The ‘lab team’ are the heartbeat of the Rapid Action Lab. They are group of people that will be supported to work together through the process to deepen their understanding of the challenge locally, come up with possible solutions and test and develop those solutions in action using the £25,000 innovation fund.

The Lab team was made up of a group of 37 participants throughout the Lab process, from across the Early Years system. The size of these team have fluctuated throughout the process, with some participants leaving and new ones joining during the six months. Below is a list of all participants throughout the process, in the five action teams.


Team: Joining The Tots

Cheryl Huntbach, Oxfordshire County Council

Dave Tullett, Said Business School, University of Oxford & Moving Edge

Clare Crossley, Oxfordshire County Council

Lydia Hodgins, Oxford Hub

Ben Hamilton, Emmanuel Church

Team: Oxplorers

Carol Lister, Slade Nursery School

Beth Knighton, Donnington Doorstep

Anna Thorne, OXPIP

Lisa Fern, Grandpont Nursery School and Childcare

Fiona Brimson, Grandpont Nursery School and Childcare

Lisa Mansour, Baby Cafe

Farhan Samanani, Oxford University

Simon Barnard, Oxford Community Trust

Team: In The Loop

Ginnie Herbert, Formerly of Rose hill Children’s Centre, now parents support volunteer

Ellie Clarke-Jacques, Oxford Hub

Suffia Hussain, Mother

Alive Weaver, Mother

Nuha Abdo, Mother

Shaz Ajmal, Mother

Tina Gordon, Mother

Emily Grant, Oxford Brookes

Kathy Peto, Family Links

Maysa Mustafa, Oxford Policy Management

Karen Porter, Home Start


Daisy Brown, Oxford Brookes University, Early Childhood studies graduate

Siobhan Salter, Oxford Brookes University

Rebecca Matthews, Oxford Brookes University

Lindsey Heart, Peeple

Valerie Knight, Oxfordshire County Council

Sally Smith, Peeple

Mary Taylor, Family Links

Team: OxNest

Doireann Lalor, The Children’s Allotment

Fiona Henderson, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust

Shiploha Bhatt, Formally Children Centre Manager, consultant and equality advocate

Annie Davy, The Nature Effect

Laura White

Nicola Taylor, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust

Why did they join?

Get to know why some of the lab participants joined the lab and where they are coming from.



A one stop shop for everyone working or living with young children.


Doireann Lalor

The Children's Allotment

Why Join the Lab Team?

My background is in cooperatives. I am very interested in how participatory and democratic processes can help to build more resilient communities and solve complex problems. I have also recently become a parent, which has given me a new interest in the provision of services for children. It's been disappointing to see the huge cuts to children's services in Oxford, and I also feel that the current model of childcare is not well suited for the realities of life for many families. It strikes me that there is a need for innovation in Early Years services generally, and I hope that the Rapid Action Lab might galvanise some of that locally!


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Fiona Henderson

Oxford Health (Health Visiting)

Why Join the Lab Team?

I am currently working as a local area Health Visiting lead and Health Visitor providing 0-5 years service to universal, universal plus and universal partnership plus clients clinically and with a leadership role. I also work within the multi-agency school readiness project across the county which includes Oxford City. My role within the rapid action lab is to champion the school readiness role and support Health Visiting staff to provide extra support as required to children and their families.


Shilpa Bhatt

Formally Children Centre Manager - Consultant and Equality Advocate

Why Join the Lab Team?

I am passionate about local services and experienced in Early Years, outreach and inclusion. This is fantastic opportunity to work together to develop an innovative solution to bridge the gap of Early Years and preventative support services.


Annie Davy

The Nature Effect

Why Join the Lab Team?

I have a long standing commitment to Early Years work.




An initiative focused  on creating a network of ‘Community Navigators’, to support the priority needs of ‘invisible’ 0-5 years Children and their families in the Florence Park area.


Cheryl Huntbach

Oxfordshire County Council

Why Join the Lab Team?

I am passionate about supporting families, especially in those crucial early years.

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dave tullett

Moving Edge (Coaching and Leadership)

Why Join the Lab Team?

I'm very interested to gain practical experience of an Action Lab and to understand how I might fold some of the concepts and learning into my coaching work. I recently attended a short introductory workshop on RAL at Said Business School and found it fascinating. 

I want to elp find ways to develop future generations and ensure they get off to a positive start is an important responsibility for our society. I hope I can contribute in some small way, and have a meaningful impact on this important topic.



Empowering parents to empower families - training and support programme for parents wanting to support families with 0-5's.

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Ginnie Herbert

Formerly of Rose Hill Children's Centre, now parents support volunteer

Why Join the Lab Team?

0 - 5's and their parents are dear to my heart. I want to help make something happen that is desperately needed following the cuts to Children's Centres. I Have a lot of experience in community development, inclusion and outreach in Rose Hill and Littlemore. I feel inspired by Sara and the Roller team. Its great to work alongside motivated people in a proactive project.


Ellie Clarke-Jacques

Oxford Hub

Why Join the Lab Team?

I lead on the work of the Oxford Hub supporting volunteers in Early Year settings. I am really interested working with young children, and I think its something I want to try as a career eventually (e.g. nursery/ practical work)

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Suffia Hussain

Why Join the Lab Team?

A mother of three wonderful children, passionate about empowering women on issues related to parenting, divorce and healing from trauma.


Alice Weaver

Why Join the Lab Team?

I wanted to be a part of reviving the supportive community spirit. That would empower families to connect and engage with the rich, diverse  opportunities that living in our beautiful city offers.




A library-based initiative encouraging parents / carers & children to use the home learning environment to support social, emotional and language development.


Daisy Brown

Oxford Brookes University, Early Childhood Studies Graduate

Why Join the Lab Team?

Over the course of completing my Early Childhood Studies degree and my experiences working with children, I have developed a passion for supporting young children to reach their full potential. Volunteering to work with this team would help me to develop my personal and professional knowledge and I am keen to explore how ideas can be developed into practical actions to support disadvantaged children.

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Siobhan Salter

Oxford Brookes University

Why Join the Lab Team?

Having been brought up in a extremely disadvantage environment and experienced the care system due to parents alcohol abuse, I feel strongly about supporting families experiencing similar situations.

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Rebecca Matthews

Oxford Brookes University

Why Join the Lab Team?

This is a unique opportunity for a range of individuals who care about Oxfordshire's young children to make a real impact. As a parent, a Senior Lecturer in Education and a former primary teacher, I have witnessed first-hand the damaging effects of recent cuts in the sector; I am looking forward to working in partnership with others who are also motivated to take steps to counter this in order to improve the lives of future generations.

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Lindsey Heart


Why Join the Lab Team?

I am a Project Manager for PEEPLE and I lead on our Early Years program delivery in Oxford.


VAlerie Knight

Oxfordshire County Council

Why Join the Lab Team?

I have recently changed roles to Community Coordinator (Libraries) where we are in the process of setting up stay, play and learn in libraries. I am passionate about working with families to get the best start for their children. Getting more families into libraries and enjoying sharing books and rhymes, I feel will help put a piece in the jigsaw of starting a life long journey of learning.




This initiative focus on developing better use of spaces to deliver early years services and generate income with the sector.  Using food, arts & crafts, storytelling, etc. to build stronger communities and better opportunities for the young and their families.


Carol Lister

Slade Nursery School

Why Join the Lab Team?

Slade Nursery School is in an area of deprivation. Slade Nursery School provides places for children accessing funding for vulnerable two year olds, as well as children attending as three year olds. We host stay and play sessions, sensory baby play and health visitors clinics. We are keen to give children the best possible start in life and would welcome the opportunity to explore new ways to support the children and families in the community.


Beth Knighton

Donnington Doorstep

Why Join the Lab Team?

I want to contribute to solutions to the shortage of family and community support.

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Anna Thorne


Why Join the Lab Team?

I am passionate about EI and have a wide knowledge of both local services/projects and EI approaches. I am keen to be involved in something with a positive focus.

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Grandpont Nursery School and Childcare

Why Join the Lab Team?

I want to see all children have equal access to opportunities and entitlements in the early years. I believe that working in partnerships brings the best possible chances and opens the widest doors.



Are you passionate about the future of Early Years work in Oxford and is your face missing from this list?

We have around 40 spots on the team and are delighted to invite people from all walks of life connected to Early Years work in Oxford to join the team above to address the challenge 'How can we work together to meet priority needs for children aged 0-5 in Oxford?'