Meet the Team

Sally Melvin, CEO

Sally Melvin

Sally Melvin is the CEO of Ablaze and has been with us since October 2015.

Sally has extensive senior management experience at both national and local levels across charity, public and commercial sectors, specialising in partnerships between businesses and education.

Sally held a senior role at the National Literacy Trust, worked in the Westminster Education Business Partnership and spent 8 years as a teacher.

Since joining Ablaze, Sally has worked hard to grow Ablaze’s delivery and income. She is most proud of the wonderful team she has recruited all of whom share her passion for improving life chances for the young people we serve.

Sally lives with her husband and her dog. Her two daughters are both at university. She enjoys running, cold water swimming and face time chats with her girls.

Contact Sally Melvin

Ceri Bowers, Career Mentoring Project Manager

Ceri Bowers

Ceri is our Career Mentoring Project Manager. Ceri’s role is to organise group mentoring, where local business and organisations provide adult mentors to mentor students from local Secondary schools.

Passionate about mentoring and the incredibly positive impact it can have for everyone involved, Ceri set up and ran internal employee and voluntary mentoring programmes as part of her role. Ceri has also been a voluntary Prince’s Trust mentor and British Red Cross trainer.

Ceri has a long-standing career in the education sector, starting out as a secondary English teacher before working up to senior management level in the education recruitment sector. After obtaining an MSc in Occupational Psychology, Ceri’s most recent role before moving to Ablaze was Head of Learning and Development in a large education recruitment company.

Having moved to Bristol a few years ago, Ceri is thoroughly enjoying the music and food scene and playing her clarinet in a few local bands.

Contact Ceri Bowers

Gilly Samuddin, Reading and Number Partners Project Manager

Gilly Samuddin

Gilly has joined Ablaze as Project Manager having previously worked as a primary school teacher for 10 years and then in the voluntary sector as the children & young people’s network coordinator in Bath & North East Somerset, working with local charities supporting children & young people.

She has a passion for helping children find a love for learning through fun and innovative ways and enjoys seeing kids faces light up when they feel a sense of achievement.

Gilly lives with her husband and two children in Bath and enjoys baking, holidays and relaxing with a book in the sun!

Contact Gilly Samuddin

Flora Hodgson, Project Coordinator

Flora Hodgson

Flora is one of our Project Managers. She started with Ablaze as a Project Coordinator in June 2022, after two years of working in health and social care. With experience of support work, she is practised in supporting young people and adults with additional needs and learning difficulties. Flora is also a trained horticulturist and has experience in facilitating horticulture in a therapeutic setting. She is passionate about encouraging people to connect with nature and benefit from time spent amongst it.

Flora lives in Bristol and loves wild swimming and traveling in her van on the weekends.

Contact Flora Hodgson

Vicki Gibbs, Finance Manager

Vicki Gibbs

Vicki is Ablaze’s Finance Manager, having joined Ablaze in January 2017 to help with Administration and Finance.

Vicki has worked for a number of large companies, including KPMG in Leeds, Aviva in York and GE Commercial Finance in Sydney Australia. Vicki also spent a year teaching English in Prague and has lived in Bristol since 2008. Vicki came to Ablaze with experience working with charities having been a volunteer treasurer for a local branch of a charity, as well as helping to establish a local charity in 2013.

Vicki lives with her husband and two sons and enjoys crochet, jigsaws and getting up ridiculously early to go to the gym!

Contact Vicki Gibbs

Lucy Beattie, Fundraiser and Business Development

Lucy Beattie

Lucy is a fundraising consultant who has worked with Ablaze since 2019. She has over 20 years of experience of working with large and small charities, specialising in working with the education sector. She works to help charities target their fundraising efforts to maximise income from trusts, grants, corporate donations and events and appeals.

Lucy lives in Bath with her three daughters and loves to travel, do yoga and make the most of her local community.

Contact Lucy Beattie