Our People

Charlotte Waite -Director, Children, Young People and Families

Charlotte Waite I am a qualified Social Worker with an Msc in Applied Social Science. My work experience includes working with Looked After Children, care leavers and working with Option 2, at the time a ground breaking service working with families whose children were at risk due to parental substance misuse. The service won a Community Care award for its work whilst I was there. I then went on to develop the first family support service for concerned others of substance users using the Community Reinforcement and Family Training approach (CRAFT) and became the first UK trainer in this evidence based intervention for families. I then led the Integrated Family Support Team in Newport when it was pioneering the implementation of the multi-agency systemic approach to child protection and substance misuse. I then went on to the University of South Wales as a Programme Leader on the Social Work course and co-authored research and evaluations of the Integrated Family Support Service Families First 'Family Skills' and the inclusion of service users and Carers on Social Work Programmes for the Care Council Wales. I came to Solas in 2014 as Director of Children and Family Services and I am very excited to be overseeing the development of the Footsteps to Recovery Service in Cardiff.

Sara Davies - Head of Adult Services

I started my career in a manufacturing environment and quickly progressed to be a senior buyer for a number of major brands. While I was in this position I qualified for foundation stage HNC in purchase and supply. Part of my role was to audit factories in China, where working conditions affected me too deeply that I decided to change my career. I started my career in Care and Support with Reach Supported Living as an Independent Living Support Worker and moved on to work as a Housing Related Support Worker, where I developed a passion for enabling people and got hooked on the buzz of changing peoples lives for the better. I have since gone on to manage a number of floating support services for generic needs, older people and people with Autism. As Head of Adult Services in Newport for Solas I am enjoying supporting our managers and support staff to be the best they can be supporting people who are threatened with homelessness and gripped by a number of issues including poor mental health and substance misuse to make positive changes to their lives. During my time with the group I have achieved a level 5 QCF in leadership and Management in Social Care and a Certificate in People Management. Outside of work my hobbies include hiking, surfing and travelling both overseas and locally in my lovely VW Campervan.

Rhian Stone

Corporate Director

I am a qualified social worker with a BA(Hons) in Humanities and Social Sciences; the CQSW and an MA (ECON) in Social Policy and Social Work and a Certificate of Management.  I have over 20 years experience in Children’s services and have specialist expertise in Safeguarding and looked after children. I have worked at a senior policy and strategy level within Government and the Voluntary sector.

I have worked for Barnados and the NSPCC where I was Child Protection Advisor during the Victoria Climbié Inquiry.  I led the NSPCC’s work on the inquiry attending as a professional expert for which I received an excellence award for my work. I then worked for the Department for Children Schools and Families, helping to establish the Every Child Matters agenda and setting up and leading the first substance misuse programme for Children and Young People. During this time I was involved in developing the Children Act 2004 and accompanying guidance and other key policy documents, such as Care Matters.

I am a sessional Inspector with the CCSIW and a member of the National Institute of Clinical Excellence Advisory Board on Looked After Children. I currently sit on the Welsh Government Quality Work Stream developing the ‘Outcomes Framework’ for Supporting People Services.

I am a member of the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) and Social Care institute of excellence (SCIE) Programme Development Group on the Physical and Emotional Health and wellbeing of Looked after Children and Young People.

I am a Manchester City fan, keen Birdwatcher and a lover of art.

Nick Taylor

Director of Operations

I have a BA(Hons) in Public Administration and over 18 years experience of working in the supported housing sector. I spent 10 years working in scheme in East London, firstly as a Support Worker and then as the Manager for 5 years. I then went on to become Supported Housing Manager for Family Mosaic where I was responsible for managing services including a 46 bed homeless scheme, 7 leaving care schemes, 4 Learning Disability schemes and an Acquired Brain injury unit.

I was then employed as a Supported Housing Manager for Gloucester Youth Housing Association with responsibility for overseeing 13 Young People’s Supported Housing schemes Gloucestershire. I was also project manager of the ‘Foundations First’ consortium consisting of 6 partner organisations across Gloucestershire.

I feel so lucky that I have enjoyed all of my career. Working in supported housing means that you meet so many interesting people and I have learnt so much from them. Solas is a fantastic place to work and I am so fortunate to work with such great people.

Out of work, my main hobby is athletics. I am a member of Newport Harriers Athletics Club and have enjoyed relative success recently as Welsh Champion and ranking 5th in the British Championships over 200m.

Rachel Schmidt - Head of Service, Cardiff & Vale

Rachel SchmidtRachel Schmidt I have been working to support vulnerable people for the past 15 years. I have an art and design background which led me to working as a youth worker where I began delivering issue based arts workshops. Through youth work I was given an opportunity to design, develop and deliver lots of different types of projects such as; crime reduction programmes, alternative education in schools and young parent and young carers groups. This enabled me to realise my passion for designing and delivering services which help some of the most vulnerable people in our society. I then moved to South Wales where I became a Tenanacy Support Worker for young single parents. After a couple of years I secured another position with a single parent charity where I developed and delivered a number of projects across Wales, which supported single parents to move out of poverty. I was promoted to Programmes Manager which is when I began to develop my management skills. I currently work with Solas Cymru as Head of Service for a number of services which include; supported accommodation, floating support, young people's services and family intervention. I love the variety of my role and thrive on knowing that I am helping to shape and deliver services which are really helping people. Outside of work I really enjoy the outdoors and regularly go wild camping. I find leaving behind the hustle and bustle of life and taking time out is a great way to unwind.

Sue Hardwicke

Head of Young Person’s Services

I worked for twelve years for Torfaen County Borough Council (TCBC) based at Blaenavon Leisure Centre as a Lifeguard, Sports hall Attendant and Duty Officer, I have also worked in retail. While at TCBC I gained management qualifications in Nebss, CMS and DMS, NVQ Level 4 and a Certificate in Counselling Skills.

I wanted a change of career and started as a relief support worker at Clarence Place in 1999.

Since then I have held many positions within Solas and am currently Head of Young Person’s Services and manage services in Caerphilly, Monmouthshire and Torfaen

I enjoy the opportunity of managing diverse teams in an environment that can be difficult, challenging and rewarding. I am motivated by a service that is constantly changing and being shaped by the people we support. Solas gives Young People the experience of independence in a safe environment and works with them in a person centred way to achieve their goals. I enjoy enabling people we support opportunities and life experiences they might not have had before. The potential for clients is unlimited and we get to watch it develop first hand.

I am fascinated by the natural world and the evolution of our species, and the history of the different cultures, past and present. I love walking, jogging, cycling and reading books on alternative and holistic approaches to life. I have studied Reflexology, Reiki and Crystal Therapy.