piano. I also find as much time as I can to go running. I chair an environmental group where I live and we organise volunteers in such things as litter picks and projects such as wildlife pond restoration.

Paul Storey
Non-Executive Director

I have oversight of the Executive Directors, providing challenge and advice on the strategic…

direction of the company. I provide good governance and a framework for accountability and transparency of the Board and the company.

After a 25-year career as an electronic engineer in the Army, I joined the civil service working in the departments responsible for the funding and oversight of education, apprenticeships and adult education, and training.

Away from family, my first love is rugby and I am a referee coach on the Rugby Football Union’s national panel.  I volunteer for the military charity SSAFA, helping veterans and their families in the community and in custody at HMP Highpoint.

Dean Willingham
Non-Executive Director

My role is about governance of the Board and to ensure we remain within the realms…

of the law and our own constitution.

I am the Managing Partner of DPS Technology Group and, over a 25 year period, have worked with companies from one-man bands to large international organisations. I have also been involved in investing in and mentoring start-up businesses.

I am an Ipswich Town Football Club season ticket holder and was a ball boy in the early 1980s for three seasons. I am into cars, rock music and gadgets.

Senior Management Team

David Finch
Business Development Manager

I am a dedicated and passionate individual who has worked in the care industry for over 28 years. In my role as a Business Development Manager, I am responsible for developing and implementing new business initiatives for the organisation in line with the 5-year strategic plan as well as responsible for building relationships with key stakeholders, such as commissioners and local authorities.

During my spare time, I like to watch films and spend time with my family.

Natayla Harris
HR Manager

I provide the strategic lead for Human Resources, managing all aspects of HR functions ensuring that they are integrated into the business strategy and support people management activities that underpin the company’s culture and ethos.

I lead the HR team and work with line managers and colleagues across the company by guiding them on HR policies and employment related matters, including appraisals and training. My previous HR experiences come from a range of sectors, such as legal, oil and gas, unionised, partnership, public and private. I have two daughters who keep me and my husband busy – we love cycling, reading, baking, coding and singing, and we also play 5 music instruments between us.

Mel Hercus
Learning, Coaching & Advice Operations Manager 

My job is to provide strategic and operational line management for the Learning, Coaching and Advice department. Delivering the Adult Learning, Peer Support, IAG and Multiply Suffolk Contracts.

Lisa Mann
Poppy’s Pantry Manager

I am the manager of Poppy’s Pantry, being more than just shop we aim to give people who have a learning disability and /or autism and people who are disabled or disadvantage to develop their skills and confidence to progress in learning, work, and life, this could include packing work, learning about retail, independent living skills, working as a team, cooking, and catering and much more.

Here at Poppy’s, we show that we have resilience, flexibility, support, we meet deadlines, teamwork, dancing, laughing, singing, Fun and be person centred.
I enjoy spending time with my family, and we have recently got a Dalmatian puppy called Ralf, he keeps us all busy with lots of walking and saying no many times!

Julie Sidney
Employment Operations Manager

I have worked in Welfare to work for the last 18 years, starting this journey as an Employment Advisor.

I have been married Richard for the last 10 years and we have a blended family of 5 children and 9 grandchildren. We recently had a couple of new additions to our family, Dora our Cockapoo and Betsy our motorhome, we are looking forward to lots of travel which is one of my joys of my life.

Ellie Gilbert
Horticulture Manager

In my role I am responsible for our two Horticulture social businesses, combining strategic and operational management to ensure financial viability and to offer purposeful activity and support progression. I joined Realise Futures in 2020 having worked in the charity and social enterprise sector since leaving university in 2013.

I love being outdoors whatever the weather, and embarked on my plan to walk the long distance paths of the UK and Ireland starting with the Coast to Coast in 2023.

Lee Caraccio
RF Works Manager

My job role is to provide strategic and operational management support within the RF works division. My specific areas of responsibility are for St Lawrence Café in Ipswich town centre, Fulfilment, Wellbeing and Eco Furniture services at our Whitehouse site.

In addition to financial stability our success is measured by giving people real world work experience and skills for life. For us this is the perfect marriage of commercial and wellbeing activities.

I have worked here for 18 years following a 30-year career at a local engineering company (and yes, I am the oldest person on the management team)

     Outside of work I am happiest spending time with my family or pottering around doing odd jobs (often both at the same time).

Matthew Butcher
Quality Improvement and Compliance Manager

My role within the company involves developing the company’s Quality Framework.

This includes setting standards for the effective delivery of companywide services and making sure that the company complies with external regulatory requirements and internal policies. I monitor and analyse internal audits from Health and Safety to Data Protection, producing reports on Comments, Complaints and Compliments across the company and ensuring that documentation framework captures all required policies and processes across the company and is kept up to date with current legislation.

In my spare time, I enjoy watching films of all genres, but Horror and fantasy are my favourites. I am a competitive person and love playing a variety of games, from consoles to board games! I am an animal lover and have an adorable cat called Barbara who steals the show when I have visitors.

Clare Stiles
Poppy’s Pantry Norfolk Manager

I am the Manager of Poppy’s Pantry Wymondham! We are ‘more than just a shop’, as the logo suggest. I oversee the daily running of the shop, café and the staff and well-being colleagues.

Poppy’s already has several regular customers, including a local resident artist, who recently painted a picture of the shop front for us!

We’ve had baking for wellbeing in, to teach the staff how to ice cupcakes in the shape of flowers. We’ve also had a visit from a therapy dog, who is planning on using Poppy’s as part of his training.

No two days are the same here at Wymondham, and we are always busy shelf stacking, stock checking and ordering as well as supporting our wellbeing colleagues in the preparation of our already infamous cheese scones!

When I’m not working, I love to be out in my garden. Although having recently moved, there are several DIY tasks to complete! I live with my husband Mark, 2 rescue cats – Obi-wan Kenobi (Obi for short) and Cookie and a rescue house rabbit called Woody, who is definitely in charge!!!