Meet some of the team.
Nina Peters - Founder
Hi, I am Nina, mum of three, two who have a rare lung condition called PCD. ShieldUs was born in early June 2020 out of my hope to raise awareness, provide education around what shielding is about and help to support people living with health conditions. COVID19 made me realise how very little information and understanding there is regarding chronic health.
Janty Marsden - Administration and operations manager
Hi everyone, just a little about me. I have worked in Special Schools doing work experience as a teenager, then as a Teaching Assistant and I finally qualified as a Teacher in late 80's. I loved every minute of the teaching but early on realised I hated paperwork and school politics, so went the Supply Teacher route dividing my time between four Special Needs schools for nearly 25 years. I retired early as my body was worn out. I am also a qualified Approved Driving Instructor and, with my driving instructor, started a business taking Safe Driving courses into schools - which I did alongside teaching for about 5 years.
Enjoying retirement with my partner then Covid came along! It changed our lives dramatically, as it has done for everyone in some way, when we found out he was CEV . For someone who is rarely even poorly this was a great shock and I wanted to do something positive to help. As he was shielding I didn’t feel I could do something that meant lots of contact with others. When I saw Nina on a short news clip in July I instantly realised that this was an amazing idea and that I could get involved without leaving the house. If you order something from our shop it is most like me that will send it to you. If you send us a message it might be me replying - I love hearing from you all. Janty x
Emmy Kelly - ShieldUs Northern Ireland representative and campaign manager
Hi everyone, I am CEV (Clinically Extremely Vulnerable) and have been shielding since March 2020 and will be for the foreseeable future. Both my boys have special educational needs and have had remote learning since March. My youngest son is CV possibly CEV depending on how well his health is managed and my whole family are shielding together. I have been a health advocate and occasional journalist for 10 years mainly in the rare disease world.
I am Northern Ireland Rep and Campaign Manager for ShieldUs.
So I just wanted to say a proper hello to you all, if I can help at all please reach out, please don't ever feel alone!
We are all in this together X
Ethan - Young persons mental health ambassador
Hi, I’m Ethan and I’m your mental health ambassador for ShieldUs. I have enjoyed doing charity work from a young age and believe that every person deserves to be happy in life. I have special educational needs and mental health conditions myself but I thrive on helping others reach their fullest potential! I have taken part in many challenges for charity including a skydive, abseil off the Europa Hotel in Belfast and ziplining across the river Lagan in Belfast.
I have taken part in many campaigns for various organisations including Papyrus, Compass Advocacy Network, Prince’s Trust, Northern Regional College, Northern Ireland Anti Bullying Forum and, most recently, the ShieldUs campaign. I am honoured to be a community activist for Mind Mental Health, Prince’s Trust Ambassador and the ShieldUs Mental Health Ambassador - which brings me here today. I have always enjoyed public speaking and expressing my creativity through my love for Performing Arts and I can’t wait to see what’s in store in the upcoming months with ShieldUs!
Heather Scott Martin - Health and fitness guru
Heather is a fully qualified Personal Trainer and a Barre fitness instructor. Her love of fitness and well-being has helped her maintain a career in professional West End Theatre for over 10 years.
Heather runs our fitness class 'move' every Saturday morning. It is a 45 minute class suitable for all ages and abilities, where the main focus is to simply move without pressure or judgement. We will get those happy hormones flowing, improve mobility and strength in your joints and muscles and make you feel uplifted and energised for the rest of your day!
Sally - Communications Officer
Hi all! It's a very grand sounding title but what I really do is edit a lot of the words (campaign letters, website. etc) that ShieldUs want to put out into the world ... so if you spot any typos I am probably to blame.
Janty is my sister, and after she got involved I noticed a few things I thought I could help with and my offer of assistance was taken up.
I have ME/Fibromyalgia, and a few other more minor health issues, and have been semi shielding (avoiding anyone with bugs or viruses) since I was diagnosed. I don't usually get the bug everyone else has, instead I go into an ME relapse which can sometimes take months to recover from so the ShieldUs campaign is very close to my heart - I think it will make a HUGE difference to the lives of people who needed to shield before Covid-19 and I am very proud to be involved.
The ShieldUs Counselling Team:
Hi everyone, I am Adam, a registered counsellor working with ShieldUs to provide specialist support around shielding related stress, anxiety, and depression. I am what is classed as an integrative counsellor, which means that I use lots of different therapeutic approaches to bring about a bespoke therapy experience based on your individual needs. I am also a solutions focused therapist.
Sessions are hosted via Zoom or over the telephone. When not providing shielding specific support, I run my own counselling practice: Dynamic Therapy Club where I support a varied client base as well as writing articles and making podcasts and self help videos on mental health matters.