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The UK's leading Shared Parenting charity

National Council



  • Greg Downing (Chair)
  • Phil Markham (Treasurer)
  • John Baker
  • Alison Bushell
  • Andrew Crumpton
  • Ian Findlay
  • Lee Grice
  • Jerry Karlin
  • Emlyn Jones
  • Wayne Martin 
  • Paul O'Callaghan

Company Secretary

  • Michael Lewkowicz

Biographies of our Trustees and the Company Secretary can be found below. 

29/01/08 - Policy Paper on Roles, Authority and Limitations of Families Need Fathers Charity Functionaries


Greg Downing (Chair)

Greg Downing became a member of FNF a number of years ago and received amazing support from the Northampton branch. He wanted to give back to FNF and make a difference to peoples lives through support and improving the family justice system. He has started an FNF group as well as working as a Mckenzie friend specialising in cases of parental alienation, and involved globally bringing awareness to this family dynamic which seriously harms children. 

Greg has been on the board of two other children charities as well as working as a volunteer raising funds and working for Homestart. He is a qualified and registered family mediator. Greg has previously worked globally as a business consultant and was involved in delivering the IT service delivery strategy for 2012 Olympics. His MBA specialised in entrepreneurship, innovation and business start ups. Greg is passionate about giving children the best start in life, positive parenting, gender equility,shared responsibility parenting and positive collaborative change. Greg is also a health expert teaching mind body training, postive change, yoga and life coaching.

On 12th March 2020, all Trustees appointed Greg Downing as FNF new chair during an online National Council meeting.


Phil Markham (Treasurer)

Phil has two boys aged 5 and 9 lives in London, and is separated from his wife.  He has been a trustee (Treasurer position) since September 2012 when he volunteered to help with the charity’s finances.  His first task was to review the financial statements and take a look through the ledgers.  Phil is a graduate and qualified as a Chartered Accountant 20 years ago.  Since then he has had a successful career in auditing, commercial finance, management consulting and, more recently, change management on programmes and initiatives from start-up to post go-live.  For many years he led internal and external audit teams throughout the UK, Europe and the USA.  

Pursuing a career first in finance and then into systems and technology Phil is keen on value added activities and process improvement.  He has worked with large software packages and in-house development.  Most of Phil’s career has been in the media sector.   In his role as change manager he works across teams, working across internal teams and with senior management to deliver change and improvements at the head office of a major multi-national media organisation.

Just like most of the FNF membership Phil went through a difficult time when his wife wanted a separation and he turned to FNF for help and support.  He was impressed by the work of branch level volunteers and was able to get handy advice.  He wanted to give something back and this is his first trustee position. He has been involved at a crucial time as the charity has had to change to survive budget cuts and keep servicing the large membership on limited funds.

Phil grew up in West Yorkshire and graduated in Newcastle Upon Tyne. Outside of work he has a passion for football, cricket, tennis and music.


Jerry Karlin (Previous Chair)

Jerry Karlin first joined FNF in 2001 when he was close to separation from his wife.  He subsequently came on board as a volunteer to work on the Helpline and became increasingly involved with the IT of the helpline and gradually many other areas of FNF as well.  In 2012 Jerry was invited to become a Trustee and he was elected Chair and Managing Trustee at the AGM in March 2013. Jerry has been and is still involved in several other charities in Yorkshire where he lives.

Jerry has two children, now at university, with whom he has recently been fortunate enough to regain a relationship after a gap of well over five years.  He was married for nine years and has been divorced since 2002 during which time he has been in court well over 40 times (with and without legal representation) over contact and financial issues.

Jerry Karlin has worked in IT since 1979.  Initially working for an IT systems house, he left to form a start-up after inventing the RAM-disk.  For seven years Jerry gained useful experience running this small organisation and co-managed and developed further related products whilst also carrying out IT consultancy and design.  In 2001, after his separation from his wife and children, he joined one of his clients, an innovative investment company (GAM), where he worked as a full-time employee for seven years as Marketing Technology Manager.  After 2008, Jerry returned to freelance work in IT development and project management.  Concentrating on primarily the finance and investment sectors, he also has experience in media and marketing in general through projects at the Press Association, Xerox, Teletext Holidays and many others.

Born in London, Jerry grew up in the UK, Switzerland and Israel, before settling in Kent until after his divorce, when he moved to York following the unexpected relocation of his children. 

Jerry studied physics at Imperial College London and Essex University, moving from physics to computer engineering (computer science with electronics) at Essex.  In addition to considerable experience in IT system and software design and practice over the years, Jerry has a strong interest in enterprise and management.  He also completed a short course in counselling and a one-year course in hypnotherapy.  Other pursuits include various NLP courses, notably with Richard Bandler, Michael Breen and Paul McKenna and most recently with Dr Henrie Lidiard.  Since working with FNF, Jerry has had helpline training and has also attended a course on Parental Alienation with an expert in this field, Karen Woodall.  

Jerry’s other interests include technology, philosophy, psychology, conflict resolution, energy, religion, community and generally trying to understand why the so-called modern world still needs so much improvement.  Also of interest are photography, films, music, food, the internet and the other usual suspects.

Jerry, like all of FNF’s numerous volunteers is working to drive FNF forwards under now very difficult financial conditions to continue to support separating parents and through them their children.  His objective is also to promote change in family law and the related services, emphasising the need for more sensitive dispute resolution rather than the “popular” obscenely overpriced and hopefully moribund adversarial approach.  Jerry remains appalled and saddened by the alarmingly poor outcomes increasingly coming to light in a surprisingly and shockingly large number of cases.  There is much to be done and we need your help!

After over seven years of almost full-time participation, in March 2020 Jerry decided to not stand for the Chair re-election to continue to support the Board and Greg's chairmanship as a Trustee.


John Baker

Academic career - economics, sociology and social policy studies. Scholarly writing included family policy. Now retired and working part-time.

Mainly Voluntary Organisation activist. Took a ‘Council of Voluntary Service’ from first worker desk hunting to a £1.5m outfit, 400 member organisations. Member of Social Services and other local government committees, involved in grant applications of maybe £20m, NCVO tutor, etc etc.

Meet criterion 3 of the desired characteristics, (but charity, not commercial) 
Skills to offer in areas 5,6,7,8 and 9.

Interest in FNF for the usual reason. Non-coping mother given control. Children returned when old enough to decide and stayed until adults.

Initially branch activist. Became trustee responsible for policy and communications. Helped change perception of us from ‘an organisation that must never be given respectability’ (Jenni Murray on Woman’s Hour) to being in the top division of voices about family policy. Became Chair when we had 1.6 FTE staff and a budget of £35k. On resigning, 16 staff and £360k. Changes in Statute Law (e.g the award of PR to signatories of the birth certificate, others), many in administration and policy. (Mostly now lost). Half a million acts of help p.a. Did most things initially. Grant applications, speaking at meetings, policy papers, media appearances, evidence to Parliamentary committees….). Personal work was not the key. That was knowing how to tackle problems and developing teams.

Recent work in London branch, eg Parental Alienation and Accusations of Abuse workshops.

Committed to making us more welcoming, transparent and energetic. FNF current work - if seen by looking at the office alone - is impressive, but not compared with what is needed and achievable.


Alison Bushell

Alison is an Independent Social Worker Consultant and Expert Witness. Alison undertook a masters course in social work and has been a social worker for nearly 30 years. She has qualifications in counselling and therapy as well as being a qualified paralegal. Alison has also been a Children’s Guardian.

Through her business Child and Family Solutions she specialises in high conflict/Parental Alienation cases. Evidence-based assessments for the Court where alienation appears to be affecting healthy family attachments post separation and therapeutic assistance on the reunification of children with their alienated parents, led to several successfully reunited families.


Andrew Crumpton

Andrew Crumpton has been a trustee of Families Need Fathers for over a decade and has had several roles during that time including acting CEO, Vice Chair for many years and even a brief spell as Chair and managing trustee. He joined the board when he was asked by the then Chair John Baker to set up a national helpline following an offer by Channel 4 to publish our helpline number (which we didn’t have at that time). The rest as they say is history.

During the last decade, there has been a lot of changes within the Charity, and Andrew has witnessed and been part of them all. He has worked in the office, ran a branch for several years and supported individuals in numerous cases at different courts of all tiers.

Unfortunately despite supportive words from the Court of Appeal, he has lost contact with his eldest daughter, however he remains hopeful that she will one day choose to seek him out. 

He is married and has a daughter and son at home. He works full time as a teacher in secondary school. His work as a teacher has reinforced his belief that children benefit from good quality contact with both parents and that a child’s welfare is best served by both parents working cooperatively together for their child’s best interests.  This is where the work of Families Need Fathers can and does make a social Impact in addition to the valuable work done supporting families during separation.


Ian Findlay

Ian joined FNF in 2012 following his retirement. His interest in issues relating to fathers started when he became a parenting adviser for Tower Hamlets Education Authority in 2001. Ian ran parenting courses , and was concerned that fathers were usually overlooked. 

Ian currently edits the Branch Newsletter which is circulated to all volunteers and is Chair and founder member of the East London Branch. He assists members with practical support and form filling advice. He also provides emotional support to service users facing the intensely emotional, and what can become brutal, separation process.

Ian’s career was primarily in education, mostly in secondary schools and Pupil Referral Units where he became a Deputy Head. In the final years prior to retirement he worked as an Education Adviser.


As a trustee Ian is keen to develop cooperation between London branches and fill the geographic gaps with additional groups. He would also like to develop a Separated Parents Course which would help dads and mums with the myriad complex problems associated with separation and divorce.


Lee Grice

Lee joined Families Need Fathers in 2009 and attended branch meetings to try to ensure that his daughter was able to have a full relationship with her paternal family. In 2010 because of the valuable support received at the branch meetings Lee began volunteering for FNF as an Outreach Volunteer at the Liverpool office shortly before funding for this came to an end. Lee has been involved in fundraising for FNF including volunteering at Glastonbury to raise money, supermarket bag packing and through being sponsored to complete a half marathon for Families Need Fathers. Lee began volunteering on the FNF national helpline in 2011 and continues to volunteer taking calls on the local branch helpline. 

Lee comes from a professional background in accountancy and finance, and also in quality and risk management, he is a fluent Spanish speaker and had been working overseas for 4 years before returning to the UK to ensure that his daughter was able to see him after separating from his daughter’s mother. Lee became a Trustee of Families Need Fathers in 2011 and as well as sitting on the national council has sat on various subcommittees in relation to his professional experience.

Lee occasionally acts as a volunteer McKenzie Friend to help people and to use his experience of the family courts in a positive way, and because he is a firm believer in Families Need Fathers and the importance to children of maintaining proper family relationships - because both parents matter.


Emlyn Jones

Emlyn was persuaded to stand as an FNF trustee for two main reasons. He has a deep sympathy for parents, who have been deprived of having contact with their children through no major fault of their own, and believes that FNF can do a lot more as regards promoting the charity and want to be involved in the decision making process.

He has been involved with the charity since his own issues with his son in 2001. Having set up an FNF branch in Merseyside, his operation of an office in the area indirectly led to the Government granting funds for a Northern Office to FNF.

He was employed as the Regional Co-Ordinator in the North and help set up FNF Scotland (now "Shared Parenting Scotland"), which has gone from strength to strength.

His time is given now to hundreds of parents seeking guidance as he has earned a reputation as one of the countries leading McKenzie Friends. Cases such as Re DV [facts] have established legal precedent. He has met and discussed law with the previous three Presidents of the Family Division.

When Michael Robinson authored a report into problems with Family Law, he insisted that Emlyn should present that to Sir James Munby.

Emlyn also chaired the meeting his predecessor had at FNF AGM.

When senior judges and politicians meet with him, they are aware he knows what he is talking about.

His passion for fairness has led to issues between himself and the charity over the years, but that is all past history now. He is looking forward with positivity, realising that there is so much more FNF can do to heighten the profile of the charity.


Wayne Martin

Wayne became a trustee at the AGM on 16th November 2014. He was proposed by Jenny Cuttriss, Chair of FNF Northampton, and seconded by James Cooper, Secretary of FNF Leicester.

Wayne served for 13 years in the Household Calvary, followed by 21 years in the Police service. He finished his time in the Army having risen to senior NCO instructor level, and completed several tours of duty in Northern Ireland. As a Police officer, his ambition was always to serve the public.  He remained a uniformed front line immediate response officer. Wayne was trained as an advanced driver, firearms officer and tutor constable. He is now semi-retired and devotes his time between his daughter who has ambitions to become a vet, FNF commitments and part-time work to pay for the upkeep of his horse. 

Wayne joined FNF around 2000/1 following separation from his wife and the start of long extended proceedings in the Family Courts up to High Court level. He has experienced the same problems as the majority of FNF members, having acted as an LIP (Litigant in person), used Mckenzie friends, solicitors and barrister when funds allowed.

Wayne always wanted to give something back to FNF for all the help, advice, support, kind words of sympathy and the odd shoulder to lean/cry on of far too many good people to mention.

With his background in Criminal Police work, Wayne soon became aware of the gaps in the Family Courts and Cafcass’s ability to identify and correctly report domestic emotional abuse that is caused when one parent denies the other access to their children. 

Wayne has worked behind the scenes for many years in conjunction with National Office on projects. Over the last two years, one FNF project he is leading is trying to get CAFCASS to accurately report denial of court-ordered contact as domestic abuse. He represents FNF on his local family justice board. Five years ago Wayne set up FNF Leicester. The Branch is a great success with over 250 people attending each of the last 4 years. He works closely with FNF Northampton and FNF Burton pooling resources and experience to give members the best possible help.

Wayne would like to see FNF’s profile raised in the public domain. He hopes that the work FNF does, including individuals, branches/groups, and the charity, will bring about the speedy significant changes needed within the Family Courts so all children wherever possible get to spend significant time, mid-week, weekends, holidays with both parents.            


Paul O'Callaghan

Paul's interest in becoming an FNF trustee stems from two periods in the family courts. 2009 and again in 2018, when he realised the 'system' had not improved at all considering the change in age of his daughter. The Courts and Cafcass had only worsened. What is more, the co-parenting support groups had very fragmented and begun competing with each other. The fragmentation of such groups has allowed single-interest groups to dominate the agenda of shared parenting.

Paul sees FNF as the pioneer and leading support group and as the group which should be the unifying force for positive co-parenting post-separation. 

He is happily (re)married since 2013 and his wife is currently pregnant with twins!

His primary contribution to FNF is professional finance and corporate governance. He has an MBA from Cranfield School of Management and he is a qualified accountant. He has extensive knowledge of the Companies Act 2006, and roles and duties of directors (and trustees). He is a director of companies in UK and Overseas and CEO of a company employing ~3,000 people.

Whilst in a different field, he has been successful in lobbying the UK government in their advisory role to overseas governments on the use of alternative fuels and of GHG emissions. He understands the tenacity required for such lobbying and is adept and building professional networks, locally and internationally. They have an 83% success rate in R&D grant applications with the UK Government, in relation to alternative fuels and emissions reductions.

His contribution would also be the development of sustainable revenue through commercial ventures and sustained sponsorship. The development of grassroots support and the rejuvenation of the local network groups.

He is naturally adept at marketing and promotions and the use of modern media tools for the promotion of ideas and campaigns.


Michael Lewkowicz (Company Secretary)

Michael has 25 years of commercial experience and a further decade in the charity sector. He has been a management consultant, an executive at Tesco and held a number of managerial positions at B&Q’s head office, including in Merchandising, New Format Development and Buying when he had direct responsibility for a budget of over £50m. He then joined ICI Paints as their Customer team Marketing Manager and later held a number of marketing positions including Group Brand Manager for Dulux paints where he innovated and launched several successful new product ranges.

Michael’s family difficulties led him to become involved with FNF as a volunteer in 2009 and subsequently joined the staff team looking after the finance side of the organisation. For three years Michael maintained his involvement at FNF whilst Head of Finance and Operations and Company Secretary for spinal cord injury charity, The Back-Up Trust. At Back Up, as a member of a Senior Management Team, he led the organisation through a period of income and services growth of 40% to £1.5m. Michael returned to FNF in December 2015 and is now FNF Director of Communications and Company Secretary.

Michael is all too familiar with the shortcomings of the family justice system. He has been in protracted, expensive, High Court proceedings for several years, both as a legally represented father and as a litigant in person. He is painfully aware of how a lack of appropriate interventions by courts and other agencies can lead to alienation of children from a once loved parent.

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FNF HSSF Kite Mark

Families Need Fathers has been awarded the Help and Support for Separated Families Kite Mark which is a new UK government accreditation scheme for organisations offering help to separated families.

Families Need Fathers work with a range of family law professionals, including Family Law Panel.

FNF are pleased to announce a partnership with MyDaddy who have built this excellent app for the significant proportion of fathers who are now newly sharing parenting after separation.

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