Our Story


Cherie Parnell


Cherie Parnell founded BEAM after years of working as a barrister in the family law courts.  She would represent mothers who very often would lose their children to the care system.  Leaving them with a mere handshake and expression of regret at the end was simply not good enough.  Knowing that many of these mothers had often suffered abuse and trauma in their lives was difficult to reconcile with the knowledge that there was no support group available. Cherie was aware they would leave court having been through a process that is often traumatic, with little or no support.    

So after much struggle and prayer, Cherie decided to leave the Bar, take a leap of faith and start a local group, which she called BEAM.  Seeing the transformation of many BEAM mums growing and moving forward despite the pain has been an incredible reward. 

Shuna McCahon


Shuna is an accredited member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.  She works as a school counsellor and also provides counselling for adults both privately and for a local counselling charity. Shuna has been involved for many years in training people to become certified counsellors.  Her compassion, empathy and wisdom helps to provide a safe space at BEAM that many of the mothers desperately need.  Shuna has seen first hand the changes that many of the mothers at BEAM experience through finding their voice and being empowered through peer to peer support. 


Heather Barrington

BEAM wellbeing group material was created in large part by Heather Barrington using the outline of the Kintsugi Hope wellbeing programme and tailoring it to meet the needs of the mothers at BEAM.   We are partners of Kintsugi Hope and are incredibly grateful to them for allowing us to use some of their material to create the BEAM wellbeing programme.  Heather has been involved with BEAM for many years and has played a valuable part in where we have got to today. 

Donna and Rachel

BEAM Ambassadors for Ipswich

Donna was one of the first Mum's to attend BEAM and has flourished ever since. Despite her learning difficulties, Donna, has not let this stop her! She has now attended numerous courses and grown in confidence and determination.

After Rachel joined a few years later, she was keen to see BEAM grow as she felt she could offer support and vision from a mum who had lived experience.

Rachel and Donna have formed a lasting friendship and have collaborated well together.


They have been on the radio and represented BEAM to other like minded organisations. They have also started a weekly online coffee morning which they named "Coffee BEAM". Other Mum's from around the country have joined in and found a safe, relaxed space to talk about all sorts of topics and subjects including beauty, dreams, books, animals, etc.

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