Our Staff


Ruth Ayres - Project Manager 

Ruth is a qualified Social Worker and became Project Manager in June 2016, she is responsible for managing the team, overseeing the many various strands of SelfharmUK and dreaming up new exciting ideas. Ruth brings a huge amount of passion and knowledge to the project and is keen to drive the project into a new direction, to ensure as many young people as possible are reached. Ruth has 16 years’ experience working with children, young people and their families. She is keen to ensure that SelfharmUK becomes a leader in supporting not only young people through self-harm, but parents, carers, teachers and all who work alongside them. 

Ruth lives in Buckinghamshire with her husband and two cats, she enjoys spending time with family, friends and watching musical theatre. 


Jo Fitzsimmons – Alumina Program Manager

Jo is a qualified youth worker and joined the team in July 2016, Jo is mainly responsible for managing the Alumina program within SelfharmUK, but is very much involved with all aspects of the project. Jo is hugely passionate about seeing young people reach their full potential. She has worked for over 20 years in many different settings with young people and has a vast knowledge about self-harm and emotional resilience. Jo has parented a child who was a self-harmer for many years and has an acute understanding of the impact self-harm has on not only young people, but their whole family.

Jo lives in Birmingham with her husband and two children, she is often found walking her dog or hanging out with friends.


Laura Haddow - Training and Marketing Manager

Laura is a qualified youth worker and has been working with young people for the last 10 years. She headed up a youth project in East London for seven years, working alongside young people involved in a wide range of issues including self-harm. As a partner of a self-harmer for many years, Laura is passionate to not only support young people affected by self-harm, but also those around them. Laura looks after all things booking and marketing related when it comes to training and events, but is very much involved in all aspects of the project, she brings a huge amount of knowledge and passion to the team and is keen to ensure young people parents and professionals get the right support at the right time. 

Laura lives in Brighton with her husband and daughter and is often found playing guitar or sat on the beach.


Jessica Whittaker - Operations Co-ordinator and Database Manager

Jess joined Youthscape at the beginning of June 2016 and now works on the SelfharmUK project as the Operations Co-ordinator and Database Manager. It’s her job to keep the show on the road and manage our contact with young people and youth workers, teachers and other professionals. As she learns more about self-harm and why it affects so many young people, the role allows her to incorporate her two passions, being creative and helping people. As a design graduate, Jess brings an excellent creative eye to her role and to supporting the development of the SelfharmUK brand. She also plans to continue her freelance work having fun creating all sorts of things for all sorts of people. 

Besides designing, her favourite things to do include spending time with friends and engaging in music, books, films and TV-shows that inspire her to feel good about herself. 

SelfharmUK is also supported by:


Chris Curtis

CEO of Youthscape. Chris trained in law at the University of Bristol before moving on to work in schools as a youth worker in the early 1980's. He became the first member of staff at LCET in 1993 and, as Chief Executive, oversees the strategic development of the project. In 2001 Chris completed a Master Degree at the University of Birmingham in Educational Psychology (Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties). He writes and speaks widely on education, culture and young people. Both he and his wife Helen are registered Foster Carers and have two children of their own.