Trustees & Staff

Trustees are responsible for overseeing the day-to-day running of Communication Matters, and ensuring we meet our aims and objectives. Trustees’ activities include vetting and administering grant applications, and organising our annual International AAC Conference and Study Days.

The Board of Trustees appoints a Chairperson, Treasurer and Secretary, but every Trustee carries legal responsibility. We are a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee, so Trustees must ensure we comply with current charity and company laws.

We are the UK chapter of an international organisation, ISAAC – so the Trustees must also meet ISAAC’s own aims and objectives.
Trustees are not paid – it is a voluntary role – but they may claim related expenses for their work for us, such as travel costs.

As Communication Matters is also a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee, Trustees are responsible for ensuring that the organisation complies with current charity and company laws. Being a Trustee of Communication Matters does not (and cannot by law) bring with it any financial reward, but Trustees may claim out-of-pocket expenses for activities directly related to the work of being a Trustee, e.g. travel expenses.

The Board of Trustees appoints a Chairperson, Treasurer and Secretary. The Treasurer and Secretary are the ‘official jobs’. However, all Trustees have jobs to do to keep Communication Matters running and to enable it to carry out all its activities, e.g. administering and vetting grant applications, organising the annual International AAC Conference, and reviewing and selecting the papers to be presented at the conference.

More About Being a Trustee

Trustees follow Best Practice guidelines in all their activities for the charity. Here are some of the main guidelines:

Members can read the full set of guidelines in the Members’ Area.

CURRENT BOARD OF TRUSTEES (2023-2024)

The following joined the Board of Trustees from September 2023.

Katherine Broomfield

Katherine Broomfield

I am a Speech and language Therapist (SLT). Prior to starting a PhD in 2017 I led a local AAC service in Gloucestershire. I am currently carrying out research funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

My PhD research project is called The Unspoken Voices Project; it is concerned with learning about the experiences of people who use AAC to find out what is important to them about their AAC devices and the services that support them.

During my research project I have been privileged to meet with and hear the stories of people with communication difficulties, and their families, carers, teachers and SLTs. I have also had the great fortune to work closely with a group of AAC users who have been advising and guiding the research.

I plan to bring my clinical and academic experience together to support the Board of Communication Matters and to continue to work with and for people who have complex communication difficulties and their families and carers.

Helen Hewson

Helen Hewson

I have been using various forms of AAC since I was approximately 4 years old. I am very aware of the issues people can face when they have a disability that effects their ability to communicate normally with the outside world. I have had many long hard fights with the NHS to get my communication needs met and funded, so that my voice can be heard.

I have also previously been involved as a Role Model and then a Trustee for the charity 1Voice – Communicating Together for the past 13 years. I have helped to organise and run several National Residential weekend events with them, which has given me a real insight into the needs and wishes of the next generation of AAC Users and their families.
I have also been involved with Birmingham City University Speech and Language Therapy department, as a service user. I have shared my communication journey and experiences working with the next generation of Speech and Language Therapists.

I also work as a presenter for my husband’s charity Just Different, we go into Infant and Junior schools about our lives and disabilities. We help introduce disability awareness to children at a younger age, so that they will hopefully grow up with a better awareness and understanding of people with disabilities.

I live with my husband Toby, and we employ a team of Personal Support Assistants who work with us 24/7. I enjoy a wide range of activities, swimming, shopping, cinema, horse riding, and skiing. I’m up for life and don’t let much stop me!!

Michelle Paton

Michelle Paton

I am a Speech and Language Therapist and for most of my 32-year career in the NHS have been supporting children with additional support needs and their families in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area. I still remember hand drawn low tech communication boards where my love of art came in handy!

I was aware early on in my career the difference having access to AAC and the right support to use it could make to my young clients. I always valued the help and support that Scottish Centre of Technology for the Communication Impaired (SCTCI) service could give me as an SLT working in AAC and in 2018 I decided I wanted to expand my knowledge and began a seconded post with SCTCI for 14 months. I never looked back, decided this was my calling and began in a permanent post with the team in February 2020. Since then and despite the challenges lockdown brought to our service, I have had the opportunity to become fully immersed in AAC and grow into my role assessing both paediatric and adult clients whose lives may be enhanced by having access to AAC from all over Scotland. I have also had the privilege of being involved in the development of the Communication Help through Assistive Technology (CHAT) service which aims to support the major strands of Scottish legislation – equipment provision and support for implementation of AAC.
I am looking forward to being a trustee of CM and hope to offer support in any way I can. This organisation that is so important to the AAC users their families and wider AAC teams
I am mum to 2 daughters, the oldest is a Primary Teacher and the youngest a professional dancer and musical theatre artist. If I’m not at work you will probably find me in London visiting my daughter, exploring Scotland with my husband or crafting and making personalised gifts.

Tina Voizey

Tina Voizey

I’m a special educator with over 30 years’ experience working with learners with significant disabilities, many of which used AAC in all its forms. I started my career as a teenager when I volunteered to work at an inclusive summer camp on the beaches of Long Island (NY) which lead to a degree in Special Education specialising in PMLD.

My teaching career started in Washington DC which eventually landed me at a special school in Eastbourne in 2003 as part of a teacher exchange program run by the Home Office. I decided to stay in the UK working firstly for Widgit, then Toby Churchill and finally Tobii Dynavox always with a focus on symbols and symbol software. In March 2021 I decided to leave the commercial sector to get back into classrooms and have set myself up as an independent consultant doing just that. Having been a CM Trustee before I’m excited to be back to help serve the community I love being a part of! I live in Whitstable, Kent where I get to enjoy seaside living with my husband, son and daughter.

Martin Fisher

Martin Fisher

Following a career as a chartered surveyor, I retrained as a teacher and worked with children with a wide range of special educational needs in mainstream schools for 11 years. Looking for new challenges, I worked for both Mayer Johnson and Widgit where I trained education...

…and health professionals across the UK and Ireland in the use of symbols to support communication and learning. Further experience working with AAC/AT companies developed my knowledge of language and communication and the strategies available, both paper-based and hi-tech to support people who cannot speak.

I joined Ace Centre at the beginning of 2015 at what was a watershed for the provision of AAC for people with complex communication needs in England and a very exciting time to be involved in the AAC/AT sector. My management role at Ace Centre in our south office is very much one of team leader. It is challenging, diverse and busy, but a role I enjoy immensely. I have attended many CM events over the years including conference and information days, from the perspective of both supplier and service provider.

Downtime for me invariably involves sailing yachts or running around the countryside endeavouring to keep fit.

Sarah McPoland

Sarah McPoland

I am an Advanced Specialist Speech and Language Therapist with over eight years of professional experience in pre and special school contexts. I am passionate about improving the outcomes for AAC users and adapting information in order to promote inclusion and equal opportunities.

In my current role as an Advisory Speech and Language Therapist for CENMAC, I actively support education staff to create inclusive environments by modelling communication strategies and providing targeted training.

I previously led on drafting an adapted communication curriculum to encompass strategic and operational competencies and jointly formalised an AAC policy and contract for a former school. As an Associate on the governing body, I also ensured that communication remained a priority in the strategic planning of the provision through contributing to termly board and regular committee meetings.

Prior to qualifying, I supported individuals presenting with a diverse range of needs through a variety of voluntary roles. I also trained as a British Council Language Assistant, upskilling primary and secondary school students in their acquisition of English as a foreign language during two separate residencies in France.

I am delighted to have been elected as a Trustee and look forward to the opportunity to contribute to the development of Communication Matters through collaborative working.

Bob Sagoo

Bob Sagoo

Treasurer

I’ve been in the AAC/AT industry for over 10 years, initially running my own business, iHelp Innovations, through to the position I hold now as UK & International Sales Manager for Pretorian Technologies.
My career path takes a back seat to true motivation…

I have an amazing son whose name is Harchie.At 5 months old he fell ill with viral encephalitis, the result of which impacted on his gross and fine motor skills including his speech.
Working as I was at the time in a demanding role with Siemens Medical, I decided to take a sabbatical and launched into finding a solution that would enable Harchie to communicate in real time with his eyes.
We discovered AAC and in particularly eye gaze, which Harchie embraced at a very young age. It’s enabled him to attend a mainstream school, and now at 16 yrs old, he attends a mainstream college with a view to pursuing a career in digital design.
He also presented at CM Conference, albeit wiping the floor with his old man judging by the numbers at his presentation compared to mine!!
Whilst taking this journey with Harchie, I have been privileged to have met so many extraordinary personalities both in my work but also as a parent and advocate of AAC/AT.
My aim is to support Communication Matters in any way I can, both as a Trustee and in the role of Treasurer. We have such a wide and diverse community in the UK and at CM we will strive to represent and support all our members.
Outside of CM and my work, I am an avid sports fan, I play field hockey (GK) and Golf. Harchie and I are diehard Formula One fans, and at Harchie and Jas (my wife) behest I am doing my up most to live a healthier lifestyle, not easy when your wife’s a great cook!!

Helen Whittle

Helen Whittle

Chair

I am a speech and language therapist and have worked in the field of AAC since 1991 when I worked in an assessment centre.
After 9 years I moved to the Midlands and worked as a local AAC therapist with a range of adult and child clients.

I have also co-ordinated a project working on enhancing the look and vocabulary range of a specific symbol set. I have operated as a tutor for on-line learning in Special Schools and developed AAC training courses to support an AAC Care pathway.

My most recent role was as a lecturer in the Speech Pathology Department at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). This involved me in being a Tutor to a group of students and being able to lecture about my experience– all the time trying to get in as much information about AAC!

Working at MMU enabled me to be involved in practical research projects, for the last 2 years I have been very involved in the I-ASC Project.

When I am not working, I can be found cooking for 2 teenage sons, walking our dog or trying yoga.

Jennette Greenwood

Jennette Greenwood

I began my career in Special Educational Needs (SEN) in 1995, initially providing one-on-one support to a visually impaired student. It was during this period that my passion for AAC was ignited. Guiding children to develop their unique voices and facilitating their access to the world has consistently been a deeply fulfilling aspect of my professional path.

During my career I worked with a Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) on the Communication Aid Project (CAP), tirelessly working to secure funding for communication devices that empowered children to effectively engage with technology. My particular strength lies in empowering children to overcome communication barriers and connect with the world around them. For the past 14 years, I have had the privilege of serving as a dedicated AAC/Assistive Technology Coordinator at a Primary SEN School. In this role, I built a comprehensive bank of communication systems, encompassing both high-tech and low-tech solutions tailored to individual needs. My work was closely intertwined with speech therapists, physiotherapists, and various organisations dedicated to enhancing the lives of those with additional needs. In the year 2023, I was honoured to receive the British AT Scholar award, which led me to attend the ATIA conference in Orlando. This experience further enriched my expertise in the AAC/AT field.
As of August 2023, I embarked on an exciting new chapter as an AAC/AT consultant, eagerly embracing the boundless opportunities that the future holds. Beyond my professional endeavours, my husband and I treasure the precious moments spent with our six grandchildren, consisting of five energetic boys and one little adventurous girl, who keep us joyfully engaged in the journey of life.

Beth Moulam

Beth Moulam

I’ve been an electronic AAC user since the age of 4. I recall little of life except living as a multi-modal communicator, every day.
I’m the product of both mainstream and special schools. In 2013 I began my undergraduate degree at the University of York in Social Policy, graduating in 2021.

I get 100% extra study time due to my physical disability, speech, and hearing impairments. In late 2022 I returned to the University of York to begin a MRes in Social Policy which will take me 3 years as a fulltime student.

Throughout university my hobby was playing boccia, which became more serious as my studies continued. I was fortunate enough to be selected to represent Great Britain in the Tokyo 2020 (2021) Paralympics which was a huge honour. I have now retired having achieved my dream of representing my nation at the highest possible level.

Outside of study and sport then the world of AAC has always played a huge part in my life. I attended my first ISAAC conference in 2006 (age 12) and my first Communication Matters conference in 2009. There is something special about sharing your passion to empower others with committed supporters, from all walks of life, who equally share your passion. I’ve been on the ISAAC Lead committee twice, 2016 to 2018 and currently as a co-opted member. And, this year I was a role model at the 1Voice residential weekend. Helping others fulfil their own communication potential is important to me.

I also sit on the International Communication Rights Alliance committee, an organisation whose objective is to operationalise the UNCRPD in relation to communication rights. I was privileged to be asked to address the CRPD committee on their behalf in August 2022.

Andrea Sharples

Andrea Sharples

Co-Deputy Chair

I am a Clinical Director at ATtherapy, an independent speech and language therapy service which was set up in 2012. I have led our team to grow and expand and am now very proud of our team of over 15 staff including therapists, assistants and AAC mentors.

Our innovative ATmentor service won the Communication Matters Student Award in 2019. It is a privilege to provide a service led by people who use AAC themselves and to use that experience in the service we deliver. Running your own business takes a lot of time and energy but to be able to provide an excellent service to the AAC community is the most rewarding thing I have done in my career. For down time I enjoy getting outside for walks, city breaks, watching a film or going to a gig. My son has just started at University and my daughter has exams soon, so getting together as a family to catch up and unwind is my most favourite thing to do.

Amy Hanschell

Amy Hanschell

Co-Deputy Chair

I am a speech and language therapist and for the past 9 years I have worked in the adult acquired service in NHS Tayside. For most of that time I have been based at the Centre for Brain Injury Rehabilitation and at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.

I work on a daily basis with people whose lives are enhanced through AAC. I have a special interest in working in AAC particularly with those who have aphasia and progressive neuro conditions. Outside of work I spend my time with friends and family getting outdoors either for a long walk or shorter run! Over the past few years I’ve enjoyed the challenge of being a trustee, I’ve learned a lot from the CM team and from being involved with this fantastic organisation.

Saffron Murphy-Mann

Saffron Murphy-Mann

Having lived and worked in London as a teacher, teaching music and steel pans, I moved to Lincolnshire 14 years ago for a quieter life! I have a busy family life, living with musicians and dancers, so never a quiet moment.

I have been involved in AAC for more than 10 years, working as the Senior Teacher for CandLE for the past eight years. I have experience working with students from Year 1 to Year 13 and managing the transfer from Primary to Secondary.

I have several students who have recently achieved GCSE success. I am involved in the Exams Access Group working towards wider access for AAC users to appropriate qualifications.

I still play steel pans, with a band in London and with my own band, which I formed in Lincolnshire in 2016.

Jo van Berckel

Jo van Berckel

I’m a devoted parent carer to my son Kit, a remarkable young man with Cerebral Palsy who is an AAC user. Additionally, I am the co-founder of the charity AbleStay, London’s first fully accessible holiday home. This was inspired by my experiences as a parent navigating the challenges of complex physical disabilities especially when away from the home.

With this firsthand understanding of the challenges faced by parents, I am thrilled to join CM as a Trustee and aspire to contribute as a parent voice. Having attended Communication Matters conference, I recognise the invaluable impact it has had on my personal connections but also on the communication journey for my son. I am also a skilled community builder who not only runs multiple Facebook groups but also nurtures their success, creating thriving and vibrant online communities.

As a parent carer, I am a true Jack of all trades who thrives on challenges and will stop at nothing to provide my son with an extraordinary life.

In my spare time, you will find me relaxing in my yurt with a G&T, at the gym, on the ski slope or with my head buried in my laptop!

Office staff and other roles

Our manager and administrator handle the day-to-day running of the organisation, such as membership renewals, conference registration, organising events, communications and book-keeping.

Emily Campbell

Emily Campbell

Charity Manager
Helen Copeland

Helen Copeland

Charity Administrator
Neil Hansen

Neil Hansen

ISAAC Council Member

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