An independent charity for people with learning disabilities

Our Team

The Lewisham Speaking Up team is made up of people with different skills and experiences. Find out more about our brilliant staff below.


Core Staff


Marsh Stitchman


Michelle smiles at the camera, she has a bobbed mousey haircut

Michelle Burke

Money Management Advocate

Jan Degale

Jan Degale

Community 1-2-1 Advocate


Ilse de Kock

Office Manager

Winnie smiles at the camera with her dark hair up and wears glasses

Winnie Liguori

Finance Officer

Ellie Spirrett

Self-Advocacy Coordinator

Sessional Staff


Abi Akintaro

Hate Crime Trainer


Thomas Beard

Hate Crime Trainer


Oliver Candy

Hate Crime Trainer


Roseanna O'Rourke

Hate Crime Trainer


Becky Sullivan

Hate Crime Trainer


Sam Attah

Parliament Rep

Peter smiles at the camera; he has short grey speckled hair

Peter Cronin

Parliament Rep


Aisha Edwards

Parliament Rep


Mary Hamilton

Parliament Rep


Ifeoma Orjiekwe

Parliament Rep


Colin Smith

Parliament Rep

Laura Van Bemmel

Laura Van Bemmel

Self Advocacy Lead

Joe Fitton

Joe Fitton

Self Advocacy Supporter

Gemma Hughes Parents Advocate

Gemma Hughes

Self Advocacy Supporter

a white woman wearing glasses with a striped top and a pink jacket

Anne McBride

Self Advocacy Supporter

A white woman in a brightly coloured top

Lisa Lye

Health Ambassador


Pino Frumiento

Health Ambassador


Jerin Jesuthas

Health Ambassador

Our Board of Trustees

Michelle Stanistreet


Being part of Lewisham Speaking Up and chairing its diverse board is a pleasure and privilege, as someone with a longstanding commitment to advocacy and a belief in empowering people with disabilities to have a strong collective voice that is properly heard. As a Lewisham resident, I’m proud to be involved with a local charity that makes a real difference to everyone with learning disabilities in the borough, and hope my skills and experience from a career in journalism and the trade union movement can help LSUP’s work continue to thrive.

Hannah Rraven


My name is Hannah and I’ve been a trustee since 2019.  I understand about special needs as I have been helping people since 2009. I like being a Trustee because I get to connect with other people.

Sean Phillippo


Sean is a qualified accountant with 20+ years in financial roles. As a parent of a child with a learning disability, he was keen to join Lewisham Speaking Up’s board to help promote those with learning disabilities being heard.

Mark Anderson

I’m Mark. I have been a trustee since 2018. I enjoyed going to LSU groups for many years and wanted to become a trustee to give something back. LSU know it is important for people with learning disabilities to get their voice heard and make that happen.

Ashley Thomas


Ashley has over a decade’s experience of working as an Independent Mental Health Advocate for a variety of mental health organisations including Mind and Rethink. She has volunteer and project management experience, combined with over 25 years of volunteering, all of which she is able to bring to her Trustee role. She is a disabled person who has an adult child with learning disabilities which is why she is passionate to support Lewisham Speaking Up. 

Meriel Hodgson-Teall

Meriel is a solicitor specialising in consumer and financial disputes at the law firm Leigh Day. She has experience advising charities in legal disputes and compliance matters. She lives in Lewisham and joined Lewisham Speaking Up in 2020 because she wanted to use her legal skills to help a charity in her local area, and to support Lewisham Speaking Up’s work to help people with learning disabilities to get their voices heard.

Zelda McCollum

Being a parent of a young woman who has a learning disability, I have been made especially aware of the discrimination disabled people face. I have worked for many years campaigning for greater equality as a parent, teacher, Deputy Head of an inclusive nursery school, and now as a trustee of Lewisham Speaking Up. It is a privilege to be on the board supporting their excellent work furthering the rights of people with learning disabilities.

Imthiaz Rehman

Imthiaz is a multi-award-winning PR and comms specialist who has worked for some of the biggest charities in the UK. As a noisy campaigner and advocate for people with a learning disability, he is passionate about ensuring everyone supported by Lewisham Speaking Up has a voice and will be listened to. Imthiaz lives in the borough of Lewisham.

Robert Garlinge

I joined the LSU Board of Trustee’s in 2020. I enjoy helping people and making a difference in my local community. As a person with a learning disability, I know my views and feedback are important to LSU.

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