Steph Talbot is CEO and co-founder of Alice Charity, which supports disadvantaged and vulnerable families in Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme.
The charity’s work began in 2011, with the free baby and toddler group Big Cup, in Clayton, launched by Steph’s daughter, Emily. From its modest beginnings, Alice Charity grew slowly until 2020, when the pandemic hit, and they experienced a massive increase in demand for services. In 2021 alone they helped over 5,000 families, through their various projects, community groups, support programmes, and their food bank.
As a trained and highly experienced financial controller, Steph handled the business and financial side of the charity’s formation, taking regular three-month sabbaticals from her full-time job to work with her daughter.
After leaving school with A levels, Steph married, started a family, and worked in several junior finance roles, electing to undertake a business studies degree at Staffordshire University in 1993, at the age of 28. After graduating in 1996, Steph had successive roles as a financial controller over the next two decades, at Twyford’s Bathrooms, CWS Colours, Compton and Woodhouse, Heinz, Co-operative Insurance Services, and Payzone.
When Alice Charity launched, Steph’s responsibilities grew alongside demand for its services. When she eventually became full-time CEO, she started a two-year MBA at Staffordshire University, in September 2018, to update her business knowledge and skills for the benefit of the charity.
Steph has also nurtured a growing relationship between the University and the charity, with a joint evaluation of a three-year National Lottery funded programme to support those entering the job market. A second cohort from Alice Charity is due to complete the Staffordshire University Get Talking module this summer, which helps in their role as family support workers. Steph was a member of the planning group for the University’s Action on Poverty degree and offers students on social care degrees work experience opportunities. Alice Charity was announced Staffordshire University’s Charity of the Year for 2022/23.
In addition, Steph was a Governor at Stoke-on-Trent College from 2018-22 and is a member of the Hardship Commission, the Collaborative Network and Stoke-on-Trent’s Children, Young People and Families Strategic Partnership Board.
The Award of Honorary Doctor of Staffordshire University is bestowed upon Steph in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the region as an activist and charity lead, through her work for Alice Charity and as a supporter of civic and community partnerships and activities aimed at tackling poverty.