Our Jigsaw national office team

Meet the amazing people who make up our Jigsaw national office team.

From social work, mental health nursingoccupational therapy to clinicalcounselling and educational psychology, they all come from a range of professional backgrounds. As part of the team supporting our 13 Jigsaw services through research and evaluation, administration, education and training, fundraising, and communications, they are helping us to create an Ireland where every young person's mental health is valued and supported. 

In 2016, I made a decision to look for alternative employment and a new challenging role. My experiences up until then had been in working in HR in industries such as Retail, Hotels and at the time RTÉ, all of which were challenging, fast paced environments. When the opportunity to work for Jigsaw came up there were a number of overwhelming reasons to consider the role. Firstly, who doesn’t want to work in an organisation that is supporting the mental health of anyone, regardless of adult, children or young people and secondly it was a real opportunity to work for a growing organisation and play a role in its development, especially the development if a HR function.

Why Jigsaw….

What I didn’t fully understand at the time was the immense impact we and I say we, as in all of us who work and volunteer in Jigsaw, have on young people but also on the wider communities they are part of. From the early intervention model which is undeniably transformative, to the impact Jigsaw has on communities by educating and providing vital information and guidance on supporting young people.

As a growing organisation, it is personally satisfying to be part of the internal conversation around development, innovation, wellbeing, engagement, culture all the nice ‘HR’y stuff’ that may be on the agenda but are not always viewed as important. In Jigsaw they are….

By nature of our growth path, we all work hard but we also all remember each other and check-ins are a key part of daily interactions. We care about young people but we also care about each other, which in the challenging area of mental health, is as important as the work we do!  This make me proud of my role in Jigsaw and proud of my organisation and each of my colleagues.

While my role doesn’t have direct contact with young people, our culture dictates that we are all valued in our own right and our contribution is recognised equally, that is something I feel is important for supporting roles such as HR. I have the opportunity through my role to engage with everyone across the organisation, working particularly closely with the Senior Management team, aswell as the staff who are working directly in our services and National Office, our Youth Advisory Panel and some members of the board who give up their time to sit on the HR & Governance Subcommittee. We have a key role is supporting and providing guidance on some key areas like Recruitment (getting the right people!) Performance Management, Learning & Development and structured policies and procedures to ensure equality, diversity and equity across the organisation. It is a huge learning opportunity for me and it is providing me with a great opportunity to continue to develop my career.

Read more from Celine McNamara
Celine McNamara

Celine McNamara

HR Manager

I started work in Jigsaw in June 2015, but my journey to this organisation began, unbeknownst to me in 2008 when I lost my job in the recession. Returning to college as a mature student, I studied Youth and Community Work in NUI Maynooth.  This decision provided the platform for me to critically reflect on society and the world around us, travel to areas of the world I would never have dreamt of and ultimately graduate with a first class honours. This lead to my first job in Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre as Youth Work Coordinator. After spending two years in that post I became aware of the role of Youth and Community Engagement Worker in Jigsaw Clondalkin. That was my first role in Jigsaw before taking up the post of Youth Engagement Coordinator in Jigsaw’s National Office.

As a youth worker I was attracted to Jigsaw because of the emphasis of involving young people in the decision making structures through the organisation. Providing the conditions where young people voice their views and can influence change on matters that are important in their lives is of great importance to me.

As a person and father I was attracted to Jigsaw because of the societal change it is making in the lives of individuals, families and communities throughout Ireland. Every day is filled with change and the change occurring within Jigsaw, young people and communities I believe will reap rewards now and for generations to come.

I see my role in Jigsaw as having a number of objectives.

Firstly, I am tasked with ensuring the voices of our national Youth Advisory Panel are considered and represented throughout the various elements of Jigsaw’s work.

The Youth Advisory Panel is a team of volunteers aged 16-25 who are passionate about mental health.  This group gives their views on how Jigsaw works and helps to make decisions and influence how Jigsaw supports young people in their community. Throughout the national office and the local service we have approximately 130 young people on our YAP.

Secondly, I support our amazing Youth and Community Engagement Workers (YCEW). Each Jigsaw service has a dedicated ‘youth participation champion’ in to form of YCEW and amongst other things, their role is to ensure that their YAP have a place at the decision making table locally.

And thirdly, my role has a focus on youth participation policies and procedures. As the organisation grows so does our thinking around the potential for youth participation. This inevitably means looking at our policies and procedure to ensure we are adhering to best practice guidelines and that the environment we create for young people to have a say and influence is that of a safe and creative one.

Working with Jigsaw gives me a huge sense of pride and purpose both in my role and personal life. I am proud that I am part of an organisation that is truly striving for positive change for our young people of Ireland. We all have a crucial role, within Jigsaw but also within our personal connections. For me working within the areas of youth mental health, it emphasises one’s personal role/responsibility to positively influence the people we come in contact with.  I know it’s a tag line but it is so true, we are all “One Good Adult.”

Everyone works hard and the office is relatively quiet when it needs to be. But there is always time to check-in with one another and there is genuine interest in life outside of the office. The social committee do their upmost to bring us all together whether that’s for a themed lunch or treasure hunt throughout the streets of Dublin City. The field we work in attracts particularly kind hearted and genuine people so a positive and supportive environment is a happy consequence of that. 

Read more from John Williams
John Williams

John Williams

Youth Engagement Coordinator

I began working in Jigsaw (then Headstrong) in 2012. I started out in a Jigsaw service as a Clinical Support Worker, progressed to a senior clinician after two years, and now work in National Office on the Education & Training team. I love my job, and unlike what they say on the telly, I did not receive a gratuity to write this! I genuinely think Jigsaw is a great place to work; and the work is so rewarding.

What gravitated me in the first place was the Jigsaw model (and if I’m entirely honest a frustration with the system I was working in at the time). The appeal was the way Jigsaw worked with young people and communities, to change the conversation about mental health, and support young people as early as possible. Coming from secondary and tertiary level health services, where problems were often more entrenched, more serious, it was refreshing seeing young people’s mental health improve in a short period of time. It was rewarding to work with parents, enabling them to support their young people as best they could. I can fondly recall lots of young people’s narratives and positive feedback, they and their parents shared, having attended Jigsaw. This motivated me in my work, especially on days when the work was challenging. ‘It’s worthwhile; it’s having a meaningful impact on people’s lives’ is what I reminded myself. In Jigsaw, we don’t diagnose. We don’t see young people’s problems in isolation, but a society of problems, that impact on young people. This is why the community-based approach pulled me to Jigsaw too. I used to think to myself “but I’m only one person and can only do so much” (as a therapist), so was excited to work collaboratively with communities to promote and support mental health, in addition to the therapeutic support Jigsaw offers. I have had the opportunity to work with a diverse range of communities within communities, across Ireland building capacity to support young people’s mental health.

The language used in Jigsaw, and how mental health is understood, is always important to me having studied health promotion, and believing that our mental health is a resource for living. Good prose,’ said George Orwell, ‘is like a window pane’: you see straight through it to what is being said. Working in an organisation that uses simple language, that connects with young people and their families is a welcome change for me, as is working in a service that is easily accessible for young people – someone to turn to and someone to talk to. Simple.

A few other things about working here, more briefly….

The people I work with are incredible. They are kind, humble, supportive, understanding, admirable, hard working. I have learned so much from them. They’re always there…my safety net. And some, my second family! It’s a sociable place to work. We have fun, cook for each other and celebrate important occasions in our personal lives. This matters to me. I think it’s important to be yourself in work and feel valued.

The culture. I work autonomously. I am trusted to make decisions that have influenced change, and policy. I’m listened to. I’ve made some mistakes – it’s ok to make them here. I’m encouraged to improve; to harness my strengths; to pursue my interests.  Flexibility is granted (which is important now that I am a mother). Bad days are accepted, welcomed even, because we all have them.

The values. Young people are valued. Having worked with young people and young adults my entire working life, it’s lovely to have the opportunity to work in partnership with young people. It’s comforting to know that young people are involved in all aspects of the work in Jigsaw. Work that affects them ultimately. Staff are valued equally.

The young people in our Youth Advisory Panels. They grounded me. They brought fun, creativity, ideas into a clinical space. They brightened up days when the job was tough. They quietened my ego and reminded me why I came to Jigsaw in the first place. They taught me a new language from their perspective. This helped me enormously in my therapeutic engagement with young people. They let me know when I my ideas were naff and pretty uncool. And they’re not as scary as the media portray!

I will add that expectations are high in Jigsaw. Standards are high. The work can be challenging; the pace is fast. There has been lots of change and will be more. But all clearly manageable, seeing as I’m still here almost 6 years later!

Honestly, and finally, the work doesn’t feel like work most days, and I feel fortunate to do what I do – to be part of something exciting, innovative, progressive and really, really important.

Read more from Taragh McKiernan
Taragh McKiernan

Taragh McKiernan

Education and Training Coordinator

Monday 22nd of August 2011 was my first day coming to work in Jigsaw.  I vividly remember feeling somewhat over whelmed … the sense of energy, possibility and positivity was palpable cross the organisation from day one. It was so different from anywhere else I had worked and I was hooked immediately.

Over the past six or so years I have held a number of roles in Jigsaw. I have seen the organisation evolve and grow in that time. In my current role as CEO I am charged with leading the organisation. I work on a daily basis with a committed senior management team and other leaders, Board members and young people in the organisation to ensure that every young person’s mental health is valued and supported.

Prior to Jigsaw I worked in institutional and community mental health settings as both a clinician and a manager. Jigsaw has allowed me to bring this experience and put it to good use in developing and now leading the organisation.

A typical day will almost always involve a meeting or two, answering lots of emails from across the organisation, some connection with funders or external partners and making many decisions. I enjoy the variety that Jigsaw has to offer and can honestly say that no two days here are the same. Time moves differently in Jigsaw, it passes very quickly and that’s due to the pace and energy of the team and our desire to achieve change and make a difference.

Jigsaw is a place for staff to bring their passions and energy to work. We like to recognise ability and a significant number of staff have availed of promotion or job change opportunities across the organisation as we have grown and developed. If you want to work somewhere where your greatest capabilities are recognised and what motivates is valued, then Jigsaw is the place for you.

Read more from Joseph Duffy
Joseph Duffy

Joseph Duffy

Chief Executive Officer

It’s hard to describe a typical day in the communications and fundraising team in Jigsaw. I’ve found myself abseiling off the Hogan Stand in Croke Park, writing briefing notes for government ministers, embarrassing myself on social media with my woeful football skills, running training workshops for young people, being interviewed for the Irish Times... It can be pretty varied and it’s certainly never boring.

I joined Jigsaw in July 2015, having previously worked for Macmillan Cancer Support and The Scout Association in the UK. At Macmillan I spent five years as part of the digital team responsible for content and working on various projects, including leading a team in creating a new information and support website, and microsites for fundraisers such as the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning.

At The Scout Association UK for seven years I edited their national membership magazine, produced content for their website, programme materials for young people, represented the UK at conferences for the World Organization of the Scout Movement, and was part of the organising team for the 2007 World Scout Jamboree.

I’m originally from Leicester and my partner is from just outside Dublin. Three years ago we decided that after almost 12 years of living in London we’d up-sticks and come to Dublin. I knew I wanted to stay working in the charity sector, as it has always been hugely important to me to feel that I’m part of something that’s striving to improve people’s lives. That feeling is what gets me up in the morning and into work. Like many people I have my own mental health story, whether it be my own personal challenges or those of family and friends. What I like about Jigsaw and what we’re trying to do is that our focus is on early intervention. We’re looking at how we can provide people with the skills and knowledge to support themselves and those around them before they reach a crisis point. This kind of thinking just wasn’t there when I was growing up, and I wish it was. Building that knowledge and the ripple effect it can have through people’s lives in breaking down stigma and making Ireland a better place for everyone to live, well that to me is a pretty amazing movement to be part of.

Read more from Matthew Oakes
Matthew Oakes

Matthew Oakes

Communications Coordinator

I have had a very unique working experience with Jigsaw, even prior to my time as Office Administrator & Receptionist. I first started volunteering with the organisation in 2014 as part of the Youth Advisory Panel in Jigsaw Kerry when I was just 18 years old. As a young person it was the first place I had truly felt valued, listened to and supported to play a key part in something I was very passionate about.

I then went on to become part of the National Youth Advisory Panel two years later, regularly travelling up and down to the National Offices in Dublin. During my time on the YAP I met and worked with amazing people - both other young people and Jigsaw employees alike at all levels of the organisation. I knew very early on after seeing first-hand the incredible working environment that Jigsaw promotes for its staff members and the passion and drive to support youth mental health in Ireland that it was an organisation I wanted to someday work for.

In Summer 2017 after joining the National YAP I applied for the role of YAP Intern in Jigsaw National Offices, working side by side the Youth Engagement Coordinator. I had previously completed a 6-month Internship Programme in London after graduating from a Applied Social Studies course and felt this would be the perfect opportunity to take that experience and build on it in an organisation I cared about and believed in.

Relocating to Dublin and coming to work for Jigsaw initially as a young person was an overwhelmingly positive experience, I was welcomed like anyone else and felt truly valued as part of the wider team. After only a few weeks into the internship, when my current role as Office Administrator/Receptionist became available I knew straight away that this was the right path for me to pursue. The level of job satisfaction I already had was on a level I hadn’t experienced in any previous work places, and I was very keen to take the chance to become a more integrated part of the Jigsaw network.

There are so many different aspects to my job, it is very much a support role for other teams in the organisation, and even though I don’t work directly with young people I feel I play a major part in supporting other team members who do directly support young people in the communities. I too have always felt fully supported both personally and professionally to grow and progress by my own team and wider team members. To date, I have learned so much in my current role - it has opened many doors that I never would have considered before and I look forward to continuing taking more progression opportunities during my time in Jigsaw.

At the age of 22 this has been my first ever full-time role with an organisation within this sector. I have had a long history of volunteer work with different charities, and I have known for a long time this was the sector I wanted to work in. And after almost a year of working as an employee with Jigsaw I can genuinely say I have always looked forward to coming into the office each morning. I believe in what Jigsaw stands for and value the values it instils in its staff members, communities and young people all across the country. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities I have been awarded since first beginning my work with Jigsaw from a young age and know it will stand to me to no end in the future, and I feel Jigsaw will always be a huge part of that future. I wholeheartedly enjoy coming into work every day and find it hard to imagine ever being a part of a friendlier or warmer working environment with such kind compassionate colleagues who are all as passionate about supporting youth mental health as I am.

Read more from Albha Foley
Albha Foley

Albha Foley

Receptionist

I have worked for Jigsaw for nearly six years. I work as a Personal Assistant for the CEO and also provide support for our Board of Directors and Management Team. Initially, I did not know a lot about Jigsaw.  I have learned so much in these six years. I see our Board and YAP give their own time to the organisation in striving to make it better and stronger. Like a lot of people nowadays, I have known people affected by mental health issues and have seen first-hand the impact this can have on families and friends.

Thankfully, nowadays, mental health is discussed more and people are not afraid to acknowledge it and be aware of it. Stigma has disappeared. We celebrate diversity. The world has changed and is ever-changing and it is because of organisations like Jigsaw, that people now understand that it is good to talk – and even more importantly, to listen. I feel there is a unique, unspoken, support mechanism in place in Jigsaw. This isn’t something that has been conceived or managed by the people in charge, but is intrinsic to the people I work with, the people I meet and chat to while waiting for the kettle to boil; the young people who participate dynamically in the organisation and on our Board of Directors; the non-judgmental acceptance of who we all are. I am proud and pleased to work for Jigsaw, to feel I am making an impact in my own way for young people, to help make it better from when I was young and nobody spoke about mental health. I think we have come a long way and I am optimistic enough to believe that the future is brighter, because of a place called Jigsaw. 

Read more from Clare Minihane
Clare Minihane

Clare Minihane

P.A. to the CEO

Current Vacancies – Start your search today

Clinical Manager
  • Position: Clinical Manager
  • Location: Jigsaw Dublin Southwest

The Clinical Manager is the mental health lead for the local Jigsaw service. The Clinical Manager is responsible for clinical governance and the safe and effective delivery of the service.

APPLY
Research Coordinator
  • Position: Research Coordinator
  • Location: Dublin

The Research Coordinator role will focus on supporting the development and implementation of Jigsaw’s research strategy and evaluation programme.

APPLY
Service Administrator
  • Position: Service Administrator
  • Location: Dublin Southwest

The Service Administrator is an important youth-friendly role which will be a first point of contact for young people who call into the Jigsaw hub.

APPLY

Contact Us

Email recruitment@jigsaw.ie with any questions you may have about current vacancies.