Meet the Team


Donna Swan - Founder & Senior Director

Donna founded Calmer Therapy back in June 2015.  Donna is a mother of 3 children, 2 of which have additional needs. Donna's career in Health and Social Care showed her first hand how little support there was in the community for those with additional needs and disabilities, and their families.  The constant cuts to mental health services and the growing number of families desperate for support, spurred her on to set up her own organisation to help those in need.  And so Calmer Therapy was born.

Donna has won numerous awards for her work and commitment to helping others.

Kim Ridley - Director

Kim has a 14 year old son with ADHD and a rare genetic disease and started attending sessions at Calmer Therapy in 2016.  


Kim took on her role as a Director in 2019, after realising she wanted to give back to them and help other families in the same way she had been helped.

You'll see lots of Kim at our centre, as she loves nothing more than to be involved in the many sessions we offer.


Dawn McKenner - Director

Dawn has 2 children who both love coming to the Calmer Therapy centre and enjoy the sessions we run, but this wasn't always the case. 


Her son has Autism, ADHD, Learning Difficulties and Anxiety.  Dawn really wanted her son to find a social group where he could have fun, make some friends and work on his social skills.  A friend told her about Calmer Therapy and despite only living only 5 minutes away, she had never heard of us.  As it was so local, it appealed to her straight away.  It took her son 9 months in total to settle into Calmer Therapy, but even after the first session he agreed to go back and go more often.

Dawn works as a Physiotherapist for the NHS and even though she works with adults, her career has provided her with a lot of skills that can be transferred to the children at Calmer Therapy, particularly in her role as a football coach for the younger members of our football team.

Dawn is very passionate about spreading positivity about additional needs.

You will see a lot of Dawn at our centre, as she loves being involved with our sessions and supporting our children and families.

Claire Chalder - Director

Claire is a mother of 2, who both have additional needs. 

Claire has a background in childcare, administration and experience at running her own businesses and a passion for helping others.  She has experience at working with children with special needs, as well as having qualifications in childcare, psychology and autism awareness.


Claire spends a lot of her time for Calmer Therapy working behind the scenes doing administration work, but you will see her from time to time at our sessions with her children, who really enjoy taking part in our activities.


Lilian Alderson - Director

Lilian is a mother of two beautiful girls and has been with the group since it began.  She currently works as a Learning Disabilities Nurse Assistant for the NHS, where she works on a long-term rehabilitation ward.  She is trained to care for patients who have learning disabilities, alongside a wide range of complex mental health needs.

She is currently in the process of completing an Advanced Diploma in Health and Social Care and is working towards being accredited for counselling, life coaching and cognitive behavioural therapies.  She will be become CDP accredited.

Lilian has personal and professional experience with mental health issues, so is a big asset to the Calmer Therapy team.

Nicola Strachan - Director Berwick Branch

Nicola is the Manager/Director of the Berwick Branch of Calmer Therapy.


Benjamin & Peter - The Calmer Therapy Bunnies

Benjamin & Peter are the Calmer Therapy Bunnies. Currently lodging with Kim and her family, they are lovable, but full of mischief and our children absolutely adore them.