Our History

Starting life back in the 1940s as Havering and Barking Marriage Guidance, we provided couple counselling for the residents of these two boroughs, in time expanding to cover the boroughs of Waltham Forest and Redbridge.

Our name changed to Relate in the late eighties and by that time, our services had expanded to cover Relationship Counselling, Sex Therapy, and Training and Education.

In the late nineties we started providing Children and Young Peoples Counselling and Mediation, and a few years later, Family Counselling.

Now we deliver services in nine London boroughs stretching from Tower Hamlets in the east to Haringey in the North and our 60 practitioners offer relationship support and mediation to individuals, couples, and families of all ages and backgrounds.

Relate London North East and North Essex is an independent charity and a member of the national charity Relate.

Meet the Team

Our team are responsible for the effective management and running of Relate London North East and North Essex. They’re also here to give you the best possible service and provide you with the information and support you need.

Pamela Forsyth

Pamela has delegated responsibility from the Board of Trustees for the strategic and operational management of Relate London North East and North Essex.

Pamela has worked in the charity sector for over 21 years, bringing this experience to her role of CEO with us. Our area of operations covers one quarter of London, with all the diversity that the area brings, and Pamela oversees the development and smooth running of our services to meet the needs of this population.

Lesley Kelsey
Service Delivery Manager

Lesley has worked in her current role for twelve years, and brings her expertise to ensure that the services we offer are run effectively and professionally, and that the staff teams are up to date with their on-going professional development. She is also responsible for a number of specialist projects, which can vary from managing a team working with young people at risk of becoming gang members, to project managing an office move.

Sue Cook
Mediation Manager

Sue runs our Mediation Service, having been responsible for establishing this service in 2000. She is responsible for all aspects of Family Mediation, as well as Workplace Mediation, and all connected projects.

Clinical Supervisors and Practitioners (including trainers)

We currently have five clinical supervisors (Counselling), one Professional Practice Consultant (Mediation), and a team of 60 practitioners.

Finance and Administration

The unsung heroes of the organisation,  a team of two in finance, 12 administrators and four receptionists who underpin the smooth running of Relate London North East and North Essex.

Meet our Trustees

Our Trustees share the responsibility for the overall running of Relate London North East and North Essex are voting members of the charity’s governing body.

Patsy Whiteside

Patsy originally worked in property and merchant banking and later trained as a teacher and taught in Further Education. She is has been a member of the Governing Body of Woodford County High School since 1990, first as a parent and then as a Community Governor. She is Chair of the Curriculum and Pupil Welfare Committee and member of the Strategy Committee. Patsy is also Chair of the Wanstead & Woodford branch of the WEA.

Patsy runs a small business with her daughter.

Bohdan Bezdel
Vice chair

Bohdan has spent more than 30 years working in the city of London, firstly at Prudential, then Kleinwort Benson and lastly as main board director at Hermes Pensions Management. He is currently Vice chair at Relate London North East and North Essex and Chairman of the Rayleigh Primary Academy Trust.

Michele Grant

Michele is an accredited coach and mediator and is currently a director of Rising Minds, a social enterprise company delivering resilience training, coaching and mindfulness-based programmes in corporate, public sector and community settings.

Prior to making the transition into inter-personal work Michele held a number of senior leadership roles in the BBC including nine years, based in Washington DC, in charge of news services for the US market. Her skills include journalism, communications, marketing and business development. Before that she spent six years in local government (Hackney and then Islington). She has been a trustee of Shelter and the mediation restorative justice charity Common Ground and is currently a trustee of the reformed offenders charity, Unlock.

Mehvish Shaffi-Ajibola

Mehvish is an HR Consultant and has worked in a wide variety of settings. She also brings a sound strategic background, having worked in the NHS as well as smaller organisations.

Become a Relate London North East and North Essex Trustee

Being a Relate Trustee is a very rewarding role as it allows you to give something back to your local community and support a charitable cause. Trustees meet regularly during the year to consider, determine and review Relate London North East and North Essex’s strategies and policies.

Trustees are people with a range of experience who enjoy forging links in the community. Skills and experience within the following areas and disciplines can be particularly helpful;

  • management
  • finance
  • legal
  • public relations
  • information technology
  • fundraising
  • counselling
  • psychotherapy
  • social welfare
  • young people
  • education

If you would like to be considered as a future trustee, please contact Pamela Forsyth, Chief Executive, 01708 441722, pamelaforsyth@relatelnene.org.uk

Our Partners

We’ve developed a strong network of local and national organisations to support our work in across North East London and North Essex. Working with these organisations means we’re able to provide relationship support to more people who need it.

We’d like to express our gratitude to the following organisations and associations.

  • London Borough of Havering
  • London Borough of Tower Hamlets
  • London Borough of Enfield
  • London Borough of Redbridge
  • Legal Aid Agency
  • CAB Hackney
  • Broadford Primary School
  • Merry Hill Primary School
  • Rise Park Primary School
  • Robert Clack School
  • The Warren School
  • St Edwards Church of England School
  • Marshalls Park School
  • Eastbury Community School
  • The Sydney Russell School
  • Sacred Heart of Mary Girls School
  • Drapers Academy
  • Coopers’ Company and Coborn School
  • Frances Bardsley Academy for Girls
  • Phoenix Project
  • College of Mediators
  • Womens Aid

Become a partner

We believe that working with other organisations Relate has a long history of partnership working with both statutory and voluntary sector organisations and is always keen to develop new links in the community.

If you would like more details about working in partnership with us please get in touch.


We are members of the following governing bodies and associations.