Meet Our AP Team
It takes a lot of dedicated staff to run a specialised Alternative Provision! Let's meet the team involved...
Katie O'Brien - Head of Alternative Provision
As well as being the Head of Alternative Provision, Kate is also a Senior Manager and Therapist across the ADO business.
Kate has worked at ADO since 2013 and has gained a wealth of experience and skills. She started as a volunteer with the Events Team and has worked incredibly hard to develop her career and progress within the business, becoming a senior therapist along the way. Kate leads the team on the ground at the Alternative Provision and is the Safeguarding Officer.
She is a Bushcraft Practitioner and has an Animal Assisted Therapy Diploma, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Diploma and Animal Management Diploma. With her knowledge and experience with therapy, Kate is able to advise and support all staff whilst working with children and young people with SEN, SEMH, challenging behaviour and EAL.
Kate's hobbies include being outdoors with nature, going to music concerts, keeping fit and spending time with her family, friends and animals.
Victoria McHolland-Pilcher - Managing Director & Proprietor
The ADO Education and Therapy teams are overseen by Victoria McHolland-Pilcher, our Managing Director. Prior to co-founding ADO, Victoria obtained over 15 years Project Management and Business Consultancy experience and qualifications working for large firms in London and her own consultancy company.
Victoria's life history includes a lifelong love of supporting youth and community programs and with a family heavily involved in youth and community, spent many summers supporting holiday schemes for deprived children and young people. Victoria has undertaken both the Forest School Leader Level 3 course and is also a Bushcraft Practitioner with several years of experience of implementing these programs within our range of services.
Victoria is a qualified Low Ropes Constructor and Instructor, has completed Suicide Assist training and also holds qualifications in Animal Assisted Therapy, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Relaxation Therapy and in more recent years, experience studying a range of equine training programs to bring horsemanship to young people. With a therapy team on hand, we are in a strong position to support children and young people with SEND requirements where required.
Victoria's ambition to open a specialist outdoor education preschool came to fruition in February 2016 and concluded successfully in 2020 after obtaining Ofsted judgement Outstanding in the first inspection. In parallel she developed a specialist outdoor education Alternative Provision which focuses on supporting Children and Young People with a range of difficulties, the setting specialises in Social, Emotional and Mental Health difficulties enabling CYP to achieve outdoor education vocational qualifications to support their career pathways and equip them with coping strategies to apply within their lives. This AP setting has grown year on year and along with our therapy services is the main focus of ADO to extend and support more CYP through outdoor education and therapy.
Victoria's hobbies include bushcraft, willow weaving, all outdoor pursuits and a passion for horse riding and natural horsemanship.
Gary McHolland-Pilcher - Chief Operating Officer
Gary has over 20 years' experience working in the City and West End of London within Information Technology, Telecoms, Sales and Company Operations. He has gained a huge skillset within all of these areas and he utilises them daily at ADO. His knowledge and experience have helped grow ADO from a very small company into a thriving business, offering education and therapy to many individuals.
When Gary isn't busy in the main office, working away on policies, procedures, business development and accounts, he is out on the land at Poets Corner helping to develop the site.
Gary has a lot of large projects on the go at the moment and is constantly striving to progress the business, especially the Alternative Provision. He was recently nominated to take part in a series of workshops at the British Library, which gave access to some of the top consultants in London providing invaluable information which has helped move the company towards new horizons.
Gary enjoys most sports, playing the guitar, all types of horticulture and long country walks.
Eloise Greenwood - Business & Exams Officer
Eloise has been with ADO since 2013 and has proved herself as a valuable member of the team. She started volunteering with the company at community events and with animal photography. Eloise has shown versatility in her time with ADO and her skills have grown with the company. Eloise has a great passion for animals, supporting children and young people and helping others.
Eloise is now the Business and Exams Officer for ADO and shows true dedication and hard work to this demanding role. Although she is based at the office, Eloise loves being outdoors and will visit the Outdoor Healthcare and Education site whenever she can!
Eloise holds a Level 2 in Early Years Care and Education, a Bsc Hons in Media Technology and a National Diploma in Media. She loves getting creative and is usually bursting with ideas!
In her space time, Eloise enjoys planning parties and celebrations, doing craft and bushcraft and spending time with family and friends.
Lauren Wishart - Finance & HR Administrator
Lauren joined our office team in October 2019 and is now HR and Accounting Assistant! Lauren supports with the financial side of the business as well as keeping staff records up to date.
She has achieved a Level 2 and 3 AAT in business and finance and she will be putting these qualifications to good use!
Lauren has first-hand experience being around young people with additional needs, as her sister has a rare condition called Myotonic Dystrophy, has severe learning difficulties and delayed development. This experience guided Lauren towards us as she wanted to work for a business who help others. Lauren has helped her dad to run charity days to raise money for SEN schools to help keep them well equipped to support the children and young people there.
She is an animal lover and has a beautiful dog called Bailey. Since being with ADO, she has worked to combat her anxieties around snakes and has befriended one of the bearded dragons.
In her spare time, she enjoys seeing her family, listening to music and going out with friends.
Robert Jarvis - Lead Instructor and Manager (DSO)
Robert joined ADO in April 2019 and instantly proved himself as a confident and enthusiastic team member.
Robert started his career in outdoor education in 2009. Along the way, he has developed many skills and always enjoyed encouraging children and young people to get outdoors and try new experiences!
Robert is the Lead Instructor and Manager for ADO. He supports the team on site, assists with curriculum and lesson planning, runs lessons with students and can lead Low Ropes, Non-Contact Boxing and assists with archery.
Robert also holds qualifications in Rock Climbing, Paddle Sport, Mountain Biking and he is a Low Rope Instructor and a qualified Mountain Leader!
In his spare time, when Robert isn’t climbing half way up a mountain, he enjoys being outside on either his bike or in a boat.
Joe Greenwood - Land Support Supervisor
The Outdoor Healthcare & Education site and grounds are maintained and up kept by Joe, who has a Level 2 in Horticulture. Joe works hard to ensure all of the outdoor areas at ADO are of a high standard and he has built many of the features at the AP site, such as the mud kitchen and music wall. He has dead-hedged areas and ensures the safety of the site. Joe has built a Land Support area on site, where smaller projects can be worked on. He has also built various shelters and enrichment for our animals - which they all approve of! Joe is happy to tackle all tasks and loves getting to grips with a new project and really getting stuck in!
As the team have grown and Joe's role has developed, he focuses on the ADO land and maintenance and continues to develop the site.
Joe is also trained in Chainsaw Maintenance & Cross Cutting and is the Fire Warden for the AP Site.
In Joe's spare time, he enjoys woodwork, pyrography and walking.
Sara Buckley - Teaching Assistant & Therapist
Sara started with ADO in 2015 as an Event Leader for animal encounters and therapy events. Sara has shown real dedication and hard work over the years to train and improve her skills.
Since starting with ADO, Sara has evolved with the company and has since obtained qualifications in Animal Assisted Therapy, Teaching Assistant L2 and is currently working towards a Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) qualification; this will help to support our AP students and our therapy clients.
Sara loves our ethos and enjoys being outside. She is always full of crafting ideas to utilise nature to make beautiful displays and art work!
When Sara doesn't have her head in the books studying, she enjoys camping, dancing and bushcraft. Sara has a passion for crafts and is extremely resourceful! She is always willing to learn new skills and has recently been developing her skills with willow weaving!
Eva Vaughan - Occupational Therapist
Eva graduated from University College Cork in Ireland with a degree in Occupational Therapy in 2012. Whilst in Ireland, Eva spent some time working in a child and adolescent mental health service. Eva worked with young people on tasks such as developing fine and gross motor skills, working on social skills, and implementing sensory strategies.
After moving to London in 2014, Eva spent the next few years working in different adult mental health settings in secure units and acute wards. Through group work and `1:1 sessions Eva assisted people to develop independent living skills via activities like self-catering, leisure exploration, community access, and vocational projects. Eva also completed recommendations on how best to support clients once they had been discharged back into the community. Throughout this time, she also volunteered with an animal assisted activity programme.
Eva started as a project leader with a care farm in early 2019 where she still works when she is not at ADO. Here she has had the opportunity to work with adults with intellectual disabilities and autistic spectrum disorder through sessions based on animal care, horticulture, land maintenance, and natural crafts. Eva started at ADO in late 2019. She has loved working therapeutically with the students and animals here and utilising the natural environment to work on activities such as mental wellbeing, daily life skills, and sensory exploration.
Eva absolutely loves spending time with all kinds of animals (though is partial to cats!), and in her spare time also enjoys listening to music, going to concerts, art and films/TV.
Ronnie Mitchell - Outdoor Educator
With a wealth of experience in youth work, Ronnie has been involved with ADO since 2017. As well as working with ADO, Ronnie works for Bromley Youth Service, where he works with young people aged 16-17 years old. He has also worked with the Prince's Trust. Ronnie has been a team leader at both locations and enjoyed working with young people.
Ronnie has an NVQ Level 3 in Youth Work and has been an Educational Visit Trip Leader, a Basketball Coach, Resilience Body Training, Amateur Rowing Instructor and so much more!
Ronnie loves seeing the transition of young people and being able to work at the alternative provision within nature and the beautiful surroundings. He is a fun member of the team and enjoys getting creative with the nature around him.
Ronnie's hobbies include listening to music, watching cooking programmes and collecting coins.
Emma Bronsdon - Outdoor Leader
Emma joined our team in October 2018 as a Sports Educator Apprentice. This allowed her to start the exciting journey of a career in outdoor education! Emma showed an abundance of dedication and passion during her apprenticeship and quickly completed this to become an Outdoor Leader.
Emma dove head first in to the role and soon became a Bushcraft Practitioner; she puts these skills to use in everyday lessons. She has also completed training in Low Ropes and is able to lead this activity with the children and young people on site.
Emma loves working with the animals and seeing the positive impact they have on the children and young people. Emma revels in being outside all day, especially in the woodland and she enjoys being part of the student's journey with us.
Emma's hobbies include spending time with her dog, exploring outside and practicing her bushcraft skills.
Charlotte Fenna - Animal Science Educator
Charlotte started with ADO in 2018 as an animal care volunteer, offering her wide ranging skillset to assist with the animals on a daily basis. Charlotte's passion and dedication led her to becoming a full member of the team in 2019.
Charlotte has since completed her Level 3 Animal Management BTEC extended diploma and Level 3 NCFE Education. She is currently working towards her Level 5 DET.
Charlotte runs Animal Care lessons with the primary and secondary students and ensures the animals' welfare throughout the day. She is also the programme lead for the Animal Care BTEC award and runs animal focused AQA courses as well.
Charlotte enjoys working with the animals and being outdoors as she finds it very calming.
In her spare time, Charlotte enjoys reading, watching films and seeing musicals.
Natalie Doig - Equine Studies Educator
Natalie started volunteering with ADO in 2014, where she assisted with the animal care. Her role grew and developed in to a contracted position in 2016, where she predominantly took on the animal care role and assisted with therapy groups. Natalie took a real fondness to the horses and decided she would break from ADO in 2018 to pursue her equine studies and general experience.
Natalie re-joined us in November 2020 with a qualification in Animal Management, British Horse Society Stage 1 in Horse Care & Management and Riding. Natalie also took time to work in a riding school so she could gain experience teaching riding lessons. On top of all this, she also has her own horse, Rio, whom she cares for on a daily basis. In her spare time, Natalie spends time with Rio by going for hacks in the woods and going show jumping together!
Natalie finds all animals very therapeutic to be around, especially horses and ponies. She also has a passion for photography and videography and enjoys getting creative in nature!
Natalie will be sharing her wealth of knowledge of the equine world with the students as well as supporting other areas of the Alternative Provision.
Kyle McHolland-Pilcher - Digital Marketing Apprentice
Kyle has been volunteering and working with ADO since 2018, where he assisted with holiday clubs and animal care. Kyle has continued to develop his role whilst balancing a busy school and social life. He is now our Digital Marketing Apprentice and is rapidly learning new skills!
Kyle helps to plan, produce and edit videos, which are featured on our Youtube Channel. He also assists with the social media updates, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. He helps with marketing to promote our services and is learning all things website as well! Kyle is adding another string to his bow by learning how to complete staffing payroll. When he is not being a technical whizz, Kyle can be found supporting on the land at Poets Corner.
Kyle’s favourite things about being outside are learning new things and being active. In his spare time, he really enjoys climbing and unwinds by gaming.
Michelle Brodie - Alternative Provision Support Staff
Michelle joined ADO in September 2020 to assist with the Alternative Provision. With her bubbly and happy personality, Michelle was an instant hit with the students!
Michelle has a vast amount of experience working with children and young people, both in this country and in America! Michelle started working with children with SEN when she was 18 years old. She is incredibly passionate about working with children and has worked in youth support, youth clubs and in American summer camps. Michelle's favourite thing about working with children is that she loves a challenge!
With a passion for travelling, Michelle has visited many countries, including Vietnam and America. Whilst in New Zealand, Michelle did a sky dive over Lake Taupo! When she isn't on or throwing herself out of a plane, Michelle enjoys spending time with her friends and family. She has two daughters, 4 hamsters, a dog and plenty of sea monkeys, which keep multiplying!
Michelle holds a BSL Level 1, is a personal trainer and enjoys astronomy. In her spare time, Michelle enjoys being active and likes cycling, hiking and going to the gym. Her favourite thing about being outdoors is the fresh air and getting dirty!
Amy Bradley - Outdoor Assistant
Amy is a well-travelled member of the team; with a background in conservation, Amy has travelled and lived in countries such as Costa Rica, Thailand, Seychelles and Mexico. Once Amy moved back to the UK, her passion for being outdoors and learning led her to supporting children at a local forest school as a seasonal tutor.
Amy studied BSc Wildlife Conservation with Zoo Biology at university. She then went on to complete a conservation internship in Costa Rica. She would now like to expand her skills and qualifications in outdoor education and bushcraft.
Amy loves being able to use her knowledge and passion of the outdoors to inspire a connection with nature and animals in others. She is often trying her hand at new skills and enjoys getting hands on with nature.
In her spare time, Amy enjoys woodland walks, photography and getting creative with crafts and drawing.
Christine Harrison - Head Food Grower
Christina (Chrissy) has been with ADO since 2013 and has been based at Poets Corner, long before it was developed into our Alternative Provision! Chrissy is the head Food Grower on site. The food growing area features beds and polytunnels, where she and her dedicated volunteer team grow food.
Chrissy uses organic growing practises in the farm growing area and our Alternative Provision students benefit from delicious fresh salads and vegetables.
Chrissy runs Horticulture Studies with the Primary and Secondary children on a weekly basis. She also oversees and supports the students tending to their own herb patch areas. This promotes independence, responsibility and helps teach the students about growth and development. In addition to this, the horticulture lessons with Chrissy also promote mindfulness and self-care.
Having such fresh and delicious fresh foods available and helping to grow them helps us to promote healthy eating and well-being.
Chrissy loves being outdoors in all weathers, tending to the salad beds! When she is not working her green fingers, Chrissy enjoys travelling and was particularly fond of South America.
Jarvis & Velvet - Therapy Dogs
Jarvis was adopted by ADO in 2012 after he was rescued from Ireland. He was given a very loving home and enjoyed days at the office as well, where the team all made a big fuss of him! Jarvis has many fans and he was so in demand, we couldn't keep up with his bookings! It was decided in 2014 that Jarvis was going to get a companion, so they could work together and play with each other whilst not in sessions. Along came Velvet, who was rescued from Belvedere in 2015! After a bit of hesitation, Jarvis & Velvet were soon bounding around the field playing together and they have been inseparable ever since! Velvet was welcomed in to the team with open arms and was soon a very big hit with everyone as well!
Jarvis and Velvet spend the majority of their days together at the Alternative Provision. They go on dog walks with the students and are partial to grooming and tummy rubs! Jarvis & Velvet assist in some therapy sessions as well. They have also completed phobia work with individuals who have approached us having dog phobias and wanted to combat these.
Velvet is also known for her skillset in dog agility; as part of our Jack Petchey award scheme one of your young people dedicated his fund pot to buying her an agility set. The students enjoy setting this up and watching Velvet show off her skills!
In their spare time, Jarvis and Velvet enjoy long walks in the countryside, playing with their toys together and having cuddles (Jarvis also enjoys chasing flies).
Image shows Bella (our guest therapy dog), Velvet and Jarvis.
Our much loved animals form a vital part of our team! Part of the students' days with us includes animal care for the mammals, reptiles and invertebrates at our Alternative Provision site.
We have Horses, Ponies, Pygmy Goats, Pigs, a Raccoon Dog, Guinea Pigs, Rabbits, Rats, Chinchillas, Ferrets, Leopard Tortoises, Terrapins, Royal Pythons, Corn Snakes, Bearded Dragons, Berber Skinks, Boa Constrictor, Leopard Gecko, Crested Geckos, Tarantulas, Scorpions, Stick Insects, Giant African Millipedes, Giant African Snails, Cockroaches, African Bullfrog and Saddled Beetles.