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.

Alison Dagg
Alison Dagg – Trustee

Hi, my name is Alison Dagg and I am a Trustee of Skills for People. I have worked with, and supported people with a learning disability since I started work in 1986. I have carried out lots of different roles including support worker, Job Coach and I have managed services that have supported people into employment, and independent living. I am also a qualified Independent Mental Health Advocate as well as running my own training business. When I am not working, I enjoy making cakes for special birthdays and going to the gym. I live in North Tyneside with my husband Steve and our two cats. We also have an adult daughter who lives nearby.


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.

Chris Miller
Chris Miller – Project Worker

I work for the Key Worker Pilot Project supporting young people and their families. The project supports young people who have a learning disability or autism or both, who are inpatients, or who may become inpatients. I have previously worked as a teacher in SEN primary education and as a solicitor specialising in community care law. I am very pleased to be working with the dedicated and friendly team at Skills For People.

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.

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 – Project Worker

I enjoy working for Skills for People because there is so many wonderful people that I can interact with every day.

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.

James Spence – Project Worker

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.

Jo Whaley – Trustee

I am a trustee of Skills for People. I work for NHS England and NHS Improvement as a Public Participation Manager, helping to involve people with a learning disability and autistic people in changing policies and systems to make a difference to health inequalities. I have previously worked in the voluntary sector- as a trustee at Riverside Community Health Project and a Network Manager at VONNE (Voluntary Organisations Network North East).

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.

Kate Chaplin – Deputy Chief Executive


Kerry Moralee – Family Advice and Support Team
Kevin Johnston – Trustee

I am a Trustee and the Treasurer for Skills for People, joining the board in June 2020. I’m a qualified public finance accountant working as a Finance Partner in the Corporate Finance team at Newcastle City Council. I support Council Directorates in three key areas, Financial Acumen/Knowledge, financial performance and project delivery.

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.

Mark Snowdon – Project Worker

Neil Pattinson
Neil Pattinson – Domestic Worker

I help to keep Skills for People offices 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 Rudd – Family Advice and Support Team


Sally Hoban
Sally Hoban – Project Worker

I completed my social work placement with Skills for People in 2019, and really enjoyed working here. I am now a Project Worker, helping to keep people connected to their communities, and promoting the rights of people with learning disabilities and/or autism, through a range of projects.

Sam Jangira – Project Worker
Sarah Woosey
Sarah 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.

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Sheila Halpin – Trustee

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 – 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.

Tina Maguire
Tina Maguire – Administrator

I started working for Skills for People in October 2021 and feel as if I have been here for years, the staff are so welcoming and helpful. I work part-time in the admin office with Susan.  My work is varied including greeting visitors and service users on reception and over the telephone. I also help set up the meeting rooms for our Groups and Workshops. I use the computer doing emails and typing documents and also lots of administration work.  I get to meet lots of friendly people which makes it fun coming to work.

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