Who's Who

Staff team

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 and its Programme Committee. It is wonderful to work in an organisation where people with learning disabilities take a lead, and where people are always coming up with new ways to improve the lives of disabled people and their families.

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 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 make that continue to happen. I have worked at Skills for People since August 2012.

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 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. I am a member of the Board of the Association of Supported Living.

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.

Clare Penny-Evans - Independent Support, Help and Connect My main job at Skills is as an Independent Supporter for the Education Health & Care Plan process. I started doing this job in January 2015. Before that I worked at a National Children’s Charity, my background is in Mediation. Here at Skills I also work supporting The North Tyneside User Forum enabling people to have a voice and say in their community.

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 and of issues, and running training for staff. I also co-ordinates the regional self advocacy forum.

Dawn Flockton - Domestic Worker I’ve worked for Skills for People for nearly 5 years now. 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.

Donna Johnston – IMCA, Quality Checker 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 work with Quality Checkers - a group of trained people with learning disabilities who check how local services support people with disabilities. Another project I work on is Geordie Mums: a group of mums with learning disabilities. We provide support to one another and campaign for change – making the experiences better for everyone.

Ed Collins - IMCA I’ve worked at Skills for People for 1 and a half years. 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.

Emily Young - Administrator I work in the Main Office. I am part of the team that is the first port of call for many people that arrive and contact Skills. I answer phones, greet people as they enter and help with the day to day running of the building. I enjoy working for Skills because there is so many wonderful people that I can interact with everyday.

Gail Wright - Advocacy Worker (Help and Connect project) I have been an advocacy worker at Skills for People since October 2000! Some of the fantastic projects I am involved in include the Wellbeing Team, and the Keeping Well course, where people can learn about healthy eating, exercise, reducing stress and get an introduction to mindfulness. I'm also involved in the full 10 week mindfulness course too. I'm passionate about people speaking up for themselves and exercising their rights as citizens.

Gary Harwood - Domestic Worker My main roles at Skills for People are keeping the kitchens clean and hoovering. I enjoy working for Skills for People because I enjoy the people that work here and I get to meet new people everyday I’m in work.

Jillian Allan - Pass it on Parents I started working at Skills for People in September 2016. I work for Pass It On Parents 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 everyday.

Joanna Routledge - Project Worker I started at Skills as a Social Work student in early 2014. I now work as a Project Worker on different projects and courses, such as Geordie Mums, Sense and Sexuality, and other courses that help with wellbeing.

Katalin Kormos - Administrator I’m based in the main office and as part of my job as an administrator I am here to be the first point of contact for people outside the organisation and I also assist staff with the day to day running of Skills for People. I enjoy working for Skills for People because I get to meet so many wonderful people on a daily basis.

Kathy Steele - Independent Support 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 passionate about my current role to support families with Education Health and Care Plans. I am also very excited by our latest development which brings Mindfulness to the everyday lives of people with learning disabilities.

Leanne Geritz – Lead IMCA I work as Lead IMCA for skills for people, covering Durham and Teesside. 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 am the Lead project worker in Redcar and Cleveland, where we provide support to a self advocacy group called 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 - 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 also do some administration, like typing and organising meetings for people and for our Board of Directors. I enjoy working at Skills for People because no two days are ever the same!

Lucy Liu – Pass it on Parents 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 – IMCA I’ve worked for Skills for People for 3 years. 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 – Session IMCA I joined Skills for people 1 year ago now, 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.

Neil Pattinson – Domestic Worker

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 Mitchell – IMCA I’ve worked for Skills for People for 10 years. 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.

Shelagh Middleton – Pass it on Parents I have worked for Pass It On Parents since 2012 and we have been managed by Skills for People since 2014. We support Newcastle families who have children with additional needs by holding parent groups and ensuring that parents are well informed so that their children can live full and happy lives.

Stephen Thompson – Project Worker I work as part of the Help and Connect service here at Skills for People. I help local people and their families access what is available to them in the local area; whether that’s helping getting their support right for them or finding out what is going on in and around Newcastle. I also work as part of the team that helps create Easy Information. This is making information easier to understand; that could be changing a written document into an audio CD or making a document larger print.

Stewart Chappell – Sessional Project Worker My name is Stewart Chappell. I have worked at Skills for People for around 7 years. I do a lot of different things here. For example, I train student doctors, run hate crime workshops, and run Men of Action. 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 confidence. This makes me feel proud of what I do.

Susan Crame – Administrator My name is Susan Crame and I have worked for Skills for People for 2 years. I am based in the main office, answering phone calls, typing, admin for Imca, admin for training and assisting in the day to day running of Skills for People.

Suzie Fothergill I have worked with Skills for People for many years. Now I work here as a lead member of the Quality Checkers team. I also present training and speeches at conferences. I sit on Programme Committee.

Board of Directors

Di Barnes - Chairperson

Chas Blakey I very active telling people about the rights of people with learning disabilities. I am a graduate of Tomorrow’s Leaders. I am proud to be a Director at Skills for People because I believe the organisation does a good job of helping people.

Anne Burleigh

John Forrest

Ann Schofield

Gully Atwal-Churchley