The Oxygen Team
Oxygen Recovery is managed and run by a professional team who always put their clients at the centre of the work they do. The team work together to achieve a common purpose - changing and improving the lives of people suffering from substance misuse problems.
Below you will find detailed information about each of our team members, their backgrounds and experience.
joint chief executive
Derek started working within Supported Housing over 15 years ago. He began as a trainee Support worker at a large hostel in central London and was soon promoted to a drug and alcohol worker specialist. His first managerial role came after 12 months when he was asked to manage a 10 bed third stage house for clients completing Residential Rehabilitation. After five years at Irish Centre Housing, he became an Operations Manager for English Churches Housing Group, managing two services supporting sex workers and clients with varying alcohol and drug and complex mental health needs. When funding was removed for both services Derek took on a new challenge, developing and managing a new 25 bed hostel for armed forces veterans. After three years building up the service, he recognised that he still had unfinished business with his first love, developing alcohol and drug services and the opportunity to work for a small and innovative charity like Druglink was too hard to resist. Derek has been at Druglink for five years, in which time he has developed and overseen the Oxygen Recovery pathway which is now able to offer clients two years of supported recovery.
Wendy began her career in substance misuse fifteen years ago as a volunteer. She undertook counselling training and soon became a fully-fledged member of a Recovery Team. After undertaking CPD and management training she progressed through a number of leading organisations in the field, working her way up to Service Manager – largely in community-based services. Joining Oxygen was Wendy's move into residential rehabilitation, and the best move she ever made. Wendy sees it as a privilege to be part of a clients' journey from admittance to graduation. She is a qualified trainer and counsellor, a published freelance writer and nearing the completion of an NVQ level 5 in Leadership & Management in Health & Social Care, plus she has two BA degrees. Wendy enjoys spending time with her three teenage children, watching rugby, tap dancing, meditation, cookery and reading.
Gary started his career as a Recovery Champion at a treatment centre, supporting those arriving into treatment. As he progressed in this role, he began to see a career path ahead of him and wanted to help people on their path to recovery. He was given his first paid employment as a night worker, concurrently completing the first part of a counselling qualification. Whilst competing the second year, he was employed as a counsellor at Druglink. From this position he has progressed through the ranks and is now Senior Practitioner. Gary has a level 4 counselling qualification and is currently working towards an accreditation. He has just started his level 4 qualification in health and social care and this year he will also be completing a Gestalt group facilitation qualification. Gary is very grateful to be in a position where he can aid people on their recovery journey.
Tom has been working for Oxygen for nearly two years. He is passionate about recovery and enjoys watching clients gain back their lives. Tom employs various techniques such as CBT and mindfulness. He is currently studying counselling at West Herts college. Tom has a cat called Gandalf and an appreciation for cardigans and sci-fi movie t-shirts.
James joined Oxygen as an Apprentice Recovery Worker in August 2015, his first role in the field of addiction. Within seven months he had been promoted to Recovery Worker where he is part of Oxygen's dedicated team. He has a Level 2 Counselling Skills qualification, Level 3 Counselling Theory qualification, a Level 4 Diploma in Integrative Counselling and is also a registered member of the BACP (MBACP). For James, it is a privilege to be part of the recovery journey with clients and their families, and to share the joy as they experience the hope of a life free from the grips of addiction. James is a qualified ceramic tiler, he loves football and has three wonderful children and a beautiful wife.
Prior to working in the field of substance misuse Tony was a school class assistant, youth worker and (latterly) and adult education tutor. His first opportunity in substance misuse came with a position with Drug Care in St Albans running a drop-in service. He then moved to Druglink where for 14 years he worked as Outreach Worker, a unique post which entailed home health visits to clients. He also had a community remit to promote awareness of the effects of substances to the general public in a vast range of venues from schools to nightclubs. Tony is now part of the Oxygen team as a Recovery Worker at The Resolutions Hub in Luton.
Hema has been working at Oxygen for nine months as a Waking Nights Worker and recently began her role as Recovery Worker. Prior to working at Oxygen she spent ten years as an English teacher, but left this to study an MA in Criminology at BCU. As a result, she became interested in working in the field of crime and an its inevitable association with addiction. During her time as a teacher she saw how badly addiction affected her students’ lives and wanted to help them in a more direct way by working with addicts and their families. Hema's hope was to eventually become a recovery worker and aid those affected by crime and addiction to overcome this and lead fulfilling lives. Hema lives with her husband, father and a clowder of cats, and is hoping to move onto her husband’s narrowboat, which they are currently renovating.
Dean started at Oxygen as an Apprentice Recovery Worker in September 2015. After 18 months of extremely hard work, he has recently become a full time member of the team. He loves his job, especially as he sees a client change and develop as they journey through their recovery. Dean is currently studying level 2 counselling and level 3 health and social care. He is hoping to further his studies in level 3 substance misuse. In his spare time, Dean loves going to the gym, eating healthily and spending time with his girlfriend.