Meet Our Team

Image of Lee Firetto

Lee Firetto

BSc (Hons) Media & an MBA Business Administration

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

I understand the young people here; I have had my own struggles as a young person, and I remember what it feels like to be completely detached from society. Six years ago, I acquired a little nine-bedroom B&B. I soon recognised the high demand for accommodation and grew quickly, purchasing, building and developing a portfolio of three B&Bs. Now with 50 rooms and a large collection of serviced apartments, I want The Beehive Project to be a positive support network that offers real opportunities. I consider all the young people that pass through our service to be part of my extended family. I want to be a role model for them; I work hard, and my hospitality venues are successful. If I can share some of my success with them and help them achieve success of their own, then I will feel that I have achieved my goal in supporting them.

Kev Lillington

Level 7 in Health & Social Care Management and NVQ Assessor

Managing Director, Safeguarding Lead and Nominated Individual (CQC)

After a successful 23-year career in the HM Forces, I took a change in direction to follow my passion for helping those who may be less fortunate than myself. I have always had a calm, caring nature about me to separate any displaying behaviours from a child or young adult. I have always known what I needed to do to help but did not know the reasoning behind it until I started to work within childcare settings.

I have been working with vulnerable people for nearly 16 years now, allowing me to manage registered and non-registered services. These include children's residential homes and 16 Plus, semi-Independent living services. In addition, I have also successfully managed an adult drug and alcohol recovery service within Hampshire.

These different settings have allowed me to see the wants, needs, and challenges of those who find themselves within the care system. It has also allowed me to understand different strategies in the throughput from Residential Children's homes through to Independence and beyond. It has also shown me what lack of specialist, tailored resources there are and why The Beehive Project's ethos and values are so important.

The team at The Beehive Project all invest in these values and ethos and have the passion to genuinely wanting to make a difference, accepting failure, reducing guilt and shame and helping all our young adults reach their full potential.

Kylie Clarke

Level 3 Diploma in Residential Childrens Care

Registering Service Manager (OFSTED)

I have worked with vulnerable adults and children for over 10 years, including working with victims of human trafficking, drug and alcohol misuse, challenging behaviour, children’s residential and 16+.

I had always wanted to work with children and young people in care having grown up in care myself.  I was a young person who displayed challenging behaviours and was moved from placement to placement. My experience in the care system led me down a dark path, and I decided in my early 20’s to change that and use my experience to help and support others that are going down the same path.

16 + is a very grey area for those in care or leaving care; my experience within residential showed me that there is a lack of support for those young people and the majority move on to unsuitable accommodation. I believe this is why The Beehive Project is so important with what they do, they provide safe and supported accommodation for young people, ensuring they are given what they need in order to live a successful life.

Lisa Sheppard

Level 4 Diploma in Children,Young People, and Family Practitioner

16 + Team Manager


Having been brought up in care I knew I always wanted to work with children facing similar situations to myself. However, I left school at 16 and started my family. I started to work part time in elderly care, corner shops, and hospitality before finally taking the plunge and being offered a job in Children’s Residential.

I worked in Children’s care for 4 years, I saw many a young person come and go, and soon discovered that past 16 there didn’t seem to be much support out there with regards to accommodation and supporting with their independent living skills.

I joined The Beehive Project in January 2023 and haven’t looked back, we are here to provide safe accommodation, and offer support with education and employment.

Emmanuel Oyekanmi

Studying Towards Level 5 in Children and Young People Workforce Development 

Asylum Team Manager

While studying a BSC in Computer Applications in India at the age of 17 in a semi-independent accommodation, I understood what I had lacked that affected me until adulthood. I grew a passion to help Young People to get the adequate support that they needed in order to lead successful lives, something that I had personally lacked at that delicate age. Having worked extensively with Young People and adults who exhibit challenging behaviours including victims of substance abuse and county line exploitation, I was able to relate to them while studying for a Master's Degree in Information Systems and working in the 16+ sector; it broadened my knowledge on how to help by better understanding their needs and how to better support them with the information we have about them to develop a support system to suit their development.

I like to help Young People to understand that sometimes you cannot change your past, but together we can shape the future, which is why I believe in how important what The Beehive Project does for Care Leavers and UASC’s expecially which is a passion of mine due to being a migrant myself. The Beehive has a well-rounded, person-centred support system that supports our residents development and eventually towards independence.

Dr Melanie J. Ashleigh BSc PhD

ACC/BACP Registered

In House Counselor

My aim in wanting to help young vulnerable adults is to give them hope for the future. Those who have experienced any kind of loss whether through parenting/abuse/neglect/trauma, may need assistance to understand that these things don’t have to define who they are. I aim to help young adults to realise that although they cannot change their past, there is always hope for actualising their full potential in life now and for the future.

I have a counselling Diploma, which is accredited by the Open College Network (OCN) and the Association of Christian Counsellors (ACC). I am also registered with the British Association of Counselling Practitioners (BACP).  I utilise an integrated approach, adopting models such as Egan’s Skilled Helper, Personal Construct Therapy, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and the Adapted Crabb Christian counselling model, although I also offer other models of psychotherapy, depending upon the issues to be resolved and the perspective and world view of the client.

Image of Niparat Stewart

Niparat (Nan) Stewart

Hotel Management and Tourism Degree

Property and Maintenance Manager

After finishing a degree in Hotel management and tourism in Thailand, Nan spent several years managing hotels and restaurants across South East Asia. Moving to the UK in 2003 she continued her career, managing a large hotel and nightclub in the Midlands for a number of years before taking on the general manager role across our portfolio of B&B’s in central Southampton, owned and operated by The Beehive Projects' Director Lee Firetto.

Nan provides the link between both organisations. Many of our Young People positioned in The Beehive Project are offered work experience, leading to part time jobs across various roles in our sister company, from maintenance, to receptionist, to housekeeping. Nan is tolerant of their attendance and work ethic as often our young people need more than one chance to develop the correct mentality to manage a job.

Alongside running three B&B’s and supporting our Young People Nan is also raising two children single hand-idly … How she finds the time we will never know!

The Beehive Project is regulated for Domicilliary Care under the Care Quality Commission as of September 2022.

Children & Young People Awards Finalist

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