The women behind the organisation

Angela Barst
Angela Barst

Angela has had a long and varied career, starting out as a mathematical modeller and systems analyst / computer programmer, before moving into teaching computer programming on an adult women’s training programme. Angela has over 20 years’ experience running her own businesses, firstly as a freelance management and training consultant and then as a director of a training business, with several employees and 20+ freelance training associates, delivering business start-up training programmes. She has worked in the NHS for over 20 years as a business manager, service improvement manager and programme manager, working with clinicians to deliver programmes which improve patient care. Angela is passionate about children being able to reach their full potential through being raised in a positive and loving environment. She is proud to be part of Brilliant Parents and has been involved with the organisation since its inception.

Desiree Mahony
Desiree Mahony
Policy Director

Desiree started her career as an outreach worker and sports worker in Brixton, progressing to a Sports Development Manager for Watford Council where she dedicated ten years of developing skills and programmes of activity for people with disabilities, women, young people and the 50 plus. She gained national recognition for her work with Watford Football Club ‘Watford on the Ball’ kick racism out of football campaign. In 2000 Desiree took up the post as Sport Action Zone Manager for the Luton Sport Action Zone (SAZ). She featured on many Sport England-East Region working groups and was on the Board of Directors for successful charity ‘Street Games’. She has worked for seven different local authorities, worked in Policy, developing strategies for community engagement and is now Principle Community Engagement Officer for Harrow Council. She is now working directly with Meave on the operational side of our business.

Yvonne Fuchs
Yvonne Fuchs

I'm Yvonne, and I've been a changemaker for over 40 years. My focus is on helping individuals, creatives businesses, and social enterprises bring about the changes they desire in their personal lives, work, and in the world.
My approach involves finely-tuned skills in coaching, mentoring, and facilitation. I've had the privilege of working with a wide spectrum of clients, ranging from startups to established organizations with turnovers of up to 30 million.
Additionally, I've collaborated with numerous inspiring charities dedicated to making our world a better place by embodying the change they wish to see.
My passion lies in nurturing and guiding the individuals who are the heartbeat of each organization.

Meave Darroux
Meave Darroux
Chief Executive

Parenting is Meave’s passion and, as our Chief Executive, Meave founded the Brilliant Parents programme. As a fully trained Parent Advisor, Meave also spent three years as the Manager of the Pro-Parenting Programme at Bell Farm Christian Centre in Hillingdon. Meave has over twenty years’ experience in PR and Corporate Social Responsibility. However, it is her personal connection to the issue of parenting that makes her dedication so strong; as a mother of two girls, her interest in parenting came about indirectly via her own experiences and in her quest to become a better parent herself, she found she was able to support and help other parents deal with crises within their families.

Yvonne Robinson
Yvonne Robinson
Social Worker

Yvonne is a qualified social worker who has over 30 years experience of working with Children and Families within the West London area, with her employment being with three Local Authorities. In regards to her profession, the care and protection of children has always been at the helm for Yvonne who has been an advocate for ‘putting children first’ while assessing their needs. Yvonne has a good understanding of the pressures that exist for parents and has always encouraged those who she has worked with to seek support (encouraging many of them to not view this as a sign of weakness). Yvonne has the strong belief that parents should be empowered and is of the view that this is what good social work is about and stated she felt ‘honoured’ to be asked to become a Board Member at Brilliant Parents. Although Yvonne chose to retire from full time social work, recently, she is of the view that she has much to offer the organisation and wishes to assist the organisation in regards to them continuing their work of supporting parents ‘because no parent was given a manual’ and learning, support and advice is essential for ALL parents.

Meave Darroux, CEO, Brilliant Parents



“Dear Maeve,

I would first like to thank you so much for all the help you have given, it has quite literally changed our lives and made it much more peaceful, l am also feeling much much better now l get a good nights sleep.

My lovely daughter has never slept through the night, or enough hours since she has been born.  The first 3 years of her life l did not have one full nights sleep and often fell asleep in the day exhausted or walked around in a fog, finding it very hard to concentrate, in all the photos of birthdays and other occasions l look absolutely dreadful and exhausted looking, l sent my husband to sleep in the other room for six months when she was born so he was able to function at work and take over from me when he got home so l could have an hours sleep.  Every night from when she was able to walk she would end up in our bed in the middle.

I have been asking for help since postnatal classes and toddler checkups.  I have been to the Doctor’s on a number of occasions desperate for help, even taking my husband in case that would make them take me more seriously, but l was always sent away with their advice to try this and that, although l told them everything l tried.  One day l was watching ‘This Morning’ and they had a well known sleep clinic on, in desperation after sitting on the floor crying from exhaustion l phoned them up, the total cost was £250 it was all done by phone and l had forms to fill in and had regular phone calls, as you can imagine this did not work either, you did have the option of ringing them again, l think after 3 months for help, they wanted another £60 which l did not pay thank goodness as the lady who rang me said if she doesn’t sleep now she never will do, l crumbled after that and didn’t know what to do.

I have tried sleep charts, rewards, white noise, lavender, new bed, goose soft bed topper, anything anyone has suggested, l tried explaining to my daughter as she got older that l need my sleep but to no avail.  Our local council run parenting courses and every year l would book on them, but they were always cancelled due to lack of interest! I have always had the same bedtime routine since she was born, bath at 8pm, story, cuddle & lights off at 9pm, l know this probably seems quite late, but it was not worth doing it any earlier as she would be up all the time.  Also I do not have any electronics in my daughters room, i.e., television, radio, computers etc.

The first night l came home after my course l talked to my husband about the course and how lucky l was to have Maeve all too myself so l got so much out of it and what we would be doing from that night on.  I then talked to my daughter about the course and how tonight was going to be the first part of a new chapter where she would be sleeping in her own bed from now on, and staying in her bed the entire night, it worked for five minutes then she came in our room, l told her to go to bed and then it started going downhill rapidly, so l shut my door and held onto the handle while my daughter went through a range of emotions from crying, angry, quiet, trying to get into the room, so l counted to ten and kept really calm, quiet and did not interact, when my daughter was quiet l asked her a question ‘if you get in bed now, would you like me to give you a two minute cuddle’ she continued to go on for probably another ten minutes then it went very quiet and she asked me why l was ignoring her, so l said l was waiting for an answer to the question l asked, she asked me what it was, said yes please so l gave her a two minute cuddle and then l went back to bed and she slept the entire night, l could not believe it, l made such a fuss of her in the morning and praised her.  It went well for the first three nights, then l woke up and found her asleep in our bed, l woke my husband up and asked what she was doing in our bed and he said she wanted a cuddle, l made him take her straight back to bed, this happened again and l woke this time when she came in and made my husband take her straight back to bed, l think they both realise l’m not going to back down now an this is how we are going to move forward.  My daughter has come in a few times but l do not let her stay she is sent straight out, even when she gets angry, my husband is much better coming upstairs and following through as he is now seeing the benefits.

After two weeks of the sleeping, l started to make her hang her uniform up each night and pack her school bag for the next day, last week she started getting the bus home from school, l’m not implementing too much at once, but l am giving her lots of praise, which l always have done before this.

I hope this helps someone else, l’ll probably think of lots of other things l’ve tried over the years.  I cannot thank you enough for the course, it’s been an absolute godsend, l also can’t believe there’s not more parents out there in the same position as me.  I hope you are able to run more courses at the school, l shall definately be at the front of the queue, so will my friend who’s daughter also goes to the same school.

You were an Angel sent to me when l was desperate, thank you so much, if l can ever be of more assistance please let me know.


Brilliant Parents is grateful to the following donors and organisations that support our work

Children in Need
Comic Relief
The London Community Foundation
Lottery Funded
City Bridge Trust