Meet our Chief Executive, Claire Goodchild, and our growing staff team.
Claire Goodchild joined RSAS in 2015 to lead our work on support for carers of people with dementia. She has a background in social work, specialising in working with people living with dementia. She has led numerous national and regional programmes relating to health and care services for elder. As a member of the Department of Health team that led the implementation of the National Dementia Strategy she was the catalyst to numerous innovations in dementia including creating a social movement of people with dementia that led to the creation of DEEP and pioneered Dementia Friendly Communities.
Lara Cooper has worked in marketing and communications since 2000, with a particular focus on strategic planning and a keen understanding of the not-for-profit sector. Lara was a graduate trainee at advertising agency Bates UK, moving on to run central government campaigns such as smoking cessation and 5 A DAY at the Central Office of Information. As Campaigns Director at Media Trust, Lara led a newly formed team to run campaigns in partnership with charities, government and the media industry. She has advised on strategic communications for various government Departments and charities, and her passion lies in helping organisations to think more commercially, to ensure that they survive into the future.
Dr Gemima Fitzgerald (BSc (Hons), D.Clin.Psych., C.Psychol.) is a Chartered Clinical Psychologist registered with the British Psychological Society and the Health and Professions Council (HCPC). Gemima has developed expertise in Resilience. Her doctoral thesis focussed on how resilience is developed after experiences of adversity. She is passionate about helping people to overcome difficulties but also to empower individuals to thrive and flourish. She designs bespoke workshops and training events on resilience and stress management and has developed an excellent reputation for promoting change and development. Gemima is an accomplished and engaging public speaker and gave a well-received TEDx talk in 2015 on Human Resilience. She also is a regular speaker at national and local conferences, and is frequently invited to be a guest lecturer on university courses. Gemima has a wealth of experience providing psychological support to both patients and carers. As well as working in hospices, mental health services, managing bereavement services, and with homeless communities, Gemima also works as a Clinical Psychologist in a Harley Street Clinic.
Sue is an experienced speech and language therapist and the professional lead within an NHS organisation delivering services to people with dementia. Her current clinical practice includes the provision of specialist assessments within a memory assessment team alongside the assessment and management of communication and swallowing difficulties in specialist community and inpatient services. Sue was actively involved in the development of The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapist position paper on dementia service provision and jointly founded the professions regional Clinical Excellence Network for Dementia which aims to develop the professions skills and knowledge base. Sue is dedicated to the training and support of carers and has qualifications in adult education, mentoring and individual and team coaching techniques. She is also involved in a coaching programme at a local recovery college which aims to deliver peer-led education and training programmes which are designed to equip people with knowledge and skills and to promote self-management of long term mental health conditions.
Hazel May (MA DipCOT SROT) is a State Registered Occupational Therapist and holds a Master’s Degree in Philosophy and Health Care. She has more than 30 years’ clinical experience working in health and social care settings directly with people living with dementia and their families. She has also designed and delivered dementia specific training programmes within university settings and as an independent trainer/consultant. More recently Hazel has enjoyed delivering dementia care training for Harrison Training and the College of Occupational Therapists in addition to heading up a project for the Leicester NHS Partnership using the Enriched Model to reduce falls on their dementia care assessment wards. Hazel has documented much of her work in two published books and has travelled extensively by invitation both within Europe and to Hong Kong, India and Japan to teach and lecture about person centred dementia care.
With a great deal of experience and understanding of carers’ issues, Brenda Prada joined the staff team of RSAS in July 2016 and works in our London office mostly on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday as our Office Manager and also works with us at different venues on our Carers Support Programmes. Having previously worked in a Carers’ Centre for over 15 years, she has a genuine interest and awareness of carers’ issues which adds valuable knowledge and insight to both of her roles. Her personal experience of caring and her continued career development led her to train as an adult trainer and to study for a degree in Psychology and a post-graduate Diploma in Managing in Health and Social Care. She is committed to contributing to the work of the RSAS as an organisation dedicated to improving support for carers of people with dementia and developing services which she herself understands can make a huge difference to carers’ lives and to the people they support.
Andrew Proctor joined RSAS in May 2017, leading the organisation’s work to develop a range of new services for carers of people with dementia. He has worked for health-related charities for a number of years, including leading the national advice and support services for Alzheimer’s Society during a period of substantial growth and development. Most recently, at Asthma UK, he focused on delivering digital transformation programmes to reach and support many more people living with asthma. He draws on his earlier professional experience in journalism and publishing, as well as in higher education at the University of Sussex, where he held various external relations roles. Andrew believes passionately in people having the right advice and support to make informed choices about their health, and in having opportunities to improve self-care and self-management.
Heather Ramsey joined the RSAS in May 2017. She is a Chartered Accountant with over 30 years’ experience in the private and not for profit sector. She has been Finance and Administration Director of Bonhams Auctioneers and The Wallace Collection National Museum. For the last five years she has successfully run her own business working with start-ups. Heather’s interest in the charity and its objectives stems from her father’s diagnosis of vascular dementia. She is looking forward to developing and working with the aims of the charity.