Vision and Values

We believe that strong families are the foundation for every society and culture.

Our priority is to see children thrive across all contexts, through being in loving relationships and surrounding by caring communities. We work directly with children and families in delivering initiatives that produce evidence-based and measurable outcomes.

We also serve government partners in designing innovative and leading solutions for family services, programs and policy, whilst honoring culture and diversity. Through collaboration with the world’s leading researchers and institutions, we advance new family research & knowledge in order to create higher impact initiatives.


  • Putting Children First
    Our priority is to see children thrive in all contexts.

  • Love and Care
    The Family Initiative believes that all people are inherently created to be in loving and caring relationships.

  • Sustainable Growth
    The Family Initiative seeks to deliver high impact solutions with sustainable investment for the long term.

  • Culture and Diversity
    The Family Initiative seeks to honour differences across cultures and embrace diversity through countering bias.

  • Innovation and Learning
    The Family Initiative seeks to collaborate widely to innovate and learn for the sake of improving outcomes for children.

 Our Team

Whilst being founded in 2016, The Family Initiative has brought together a team who has been working together for over 7 years delivering family services and programs across health, young people, relationships and parenting.

Senior Management Team


Martin Desborough
Chief Executive Officer

Martin is married to Emily and they have recently welcomed their baby daughter Sophie to the family. Previously Head of Operations and Digital for the Family Matters Institute, where he led the creation of Europe's largest digital service for fathers with 1.2 million users per annum. Co-founded Inspired Life, an award winning social enterprise that has supported positive emotional health and well-being with over 30,000 young people to date. Executive MBA from the Cranfield University School of Management and PRINCE2 Project Management Practitioner.

Duncan Fisher OBE
Research, Policy and Innovation

20 years’ experience in working with families and fatherhood. He was awarded an OBE from Queen Elizabeth II for his work promoting child welfare through family inclusive health & social care. Previously co-founded the Fatherhood Institute and the Travel Foundation, establishing both as sector leaders. Has been a board member for the UK Government Equal Opportunities Commission and the Maternity Matters Task Force. International speaker and policy expert on fatherhood, co-parenting and relationships.

Johan van den Heever
Operations & HR

25 years of project management and HR experiences across both private and public sectors. As Operations and HR Director for Nakeheel in Dubai, delivered $2.1bn construction of Jumeirah Islands. Previously, Managing Partner for Gulf Solutions Group and Services Support Manager for PiLog International Group. Created and led Community Life Exhibitions where he initiated training and social community based programs.

Our Staff Team

Debra Lewis
Midwife and Trainer

Executive Director/Independent Midwife, Mamatoto Resource & Birth Centre, Trinidad West Indies. 2011 – 2014, Vice President, International Confederation of Midwives, The Hague, Netherlands. International Confederation of Midwives Representative – Safe Motherhood & Newborn Health Committee – International Federation of Obstetricians & Gynecologists (FIGO).

Professor Mary Steen
Midwife and Trainer

Professor of Midwifery, University of South Australia, Adelaide. Previously Professor, research fellow, practicing midwife: University of Chester, University of Central Lancashire, Leeds Teaching Hospitals. Professional Editor, Royal College of Midwives.


Richard Harpham
Youth Worker

Previous project manager of TaMHS Bedforshire (targeted mental health in schools), founding director of Inspired Life CIC working with young people promoting positive emotional health and wellbeing, qualified sports coach and young enterprise volunteer. Executive MBA, PRINCE2 Practitioner Project Manager, First Aid at work and SMILE Emotional Resilience in Young People trained.


Ashley Kenlock
Youth Worker

Previous project manager of Inspired Life. Built charity volunteer and community engagement program with Sports Trader and UK Cabinet Office. Previous DEFRA research assistant. PTLLS Level 4, Youth Mental Health First Aid and SMILE Emotional Resilience in Young People trained.


Our Trustees

Helen Pittard

Head of Family Law at 174 Law. Pioneering force behind the development of alternative resolution of family disputes being one of the first to secure Public Funding for provision of Mediation services in Merseyside and the north west allowing clients to maintain dignity and respect throughout the separation process finding the most creative and tailored cost effective solutions at all times and ensuring Parents maintain focus upon a continuing long term relationship and improved communication

Richard Wightman

Leader of New Life Church in Milton Keynes. Also chair of the Winter Night Shelter Milton Keynes, Ridgeway Community Trust and the Milton Keynes Council of Faiths. Previously Head of Passenger Business at Railtrack, responsible for relationship with 23 train operating companies and all major UK stations. MBA London Business School.


Jeff Rosseley

Jeff has over 40 years’ experience in the development industry working in both the public and private sectors as well as undertaking projects across a wide geographic spread. His focus over the past decade has been on the creation of innovative projects in emergent markets. From 1998 he has been based in the Middle East working for Majid Al Futtaim and subsequently for a private investment company managing the wealth of one of the regions Royal families, with a value of over $60bn. Bachelor of Commerce degree and attended the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Programme.

Tim Allardyce

Tim Allardyce

Tim is a physiotherapist and osteopath who is married with two children, George and Rosealin. He is the Clinical Director of Surrey Physio, and Founder and Owner of Rehab Me, and Rehab My Patient. Tim has worked at three Olympic Games, a Commonwealth Games, European Games, Islamic Games, and World Games, and several World Championships. He is also a Trustee for the Osteopathic Foundation, set up to help fund innovation and research in osteopathy. Tim is emphatic about the importance of family life, considering himself first a father and husband, and feels strongly that a good family life promotes health and wellbeing.