Staff Team

Meet our Team

Find out who works here at Skills for People – the list is sorted alphabetically (A to Z) by first name.

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Abi Kelly – Trustee

Ann Schofield
Ann Schofield – Trustee

Annie Carden
Annie Carden – Family Advice and Support Team

I joined Skills for People in 2017 when it merged with Northeast Special Needs Network. I am a Family Advice worker with over 10 years experience supporting families with a child/young person with disabilities or special need.

Anthony Fothergill – Quality Checker

I first came to Skills for People as a small child with my mum! Now I use my talent for drama to help my work with Quality Checkers, and training people.

Billy Richardson – Quality Checker

I have been working for Skills for People Quality Checkers for many years now – I am proud of how we help people to be more confident and check how their local services are doing.

Carolyn Granthier – Project worker, Redcar and Cleveland

I am one of the project workers in Redcar and Cleveland. We deliver a range of projects to support people to speak up. My background is in working with young people, and I joined Skills for People in January 2016. I work 2 days a week and also work for Whizz Kidz supporting young people who are wheelchair users.

Christabel James
Christabel James – Administrator

I joined Skills for People in 2017 when it merged with Northeast Special Needs Network. I work on Skills for People’s website and publicity material.

Clare Penny-Evans – Family Advice and Support Team Lead

I started at Skills for People in 2015. I manage the team which supports families of disabled children and young people. Before that I worked at a National Children’s Charity, my background is in Mediation.

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Danielle Rudd

Dave Norman
Dave Norman – Development Worker

I work with people who use the Tees Esk and Wear valleys NHS Foundation Trust Learning Disability Service. This involves a wide range of things, including collecting people’s experiences and stories, making films of these experiences, supporting people to train trust staff and carry out exit interviews.

Dawn Flockton – Domestic Worker

I’ve worked for Skills for People since 2012. My main jobs are keeping the kitchen tidy, hoovering, emptying the bins and ensuring the building is tidy and safe for all users. I enjoy working here because everyone is really friendly and I can talk to them about any worries I have.

Di Barnes
Di Barnes – Board Member

Donna Johnson
Donna Johnston – Quality Checker Lead, IMCA and Project Worker

I am an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate, helping people who are deemed to lack capacity, usually when there is no one else, to make serious decisions in their life. I manage the Quality Checkers team – a group of trained people with learning disabilities who check how local services support people with disabilities. I support Geordie Mums: a group of mums with learning disabilities. The group members provide support to one another and campaign for change – making the experiences better for everyone.

Emily Young
Emily Young – Administrator

I work at Key House. I am part of the team that is the first port of call for many people that arrive and contact Skills for People. I answer phones, greet people as they enter and help with the day to day running of the building. I also keep our social media and website up to date. I enjoy working for Skills for People because there is so many wonderful people that I can interact with every day.

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Emma Cockburn

Gail Wright
Gail Wright – Project Worker

I joined Skills for People in 2000. I work on our Mindfulness for Life Project, helping people with Learning Disabilities learn how to use Mindfulness to improve their wellbeing. I run courses about wellbeing and rights. I work on our Help and Connect project, providing information, guidance and connecting people to their communities.

Gully Atwal-Churchley
Gully Atwal-Churchley – Trustee

My name is Gully Atwal-Churchley and I’ve been on the board of skills for people since 2015. I work in Children’s Services for my day job. I live in Newcastle Upon Tyne with my husband and my two children.

Jillian Allan
Jillian Allan – Family Advice and Support Team

I started working at Skills for People in September 2016. I work for the Family Advice and Support Team supporting families with children and young people who have additional needs and disabilities. My favourite part of my job is the lovely people I get to meet every day.

Joanna Routledge
Joanna Routledge – Project Worker

I started at Skills for People as a Social Work student in 2014. I now work as a Project Worker on different projects and courses, such as Geordie Mums, Sense and Sexuality and wellbeing courses. I work on the Help and Connect project, providing information, guidance and connecting people to their community.

Kathy Steel
Kathy Steele – Mindfulness for Life Development Lead

I am lucky to have had a long relationship with Skills for People and to have been around at the beginning. I’ve had many roles over this time and am really proud of the work I did to develop Quality Checkers. I am currently leading our Mindfulness for Life project, helping people with Learning Disabilities learn how to use Mindfulness to improve their wellbeing.

Kim Wheeler
Kim Wheeler – Family Advice and Support Team

I joined Skills for People in 2017 when it merged with Northeast Special Needs Network. I am a Family Advice worker with over 10 years experience supporting families with a child/young person with disability or special need.

Leanne Geritz
Leanne Geritz – Manager of the IMCA service and Redcar and Cleveland Services.

I manage the IMCA team. We help people over the age of 16 who are deemed to lack capacity make serious decisions in their life, usually when there is no one else. Additionally, I manage our work in Redcar and Cleveland, where we provide support to  self advocacy groups, including Independent Voices, and work in various ways to enhance the lives of people with a learning disability across Redcar and Cleveland using the 4 themes Keeping safe, Friendships and Relationships, Health and wellbeing, Good Support.

Lesley Cottrell
Lesley Cottrell – Office Manager

I have worked here since 1999. My job is to help look after the finances of Skills for People. I also help to make sure that we have the right rules in place to do our work. I make sure that everyone who works at Skills for People has the right information they need to do their jobs and that we have the right information about them. I manage the administration team and support our Board of Directors. I enjoy working at Skills for People because no two days are ever the same!

Liz Wright – Chief Executive

I have worked here since 1992! My job is to make sure that the organisation works well – and does what is decided by our Board of Directors. It is wonderful to work in an organisation where people with a learning disability and their family take a lead, and where people are always coming up with new ways to improve the lives of disabled people and their families.

Lucy Liu
Lucy Liu – Family Advice and Support Team

My work is to help local parents of children with additional needs, I’ve been doing this since 2012. We do this in 1-1 sessions or group sessions to share information, ideas and experiences and get connected and help each other. We also create workshops in response to what local parents would like. Some examples of these are a mindfulness group and yoga session – both helping parents to de-stress. Another part of my work is working with local Chinese families; we have a Chinese support group, where we help families access the local, regional and national services and organise workshops to be translated into Mandarin to better support their families needs.

Marc Wilson
Marc Wilson – IMCA

I’ve worked for Skills for People since 2014. I work at Skills for People as a Independent Mental Capacity Advocate, IMCA. I assist people with major decisions in their life, when they are deemed to lack the capacity to do so themselves.

Marilyn Wilkinson
Marilyn Wilkinson – Session IMCA

I joined Skills for People in 2016, as an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate, and work within the framework of the M.C.A. 2005. I work with individuals who are deemed to lack capacity, and who are unbefriended to ensure their voice, and views, and wishes are heard when serious and possibly life changing decisions are being proposed.

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Mary Campbell

Neil Pattinson
Neil Pattinson – Domestic Worker

I help to keep Key House clean and tidy, so everyone who uses the building can enjoy the space.

Nick Ball – Deputy Chief Executive

I have been working with people since 1987 – with older people, people with mental health problems and with disabled people. I help Skills for People to run smoothly and support students on placement here. I hope that all of my work has helped people to take control of their lives in meaningful ways. Skills for People is a great place to continue that work. I have worked at Skills for People since August 2012.

Rachel Nussey
Rachel Nussey – Project worker, Redcar and Cleveland

I started working for Skills for People in December 2016 as a Project Worker in Redcar & Cleveland. We work with people to help them speak up. Before working here I worked with local charities helping them run projects and I taught English in France.

Sarah Woosey
Sara Woosey – Trustee

I am a trustee of Skills for People having previously being on the board of North East Special Needs Network. I am a solicitor and Partner for Simpson Millar solicitors specialising in education and community care law. I also conduct cases in the Court of Protection where there are disputes over a person’s capacity and/or what is in their best interests.

Shelagh Middleton
Shelagh Middleton – Family Advice and Support Team

I have worked for the Family Advice and Support Team since 2014. We support Newcastle families who have children with additional needs by getting parents together and make sure they are well informed so that their children can live full and happy lives.

Steven Thompson
Stephen Thompson – Project Worker

I lead our Easy Information Team. We make information easier to understand; that could be changing a written document into an audio CD or making a document larger print. I also support Speaking Up groups here at Skills for People.

Stewart Chappell
Stewart Chappell – Sessional Project Worker

I have worked at Skills for People since 2011. I do a lot of different things here. For example, I train student doctors, run hate crime workshops, run Men of the North and work on Easy Read documents. I think the work I do makes a difference to people with learning disabilities – and sometimes supporters too. I get to watch people change; I see people build their confidence. This makes me feel proud of what I do.

Susan Crame
Susan Crame – Administrator

I have worked for Skills for People since 2015. I am based in the main office, answering phone calls, typing and assisting in the day to day running of Skills for People. I support the IMCA Team in their work and organise our staff training.

Suzie Fothergill
Suzie Fothergill – Quality Checker

I have worked with Skills for People for many years. I am a lead member of the Skills for People Quality Checkers team. I helped to create the Mindfulness for Life course and groups.


Upcoming Events

  1. Drama

    24th January @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
  2. Mindfulness Practice Group

    25th January @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
  3. Love Life

    28th January @ 1:00 pm - 3:30 pm
  4. Men of the North

    28th January @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
  5. Knit and Natter

    29th January @ 10:30 am - 12:00 pm

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