To support practically and emotionally the family and other witnesses attending the Coroners’ Courts.
Our organisation was set up by the Founder Trustee who attended an Inquest with her cousin whose son, David, had tragically died in a road traffic collision abroad. As David’s body was brought back to this country an Inquest had to be conducted.
Who will be there to help?
Our volunteers use listening skills, demonstrate empathy and show a non-judgmental and non-prejudicial attitude to support those attending. The volunteers build rapport and trust to enable those attending to identify and talk about their needs in order for them to fully understand and participate in the proceedings.
A Coroner’s Court can be a bewildering and confusing place to attend. Bereaved families and witnesses often have little or no understanding of the processes and procedures that occur and may feel that they have not been able to fully participate in the proceedings. This may have an impact on their ability to recover or move on within the grieving process. The very difficult circumstances surrounding the death that warrants an Inquest already makes the grieving process complicated and can often delay the normal, natural grieving process. The CCSS volunteers explain the processes, procedures and the remit of the Inquest thus helping those attending to have a much better understanding of their role within this, often frightening environment (indeed, some witnesses have attended an Inquest believing that they will be found guilty of a criminal offence and sent to prison). The relief they have felt once the volunteer has been able to explain the remit is palpable.
The volunteers face very distressed people every day from many different backgrounds, circumstances and lifestyles. It is vital that our volunteers are able to support everyone who attends with a non-judgmental attitude.
What People Say
“I just wanted to say a big thank you to one of your volunteers. At a very distressing time she put everyone at ease and explained everything in a warm, kind and caring manner. She is a complete star and should be extremely proud of herself and the great job she does. A little kindness really does go a long way at a very stressful and sad time.”
“I didn’t expect to be supported by a CCSS volunteer who was so kind and professional in her unobtrusive approach staying with me right through the day. This enabled me to feel calm and confident so that I could focus on what was being said”
From a Coroner: “The volunteers are indispensable, sound, well trained, committed, compassionate people who truly make a difference to all those attending an Inquest at an awful time in their lives. When I know the volunteers are there, I know the people they support are in safe and caring hands.”
Information on Staff and Trustees
Board of Trustees Chair
Maggie Frost began her involvement with the CCSS as Honorary Treasurer then became the Chair. Maggie trained with KPMG and has since been Finance Director for companies in the Advertising world. She is currently Group Finance Director for the VCCP Group, a leading Advertising agency as well as a wife to Alan and mother to 2 lovely children, Daniel and Rosie.
Roey Burden OBE
Board of Trustees Hon. Secretary and Founder of the CCSS
Roey Burden worked in Karachi, Pakistan and Nigeria.
Whilst bringing up her two daughters Roey worked for several charities before joining Victim Support Westminster as a volunteer(14 years) appointed to the Management Committee during that time as a Trustee (7 years). Roey also became a volunteer in the Witness Service at Horseferry Road Magistrates Court.
Roey was awarded an OBE in 2013 in recognition of establishing the Coroners’ Courts Support Service.
Board of Trustees Hon. Treasurer
Chris is a Chartered Accountant and has been Honorary Treasurer since 2014. He graduated from Edinburgh University before completing a PhD at Trinity College, Cambridge. He is currently Rail Strategy Director with Go-Ahead Group.
Board of Trustees
Nicolas Gibbon was educated at Universities in Surrey, Sussex, Munich and Vienna. Nicolas started his working life in the pharmaceutical industry. He then went on to work for an MEP and spent the rest of his career in Government relations and public affairs both in house and as a consultant.
Nicolas has also lectured on lobbying history and techniques.
He has stood for election in both Westminster and European Parliaments. Nicolas was a School Governor in South London and currently chairs the Residential Management Company where he lives.
Nicolas is a Freeman of the City of London and speaks fluent German and Swedish.
Beverley’s voluntary sector background includes working within the criminal justice system being involved in training staff and volunteers over a number of years and managing a busy Greater London Crown Court Witness Service. Beverley also developed standards and procedures. Beverley has represented organisations on Home Office steering groups and is an expert in developing organisational standards, training and services having been invited to develop victims’ and witness services in Asia, Europe and the Channel Islands.
Beverley is also a qualified coach and trainer
Board of Trustees
Rashid joined the CCSS as a trustee to share his experience and good practices of being a charity trustee, and to support and contribute his knowledge and expertise to help develop the work of the charity.
Regional Manager / Coordinator South
Paul has worked in the public sector for over 15 years for London Probation as a regional housing manager and as a commissioner for a local authority setting up residential services for vulnerable adults. Paul lives in Gillingham Kent, enjoys traveling and likes a spot of gardening and swimming in his spare time.
Samantha Catt (Sam)
Coordinator North East
Samantha has joined the Coroners’ Court Support Service as a Coordinator for the North of England following a very similar role for a large military charity with over 7000 volunteers, where she managed a team of volunteers offering support and advice to serving military personnel and their families and veterans. Prior to this appointment she worked in a women’s refuge supporting victims of Domestic abuse, alongside working as a crisis worker for her local SARC. Previously Samantha was employed by her local Constabulary for 8 years in various roles including Supervising the Witness Care Unit. She has qualifications in Counselling, Advice and Guidance, Business Admin, Sign Language and Floristry. She has also been a volunteer for Victim Support.
Sandra started her career within the Financial Services Sector and in 2003 she started volunteering alongside her full-time employment. This then led to a change of career direction for her when a position as a Volunteer Manager with Victim Support became available.
She has now gained over 15 years experience of working with and managing volunteers including recruitment, training and support, predominately gained whilst at Victim Support and latterly with Cambridgeshire Constabulary. During her time as a volunteer she supported many victims of crime having undertaking specialist training including Counselling and Life coaching.
Sandra is passionate about the value of volunteers and the difference they can make to an organisation or an individual at a time of need.
Samantha Shaw (Sam)
Sam began her working life in Administration, giving up work when her son was born to be a stay-at-home mum. Personal circumstances led her on the path of supporting others and she began her training to become a therapeutic counsellor. Sam began working for a charity in South Derbyshire supporting survivors of Domestic Abuse in 2006. Initially on placement for a training course, however, she soon gained employment and later trained to be an IDVA (Independent Domestic Violence Advisor), supporting women at high risk of significant harm. Sam’s role involved attending court, advocacy, and working alongside statutory agencies to ensure the safety of, mainly women, and their children.
From here she worked for ChildLine for 6 years where she recruited, trained and managed both volunteers and staff. Sam assessed the risk presented of all contacts that came in from young people and offered support to the volunteers who took the calls. Sam feels it is a great privilege to hear the, often sad, stories of a young person’s life and to be given the opportunity to offer support and empathy. Since leaving ChildLine, she has continued as a volunteer with them.
Before coming to the CCSS, Sam was the manager of a Home-Start Scheme, however, as with many charities, funding was not forthcoming and they had to make the unfortunate decision to close the scheme.
After gaining a Diploma in Business Administration, Liz joined the Civil Service where she spent ten years working in a number of policy areas including mental health, police complaints, active communities and criminal justice. She joined the CCSS in 2016 as a part time Administrator.
Hyperlink to the following:
Ministry of Justice Coroners Statistics 2016
Coroner Investigations: a short guide
Guide to Coroner Services
Coroners and Justice Act 2009