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Management and Governance

Disability Sheffield CIL has a management committee of Trustees who all have personal experience of disability and the barriers that disabled people face in society. Our Trustees are committed to the concept of a social model of disability and a rights-based approach to services and public policy. They are accountable to both Companies House and the Charity Commission and ensure that Disability Sheffield CIL has systems in place to protect the interests of the organisation and its members.

Kate Whittaker – Acting Chair

Kate Whittaker is a public law solicitor specialising in community care, mental health, mental capacity, disability discrimination, education and human rights law. She has acted for individuals and organisations in relation to a variety of cases, including helping patients and vulnerable individuals obtain health and community care support and appropriate education provision from the NHS, local authorities and social services.

Kate has brought and worked on judicial review cases on a broad range of public law and human rights matters, including a House of Lords case on the application of housing benefit legislation, and cases in the European Court of Justice, which include challenges both to European legislation and to the UK’s implementation of European Legislation.

Geoff Pick – Vice Chair

Geoff Pick is the Vice Chair of Disability Sheffield CIL. He is also Chair of Sheffield City Council Physical Disability and Sensory Impairment Service Improvement Forum and is Vice Chair for Skills for Care Yorkshire and was a Trustee of Speaking up for Action (SUFA).

Geoff started his working career within the Ministry of Defence, and then worked in materials handling within the heavy engineering industry on Tyneside. He moved to South Yorkshire in 1985 and began his involvement in the voluntary and community sector from 1988 before retiring from paid employment in 1993.

Matthew Gibson – Honorary Treasurer

Matt is an international tax and treasury partner with the world’s leading professional services firm PwC. He first became involved with Disability Sheffield through PwC’s Responsible Leaders Program, spending 4 weeks working with the organisation on a program run by the firm in conjunction with Common Purpose. He was so impressed by the organisation and their work in Sheffield, that he volunteered to take on the role of Treasurer in February 2015.

Matt is a chartered tax advisor, holds an Executive Master of Business Administration in International Business jointly awarded by Bristol University’s Graduate Business School and École Nationale Des Ponts et Chaussée (Paris).

He is the Finance Partner and Risk Partner and is a member of the leadership for his team in PwC London (London Region – Private Client/ Private Business). He was previously the People Partner for a team in PwC’s North East region with overall responsibility for human resources for 300 people. He is very familiar with governance and risk management procedures. In his work, he has advised a number of leading international charities and charitable foundations on how to structure and operate across borders.

Outside of work Matt enjoys listening to and playing music (he plays bass in Leeds indie band Spring). He also enjoys cooking (and eating!), reading, watching movies but most of all he loves spending time with his son, Nathan.

John Fuller – Trustee

As a Senior Civil Servant with a career starting in the private sector in HR, I worked in strategic posts on skills and qualifications in the Department for Education, followed by posts on disability employment programmes in the DWP, and on the Life Chances team in the Cabinet Office, before my final full time post of Strategy Director at the Independent Living Fund.

My career took me through personnel management, training and development, skills and qualifications policy, administration and reform of the national training system, the European training system, age discrimination and disability reform. I advised on reform of IB, into work programmes, health and rehabilitation, and the creation of the ODI.

In a variety of roles I was managing strategy and policy commands of 50-100 staff and directly advising Ministers in successive governments, with committee work with senior employers and Trade Unions in many different industries, and with the Scots and Welsh Governments.

I took voluntary exit from the ILF in December 2011 and having a young family and a desire to continue to contribute and learn, I am continuing to work on a part time voluntary “portfolio” basis in non-managerial posts and trusteeships that make use of my previous professional experience in new ways and in new sectors.

As a co-opted trustee of SCIL I am supporting Sandy and Anastasia in establishing a clear and sustainable strategic position for us in the Right to Control initiative and more generally across the city and with the Local Authority.

Natalie Yarrow – Trustee

Born in Lincolnshire but raised in Yorkshire, I have lived with a visual impairment since early childhood and was fortunate to reap the benefits of both special and mainstream education. After leaving college, I worked as a Civil Service Telephonist until 1980 when I left to become a fulltime Mum.

I returned to education as a mature student, studying at the University of Lancaster and gaining a Diploma in Social Work Studies with BA Honours in 1998.

My subsequent career has encompassed a variety of roles, mainly within the VCF sector. I worked for four and a half years as Rotherham’s Personal Assistant Support Scheme Coordinator, supporting the Direct Payments Scheme from pilot stage through to full implementation. I was also instrumental in designing and implementing a new-model training provision for disabled people in Rotherham, moving on then to work as a Senior Participation Officer in Barnsley where my job entailed enabling users of health and social care services and their informal carers to have a voice in the design, development and monitoring of services.
Many of my roles have entailed supervising volunteers and managing fellow employees.

I spent a year working for the Alzheimer’s Society in Barnsley where I was responsible for kick-starting their Dementia Friendly Communities initiative, and then moved to Paces in High Green where I have worked for the past 2.5 years, first as Adult Services Development Worker, now as Funding Coordinator. Paces is probably best known for its non-maintained special school and its Leaping the Void provision which cater for children and young adults with cerebral palsy/other motor disorders; however, our most recent achievement has been the establishment of Paces’ new Personal Development Centre (PDC) which opened its doors on 29th September to adults with a variety of neurological conditions including Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, after effects of stroke and acquired brain/spinal injuries.

Outside of work, my interests and hobbies include spending time with friends and family (I am proud Mum to a 34-year-old Son, and proud Grandmother to an 11-year-old Granddaughter); eating out; going to the theatre and to concerts; visiting new places; reading (especially autobiographies); swimming and Pilates.

Neil Simpson – Trustee

Neil has worked at Sheffield Botanical Gardens for twenty years as one of only two ‘Parkies’ in the city. Since participating in Storying Sheffield at Sheffield University, a project which brings diverse people together to creatively record their lives, Neil has become involved with CAST (Creative Art Steering Team), a voluntary organisation that helps artists with health problems to stage exhibitions and sell their art work.

He recently set up a CAST writing group for writers to explore their world. He believes in the power of art to change lives and help people explain themselves to others. Neil was a board member of the Sheffield Association for People with Cerebral Palsy and volunteered at Sheffield CIL to help set up the information service. Neil writes poetry and reads his work at ‘live’ poetry sessions.

Lee Harker – Trustee

Lee has been involved in the disability movement for many years. He was one of the founder members of Inclusive Living Sheffield and was a member of the Disabled People’s Forum, Disability Consultative Committee, SCOPE and the Community Support Service in Sheffield. Lee has a particular interest in transport issues for disabled people and has worked with the Access Liaison Group and Transport for All.

Darren Lee – Trustee

Darren Lee is Sheffield born and bred and is a Sheffield Wednesday supporter for his sins. Darren is a member of the British Institute of League of Learning Disabilities, and sits on Inclusion North’s Advisory Council.

Darren has been a volunteer quality checker at the Northern General Hospital and is an advisor at the Assessment and Treatment Unit (ATU).

Darren is a Disability Representative at the Learning Disabilities Partnership Board and sits on their Complex Needs Planning Group.

Darren is a good listener, loves animals , enjoys walking locally and likes listening to music particularly from the eighties.

Tony Purcell – Trustee

I was born and raised in St Helens, Lancs so I am a great Rugby League fan though I never played having contracted polio at the age of four months. This left me with weak legs, despite which I succeeded in attending standard Infants, Junior and Secondary Grammar schools. I studied English language and literature at Newcastle upon Tyne, lived in Marseille for half a year, then trained to teach English back in Newcastle.

My teaching career began in Sandbach, Cheshire, progressed to two years in Seychelles (never “the” Seychelles, if you’ve lived there!), then a two year supply stint in London before settling for the next 26 years or so in Essex where I resumed an interrupted career in secondary teaching. I ended that career as Head of English in a school in Braintree, taking early retirement in 2008, rather disillusioned with the politics and inspection regime which in my view were, and still are, stifling original thinking, creativity and personal progress in education on the parts of both teachers and pupils. I predict a truly horrendous recruitment crisis in teaching within a few years.

After retiring, I worked for a few months for the Essex Coalition of Disabled People and was hugely impressed by the work it does in promoting disabled people and disability issues: I learned more about these in six months than in the previous forty years, especially becoming painfully aware of how invisible disabled people are and how ignored are the issues surrounding us by the populace in general. Any other minority comprising some 17% of the population would be unmissably vocal.

Following the break-up of my marriage, I relocated to Sheffield in 2010, where I have lived since, gradually picking up the pieces and forging a new relationship and new friendships.

George Lindars-Hammond – Trustee

I first got involved in Disability Sheffield when I was employed to work on the Just the Job employment project in 2014. We had brilliant success in engaging thirty people and getting them work ready. l left Disability Sheffield at the end of the project but have remained a big supporter of everything that we do. I am delighted to become a trustee and help grow this amazing charity at a really important time for us.

I was born in Bath and moved to Sheffield, initially to study, in 2010. I have mild left-sided hemiplegia, a form of cerebral palsy. In the rest of my life, I am a Sheffield City Councillor, representing Hillsborough ward and working on Sheffield’s economic development

Brian Hodges – Trustee

I had a stroke in 1990 and took early retirement from Manchester Metropolitan University where I was Head of the Department of Health Studies. I used to be Chair of Shopmobility in Sheffield. I have been involved with the Service User Network for the Health Improvement Partnership for the past 10 years and their Chair for the last three years. I am a founding member and supporter of the work of Disability Sheffield from its early days as the Disabled People’s Forum down on the Wicker.

Samantha Spain – Trustee

I joined Disability Sheffield as a Trustee and Honorary Secretary in December 2015. Volunteering as a trustee with Disability Sheffield is an ideal opportunity for me to give something back to the city that welcomed me 11 years ago and has become, without a doubt, my home.

I thought that I may bring something to the already fabulous work at Disability Sheffield due to my background. I have been working in a law firm since 2007 and in June 2015 I joined Switalskis Solicitors to set up of a Court of Protection team and work alongside their clinical negligence team, specialising in brain injury matters. I feel very passionately about helping people through a difficult time in their lives and take great pride in seeing my clients’ progress through the rehabilitation process.

Aside from my professional remit as a solicitor, my little sister has Aspergers, my maternal grandfather has been diagnosed with dementia and my paternal grandmother has Parkinson’s disease. I have seen first-hand how important it is to have people advocating for those that need help with accessing the ‘system’ and how the lack of funds and resources available can be so difficult for disabled people. My mother has worked in care for 20+ years and is the assistant manager of an elderly persons’ care home (where I was also employed as a teenager). She is zealous in her mission to achieve person centred care for all of the residents she cares for and perhaps my main influence in wanting to work in a position where my job could have a similar impact.

I am lucky to have such wonderful, kind people in my life, who do great things for others – my cousin is a teacher in a school for children with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties and volunteers for a refugee charity in Leicester; one of my best friends is a mental health nurse and another is an education psychologist with a specialism in autism (who was instrumental in creating a youth group in Rotherham for children with a diagnosis of autism).

Disability Sheffield CIL Board Vacancies

If you are interested in becoming a Disability Sheffield CIL Trustee, please contact us by clicking here and we will send you further details.

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When I moved to Sheffield nearly five years ago it was my "go to" organisation. I expect it to stay that way. All the staff and volunteers seem to pull out little gems of effort that disabled people like me couldn't do without. Professionally and personally - I love em :)
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Andrew Crooks

Disability Sheffield is a forward-thinking, energetic organisation doing a lot of positive work in Sheffield. I have no doubt they will continue to do so for a long time to come.
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A fantastic presentation thought provoking and good questions from the floor around promoting this film/message to the general public not just professionals.
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Very good presentation, brave of the speakers to tell their stories and had a very high impact - feedback from Mate/Hate Crime presentation and video session at Safeguarding Working Together Conference
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