About us Who we are Our staff Our staff Our staff members have a wide variety of skills and backgrounds, and work hard to fulfil IPSEA's goals and objectives. Ali Fiddy, Chief Executive Ali is responsible for the day-to-day running of IPSEA and the implementation of the organisation’s strategic plan. She is a qualified solicitor with extensive casework and policy experience in the fields of education, community care, mental health and public law, and she has spent many years working as a senior manager in the not-for-profit sector. In her spare time, Ali enjoys travel, theatre and glow-stick aerobics. She is also a big Dolly Parton fan. Maria Bloom, Legal Team Member As part of IPSEA's legal team Maria works with IPSEA's volunteers delivering training to them whether they are new or existing. She also provides them with legal support and is responsible for monitoring and supervising their work and assisting them by providing legal updates. Maria also delivers IPSEA's programme of external training to parents, SEN experts, schools and local authorities as well as creating legally based written resources. When Maria isn't working she can be found whooping at her local Zumba class, walking her elderly neighbour's naughty dogs and searching out mid-century crockery at vintage fairs to add to her growing collection. Emma Brock, Communications Officer Emma is responsible for building the IPSEA brand and promoting and marketing IPSEA’s services to multiple audiences. She manages and implements IPSEA's marketing campaigns, and coordinates our PR, events, website and social media. Before joining IPSEA, Emma worked for the University of Cambridge as a Project Coordinator looking after the delivery and organisation of a wide range of executive education programmes for some of the largest companies in the world. When not working, Emma is kept busy at home by her young children, and if she gets a spare moment, can be found reading a good book. Fiona Bulmer, Finance Manager Fiona oversees the finance function at IPSEA. She is a CIMA qualified accountant, and this is her first role in the not-for-profit sector. Alongside work, she is mum to two school age daughters. In the holidays her family love to explore the UK, staying in the countries’ network of youth hostels. Closer to home she enjoys muddy walks, sunny gardens, and escape room puzzles. Susan Curtis, Development and Communications Manager Susan has worked in marketing and communications for over 20 years in both the non-profit and private sectors. During her career she has headed up the marketing and communication teams for organisations such as Opportunity Links, who developed IT management solutions for the public sector to enable them to deliver information to their communities, and to cr360, a global sustainability software company. As Development and Communications Manager for IPSEA, Susan is responsible for volunteer development, fundraising and communications. Sue loves punishing herself with early morning exercise and relaxes by reading at least ten books a month. Georgina Downard, Senior Lawyer Georgina is a qualified solicitor. As a member of IPSEA’s legal team she delivers IPSEA’s training programme to volunteers and to various external audiences including parents, schools and SEN professionals. Georgina monitors and provides legal support to IPSEA volunteers, and manages IPSEA’s written resources and Upper Tribunal appeals. She also contributes to IPSEA’s work to improve SEN policy at local and national levels. Outside of work, Georgina enjoys live music, motorbike rides, yoga and good old quality time with her friends and family (especially when this involves food!) Hannah Ferguson, Tribunal Support Service Coordinator Hannah’s role involves the monitoring and assessment of referrals coming through our busy Tribunal Helpline and matching those families with a volunteer caseworker. As part of her work, she supports our Tribunal Support Service volunteers and members of IPSEA’s Legal team. In her spare time Hannah likes to go to festivals, walk her dogs and participate in sport. Amy Lanham Coles, Legal Team Member Amy is part of IPSEA’s legal team, delivering training and updates to IPSEA’s volunteer team as well as supervising them day to day. She also assists with IPSEA’s external training delivery to parents and carers, SEN professionals, schools and local authorities and contributes to IPSEA’s policy work. Before joining IPSEA, Amy worked as a caseworker in several human rights organisations. She has a particular interest in education, having worked as a teaching assistant in Germany before starting her legal career. When Amy isn’t working, she enjoys playing sports, cycling and watching live music. Victoria Lewis, Fundraising Manager Victoria oversees IPSEA’s fundraising strategy, with a focus on building relationships and ensuring a sustainable funding pipeline. She has over 6 years’ experience in developing fundraising initiatives and partnerships at local and national charities, with success in securing significant funds for diverse projects and services. In her spare time, she loves cycling, boxing, learning to surf and listening to music. Anna Lowson Anna works in the advice services team as a data and administration assistant. Before joining IPSEA she was an Early Years teacher. She is mum to three teenagers – so it’s no surprise that she enjoys peaceful early morning runs. She also enjoys reading detective and crime novels and being walked by her French Bulldog, Alvin. Gaynor Middleton, Fundraising Officer Gaynor supports IPSEA’s Fundraising Manager in implementing IPSEA’s fundraising plan. Her job involves researching and identifying grant giving organisations to assist IPSEA in determining where the annual fundraising programme should be targeted. Her role includes other support and administrative duties to ensure the efficient operation of the IPSEA office. In her spare time, Gaynor is a keen gardener and enjoys country walks. Catriona Moore, Policy Manager Catriona is responsible for IPSEA’s work in bringing about change by influencing the development of SEND policy nationally. Her background is in public policy and communications, and she has worked for a number of charities and public sector organisations, as well as in Parliament. In the past she has served as an elected councillor in a London borough, a special school governor and a charity trustee. Alongside her work, Catriona cares and advocates for her teenage daughter, who has complex needs. When there’s any spare time, she loves walking all over London and hiding in bookshops. Wendy Rainbow, Legal Team Manager Wendy is a solicitor and manages IPSEA’s legal team. The legal team trains IPSEA's volunteers as well as supervising and assisting them with legal queries, case work support and tribunal advice. The team also delivers training to parent and carer groups and other organisations helping their members understand their legal rights under the SEND statutory framework, as well as bespoke training courses for other professionals in the SEND field advising them on their legal obligations to children and young people. The legal team seeks to influence policy and legal developments in SEND law by responding to calls for evidence, representing IPSEA on various industry policy groups as well as speaking at conferences across England. Alex Stafford, Legal Team Member Alex is a solicitor in IPSEA's legal team. She is responsible for delivering training to new volunteers but also ongoing training to existing volunteers and delivering IPSEA's programme of external training to parents, schools, SEN specialists and local authorities. As well as the training, Alex also provides legal support to the IPSEA volunteers and monitors and supervises the volunteers' work as well as providing them with any legal updates. Alex also creates legally based written resources. When not being a taxi driver for her children, Alex can be found in the kitchen making jam. Her preserves, cassis and sloe gin all give Mary Berry a run for her money! Nicola Stevenson, Finance Administrator Nicola's role is to keep the office running smoothly. Her focus is predominantly HR, dealing with contracts, invoices, leases, health and safety and carrying out general administration. When not at work Nicola is busy looking after her family and volunteering in her local community. Melanie Walker, Volunteer Coordinator Melanie acts as the first point of contact for IPSEA volunteers and supports the delivery of IPSEA’s volunteer programme across recruitment, training, and retention. Melanie coordinates volunteer roles and duties, and heads up the support, supervision, and recognition offer. Melanie has worked across various volunteer support and development roles within the charity sector since 2017. When not working, Melanie can be found hitting the pavement to reach her next running distance goal, or otherwise catching up with friends and planning trips to new travel destinations. Jo Yuill, Training Coordinator Jo is responsible for organising and coordinating IPSEA's training sessions. Before joining IPSEA, Jo lived and worked in South Africa supporting the Regional Learning & Development team for Virgin Active Health Clubs. In her spare time, Jo can be found in group fitness classes or involved in local amateur dramatics. Jo is a mum to two daughters, both currently at university.