Meet the team

Meet our team at Recovery Cymru: a blend of individuals with firsthand experience navigating substance use challenges, peers supporting loved ones facing similar hurdles, and dedicated individuals empowering and championing the journey to recovery.

Rachel Bayer


My journey with RC began in 2011 through volunteering, drawn in by the peer-led approach and shared experiences. Struggling with confidence and self-esteem after depression, I found solace in RC’s ethos. Witnessing its impact on lives, I embraced the tools, not in recovery from substances but for my own journey. Through tough times, the mutual aid and peer support strengthened me. Seven years employed here, I’m proud of the growth I see daily. Despite recent challenges, our virtual community remains resilient, constantly inspiring me. RC is my purpose, witnessing continual growth in recovery!

Sarah vaile


I am often asked about the story of RC, and it never ceases to bring a smile to my face to describe how our thriving community evolved from a single support group in 2008. Where we are today is a testament to all of our amazing members, volunteers, staff, trustees, and funders, past and present.

I am a great believer in our ability to overcome the problems we face, no matter how long we have had them or how scary and insurmountable they seem. For me, community, connection, and finding meaning are a massive part of that process, and these are some of the founding principles of RC.

People who struggle, have struggled, or have family members who have struggled with substances are so often stigmatised and marginalised – but they are often hidden gems! We want to show the positive face of recovery to offer hope to those who are still struggling, challenge stigma in society, and share understanding, tools, and techniques – knowledge is power!

I love seeing people have that ‘lightbulb moment’ in recovery, as well as working with our peer staff seeing them develop and flourish. We are truly a community, a family, a group of people helping ourselves and others to make changes for the better and sustain them. Come join us!!

jude enticott

peer team lead

I am proud to have been part of RC since December 2017, first as administrator. I have recently now transitioned from Volunteer Coordinator into being our Team Leader!

Being part of RC is fantastic; I love the welcoming, nurturing, non-judgemental ‘family’ feel that each and every person coming through those doors experiences. It has been wonderful to witness peer support at its best; to watch hope spring from hopelessness and watch people emerge from the metaphorical shadows and begin to embrace life after addiction as part of a community that emphasises connection and quality of life. The RC team is true to its philosophy, proving to its members and supporters on a daily basis that recovery is not only achievable and sustainable, recovery is fun.

claire norval


I have been volunteering in Recovery Cymru since 2012. As well as volunteering, I became employed as the Cardiff recovery centre cleaner and in 2014 I was also employed as a sessional worker. Volunteering and working at RC makes me feel not only part of the community but also part of a wider family. I feel comfortable and at ease with all members, volunteers and staff which I hope to continue in the future.

My favourite thing about RC is being accepted for who I am, and not being judged   I used to volunteer with another substance misuse charity and I came to RC to volunteer after I met my now-husband Tim the Volunteer Coordinator. Recovery Cymru has given me stability in my life-after-substance use, a focus and perhaps most notably, a husband! THANKS RC! 

laura davies

funding & strategic support

I began work for RC back on a temporary 10-month contract in October 2016, covering Sarah Vaile’s maternity leave. I really enjoyed my time with RC – the staff, volunteers and members. I was amazed that all the hype I got given in induction about the philosophy and ethos – turned out to be completely true – I was blown away. Well luckily Sarah got pregnant again and I was happy to ditch the job I had and came back to work here in October 2018 and I am still here!!

I could say I am not in recovery, but I gave up smoking some time ago,  so we all have one recovery journey or another to travel. Love my garden, love my dog, love my food – don’t have a GSOH – starting to sound like my dating profile

Loving all the resilience, ingenuity, friendship, passion and dedication I have seen since lock down –amazing.

tim norval

peer navigator

I have been involved with Recovery Cymru since I met Sarah Vaile, while she was still working on the final stages of getting RC off the ground in 2009/10. At that time, I was in my second year of abstinent recovery and I was volunteering with ASFA as “Cardiff and Vale substance misuse service user representative”. In 2011, I went to see the then new RC centre on Llandaff Road. I was immediately taken by the relaxed atmosphere and Member led Peer support ideology. I soon signed up as a member and later volunteer.

Though I did make sure everyone I knew that was in Recovery at that time got to hear about what I believed to be something new, fresh and welcoming. Through another role of Post Detox support group facilitator, we were able to build a strong and supportive relationship with the ADFER detox unit at Whitchurch hospital, which we still enjoy and value to this day.

anthony P


For 10-15 years I had alcohol, substance misuse and mental health issues.  I had been referred to E-DAS who referred me to RC, where I received texts for a number of months before I actually decided to walk through the doors in the Barry Recovery Centre.

I started attending groups for about a year; going on trips and getting involved with activities provided by RC where I met some great inspirational and helpful people.  I then felt I wanted to get more involved within the RC Community and received volunteering training through Recovery Cymru and through the MILE programme.  I have helped man the centre and reception for almost two years now.  It’s given me a purpose and structure to my life that I desperately needed. Then an opportunity came to me in November 2015 to become an employee to keep the centre clean and organised for the staff and members and I have been here since. RC you are Top of the Pops!!!

rebecca cashman

rc communications officer

I have joined the team at Recovery Cymru to help show off our fantastic work online, and the care given to our members. All social media goes through me – so it’s my job to keep you in the know of what is happening with our projects and also give you the latest information about recovery in the world today. 

Substance use was a challenge within my family. Therefore, I have seen first-hand the impact it can have. If I can bring awareness within the community of the support available to them, then I will feel like we have accomplished something great. I’ll support Recovery Cymru to challenge stigma and show how we believe in our members.

trudie merry

peer recovery & aftercare worker

I’m in Recovery myself. I was lucky enough to find the help and support I needed to get through one of the most difficult but ultimately rewarding times of my life.

I realised I had learnt a lot through this process and whilst some of it may just be relevant to just me, some of it may help someone else. 

What drew me initially to Recovery Cymru was the whole idea of community, recovery can be a lonely journey at times and community and a sense of belonging is so important.  As the administrator for Recovery Cymru, I was able to become a part of that community while doing something I was comfortable with (I do love a spreadsheet!). 

I have recently come back from Maternity leave and have now taken the leap (the opportunity!) to become part of the Peer Recovery and Aftercare team. It has been a huge journey for me to get here, through my own recovery, studying and joining the community but I am so proud to now be able to support others on their journeys.

The best thing about RC is the philosophy that recovery is not only possible but probable and should be fun! My sobriety means that I experience so much more, and I am so excited to be able to help others do the same!

I am privileged to be part of such a wonderful and supportive team and hope that, along with the rest of the team, I can help grow the RC community and embed peer support and the lived experience model throughout services in Cardiff and The Vale (and who knows – maybe one day, THE WORLD!!!!!

Gemma Brownhill

Community Connections Coordinator

My previous role was as a Well-being Coordinator in The Vale of Glamorgan.  This is where my passion started for empowering people to make lasting  meaningful change to their lives and enabling them to become the best version of themselves.

Following the end of that project, I’m not embarrassed to say I felt lost and struggled to find another role that invoked the same passion.  Luckily, I found Recovery Cymru were hiring .  Having had experience working with the team in my previous role, I was aware  of the amazing results that come from your community.  It feels like the perfect transition as your values are so close to the ones I try to follow.  I’m so excited to work with the team and a community that embraces peer led practice, shared experiences and that clearly gains strength from each other.

I currently enjoy walking coastal paths, beaches (even though I’m a Ginge) and finding new ways of becoming a better me.

david driscoll

RC peer Worker

After struggling with a heroin addiction for over a decade, it was encouraging to find that the peer led, non judgemental community really embraced me and treated me as a person rather than an ‘addict or ‘ex-addict’. Therefore, I became a member of Recovery Cymru in 2017.

I started volunteering later that year and have taken on various roles with the help, support and encouragement of the staff team, the volunteers and members alike. I am celebrating 4 years free from addiction and am looking forward to moving forward with my recovery giving back to the community, helping others and living a substance free fulfilling life.

joanne germon

weekend worker

After being becoming a member in 2018, a big part of my recovery journey has been empowering myself through developing new skills and being connected with the RC recovery community.

As part of my development, I now continue to volunteer and run our Women’s Group, but I also contribute as a Peer Recovery and Aftercare Worker.

Having that connection with everyone means I now get to help others feel empowered in their journeys and I am proud to bring hope to others!

kelvin mccann

peer recovery & aftercare worker

I have over fifteen years of lived experience with substance use, homelessness and hostels, mental health services and the criminal justice system. Thanks to the support of many, including Recovery Cymru, I am now nearly three years into my recovery journey. So I am living proof that it can be done!

I look forward to getting to know everyone and being part of our collective journeys!

emma greenhill

peer team administrator

I feel so privileged to have this role and be part of such an incredible and vitally important organisation. I’m in recovery from several mental health issues that led to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as the habitual use of substances to get me through the day and night.

I had quite the surprise to discover at the age of 34 that I am and have always been autistic! This put all of my struggles into context and gave me the self-awareness to tackle my struggles head on and have a healthy relationship with myself and the rest of the world. My recovery would not have been so successful without the knowledge, support, and practical advice from many different peer support groups.

To be able to make a living supporting those directly working the peer support process is a dream come true.

kat edger

rc peer worker

I have worked within the charity retail sector for over 16 years. I’ve always felt a sense of pride in helping people and fundraising for different causes. My last employment within this field was with Cancer Research UK, where I worked as a shop manager in the Canton shop for 8 years. It was an extremely difficult decision to leave my “charity” family, but as we all know, life can take us on a different path.

I have been in recovery since September 2022. I hit an all-time low and thought, “enough is enough.” I have been alcohol dependent for over a decade and kept this hidden from friends, family, and everyone I met. Finally, I sought help from CAVDAS, who then introduced me to Recovery Cymru, and I will be forever grateful for the support I’ve received so far.

Even though I’m still at the beginning of my recovery, I have never felt so focused and alive without alcohol. It feels amazing and has ignited a new passion in me to inspire people to experience the same freedom. I want to encourage and support others on their journey towards sobriety.

rhys gudgeon

peer recovery & aftercare worker

I’ve been a member of Recovery Cymru since 2018 when I started my recovery journey. My working experience involves mental health nursing within the NHS for 7 years, as well as working through an agency for 2 years after, before deciding to try something new, and most importantly in a role that I feel so passionate about.

Suffice to say, I don’t think I’d be in this position today if it wasn’t for the support and empowerment I have received (and continue to receive!) through the peer team. I had tried other means of support in getting through my substance use problem, but I found that I wasn’t getting the support that worked for me; this is when my GP told me about what peer support could potentially offer me.

The peer community emphasises the importance of connection with others and how beneficial and powerful it can be in aiding recovery. I believe that everyone is capable of change if they’re given the right tools to help them find themselves again after struggling with substances and subsequently, their mental health.

I want others to know that they’re not alone in their journey, and as part of CAVDAS we’re all here to support and look out for one another as I know first-hand how truly difficult it can be to reach out for help when you feel like your life is spiralling out of control due to the impact of substances. Peer support is why I’m here today telling you my story and why I wanted to work for an organisation I feel so passionately about!

owen williams

RC family & friends peer worker

I commenced my journey with Recovery Cymru in October 2023 as a Family and Friends Peer Worker, following a year of dedicated volunteering with R.C. This particular role within R.C. captured my interest due to my personal life experiences, growing up in a family that faced challenges with alcohol and drugs. I strongly believe that family members supporting a loved one with substance use issues should also have the opportunity to embark on their own path to recovery.

Prior to joining R.C., I dedicated many years to working with the Cardiff Parks Department and actively participated as both a volunteer and attendee at another reputable recovery charity for several years.

Discovering at R.C. an environment devoid of judgment, characterised by compassion, and fostering individual development at each person’s unique pace has been immensely rewarding.

Liam Flynn

Peer Navigator

My initial encounter with Recovery Cymru occurred as a service user in 2015. At that time, the notion of returning to work seemed like a distant dream. However, I distinctly recall meeting Tim Norval and feeling inspired by his journey. Here was someone facing similar challenges to mine, yet leading a life I had once deemed unattainable.

It took nearly ten long years to turn things around, but it is both an honour and a privilege to now be part of the team. My hope is to inspire the next generation of individuals on their journey to recovery.