Thrive Ambassadors

We’re passionate about mental health at The Thrive Programme and one of our missions is to get positive messages about recovery and wellness out into the community.

Key to this are our Thrive Ambassadors – people who have overcome trauma or challenges in life using our programmes and are now Thriving in their field – and we’re thrilled to announce two exciting new additions to this role.

New Thrive Ambassador – Marilyn Hawes

Marilyn Hawes

Meet Marilyn Hawes, one of our first official Thrive Ambassadors. She is a staunch supporter of our organisation – having changed her own life with the programme – and is a fearless campaigner on the issues of child sex abuse, grooming, paedophilia and trauma.

Her role is to work with us to get our programme into the places that need it the most – specifically helping survivors and their families overcome the mental health challenges that come with trauma and abuse.

She represents us officially as an Ambassador at certain events, and is on hand to offer us support and a friendly coffee whenever you need it!

What is Marilyn’s background?
Marilyn is from Stevenage – she used to be a Deputy Head Teacher in a school, and is mother to four children (three sons and a daughter). After a shock uncovering 15 years ago, she found that a friend, colleague and head teacher at the school she taught at had been sexually abusing her sons in secret.

Marilyn fought a huge battle to bring him to justice, even challenging the initial community rehabilitation ruling in the Court of Appeal and winning against all odds. He was sent to prison for 15 months. Marilyn then started her own fight to help other parents to become more aware of grooming and child sex abuse.

She wrote a 40,000-word book – Never Take No For An Answer – and founded Enough Abuse, a campaign group aiming to lobby for legal changes in this area. On the back of the success of this project, Marilyn set up the company she is CEO of today, Freedom from Abuse, using her background in education and her own personal experiences to educate and train people in this area, and the company continues to grow and excel in this field.

What is Marilyn’s story with The Thrive Programme?
Three years ago, after struggling to deal with the after effects of the abuse scandal that had fragmented her family, and knowing that her children were struggling too, Marilyn knew they all needed to help to move forwards, and found The Thrive Programme.

It completely changed her life and she decided she wanted to continue to help the organisation long after she completed the course. You can watch her original testimonial video here and you can hear her talk more about this topic on the Mental Health Revolution podcast (#009) here.

How can I contact her?
You can find more out about Marilyn, and find details of how to contact her, by heading to the Freedom from Abuse website here.

New Thrive Ambassador – Emily Stevenson

Emily Stevenson

Meet Emily Stevenson. She is a co-founder of environmental campaign group Beach Guardian – started in Cornwall with her father, Rob Stevenson – and is a fierce campaigner for sustainability and green initiatives.

She is a particularly vocal campaigner on the issue of plastics, where she is such a huge voice for change and for the use of sustainable, reusable and recyclable materials that she even received a hand-written letter of thanks from Sir David Attenborough.

Most recently, she has appeared on the major news channels including BBC, Sky News, ITV and much more, being interviewed to discuss the plastics crisis, and to huge acclaim she most recently took on Walkers Crisps – and won! – forcing them to completely change both their packaging and recycling programmes across the UK.

What is Emily’s background?
21-year-old Emily is a recent graduate of Plymouth University in the field of Marine Biology, and has dedicated not only her studies but both her professional and personal life to environmental conservation and to raising awareness about plastics, recycling, litter and sustainability.

After moving to Cornwall in 2009, Emily saw the increasing problems of litter and waste taking over the coastline’s beautiful beaches, and together with her Dad founded Beach Guardian to bring members of the local community together to start cleaning the local beaches and removing litter.

The company has grown hugely since its humble beginnings as a small local Facebook page, and has even partnered with international companies such as Nissan, who provided them with a state-of-the-art vehicle to help them reach the most remote locations for their beach cleans.

Emily made the national headlines in September 2018 by wearing a graduation gown made of Walkers Crisp packets to highlight the damage that their non-recyclable packets do on the environment. She also launched a national plea for people to begin posting all their crisp packets back to Walkers Head Office after they refused to change their recycling policy.

The household name were so inundated with returns that they quickly changed their policy on making their future packets recyclable, and pledged to set up nationwide crisp packet recycling points too.

What is Emily’s story with The Thrive Programme?
Experiencing some medical and mental health challenges, Emily contacted Rob a number of years ago and went through the programme herself, and was amazed by the power of the programme and the amazing results and changes in her own life.

She realised not only the benefit of changing your thinking and feeling more proactive about the changes you can make with the right attitude (a huge influence on growing her business as a force for environmental change), but the mental benefits of building a local community and getting outside into nature.

Beach Guardian was a fusion of both her desire to bring people together in the fresh air doing good for the environment, and of her idea to use this to help people struggling with their own mental health and give them a sense of community and purpose together.

How can I contact her?
You can email Emily at and can find more out about Beach Guardian on their Facebook page here.

How do I become a Thrive Ambassador?
The biggest thing is to have been through the programme yourself, or for somebody close to you to have done so. We want our Ambassadors to really know the power of the programme, to understand it thoroughly, and to have experienced first-hand the dramatic change it can have on somebody’s mental health and on their lives.

We also want you to be passionate about the programme and about our organisation, and ready and excited to start sharing that passion with others who need our help too. A positive mental attitude is key (you wouldn’t be thriving if not!), and you must be able to commit some time (it doesn’t need to be a huge amount but some hours are of course required) to doing some work with us.

Being a Trive Ambassador is a chance to be at the centre of our mental health revolution, so if this sounds right up your street, drop us an email at: and we’ll be in touch!