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Self Advocates

Andrew Cowe

Ashley Benford

Ashley delivers Learning Disability Training, Junior Doctor Training and Be Cancer Aware Training. Ashley enjoys playing football and swimming.

Erin Simmblett

Erin delivers Learning Disability Training, Oliver McGowan Training and is involved in the What About Me? Project. Erin is a big fan of watching Doctor Who and going for walks in the park.

Gavin Barr

Gavin is involved in Stop People Dying too Young, What about Me? Project, We are Human to Campaign and Be Cancer Aware Training. Gavin likes to listen to music and play on his computer.

Ian Middleton

Karen Hughes

Karen supports Phil and attends Learning Disability Training, Stop People Dying too Young, We are Human too, Junior Doctor Training with Phil.

Lauren Bayne

Matthew Moon

Matty Prothero

Philip Hughes

Phil delivers Learning Disability Awareness Training, Junior Doctor Training, Stop People Dying too Young, We are Human to Campaign and Be Cancer Aware.

Nathan Tennant

Ricky delivers our Oliver McGowan Training. He began volunteering as a self-advocate in 2019. He wants to use his own life to help other autistic people navigate theirs on an easier and more fulfilling course. He likes making art and learning about local history.

Toni Ann Wood

Toni Ann delivers Oliver McGowan Training, Be Cancer Aware and Humanising Health Care. Toni Ann enjoys playing on her play station, going to the theatre watching movies and going out for family meals.

Development Workers

Amber Clark

Amber has worked alongside the advocates with the University of Sunderland students on their Adaptive Activity Module, to ensure inclusion for those with learning disabilities and autism in sporting activities. She also develops Be Cancer/Be Screening Aware and Learning Disability Awareness Training. Amber has a degree in Ballet and Contemporary Dance. In her spare time, she likes to go on runs and go for a drink at the pub. She also likes walking her two dogs Dollie & Diesel.

Nadine Lucas

Nadine was a Headteacher of a Special School and taught for 30 years before becoming a Development Worker. She is part of the facilitator team for Oliver McGowan Training and Be Cancer Aware Training. She leads Sunderland People First’s community involvement. Her passion is mental health and wellbeing, encouraging people to participate in lots of outdoor environmental activities such as beach cleans and gardening. She enjoys all things creative and is a keen artist.

Jill Weaver

Jill has been a Development Worker with Sunderland People First for 2 years. She loves getting out and about walking with friends and her dog Frank. She also enjoys going to the theatre, especially to see musicals with her daughter and watching her son play football. She is mainly involved in delivering training for Oliver McGowan and Be Cancer Aware and is a Person-Centred Planner.

Karen Thew

Karen used to work as a teaching assistant before Starting at Sunderland People First as a Development Worker. Karen enjoys traveling and exploring new countries and trying out the local food and drink. She also enjoys visiting art galleries and museums. Karen has a terrier called Bixie who she likes to take for long walks. 

Stephen Patterson 

Administrative Support 

Sheila Cain

Chief Executive (CEO)

Lisa Clark

Lisa has over 30 year’s experience in different job roles of working with and supporting people with learning disabilities and autistic adults. She is also a family carer. She has a passion indoor and wild swimming.