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Core Team

Each team member prides themselves on being committed to human rights, coproduction, and finding creative solutions that put people in control of their own lives. Our value base is non-negotiable and this has culminated in a team that is united, maverick, driven and prepared to go places that others won’t.

Jayne Leeson, MBE

Chief Executive Officer

Jayne is a born leader with a strong sense of justice and a commitment to challenging inequality. She founded the organisation with a group of people with learning disabilities back in 2002.

She provides strategic direction, innovation, and courage, which has driven Changing Our Lives to national significance. She was awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 2014 for Services to People with Learning Disabilities.

Lucy Dunstan

Deputy Chief Executive Officer

Lucy is highly driven and never loses focus of the bigger picture. She provides strategic leadership and has been instrumental in shaping and developing the organisational brand and vision.

She has a wealth of experience leading on rights based, community development and advocacy work that include grass roots, leadership and consultancy roles.

Anne-Marie Glasby

Senior Development Officer

Anne-Marie is incredibly skilled at communication. Her background in lecturing at universities means that she is a real asset to our training and development programmes.

These attributes, along with her perceptive nature and meticulous attention to detail, allow her to scrutinise, appraise and develop projects. Having worked as a nurse, Anne-Marie brings valuable health expertise to the organisation.

Jackie Taylor

Senior Development Officer

Jackie’s professional experience is vast. Her versatile approach and free-thinking nature make her well-suited to both community and strategic level working.

Jackie has a fire in her belly, which ignites her appetite to tackle social injustice. She is non-conformist in her practice, which has spanned the fields of education, health, social care and community development.

Siraaj Nadat, BEM

Senior Quality of Life Facilitator

Siraaj is an experienced and inspirational speaker and works locally, regionally and nationally in the field of disability. He has worked with the Department of Health, Healthwatch England and is heavily involved in the Learning Disabilities Mortality Review (LeDeR) Programme.

Siraaj was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) in 2017 for Services to People with Disabilities in the West Midlands.

Holly Yuille

Development Officer

Holly is intuitive about people. After years of facilitating support and self-advocacy for people experiencing inequality, she is skilled in distilling what is important and translating it into action. Holly is methodical in her approach and thrives through learning; she has just completed a Masters in Disability Studies and Inclusive Research.

With her creative abilities in poetry and spoken word, Holly finds innovative approaches to rights based work where she can use the power of story to amplify social injustice.

Associates

Acting as satellites to our main team, we regularly draw upon the skills and expertise of our team of associates, who work with us on a range of different projects and in different capacities. The majority of our associates have relevant lived experience, some have professional experience, and some have a combination of both. However, we don’t simply choose our associates because they have lived experience of disability or mental health difficulties; they are chosen because they are skilled and knowledgeable in a variety of different fields and most importantly because we have a shared vision of human rights and an ordinary life. Associates deliver work to the high standard that we are expectant of. For this reason, we headhunt our associates.

Trustees

Our trustees support and challenge the senior leadership team, ensuring robust governance. They make sure the organisation is run in the interests of the people we are here to support. All of our trustees are committed to disabled people and people with lived experience of mental health difficulties leading ordinary lives.

John Baker, Chair Person

John is a Legal Training Manager working for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). John has over 30 years’ experience working as a criminal advocate in the Magistrates’ Courts. He is passionate about individuals’ human rights and ensuring that everyone, whatever their circumstances, has opportunities to live an ordinary life.


Professor Rosie Harding

Rosie is Professor of Law and Society at the University of Birmingham. Her academic work focuses on human rights, disability, capacity, and intimate and caring relationships. She is a passionate advocate of the difference that a human rights approach can make to disabled people’s everyday lives.

A particular focus of Rosie’s research is exploring how law shapes and changes people’s everyday lives, and what this means for social justice, especially where people experience discrimination and equality in their lives. She is committed to helping to realise the transformative potential of the human rights set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. As a legal academic, Rosie has published widely on issues relating to disability human rights, and her research has been supported by grant funding from the AHRC, ESRC, British Academy and Leverhulme Trust. You can find out more about Rosie’s academic work on her university web profile.


Tony Middleton

Tony has many years of experience as a senior leader in the HR field in several settings, running busy HR functions nationally and regionally, across several sectors.

His experience includes culture change and service improvement, employee relations, talent acquisition and succession and employee engagement. Tony describes himself as a pragmatist and a realist, who is solution focussed and always starts with the end in mind! Tony is now the Interim Head of Human Resources and Organisational Development for Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council.

Being a trustee since 2007, Tony is committed to employment for disabled people and people with mental health difficulties. He strives to be part of making lives better for people, believing that everyone deserves a fulfilling and rewarding life. To quote Tony, ‘If you were to snap me in
half like a stick of rock, it would say Changing Our Lives in the middle!’


Rachel Seabright

Rachel works in the Corporate Affairs department of a large acute NHS Trust. Rachel began her career working for Members of Parliament, where one of her roles was to help constituents with case-working problems. This led on to rights based work for the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, the Refugee Council and working as a specialist in immigration law for over 10 years before setting up her own practice.

Rachel’s varied experience and solution focused approach enables her to both understand the issues that different groups in society face and come up with person centred and sustainable outcomes. Her work in Corporate Affairs in the NHS has given her an understanding of good governance, which is a vital skill she brings to the Board.

In Rachel’s words, ‘Changing Our Lives works with people in such an innovative and life changing way. I am proud to be part of such a movement that puts people at the centre of their own decision-making. Involving people in their own life-choices, and campaigning for others in similar situations, means it is so much more likely that change will be effective, and long-lasting.