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.
Fariba joined RSAS in March 2018. Her responsibilities include embedding philanthropy and fundraising good practice across the organisation and generating income from a variety of private and public sources for the charity to fulfil its development objectives. Her role involves working with Trusts & Foundations, Companies, Philanthropists and other stakeholders to generate support for the work of RSAS, ensuring an alignment of our long terms values.
Fariba has two decades of experience in fundraising and income generation in the fields of education, research and health within the non-for-profit sector. Prior to joining RSAS, Fariba worked as a ‘Development Consultant’ for various organisations, ‘Director of Capital Appeals’ at Moor House School & College, ‘Head of Development & Alumni’ at University of East London, ‘Director of Fundraising’ at the mental health charity Together, Working for Wellbeing, and as ‘Head of Trusts, Corporates and Major Gifts’ at Muscular Dystrophy Campaign. She holds a PhD in Social Sciences from London School of Economics.
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.
John Misselbrook is a Chartered Certified Accountant and brings over 20 years experience in senior roles across a breadth of third sector organisations. During this time John has managed some significant strategic projects incorporating property, infrastructure and operations. Personally motivated toward organisations that actively work in improving the quality of healthcare, welfare and the sustainability and enjoyment of life, John is committed to being an integral team member in the success of RSAS as the Society for dementia carers.
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.
Luisa Rabanal is a registered occupational therapist with a diverse research background. She developed a passion for dementia care whilst working in residential homes as a carer for people living with dementia. Luisa has previously worked as a researcher with the Bradford Dementia Group and at Salford University with their Institute for Dementia. Luisa has expertise in young onset dementia and worked on a three-year study in Salford looking at the experiences and needs of younger people living with dementia using participatory research. The findings were used to develop best practice in Salford and facilitate the development of support services for people living with young onset dementia. Luisa has further conducted research looking at the impact of specialist day care for younger people living with dementia. She is also interested in person-centred counselling for people affected by dementia and is completing her foundations of counselling. Luisa is passionate about improving support and interventions for carers and is delighted to be working for an organisation which has this as their focus.