After many years of living and working in The Netherlands, I first came to Sheffield in 2006 to take up my current post. I love being part of an organization which supports progression in many forms. I see every day what people with a learning disability can achieve with the right support and I also witness with a sense of pride the progression among the staff team, the volunteers and myself. I care deeply for this great city of Sheffield and the people who live here and I work hard to promote the value of the voluntary sector locally and regionally.
In my spare time, I enjoy travelling and muddy booting with my family and our labradoodle, Alfie, in the Amber Valley, where I now live.
I’ve been with Sheffield Mencap and Gateway since 2016, managing the ‘Activity and Learning Hub’ alongside wider organisation development for the charity. I have over 25 years expertise in both the public and voluntary sectors, with a particular focus on the leadership, management and delivery of care and support services for charities at a local, regional and national basis.
It’s a great privilege to work for Sheffield Mencap, seeing the great services we deliver each day to children and adults with a learning disability, and their families and carers. I live in Sheffield, where also I’m a family carer, and I’m passionate about the role that the voluntary sector plays in supporting the diverse communities in the city.
I have had a varied and interesting career, living and working in many different countries, before settling in London for 7 years where I worked on one of the first “pilot schemes” for the Princes Trust, my interest has always been to work and teach people who had special needs.
I have extensive managerial experience in a variety of fields but my interest to teach and develop people with a learning disability has always been a priority.
When I returned to Yorkshire I was involved in the managing and setting up of a project in Rotherham funded by the Lottery for people with a learning disability this was one of a kind for the area and is still running today.
I have worked at Mencap for more than 15 years and I still enjoy coming to work! The staff, the volunteers but especially the members it is a privilege to be able to assist and support people to gain confidence and to personally develop and be inclusive in society.
I have always had an interest in interior design and property development and over the years I have also run a small building business and I still purchase property on a small scale for development.
I love to travel, gardening and spending time with my family and friends.
Chris has been Chair of Sheffield Mencap and Gateway for over eight years and has been a trustee for over 10 years. She is now retired, but had a career in senior management for almost 38 years, working in both local government and higher education. She trained as an urban planner, working in regeneration in Barnsley and Sheffield. She then joined Sheffield Hallam University, where she became a Professor, establishing an international research career in gender and diversity issues. She undertook work for the EU, the Scottish Parliament, the UK central government, as well as a variety of NGOS, such as Oxfam. She became a Pro Vice Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University and Executive Dean of Sheffield Business School. She has extensive experience of leadership and governance, financial and strategic management, as well as managing people. She remains an Emeritus Professor and works for an international business school accreditation body based in Brussels.
I am a family carer and with my husband, still support our profoundly disabled son at home. I am from Sheffield and worked for almost 10 years at Sheffield Mencap & Gateway (SMG) supporting family carers to have a voice as part of the Sharing Caring Project there.
When I was working at SMG, I met and supported many family carers who were going through different situations and issues. I supported family carers on the Learning Disabilities Partnership Board and facilitated a group of carers to have a voice around issues affecting them and the people they care for. Many of my friends are also family carers.
My work as an Expert Adviser on Care & Treatment Reviews for people with a learning disability and/or autism.
I have been an Expert Adviser since late 2015 and have done a number of (very) different reviews in different settings. I am really interested in finding ways for people with a learning disability, who may also have autism and who also have mental health issues to be able to live within the community with the right support.
My Knowledge & Skills:
I feel that I am a good advocate for family carers and for people with a learning disability who may also have autism.
I will listen to their hopes, concerns and worries but I am also realistic about what can and cannot be achieved.
I will ALWAYS put the best interests of the person being reviewed first and will speak up if I think that there are issues arising from the CTR or from talking to families or advocates.
I have also completed the excellent training provided by Inclusion North.
Chris Sterry has been a Trustee of Sheffield Mencap & Gateway since November 2014 and became Treasurer in mid-2015. During his employed years he was with Scottish Widows for 25 years of which 15 years was as Branch Administration Manager and then Assistant Manager at a Scope run learning disability day service in Rotherham for a further 11 year. Primarily he is a family carer for his adult daughter whose main condition is Cerebral Palsy.
Since retiring in 2011 he has volunteered with Healthwatch Sheffield as an Enter and View rep and Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals under taking PLACE visits. He is a Core member of FLASh (Families Lobbying and Advising Sheffield) which is run by family carers and meets monthly at Sheffield Mencap & Gateway. In addition he is a Family Carer rep on Sheffield LD Partnership Board, Carer rep on Carers Service Improvement Forum, member of Adult Safeguarding Customer Forum and runs his own blog which relates to issues around disability and politics. He also is actively involved with Sheffield City Council and various Health organisations in attending meetings around Learning Disability, Carers support and other related areas.
Chrissie worked for many years as a social worker in the Learning Disabilities Team of Sheffield Social Services. Then in 2009 she started working for Sharing Caring Project at Sheffield Mencap, a role which she loved. After 3 years there she left and became a trustee. She has also been a volunteer for some years for the Out and About scheme, for the North Carers Support Group, and for Under the Stars. In her spare time she enjoys walking in the Peak District, learning Spanish and circle-dancing, and is also a trustee of a small grant-making trust which gives grants to community charities in Yorkshire.
I moved to Sheffield in 2016 and I volunteer on a Thursday at Mencap. Prior to this, I worked for Camden Council working in the Education team on apprenticeships, vocational training and Education Health and Care Plans for 16-25 year olds. My first experience of Mencap was when I was about 4 when (in the days before health and safety) I went on a Mencap holiday that my Dad had organised. Since then I spent many years working on play schemes and was more recently a Governor at a school for pupils with moderate learning difficulties.
Lynne has a background in the Voluntary Sector, in Administration and in Education and currently heads up an Autism Resource with eleven wonderful pupils who have autism or related conditions and who are aged from 10 – 20. After working at Leeds University, teaching infants, working for Home-Start and then moving into Special Needs, she was the project leader for the education side of what is now called Activity and Learning Hub for almost eight years and loves keeping in contact with SMG. In her spare time she reads and cooks.
Daniel has been a trustee for Sheffield Mencap and Gateway since June 2014 and he became the Vice Chair in 2017. Daniel also sits on the Quality and Accountability Sub-Committee and he chairs the Policy Sub-Committee.
Daniel is currently based at the School of Politics and International Studies at the University of Leeds where he conducts research on global governance and international criminal justice, and teaches international politics, political theory and transitional justice. He is also a member of staff at the European Centre for the Responsibility to Protect and has recently returned from working at the International Criminal Court. Prior to holding his academic position Daniel worked in the public law department of a leading law firm undertaking human rights, social and healthcare litigation. He will be returning to legal practice next year.
In his spare time Daniel enjoys spending time with his family and friends, going to the gym, reading and good food.
Karen has been a member of the trustee board at SMG for the past 12 months.
She works in the voluntary sector and is currently employed with Sheffield Citizens Advice as a generalist adviser for clients who have communication difficulties and poor mental health. Most recently in specialist team for people who are profoundly deaf with unclear speech and communicate using British sign language. Karen is fluent BSL user to level 3.
She has an extensive knowledge base and proven experience of working in community and residential care services for adults with a range of complex and challenging needs in health and charity care sectors as well as the private sector.
“Previous experience has given me an understanding of the difficulties faced by people and their carers, and the effects that recent cuts to budgets is having on the support available to them. What drives me is protecting people’s rights
I bring to the board my up to date knowledge and experience of welfare reform which affects our members and their carers.
In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my 10 Grandchildren!! They keep me busy!”
Helen Cooper is employed as Senior HR Business Partner at Sheffield Hallam University, a role that she has held for the last three and a half years. During her previous role as a HR Consultant at Sheffield City Council for Primary, Secondary and Special schools, she achieved a Masters degree in Human Resource Management alongside her employment. Prior to this, Helen worked as a HR Adviser at South Yorkshire Housing Association.
Working in the social housing and education sector has helped Helen develop a good understanding of the challenges faced by children and adults who use the services provided by Sheffield Mencap and Gateway.
The skills and benefits that Helen brings to the role of Trustee include: up-to-date knowledge of employment law, access to HR resources through her membership of the Chartered Institute of People Development (CIPD), and general advice and expertise about managing and resolving workplace issues.
In her spare time Helen is a keen runner and enjoys participating in sponsored events to help raise money for SMG.
Tracy has worked in the charity sector for nearly 20 years as a fundraiser and marketing manager. She is currently working for the Cathedral Archer Project, a homeless day centre in Sheffield, and is responsible for growing their profile and managing the fundraising team. She also sits on their executive team. Her previous fundraising experience was with Macmillan Cancer Support and one of her proudest moments was seeing the completion of the Macmillan Palliative Care Unit at the Northern General Hospital after a 3 year fundraising appeal.
Tracy trained as a Personal Assistant and has worked in various roles in the private sector before becoming a fundraiser. She is passionate about Sheffield and the people who live and work here. She wants to see the best opportunities for everyone and is hoping to add to the excellent Trustee team at Sheffield Mencap and Gateway.
Natalie Cosgrove is a Solicitor in the award-winning Clinical Negligence team at Switalskis Solicitors. She qualified as a Barrister in 2008 and cross qualified as a Solicitor in 2011. Natalie joined Switalskis Solicitors in Sheffield in November 2016.
As a specialist Clinical Negligence Solicitor, Natalie assists people who have suffered injuries with claims for damages, where the injury occurred as a result of a medical accident. She has particular expertise dealing with claims relating to brain injuries sustained at birth. Natalie is committed to achieving the best outcomes for her clients and their families, who often come to her needing urgent and practical support due to the severity of their disabilities and the lack of signposting and funding for vital services.
In her role as Trustee and Head of the Fundraising Committee, Natalie is passionate about Mencap’s work supporting people to achieve their potential and live full and enriched lives. Natalie brings with her a wide range of legal expertise and an in-depth understanding of the needs of people with learning disabilities.
As someone who is dedicated to supporting local causes, Natalie commits much of her spare time to working with a range of South Yorkshire-based charities and not-for-profit organisations.