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Our people

From our specialist advisors, to our team of Trustees, everyone at First Light is committed to working together to build safer lives free from domestic abuse and sexual violence.

We’re here for you. To support you when you need it, along the whole journey.

Our people

From our specialist advisors, to our team of Trustees, everyone at First Light is committed to working together to build safer lives free from domestic abuse and sexual violence.

We’re here for you. To support you when you need it, along the whole journey.

I really wouldn’t have been able to do any of this without you… I am doing better every day.”

Our staff

People you might meet during your journey with First Light:
ISVAs – Independent Sexual Violence Advisors
ISVAs work with people who are going through the criminal justice system after experiencing recent or historic sexual violence. Your ISVA will offer emotional support, explain court processes, and help you get back on track to a brighter future.

If you haven’t reported to the police, ISVAs can also offer an options meeting to help you decide if you want to take your case through the criminal justice system.
IDVAs – Independent Domestic Violence Advisors

IDVAs are trained to provide intensive support to individuals in immediate risk of serious harm. They provide emotional and practical advice, guidance and support to help you and your family to become and remain safe. They will seek ways to empower you to make positive safe choices and they will liaise with other professionals on your behalf. The support they provide could include help for you through a court process, help to access safe accommodation and can advocate on your behalf.

DASAs – Domestic Abuse Support Advisors
DASA’s support individuals who don’t meet the IDVA threshold but who still need support, especially at the time an individual is leaving a relationship and the period after. They provide emotional and practical advice, discuss safety options and can advocate on your behalf.

Volunteer mentors

Volunteer mentors offer telephone support if you’ve been affected by domestic abuse. They offer one-to-one emotional support (not counselling) by providing a listening ear if your needs do not meet the criteria for referral to a DASA or IDVA, and/ or if you’re on a waiting list for therapy and other help. Five sessions of mentoring are offered over a five week period.

Knowing the support we offer is enabling victims of domestic abuse to move forward with their lives is so rewarding.”
Linda, Volunteer Mentor
We have a number of different therapists available to different clients to work through trauma at every stage and find a way forward to a brighter future.

Adult therapists use an integrated approach to counseling to develop an approach that fits the specific needs of each individual they work with.

We also have specialised therapists who work with young people aged 11-18 to explore issues in a way that resonates with them. And play therapists help children aged 4-11 to explore their experiences and express their emotions through play.
Crisis workers
From taking your initial phone call to providing support in forensic exams, crisis workers are by your side at every step of the way if you’ve experienced rape or sexual assault and attend a Sexual Assault Referal Centre (SARC). They will help to explain the process and provide emotional and practical support.
Crisis advocates

Being on a waiting list to see an ISVA can be a difficult time. Crisis advocates help you during this period, providing emotional support and advice and making sure you’re not alone while you’re waiting.

Our trustees bring a range of diverse experience and expertise to guide and oversee our work. They represent many different professions and organisations, but each of them shares our intent to create a brighter future, free from abuse and fear.

Management Team

Our senior management team includes key representatives from the different areas of the charity. This means we’re always able to consider what’s happening out in the real world and make decisions that really move us forward.

Lyn Gooding

Chief Executive Officer

Lyn brings a wealth of experience within the domestic abuse and sexual violence arena including the investigation of crime, the commissioning of specialist services, contract management and partnership working.

Having previously served as a Police Officer with Devon & Cornwall Police, Lyn gained experience in a range of areas including child abuse investigations, critical incident management and partnership working. Lyn was also successful in helping to secure funding to establish Cornwall’s first Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) in Truro.

Following retirement, Lyn joined the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner (OPCC) for Devon & Cornwall, latterly serving as the Criminal Justice, Commissioning & Partnership Manager. Working to the Police & Crime Plan Lyn established effective working relationships with several partners including NHS England, Ministry of Justice, Home Office, Local Authorities and a range of organisations who provide victim care services building on the relationships she previously forged whilst serving as a Police Officer.

Linda Mason-Brown

Business Manager - Finance

After studying Business and Finance at college, Linda has worked in Finance for her whole career, bringing 25+ years of knowledge and experience to First Light. She also has professional qualifications in Finance, Payroll and ILM.

Throughout her accounting career, she has worked for numerous companies including national organisations and charities in a variety of sectors including Marine Research, Commercial Property Management, Construction, Leisure, Retail and Education.

Her experience in charitable organisations include the Marine Biological Association where she spent 10 years in Accounts, EU Funding management and helping to raise and secure funds for the Plymouth Aquarium; and Plymouth Marjon University where she spent 10 years managing the Universities income, debt collection, investment portfolio and auditing.

Linda is originally from Plymouth, but having spent many years in the North West and overseas she returned to the West Country where she’s now been living for the last 30 years. In her spare time, she has an active social life enjoying dancing, walking, reading and family activities.

Lewis Leggatt

Swindon & Wiltshire SARC Manager

Lewis joined First Light in 2020 as the Engagement and Outreach Coordinator for the Swindon and Wiltshire SARC. In 2022, he was promoted to the Swindon and Wiltshire SARC Manager. He hopes to use this opportunity to further drive public and professional awareness of the fantastic work that SARC do to support victims and survivors of sexual violence.

In his spare time, Lewis enjoys SUPing, exploring new places, and trying new foods.

Cath Curno

Director of Sexual Violence Services

Cath was born in Plymouth and started her career at 16 as an apprentice with British Aerospace. She then joined Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust to start a nursing career, which ended following the birth of her first child. Cath returned to work within the hospital as a medical secretary and began her management career in Clinical Governance.

Cath completed a CMI Diploma in Management and took a more senior role as CAHMS Service Manager and subsequently Deputy Directorate Manager for Paediatrics. Cath joined First Light in 2012 as the Plymouth Sexual Violence Services Manager.

Cath lives in Plymouth and has two children and two step-children. She enjoys long walks and travelling around Devon with her daughter for various football related commitments.

Sharon Minty

Devon & Cornwall ISVA Manager

Sharon completed her Certificate in Social Work at Plymouth University and on completion, worked as a Probation Officer in Wiltshire. Over two decades she worked in a variety of settings with the Probation Service and became a Manager with Dorset Probation.

Following a career break and relocation to Cornwall, Sharon was appointed as the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) Development Manager to establish the SARC in Cornwall. The SARC opened in 2011 and Sharon’s role changed to lead the SARC and Independent Sexual Violence Advisory (ISVA) service in the county. Throughout her life, partnership working and a strong victim focus have been key.

Richard Baker

Director of Governance and Compliance

After moving to the South West in 2013, Richard spent several years working in the world of Adventure Sports. This was followed by time with a national children’s charity as their Head of Facilities.

Richard joined First Light in 2020 in a temporary position, and took on the permanent role of Director of Governance and Compliance in April 2021.

In his spare time, Richard enjoys making the most of the beautiful South West and spends time walking, swimming and camping throughout Devon and Cornwall.

Mel Francis

Director of Domestic Abuse Services

Mel was born and raised in Manchester. She has lived abroad and established a drop-in group and support network for women and families experiencing Domestic Abuse in the Armed Forces setting.

Mel settled in Cornwall to raise her family. For many years, she studied as a part-time student and gained a number of qualifications. Alongside her studies, Mel volunteered for several organisations, including MIND and Action for Children.

As one of the first Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVAs) in Cornwall, Mel has worked with women and men experiencing high-risk domestic abuse at the point of crisis.

She has three adult children and enjoys travel, kayaking, reading and spending as much time as possible at the beach.

Mara Treliving

Business Support Manager

Mara recently joined the First Light team as the Business Support Manager. Starting her career in Business Administration 7 years ago in another charity, her passion is to contribute, support and make a difference.

Mara has a Level 2 and 4 Diploma in Business and Administration and enjoys using her problem-solving skills in new challenges and projects as it involves working on something ‘different’, which motivates her. Working for an organization that’s values align to her own are also important. 

Mara has lived in Plymouth all her life and is a mother of dogs! In her spare time, she enjoys walking her dogs, going to the gym, and spending time with family and friends. 

Karen Barnitt

Therapeutic Team Manager

Karen came to First Light in 2015, and has worked as an Adult and Child Sexual Violence Counsellor, Team Leader and now Team Manager.

Her background before she came to us was working in residential drug and alcohol rehab, where she worked with both men and women. Karen has also counselled in several secondary schools in Plymouth. Originally hailing from the London area, she has lived in Cornwall over 25 years.

Martin Nelson

Safe Spaces Team Manager

Martin began his career working as classroom support for children aged 4-11 with complex needs. He completed his degree in Education and Philosophy in 2016, before focusing on outdoor education and experiences, and moving to New Zealand.

Upon his return from New Zealand, he relocated to Cornwall, and joined First Light as a Complex needs ISVA, before helping develop the Male Specific ISVA role and gaining national accreditation for this service.

He joined the Safe Spaces Team to procure and launch the service with First Light, before taking the manager’s role on a full time basis.

In his spare time, he likes to take in the outdoors by sea swimming, walking his dog on Dartmoor, kayaking and spending time with family.

Tony McCartan

Swindon and Wiltshire ISVA Manager

Tony moved to England in 2009 to complete an honours degree in technology. Coming from a sports background as a retired ex national bodybuilder and rugby player.

He has worked in the prison service for 10 years, working as a prison teacher, teaching prisoners mechanics. 

He loves the gym and helping people and being a dad to his 2 kids. 

Tony had his own bodybuilding shop in 2012 and decided to sell-up and move to Bristol to help people and ended up in the prison service. He has learned a lot about himself and decided to take what he knows and direct his passion into helping the victims of the crimes. 

He is very passionate and direct, also very loyal and trustworthy. Multiple careers working in men’s mental health, fraud to the MOJ and running his own shop.

Tom Godwin

Head of Communications and Income Generation

Tom is an experienced senior professional with a history in the charity, performing arts, education, music and entertainment industry. 

Tom joined First Light after working various Citizens Advice’s in Devon and leads on Communications and Revenue Generation.


Our trustees bring a range of diverse experience and expertise to guide and oversee our work. They represent many different professions and organisations, but each of them shares our intent to create a brighter future, free from abuse and fear.

Michelle Davies

Chair of Trustees

Michelle is a Director of Partnerships on the VAWG Task Force, she co-wrote the VAWG Strategy and lead on the development of the VAWG Digital and Education Strategy. As a previous Strategic Lead for Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Michelle lead the first DASV Strategy that included violence against men and boys, and also commissioned First Light to deliver the integrated DASV Services in this area.

Michelle is also a Trustee for a Police Benevolent Fund, and has a wealth of experience leading whole system transformation on a local and national platform. She is relentless in her pursuit of improving accessibility and standards of services for victims, early identification and intervention, crisis management and recovery programmes, and sustained behavioural change programmes for perpetrators.

Michelle is step mum to two wonderful children, and in 2018 took a career break to work and teach in a Scuba Diving Centre in Cyprus. Prior to that, she is proud to have been awarded an MBE for services to victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence in 2017.


Ali Chitty

Lead Trustee for Communications

Ali is an Assistant News Editor at BBC Southwest, responsible for producing Spotlight, the regional news programme. She lives in Plymouth with her two teenage children.

During her time as a journalist she has covered numerous court cases and interviewed the victims of Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence. She joined the Board of Trustees to support the valuable work conducted by First Light.

Vikki Martin

Lead Trustee for Legal

Vikki is a partner at a local law firm and is the head of their Family Department. Vikki provides legal advice to clients who are separating and has particular specialism in helping clients who are victims of Domestic Abuse.

Vikki returned to Plymouth in 2006 to pursue her legal career after spending time studying in Cardiff and in France.

In her spare time, Vikki enjoys the theatre, live music and travelling to far-away places.

Poppy Naylor

Lead Trustee for Fundraising

Poppy is a senior fundraising and marketing strategist with extensive experience of developing major campaigns and fundraising strategies.

She spent 15 years at Cancer Research UK where her impact ranged from re-energising mature campaigns like Race for Life to launching brand new high-profile campaigns like Stand Up To Cancer. Poppy now works as an independent consultant with clients including Unicef UK, Movember, and Save the Children. She’s keen to use her experience to support the valuable work of First Light.

Poppy moved to Cornwall in early 2017 with her husband and young son and is loving being back in the West Country. She’s currently enjoying her first season of surf rowing.

Tim Smith


Tim is a qualified solicitor who was employed in the Magistrates Courts Service for 40 years, the last 33 of them as a Justices’ Clerk in the South West.

After service in Greater Manchester and the East Midlands, he came to Cornwall in 1984, moving to Devon following re-organisation, and then into a role covering Devon, Cornwall and Dorset from 2012. As principal legal adviser to the magistrates in his area, he spent many hours in the courtroom, seeing at first hand how the justice system deals with issues of domestic abuse and sexual violence, and helping to implement many aspects of the Victims Code.

A further restructure of the service led to his early departure in 2018, allowing time for voluntary roles as a school governor in Plymouth and a member of the committee which recruits new magistrates.

Currently living in Cornwall with his two adult children, Tim enjoys the theatre and daily walks with the ageing family dog and tries to enjoy his season ticket at Plymouth Argyle.

Sophie Dupre Echeverria


Sophie Dupre-Echeverria is a governance, risk and compliance practitioner with over 20 years of experience in the financial services. She is passionate about diversity and inclusion and, in particular, gender equality.

She is the Chief Risk & Compliance Officer and Chair of the D&I forum at GIB Asset Management, a boutique sustainability asset management in London, where she lives with her husband and her younger daughter, whilst her eldest studies at Exeter university.

Sophie joined the board of trustees to advance First Light’s mission to support the victims of, and raise awareness about, domestic and sexual violence.
Beate van Loo-Born

Beate van Loo-Born


Beate van Loo-Born is a senior executive in financial services, currently working for the Swiss stock exchange after 15 years at UBS. In line with her passion for sustainability, she leads various industry groups towards ESG data transparency facilitating sustainable investments.

She also chairs the Women Data Professionals European Chapter which promotes the development and advancement of women in data science. She is keen to use her finance and risk experience to support the valuable work of First Light.

Beate lives in Zürich with her Australian husband and 7 year old daughter and loves competing in long distance triathlons.
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Adrian Foulger


Adrian is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) having qualified with Ernst & Young (EY) in London.

Adrian spent 20 years in senior finance and leadership roles at blue chip financial institutions including Flemings, Cazenove and Standard Chartered.

He was a top ranked equity research analyst and lived in Asia for a number of years. He also co-founded and acted as treasurer of an industry linked charity.

In the past 10 years Adrian has focused on supporting growth companies and on sustainability initiatives. He has a BSc (Hons) from Exeter University and has three nearly grown-up children.

Franka Fueller


Franka is a senior fundraiser who is passionate about leading teams through change and developing people to achieve their best.

With 12 years’ experience in fundraising and leadership in environmental campaigning, international development, and humanitarian aid, she has a track record of growing income and facilitating new ways of working.

She spent 8 years at international disaster relief charity, ShelterBox, where she created a direct marketing programme from scratch, growing it to a multimillion-pound income stream and launching innovative new products like ShelterBox Book Club.

Franka now heads up public fundraising at environmental campaigning charity, Surfer’s Against Sewage, and supports First Light with developing their strategy to fund their vital services.

With a passion for insight-led decision making, she is also Treasurer for the Chartered Institute of Fundraising’s (CIOF) special interest group, Insight in Fundraising.

Originally from Germany, Franka has lived in Cornwall, UK, since 2010. And despite her efforts, she is yet to find a more beautiful place to live.
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Paul Jones


Paul is currently the Chief Information Officer at Delt Shared Services Ltd in Plymouth and lives locally with his wife and children. He has spent over 30 years working in Information Technology roles which included 10 years in the Royal Air Force and over 20 years in private and public sector Information Technology companies.

Paul joined the board of trustees to use his experience to help First Light achieve its mission.

More information

About First Light

First Light is a charity supporting people in Cornwall, Devon and Wiltshire who have been affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence.

Funders and partners

Our lifesaving work supporting thousands of people would not be possible without our amazing funders, donors and partners.

Media contact

If you’re a member of the media who would like to find out more about First Light and our work, please get in touch.