Find out more

ABOUT US

Due to the current funding climate, Smile is operating a reduced service from March 2024. Please see here for the full information.

Please donate by giving a

or a

Due to the current funding climate, Smile is operating a reduced service from March 2024. Please see here for the full information.

Please donate by giving a

or a

find out more about smile group

Smile Group was set up by Natalie and Ruth in 2011. Both mums had first-hand experience of perinatal mental health challenges, and identified a gap in community support.

Our service offering has been shaped around the parents we support, with compassion and kindness at its roots. Our premise was to create safe, non-judgmental spaces in which parents can connect with peers and benefit from a combination of services at a vulnerable time in their lives.

Smile’s team has grown organically over the years, combining lived experience with professional insight. Our team is the lifeblood of the organisation and brings a blend of expertise with first-hand understanding of the reality of living through perinatal mental health challenges.

Meet the team

ruth-williams

Ruth Williams

Ruth co-founded Smile in 2011 with Natalie and is the charity’s Operations Director. Like Natalie she had experience of perinatal mental illness and was adamant that more support was needed for families across Cheshire East at a community level.

Ruth looks after all things behind the scenes, from HR to finance, funding, team management, policies and safeguarding.

(Below is a video via Comic Relief of Ruth when she was selected to be part of the Queen’s Baton Relay 2022)

Speaking about why she set up Smile, Ruth said: “I desperately wanted someone else to talk to about how I was feeling to ‘normalise’ some of the feelings. I genuinely think this might have stopped me feeling as bad as I did back in 2010. Having peer support – people who have been there to talk to gives you hope and is different to engaging with professionals.”

She enjoys meeting families and always finds it really moving to receive testimonials from people who have benefitted from Smile’s services.

Her words of comfort for parents are: “You’re not alone, you can and will get better. There’ll be bad days and good days, but the good days will increase.”

Ruth counts setting up Smile as ‘up there’ in her achievements and proud moments and reflects that out of a negative experience came a positive and it’s humbling to be able to help others on their journey.

natalie-nuttall

Natalie Nuttall

Natalie co-founded Smile Group alongside Ruth in 2011 after experiencing postnatal depression and seeing a glaring gap in community support. She is passionate about the creation of trusted spaces that enable parents to have honest conversations about the reality of their experiences of perinatal mental health challenges.

Natalie is a Director of Smile and provides strategic oversight, focusing particularly on stakeholder relationship development and communications. She is also Lead Coordinator of The Hearts and Minds Partnership, a national collective of three perinatal mental health charities; Acacia Family Support, Bluebell Care and Smile Group, supported by the National Lottery Community Fund to help connect and support grassroots perinatal health services across England.

Speaking about Smile she said: “I feel privileged to be part of such a wonderful team who are so compassionate and caring but also understand the importance of rigour and quality in the work we do. Smile is always learning and is dedicated to providing safe, targeted support for families when they need it most.”

sue-brereton

Sue Brereton

Sue came through Smile’s services as a mum in 2012 and once she had fully recovered, she began working with us as a Group Facilitator in 2013. Now working as a Wellbeing Practitioner, Sue co-facilitates groups and carries out home visits.

Sue is passionate about peer support and believes it’s incredibly powerful to be able to say to someone “I understand, you’re not alone and this will pass.” She loves being able to support people and provide a safe space for honesty as well as hope. Nothing gives her greater pleasure than seeing parents feel well again and to see so many lifelong friendships blossom from meeting parents going through a similar journey.

Her words of reassurance to those who are reticent about coming along are “Just come along, the sense of not being alone is so powerful. We don’t sit in a circle and all share, it’s up to you how much you share and with whom. It was a real turning point in my recovery coming to Smile.”

Our Counsellors

Amanda Hunt

Sue Koppen

Helen Ashby

the Board of Trustees

Beverley Goodwin

Shirleyanne Henney

Anna
Maddox

Tania
Stanway

Vicky Markham

Victoria Markham-Bean

Lee
Shore

Justine
Garner

Neil
McPherson

work with us

We don’t have any vacancies right now but if you’d like to get in touch, please send an email to hello@smilegroup.org.uk or contact us via this website.