The professional team at Ascent Fostering is a dynamic mix of people. We have experienced social workers, mentors, administrators, and a wealth of healthcare experts including occupational therapists, an art psychotherapist, and a clinical psychologist, all of who help us reflect, and work in an innovative and creative way with our young people.

We believe effective support and team work is the best way of achieving good outcomes for young people.

Managing Director - Ascent Fostering Agency

Mark Pomell

Managing Director

Job Role/Experience:

I have been managing services and teams for longer than I care to remember, I enjoy supporting people and helping the team reach its full potential. I believe that all children can become successful adults despite previous set backs. I’m committed to creating safe places where children thrive.

Favourite thing: “Laughter”
Least favourite thing: “people who don’t see the potential in people!”
Superhuman Power: Dancing…….
Personality Type: Campaigner - ENFP

Finance Director - Ascent Fostering Agency

Mark Hobbs

Finance Director

Job Role/Experience:

Mark qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Ernst & Young in 2002 and went on to hold a range of senior financial management roles at FTSE 100 companies during the next decade. Alongside this, Mark has spent 20 years developing and leading work with young people. This culminated in 2010 with him founding youth charity Reaching Higher a thriving organisation supporting young people in the Croydon community. Mark combines his passion for young people with his management experience to good affect at Ascent Fostering.

Favourite thing: Sharing laughs over a good meal with friends and family.
Least favourite thing: Going to the gym on a cold winter’s morning.
Superhuman Power: Indestructability. To protect myself against my children’s ambushes!
Personality Type: Advocate - INFJ

Sita Alexander - Ascent Fostering - South London Fostering Agency

Sita Alexander

Fostering Director and Registered Manager

Job Role/Experience:

I have worked with children and families in a variety of setting such as: child protection, looked after children, residential care, fostering and education.
Part of my role as the Fostering Director and Registered Manager is to help develop Ascent’s therapeutic strategies and resources for supporting foster carers and children in their placements. In addition, think creatively about the team’s development and practice. I feel passionate about enabling children to feel cared for, supported and being part of a family.

Favourite things: Travelling, Music and Food
Least favourite thing: Liquorice all sorts
Superhuman Power: Breath underwater
Personality Type: Consul - ESFJ

Nicky Challen Probert - Ascent Fostering Agency

Nicky Challen-Probert

Team Manager

Job Role/Experience

I qualified as a Social Worker in South Africa in 2001 and worked within fostering for 1 year after qualifying and then a further 3 years with Refugees and Asylum Seekers before travelling to the United Kingdom in 2006. I have been in fostering since arriving in the United Kingdom and have worked within various roles. I have supported foster carers, managed/Supervised staff, worked with social work students, completed fostering assessments, managed independent assessors, including quality assuring assessments in preparation for panel presentation. Furthermore I managed the fostering panel process and have sat on fostering panels as a panel advisor. I also have experience of conducting various training and workshops and was active in supporting sons and daughters of foster carers. I love what I do and hope that I can affect lives positively. I am patient and calm in my approach and strive to work in partnership in order to create positive outcomes for children.

Favourite thing: Vacationing with my big blended family
Least favourite thing: Heavy Traffic
Superhuman Power: I am told that I am physically strong
Personality Type: Adventurer - ISFP

Victoria Johnson

Senior Supervising Social Worker

Job Role/Experience

I obtained my MA in Social Work in 2015, after coming from a background of Medicine, Pathobiology and voluntary work with the homeless. It was through my work supporting the vulnerable and disadvantaged; that my direction changed considerably and helped me to realise what really mattered to me. Since qualifying in Social Work I have had the privilege of working with Looked After Children, their families and foster parents for over six years as a CLA Social Worker for a local authority. I loved my job however, experience has shown me that finding a loving, nurturing and supportive home for vulnerable children is critical; from which everything else is possible. Trauma informed parenting is something which resonates with me hugely, as I have seen first-hand the positive impact that this can have on vulnerable children’s lives. Therefore, I am totally thrilled to be starting out on my new adventure with Ascent fostering as I am passionate about relationship based Social Work and hope to use my skills and knowledge to support foster parents to build a secure, safe and loving base from which our children can flourish.

Favourite thing: Cheeeese! Dogs and Dinosaurs
Least favourite thing: Dishonesty
Superhuman Power: Watching every cooking show known to man without ever being tempted to cook
Personality Type: Protagonist - ENFJ

Arlinda Sousa

Senior Supervising Social Worker

Job Role/Experience:

I have 12 years’ experience as a social worker, with 6 years in the Gang, CSE and County Line teams, voluntary and Local Authority and voluntary organisations. I then worked within the Children’s Planning team, which still involved working with children being exploited, but also who had experienced mental health issues, here I was responsible for assessing, planning and ensuring service provisions targeted to their needs wereorganised and accessible to them.

I then progressed to safeguarding, R&E and LAC team. During this time I worked closely with children and families, to safeguard children and ensure their care plan met their individual needs. I also work with the adoption team, successfully assisting two babies to find their forever families. I have been working in fostering since 2021 and despite the challenges I am learning. The experience, skills and knowledge I acquired in the last decade have helped me transition smoothly to fostering.

Favourite thing: Good food
Least favourite thing: Sweat.
Superhuman power: Not having to work for a living, easy money will appear when I need it.

Carrie Cumpper

Supervising Social Worker

Job Role/Experience:

I have always been interested in human behaviour and how the brain works, which led me to completing a BSc Psychology degree in 2018. I then worked as a Teaching Assistant in a SEN school to put my learning around child development and neurotypical development into practice.

I wanted to work more closely with families and trained to become a Social Worker, completing a Post Graduate Diploma in Social Work in 2021. As a student I undertook placements in the Local Authority’s Fostering and Safeguarding Teams, before completing two years in an Assessment Team as a qualified worker.

I am passionate about achieving positive outcomes for children and I am looking forward to utilising my skills to support foster carers to help children flourish.

Favourite thing: Being by the sea (preferably somewhere hot!)
Least favourite thing: Being late for things
Superhuman power: Being able to do a number of things at once efficiently!
Personality Type: Defender - ISFJ-A

Gwen Smithen - Ascent Fostering Agency

Gwen Smithen

Team Co-ordinator

Job Role/Experience:

To provide comprehensive and efficient administrative support to Ascent Management Team, Supervising Social Workers and foster carers.

Background: 22 years Local Government, Housing, Children Services and partnership working with the Home Office. I am passionate about working with families and find it really heart-warming to see when a child's journey from a difficult start in life flourishes with their foster family, adapting to a healthy environment, enjoying and achieving in a nurturing and loving home.

Favourite thing: Travelling
Least favourite thing: Feet on seats on publictransport!
Superhuman Power: Very good perception of people apparently (the Gwendar)
Personality Type: Consul - ESFJ


Karen Bellaby

Recruitment and Marketing co-ordinator

Job Role/Experience:

My background has primarily been within the hospitality industry, working for major International hotel chains and Independent luxury hotels across the globe in sales and marketing. I am transferring my skill set to Ascent Fostering, this is my first venture into social care and I’m loving every minute of it, my role is to help create awareness of Ascent Fostering and to encourage the recruitment of new foster carers.

Favourite thing: Chocolate of course!
Least favourite thing: Public transport in the rush hour.
Superhuman Power: The ability to ride Rollercoasters all day long and not get sick.
Personality Type: Campaigner - ENFP

Carole Rosser - Our Team - Ascent Fostering Agency

Carol Rosser

Admin Assistant

Job Role/Experience

I have several years’ experience as an administrator working at Bupa Care Homes, completing necessary reference checks on new staff and creating their personnel file. Dealing with payroll queries. Purchasing all the equipment for the home, stationery, linen and all the nursing goods required to keep the home operational, i.e. gloves, aprons, pads, light bulbs etc etc. I have transferred these skills to Ascent Fostering, processing new foster carer applications, completing reference checks, updating foster carers training records on our database and generally assisting the Administrator.

Favourite thing: Cookery programmes
Least favourite thing: Cleaning and tidying my daughter’s bedroom
Superhuman Power: The ability to find space in an already packed freezer.
Personality Type: Consul - ESFJ

Dimitri Jordan

Head of Youth Engagement and Independence

Job Role/Experience:

I have worked with young people all over the UK for the last 11 years within- Local Authority,Custodial,Youth Justice, Community, and Education my key skills include:

  • Facilitation
  • Training for professionals
  • Mentoring
  • Gangs and serious youth violence consultancy

Favourite thing: Travelling
Least favourite thing: Snow
Superhuman power: The ability to engage any human being put on the planet
Advocate: INFJ-T

Vicky Samul

Vicky Samul

Occupational Therapist

Job Role/Experience

Vicky is an Occupational Therapist with a specialist interest in working with children with social emotional and mental health (SEMH) difficulties. She’s worked across a wide range of health and educational settings including mainstream schools, specialist schools, Child Developmental Centres, and community settings.
Vicky works with the Ascent Fostering team delivering training to foster carers and the wider team. In addition, Vicky also works directly with young people and their foster carers.
Vicky is passionate about supporting young people to thrive by creating sensory enriched environments to help them feel safe and nurtured. She uses a wide range of therapeutic methods to support the young people and families she’s worked with including sensory based approaches, sensory attachment techniques and core Occupational Therapy approaches. She is also a Just Right State Children and Parents Programme Facilitator and integrates this within her interventions.

More details about Occupational Therapy can be found at:

Favourite thing: Being by the sea
Least favourite thing: Peas and mice
Superhuman Power: The ability to fall asleep anywhere
Personality Type: The Defender (ISFJ-T)

Alanah Wampamba

Fostering Support Work

Job Role/Experience:

I have been working with looked after children, youth and women for the past 9 years. I obtained a Child psychology degree in 2018.
My role as a fostering support worker is to mentor and build relationships with young people and their carers. The role requires me to understand their needs and to provide support in areas where there may be a shortfall, for example; education, personal development and exploring new hobbies and interests.

Favourite thing: Going on fun adventures with family and friends, laughing and the sound of musical raindrops.

Favourite thing: Going on fun adventures with family and friends, laughing and the sound of musical raindrops.
Least favourite thing: Seafood
Superhuman power:Able to stay calm and collected in the most difficult situations.
Personality type: Protagonist (ENFJ-A)

Kira - photo

Kira Montague

Art Psychotherapist

Job Role/Experience:

I have worked therapeutically with children, young people and their families for over 15 years. My career began as a youth and family support worker at a South London based children’s charity, and it was there that I decided to train as an Art Therapist. I completed my MA in Integrative Arts Psychotherapy in 2017 and have since worked within the NHS, local authority, and schools.

Within my role at Ascent I deliver trainings and sessions to support foster parents use art and play therapeutically with the children in their care. Additionally, I work directly with young people, using mediums such as painting, drawing, clay and play figures to help them express, understand and process their painful thoughts, feelings and experiences.

Favourite thing: Being in wildlife.
Least favourite thing: The smell of cooking mushrooms.
Superhuman power: Can I have the powers of a cat?
Personality type: Advocate INFJ-A

Dr Annette Eneberi

Clinical Psychologist

Job Role/Experience:

Annette is a HCPC registered clinical psychologist, who has worked in a range of child and adolescent services (including specialist CAMHs, Children’s Services and Child Development services). She specialises in work with children and young people who have experienced developmental trauma/trauma relating to issues such as abuse and neglect or have been exposed to parenting difficulties.

Annette provides specialist assessment and treatment for children, young people and families with a range of presentations. However, she predominantly completes work with families of looked after and adopted children and children under special guardianships.

Favourite thing: Chocolate, TV/Film (Greys Anatomy, This is Us, The Wire), Coffee.
Least favourite thing: Mint chocolate, people who don’t listen to/try to understand the opinions of others.
Superhuman power: Invisibility or the ability to fly
Personality type: Consul ESFJ-A

Dulcie Miller

Finance and HR Assistant

Job Role/Experience:

My role as finance and HR assistant is to work with Diana helping with the daily bookkeeping and finance processes.

I have worked in the finance industry for four years throughout this time I have gained skills and knowledge within the industry and look forward to it continuing.

Favourite thing: My Kids, Netball and salted popcorn
Least favourite thing: A summer holiday with no sun
Superhuman power: Super Speedy – especially on the school run!
Personality Type: Consul (ESFJ)

Josie Cuckow

Therapeutic Consultant

Job Role/Experience:

To provide clinical support to the fostering team and residential team at Ascent Fostering and Ascent Childrens Services.

I have an MA in Child and Adolescent Integrative Psychotherapy and Counselling and a PG Diploma in Adult Psychotherapy and Counselling and 30 years of working therapeutically with children, young people and their families/carers, in a variety of different settings (child protection and family support, family homes, schools, hospitals, respite care, residential, domiciliary home care and fostering services) and organisations (private, voluntary, health and local authority), individually or part of a team. This includes multidisciplinary and multi-agency working. I am experienced in working with the impact of complex trauma, adverse childhood experiences and special educational needs. I have a holistic and systemic approach and I use different modalities (traditional talking therapies alongside creative play and expressive arts) according to the individual needs of the child or young person and/or their family/caregivers.

Favourite thing: Cats, Walking, Cooking and Sharing meals, Container Gardening and Cutting grass in straight lines!
Least favourite thing: Inconsiderate drivers!
Superhuman power: A barometer and would like to have the ability to change the weather
Personality Type: Advocate - INFJ-A

Kevin Garry - Ascent Fostering Agency

Kevin Garry

Ascent Ambassador

Job Role/Experience

5 years

Job Role: My Role as mentor coordinator is to work as a conduit between the young person in the home and their care. My role is to understand the needs of the young person and be the advocate for them whist understanding and supporting the carers views. I build relationships with the young person, help them explore new hobbies and interest and prepare them for independent living.

Favourite thing: Making people laugh
Least favourite thing: People who can't say sorry
Superhuman Power: The power to morph, To have the powers of the person I have morphed into so I get to experience everything
Personality Type: Mediator - INFP

Jospehina Thomas

Therapeutic Consultant

Job Role/Experience

Job Role: I began my career as a nursery nurse and completed a diploma in ‘Childcare, Learning & Development’. I went on to complete a degree in ‘Working with Children, Young People, and Families and Counselling Studies’. This provided me with an understanding of the social, economic, educational, political, and cultural issues and barriers facing children, young people, and families, and the language to advocate accordingly. Undertaking counselling studies provided me with an understanding of the importance of adopting a person-centred approach and the benefits integrated therapeutic skills can have on communication and engagement with children, families, and professionals. Alongside this, I have developed a wide set of experiences through working within the voluntary sector, inside and outside of the UK including working in orphanages in Uganda, Cambodia, Macedonia, and India. I went on to complete an MA in Social Work and have practiced as a Social Worker in the Local Authority for 5 years. My Social Work background has provided the experience needed to work effectively with experiences of trauma, loss, and attachment difficulties. I am familiar with working empathetically with a diverse range of client groups with varying presentations, and with professionals from many different mental health disciplines.

I am currently in the final stages of training to become an Integrative Children and Adolescent Psychotherapist. While training, I have been working in a private therapeutic practice as a Training Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist, carrying out therapeutic interventions with children and adolescents and their caregivers. I offer children and adolescents the use of a range of tools such as paint, clay, pen and paper, and puppets. I have discovered a curiosity to understand life from a child and adolescent-like perspective. This involves listening, observing, and paying attention to what children are saying both verbally and non-verbally. Throughout my career, I have gained a reputation for my ability to connect with people from all backgrounds. My style is warm and approachable, and brings a sense of fun that allows children and carers to be at ease. Providing a calm, non-directive, and empathetic space to promote growth and personal development, where people can feel truly heard and emotionally met.

I offer long-term face-to-face work, online counselling, and short-term face-to-face work to children, adolescents, and adults. My specialisms are Child abuse, trauma, stress, exploitation, family breakdown, separation, anxiety and depression, grief and loss, family/relationship issues, neurological disorders, gang affiliation, knife crime, Child and/ or parental substance misuse, placement breakdown, and personal growth.

Favourite thing: Fluffy blankets and fluffy socks.
Least favourite thing: walking in the rain and getting wet socks.
Superhuman Power: being able to zoom from A to B.
Personality Type: Protagonist

Prasanthi Thata

Finance Manager

Job Role/Experience

Job Role: I am a seasoned Finance Manager with a versatile background across finance, operations, and risk management. I am skilled in internal controls and proficient in Management Accounting and payroll administration.

In my previous roles, I led the finance team for a Health & social care firm for over seven years, worked with an Investment Bank in their risk management division and a market-leading Payroll service provider. I am currently pursuing the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and hold a bachelor's degree in commerce.

Favourite thing: Spending time with friends and family over a good meal
Least favourite thing: Getting up early in the morning on a weekend.
Superhuman Power: Patience and perseverance
Personality Type: Defender (ISFJ-A)


Clare Sherwin

Administrative Assistant

Job Role/Experience

I have had 16 years of experience working in various administrative roles within different companies such as the Home Office, Gibbs Hybrid and Bytes Software Services.

In my role with Ascent Fostering, I will be providing administrative support to the administration team, management and senior social workers. This is a rewarding role knowing that I am helping a child to be placed in a kind, loving and safe home and set them up for a good start in life.

Favourite thing: Music, Theatre, A roast and being by the sea or amongst nature.
Least favourite thing: Marmite
Superhuman Power: A mindreader – the gift to know what other people are thinking
Personality Type: Consul ESFJ-A


If you would like to contact us, you can do so in a variety of ways.
Send us an email, give us a call or say hello on social media!

If you have any questions about fostering, do not hesitate to ask us and we will provide you with all the information you need. Ascent Fostering has over 25 years of experience in fostering children and our team can support you every step of the way.

Call Us: 020 3757 0070
Email Us:


Ascent Fostering Agency
Hillcrest House
51 Woodcote Road