Meet our Healthwatch Community Champions!

Read about our Community Champions and why they're passionate about improving health and wellbeing across South Tees
Healthwatch Community Champions logo

Emma Abbott

I work for Youth Focus North East as a Development Officer. In my role, I work with young people from across the region, in particular East Middlesbrough. My main focus is around youth voice and ensuring young people have the opportunity to not only have their voices heard but for them to have the opportunity to make positive changes for themselves and their peers. 

Through conversations with young people they have identified that key issues affecting them currently are: Mental Health, Covid, Education and Sustainability (Environmentally). We are working with young people to form a youth voice group that focuses on these issues and others as they come up.

As a Healthwatch South Tees Community Champion I want to link with more partners to create more opportunities for young people from our area.  

Click here to find out more about Youth Focus North East.

Annalice Argyle (The Recovery Advocates and Consultants)

I work with individuals in Teesside who have become marginalised through substance misuse and mental health issues and many are also either at risk or experiencing homelessness. We provide wrap around advocacy support to assist the clients at the start of their recovery journey, we will help with benefit appointments, tribunals, GP appointments, housing related issues and issues relating to family matters.

I became involved with Healthwatch after it was suggested that I could provide feedback about the experiences my clients were having while using local services. I also wanted to be involved so I could find out about what else is going on in the local area that could be of interest to TRAC and our clients.

I feel that being involved with Healthwatch provides our clients with a degree of confidence knowing that we are linked to an organisation that oversees care in the local area. Being linked to an organisation like Healthwatch means people will have more trust in our organisation and they also have the knowledge that if they want to report anything, they can. I feel that being a community champion has allowed me to gain a greater knowledge of what is going on in the local area.

Find out more about Annalice's work on the TRAC website.

Naomi Bulman

I am the creator of Loganslearning, a support network for Neurodiverse families.  We have many different qualified team members with years of experience that range from supporting EYFS children, teenagers, adults and the family dynamic.

I specialise in early years children and families.  I act as a representative on behalf of families to ensure individual family members are receiving support both pre and post diagnosis. I also help parents to find support pathways, help assessing their children’s additional needs, and provide them with information, advice and support.  I liaise with the community such as local businesses, educational and health care professionals to ensure individual people with neurological differences are accepted, included and respected and I do this by providing the community the chance to attend virtual meetings.

I am the managing director of Loganslearning parent online support group and I am also proud to say I am a Healthwatch Community Champion allowing me to advocate for families who have been dismissed by professionals or are struggling to have their voices heard.

Loganslearning was inspired by my wonderful son who is autistic.  Logan and I have gone through many different experiences and can relate to families going through similar experiences.  I am qualified in understanding autism, EYFS teaching and childcare, SEN in early years, sensory experience, supporting families, communication, stress and anxiety.  I am very happy to have become part of the Healthwatch team, to work with other people supporting our local communities and surrounding areas.

To find out more follow LogansLearning on Facebook or email

Coral Danby

I am a motivator for Public Health South Tees at the Live Well Centre based in Dundas House Middlesbrough.  My role as a Motivator is community Based within different organisations in Middlesbrough .

We focus on Face to Face Interventions, discussing and recognising issues and barriers that clients are straggling with to engage with appropriate services.  A few examples: financial struggles, substance misuse, mental and physical health, lack of confidence and social isolated and lack of knowledge of the area’s offerings.

As a motivator we discuss, support and motivate people into appropriate support organisations, making appropriate referrals and educating on community support groups and activities within the local area.

Since the initial lockdown last year it has been extremely difficult to provide our service. I struggled to find a purpose within my role if I couldn’t offer what we are great as. As a team, we have adapted our role to still keep involved with community support groups, delivery of prescriptions, collecting food donations and distributing appropriately to food organisations who have been providing support to our vulnerable clients and making some excellent working relationships with companies who have generously donated surplus stock to help those in the local community.

I also support and distribute sanitary products for middlesbroughcouncil-freesanitaryproducts  project allowing FREE sanitary wear accessible to women in difficult circumstances.  I have signed up a lot of organisations within Middlesbrough to make this easily accessed for women.


Anya Deputat

I work for Ageing Better Middlesbrough as the Age Friendly Officer. Ageing Better Middlesbrough is a National Lottery Community Fund programme that is finding ways to reduce loneliness and isolation for people aged 50 and over.
The Age Friendly activity aims to make Middlesbrough a better place to grow older and creates opportunities for older people, community groups, local organisations and decision-makers to work together.

In my role, I support local initiatives that improve our town for people of all ages, work closely with an action group of older people called Abmag and champion the Age Friendly agenda with local partners.

I got involved with Healthwatch Community Champions to create opportunities to exchange learning and to help engage older people in meaningful conversations about their health and wellbeing.

Recently I completed the World Health Organisation training on Healthy Ageing, which allowed me to connect with other professionals and take part in the conversation on challenges and opportunities for ageing population. I hope to continue this dialogue in Middlesbrough to work towards more accessible and friendlier town. 

To find out more about the Ageing Better Middlesbrough programme click here.

Jan Donnelly

My work as a Community Connection Coordinator for the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) is varied. Our aim is to connect people with a visual impairment to the services we provide; to connect them through peer to peer support; and to the wider community through activities and services.  Above all, we strive for people to be free of isolation and to be able to live their lives in the way that they wish. Having full access to health services and important information - be it in the GP surgeries or in the hospital - is not only important but essential. 

I am extremely passionate about what we do, promoting change, challenging injustices, and breaking down the barriers to inclusion for all.  Having a visual impairment, myself, I am even more determined that our voices should be heard. Being asked to become a Healthwatch South Tees Community Champion will allow me to represent the people of our community who have a visual impairment but also help us all work together to improve the life chances and opportunities for everyone in the community.  

Terry Doyle

I am a Holistic Wellbeing & Resilience Coach, empowering people of all ages and backgrounds, by teaching different ways of looking after their health of mind, body and spirit. 

I specialise in helping people to learn ways to look after themselves and to see life from a more positive perspective wherever possible, through easy to learn self-help interventions like Meditation, Mindfulness, Tai Chi gentle exercise, Emotional Freedom Technique EFT and a range of other Holistic Modalities. 

I'm also trained in Asset Based Community Development and Community Organising and have a keen interest in Social Justice Chairing the Redcar area Caritas Social Action Network. I believe in the need to have more Compassionate Communities where we all support each other and especially our most vulnerable members.

You can view Terry's self-help videos by clicking the links below.

Gentle Tai Chi movement and breath work for health and wellbeing

We are all marginal

Rachel Gault

Hi, my name is Rachel, and I work for Community Ventures based as Operations Director.

Community Ventures is a support hub based in the centre of Thorntree, Middlesbrough, which has one of the most extreme pockets of deprivation, unemployment, and shorter life expectancy within the Tees Valley. Here we provide a base for voluntary/support organisations that offer training, outreach activities, and wrap around specialist support to the community; in addition to these, we provide grassroots job clubs, therapeutic art groups, after-school clubs, outdoor learning projects, and other community-led activities.

At Community Ventures, we involve the community in the planning, delivery, and evaluation stages of our projects. All projects have local volunteers involved offering the community experiences to gain skills, knowledge, and confidence. Working directly with local people helps me and the team understand the challenges our community faces, so when I heard about Healthwatch South Tees Community Champions, I thought this would be a fantastic opportunity to share feedback on behalf of our community and volunteers.

Annemarie Head

I am the founder and manager at Tees Valley Buddies 

Tees Valley Buddies is a peer social support network that helps and supports neurodiverse people and their families. We like to call it a “family” that come together to support and empower each other! 

Our network is made up of neurodiverse volunteers (Peer Support Buddies) who have different neurological and cognitive differences who can help other neurodiverse people so they can learn to celebrate their difference, find friends, socialize, establish their place in society and live a more happy and fulfilled life. Volunteers also help to spread neurodiversity awareness in communities, workplaces and in education.  We also offer a support and guidance service for parents and carers to help empower parents to navigate their way through the SEND system, and to become effective advocates for all their child’s needs.

Parents and carers can come together to help and support each other at our Tees Valley Buddies Parent and Carer Support Group. Parents and carers who are really struggling to cope, who feel like they have no where to turn, who want advice, guidance and just need someone to listen can request for one of our parent and carer support buddies. Who can offer them one to one emotional and practical support!

We feel there needs to be more neurodiversity awareness, more equal treatment, and more widespread acceptance for those with autism and other neurological and cognitive developmental conditions. We want to create a society that can bend a little to allow for differences in behaviour, learning and needs in the hope to create more opportunities for inclusion in schools, workplaces and in the wider community. 

To find out more you can find us on Facebook or email us at or call Annemarie on 07934 449500

Thomas Henley

After being furloughed from my previous job as Special Needs Teaching Assistant, lockdown proved to be a hugely stressful time and I rose to the challenge of becoming an autism advocate despite the hardships, and I feel I am really making a difference with the opportunities lockdown has offered. 

Autism has made my life difficult in some respects, but I’ve found it can be an incredible advantage in many areas.  I’m passionate, considerate, have strong moral values, can hyper-focus on topics of interest, and can approach all problems from any analytical/logical angle.  All these things made me into the person I am today.  I like being autisitic, it’s a part of who I am as an autism advocate, it’s a Differbility not a Disability.

I think the work that Healthwatch does is incredibly valuable. Although there are services out there for vulnerable adults and children, a good deal of neglect the core needs of those individuals in place of numbers and ratings. For example; places like hospitals are incredibly distressing and unhelpful for autistic people, I have personal experience of this, but there only needs to be minor adjustments to make a big impact. Furthermore, a large amount of people find accessing services a difficult and stressful process, leaving out a large proportion of those who need that support. With our partnership I hope to raise awareness of autism and improve the standard of care from the angle of lived experience.

To find out more about Thomas and his work follow the links below:-

Website -

YT channel -

Podcast -

Ellie Lowther

I have achieved much in the way of furthering understanding of trans and gender variance in our communities. I deliver highly respected workshops and training around the UK via my social purpose company Essential Learning Curve Ltd.

I founded the first Trans specific charity in the North of England, named  'Trans Aware', and created the first trans-specific safe house project in the UK. I was also a finalist in the 2019 National Diversity Awards in the Positive Role Model category. I'm passionate about healthcare issues for all though specifically in regards to those seeking help around issues of gender dysphoria and transitioning.

You can contact Ellie at

Sarah James

I'm a Social Prescribing Link Worker for the Greater Middlesbrough Primary Care Network. GPs make referrals to the Social Prescribing Team for patients who wish to access support in a number of areas including mental health & wellbeing, social isolation, living with long term health conditions, bereavement, have caring responsibilities or social care needs. We get an insight into the services they access and care received. 

Carole Marshall

I am the Volunteer Support Officer for Redcar and Cleveland Voluntary Development Agency (RCVDA).  My main role is to match potential volunteers to volunteering opportunities in voluntary organisations and community groups and help to advertise and promote volunteering opportunities in the local area. I host the Voices for Volunteer Co-Ordinators Forum in partnership with MVDA. The forum is an opportunity for people who look after volunteers to come together to share information, discuss good practice and network. 

I am proud to be a Dementia Champion and encourage others to learn more about dementia and to make a positive difference to people living with dementia. I deliver information sessions in the local community on the personal impact of dementia and inspire others to help those living with dementia live well.

I also used to work for Healthwatch Redcar and Cleveland as a Community Engagement Officer, so I fully understand the challenges of navigating our health and care system and the importance of involving people in the development of health and care systems. I would like to continue my support as a Healthwatch Community Champion to help build up a local picture of community needs and the experiences of the people who use health and social care services and have the confidence that Healthwatch South Tees is an organisation that can influence change in our local area.

Find out more about volunteering on the RCVDA website

Caroline Nakachwa

I work as a BAME Development Officer for Together Middlesbrough and Cleveland (TMC).  TMC works with local communities, organisations, churches, and faith groups to help strengthen communities, so that people can flourish and enjoy life in all its fullness.  We work across Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland.

My role is to map the existing BAME organisations, communities, residents, key stakeholders and their associated provision.  TMC works alongside these organisations/groups to identify issues affecting them, any gaps in provision and the skills and resources they can bring to support each other.  The vision is that there will be a coordinated partnership approach to explore solutions to the issues facing the BAME residents, groups and organisations.

I think linking the BAME communities to the Healthwatch South Tees would be a great opportunity to exchange ideas and have great conversations about wellbeing and health.  To find out more about Together Middlesbrough and Cleveland click here.

You can contact Caroline at or call on 07864311739.


Andrew Richardson

I am a PhD student at Teesside University, my work is titled "Investigating the Sedentary Lifestyles of the Tees Valley". My research interests also include image and performance enhancing drugs, body image and health inequalities. I am also a PT and Gym Instructor at Teesside University Sport and Well Being Department. Finally, I have experience coaching and working with elite athletes, drug and alcohol clients and members of the public regarding their fitness or sporting goals. 

I decided to become a Community Champion to be able to give back to the local area outside of the university population which I am accustomed to, meet new people and help promote and active and healthy lifestyle, by showing people that there are multiple ways to achieve this rather than the standard approach of "going to a gym". 

I think the immediate benefit for me will be to open my professional network more to the wider health organisations based across South Tees. From a personal benefit it will help expand my own knowledge and understanding to the barriers to an active and healthy lifestyle that residents may be facing. 

I am looking forward to working with like-minded and passionate people who want to make a real community impact surrounding activity and health promotion. 

Rachel Shafto

I began volunteering with RNID in 2009 as a way to meet people and practice my British Sign Language. What began as a couple of hours a month quickly evolved into several hours a week and in 2015, I was asked to apply for a 1 year contract to cover maternity leave for one of the staff members in Tyneside. After several months of commuting between Darlington and South Shields every day, the opportunity to facilitate Middlesbrough Deaf Centre came up and I jumped at the chance.

We run several different types of social groups at the centre as well as provide information talks, awareness raising, and campaigning to improve access for the Deaf community in the Tees Valley.

As someone who is hard of hearing, I know just how difficult and isolating things can be in everyday life as we live in a world that is built around sound and working with Healthwatch gives us a fantastic platform to inform our local communities that there is life after Deaf!

Click here to find out more about RNID.

Karen Winspear

I am a local community fitness instructor from East Cleveland. I deliver fitness classes for every age and ability across Skelton & Brotton and deliver seated chair (dementia friendly) classes for older adults in care homes and assisted living venues. My passion is children’s fitness and as paediatric inactivity rises, I enjoy engaging children with alternatives to sport based curriculum. I also run Senses Wellbeing Centre.

I got involved with Heathwatch to try and help spread the word across Redcar and Cleveland. In 2004 I set up Skelton Baby & Toddler Group (volunteered) and saw hundreds of families across its 8 year run. At this time there was no Facebook or social media and the community came together via word of mouth, posters and the local press. Now I get to see hundreds of faces a week in my community fitness sessions. We are at a time when adverts are at our fingertips and information can be passed through shared posts and closed targeted groups, I can assist in quick delivery of information to the residents across not only Redcar and Cleveland but the whole of the Tees Valley.

Find out more about Karen's work on the Senses Wellbeing Centre website.

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