Wirral born and bred, Richard has worked within the health, social care and charity sectors for over 15 years.
Previously the CEO of Nazareth Care Charitable Trust, Richard has worked in senior leadership roles for some of the largest care providers in the UK charity sector, including Aspirations and Community Integrated Care.
A former support worker himself, Richard has worked through various levels of social care management to achieve success at CEO level, and so brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to Autism Together.
Jane is passionate about services for people who have autism. Working in health and social care for over 30 years, 17 at Director level, Jane has used her knowledge and enthusiasm to promote person-centred specialist services for people who have autism.
Within her professional career Jane used this passion and drive in 2000 to help create Prior’s Court School – a school that has gone on to achieve international recognition.
Since 2009 Jane has brought this drive and ambition to Autism Together, ensuring that specialist autism approaches are used across the organisation – achieving Outstanding status with CQC for a purpose-built innovative service for people who have autism.
Autism Together has been recognised for its outstanding achievements in supporting people with autism by Laing and Buisson, 3rdSector Care Awards, Great British Care Awards and the National Autistic Society.
Helen started her Human Resources career in the care sector over 18 years ago, with the NHS and is a chartered Fellow of the CIPD. She has a natural passion for people and strives to devise innovative strategies aligned to the needs of both the employee and those accessing care.
Previously the Regional HR Director for a multi-national Home Care provider, Helen has been recognised for her ability to bring fire and passion to the workforce, through the utilisation of HR strategies which provide employee sustainability and promote the interests of the people being supported.
Helen has worked in senior roles within both the public and private sectors, through various HR roles covering the full employment spectrum, allowing her to bring a wide range of expertise to support the entire staff team within Autism Together.
Louise Parnell is Autism Together’s Finance Director, joining the charity in March 2020.
A qualified accountant, Louise had 11 years prior experience in the charity sector, most recently as Executive Director of Business Resources at National Museums Liverpool. Prior to that, Louise worked at Unilever for 12 years in various financial roles. Louise is also a trustee for UK-Med in Manchester, an organisation providing humanitarian medical support across the world in response to health emergencies. It is important to Louise to feel that in her role she is making a positive difference to individuals, which is why she was attracted to Autism Together and the important work the organisation does in supporting people with autism.
Angie has worked supporting autistic people for over 25 years, both in Wirral and in Manchester.
Much of this time has been spent within Residential Services as a support worker, team leader and registered manager.
Angie moved into Business Development in 2007 and led the development of Supported Living within Autism Together. Since then, she has played a part in developing and building upon many of the services and initiatives that Autism Together runs today.
Angie is passionate about delivering person-centred services for autistic people. She is a tenacious networker, an innovative and creative thinker, and thoroughly enjoys driving projects and steering new initiatives through to completion.
Chris joined Autism Together in February 2021 as Head of Estates & Facilities, before joining the Executive Team and becoming a Director in July 2023.
Having qualified as a Building Surveyor in 2004, he has previously worked across private Building Consultancy practices in a variety of sectors before moving into a wider property-based role at the Archdiocese of Liverpool. The broad range of experience gained through his career has enabled him to further develop our processes and strategies towards compliance and facilities, along with reactive and planned maintenance works to improve our sites at Autism Together.
Chris has ensured that one of the key priorities of Autism Together is recognising the importance of having a compliant, safe and homely environment that underpins the great work done within our services. As we continue to advance with our key objectives, his knowledge, passion and enthusiasm to improve every area of our assets will help ensure we continue to offer a provision we can all be proud of.
Outside of our charity, Chris is vice chair of a governing body for a primary school in Liverpool, where he lives with his wife, two young sons and miniature schnauzer, Willow. Having two football mad sons and being a qualified football coach, Chris then spends a lot of his spare time coaching their youth football teams.
John Kennedy, CBE, KSG, DL, is a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist. In 1961 he founded John Kennedy Civil Engineering and built it into one of the most successful construction and engineering businesses in the UK. After selling the company John focussed on creating the John Kennedy Charitable Foundation which has invested in tremendous causes throughout the UK, Africa and South America. John was awarded a CBE in 2003 to acknowledge his unique contributions to civil life and charities both home and abroad.
John sums up his philosophy as: “Those of us who are blessed with success have a duty and responsibility to assist and guide those who require encouragement and support to succeed and be self-sufficient wherever possible.”
Trish Chapman, Patron
Trish Chapman became a patron at Autism Together in 2018, after supporting the charity through various fundraising events for the last 5 years. Trish is a business owner with a branch depot in Bromborough, Wirral, and has business interests across the North East. Several years ago, the branch depot chose to support Autism Together as their nominated charity, and after a tour of the facilities, Trish decided to become personally involved with our charity, too.
Trish is a keen gardener, and often enjoys visits to Bromborough Pool Garden Centre, which is run by staff and service users at Autism Together.
Andrew has been a trustee since 2012. He is a lawyer who has spent much of his career working for trade unions and their members. He became a fee paid judge in 2013 and works in two jurisdictions dealing with human rights, immigration, asylum and European law in one and social entitlement issues in the other.
Andrew has a long history of involvement in public life including 12 years from 1979 to 1991 as a Wirral councillor. Most recently he completed his second and final term on the board of Wirral Metropolitan College which is outstanding in its work with disadvantaged students.
Andrew splits his time between Wirral and Stockholm where his wife works as a teacher.
Helen has been a trustee since 2018. She comes from a public sector background in local authority; her last post being Assistant Director in Children’s Services for Liverpool City Council.
Helen has a lot of experience of strategic management of services, including special needs and behaviour management services. A key role in Helen’s last post was integration of services, particular around health and children’s services and links between the transition from children to adult services.
Helen also worked for 10 years in Liverpool Community College, as a lecturer and curriculum manager.
Ted has been a trustee since 2013 and became Vice-chair in 2020. He has many years’ experience working at senior strategic and operational levels, primarily in the social housing and education sectors. His background lies in finance and in estates and property management.
Ted is also currently Chair of Trustees with Bridge Community Wellness Gardens based in Ellesmere Port. The charity supports people with mental health and lifelong learning disabilities.
Until recently, Ted was Chair of Governors at two local primary schools, and a National Leader of Governance, appointed by the Department for Education to support the development of Multi-Academy Trusts.
Ted is also very passionate about cultural diversity and has spent significant time since his retirement volunteering and supporting education and social enterprise projects in South Africa and Tanzania.
John has been a Trustee since 1998; he has a son with autism who has been supported by Autism Together since 1988. John is a retired company director of Kennedy Civil Engineering and maintains many business and charity interests.
John was awarded the CBE in 2003 in recognition of his many charitable commitments.
John is also a Deputy Lieutenant of Greater Manchester.
Cath has been a trustee since 2016 and became Chair in 2020. She is a solicitor who has also worked in the management of law firms. She has strong organisation skills and is used to juggling a portfolio of clients and business needs. Cath has worked in the property industry for 15 years in various roles at managerial and director level. Responsibilities have included debt structuring and succession planning.
Cath has a daughter with autism who has been supported by Autism Together since 2014.
Carole was elected to the Board in 2016. She was formerly a special educational needs teacher and also ran an evening centre for adults with moderate and severe learning difficulties. From 2010-2014 she was a governor of Bridge College in Stockport – part of The Together Trust.
Since 2012 Carole has worked with the NAS Accreditation Team and has undertaken several inspections of registered care providers around the country.
The eldest of her four sons has autism and has been supported by Autism Together since 1993.
Iain has been a trustee since 2016. He has over 30 years’ experience in accounting and business operations from working for PLCs, limited companies and partnerships in the legal, retailing, manufacturing and marketing sectors, and has held senior positions at both board and managerial level.
Iain has a strong background in financial management, financial planning and analysis, and strategic planning. He also has a broad knowledge of IT and systems development, and strong management and administration skills. Iain has an autistic son who has been supported by Autism Together since 2008.
John was elected to the Board in 2016. He is a retired professional engineer working for over 50 years in the international power business at director level in power station management, sales and marketing, HR and Health & Safety. John has also been responsible for business P&L and for establishing budgets from first principles and managing their delivery to target.
From 2008 to 2013, John was a non-executive Director at Wirral Primary Care Trust and was Chair of the Provider Services Board and a member of the Audit Committee. Since 2008 John has served on the Board of Involve North West, a community service charity which specialises in helping difficult to employ people back into the workplace. After 5 years as Chair of the Board he remains an active Board Member.
Tony became a trustee in 2016. He started his career in building services and facilities management and after 20+ years, moved into the rail industry working as a Senior Asset Manager in property at national level. He specialised in policy and strategy for maintenance, renewals and major project development, including internal statutory compliance audit.
Tony has now retired as director of his management consultancy company, specialising in property policy and strategy and rail franchise bid support. He has a young grandson with autism.
David was elected as a trustee in October 2019. David, who has recently retired from private practice, was a partner in a national law firm advising employers and insurers on their health and safety obligations to employees, service users and members of the public. His work included advising on claims relating to pupils with special needs. He has also served as a school governor for nine years, three of them as vice-chair.
David has two nephews and a godson with autism. He looks forward to being able to support AT and to making a positive impact as a trustee.
He is driven, enthusiastic, creative and passionate about promoting the great work of the social care sector.
Nuala has a strong organisational and administrative background in business, running her own successful property business for over 20 years.
Her late brother was autistic and was supported by Autism Together for many years. Nuala has been involved with many charitable programs over the years. She is passionate about improving and enhancing the quality of care and the continued development of support systems.
Chris is Director of Compliance at the Co-operative Bank. Having initially qualified as a chartered accountant, Chris has spent the past 19 years working across Risk, Finance, Audit and Governance disciplines for PwC, Lloyds Banking Group, and now the Co-operative Bank. Chris chairs the Bank’s Operational and Compliance Risk Committee and is approved by the FCA in his current role.
Chris is driven by delivering fair customer outcomes, being particularly interested in ensuring customers identified as vulnerable are fully supported. Chris is ethically minded and passionate about making a positive difference to people’s lives.
Kate is a Highly Specialist Speech & Language Therapist who works with children and young people in the NHS. Kate is passionate about support and services for autistic people and has completed a Masters in Autism to develop her awareness and understanding with the aim of using this knowledge to inform her practice.
Outside of work, Kate has used her hobbies to help raise money for charities, including Autism Together, by holding art exhibitions and using her EP Launch as a fundraiser.
Carys is a Senior Organisational Development Consultant for a North West-based business, where she helps work communities become places where people can thrive.
With many years’ experience in HR and OD across public and private sector organisations, she proactively champions EDI through people-centric practice and co-production principles. Her aim as a trustee is to make a meaningful and positive difference to those in the autistic community.
Sue was born and still lives in the Wirral. Now retired, Sue spent her working life in the private sector, mainly in Financial Services. Sue has worked in various accounting and management roles and has a range of financial, data analysis, governance and risk management experience.
Sue is delighted to have the opportunity of becoming a Trustee of Autism Together and using her skills to work with a charitable organisation that puts the individual at the centre of everything they do.
Steve is currently leading the Barclays Bank Retail operating model transformation, designing the future UK retail operating model for 2025 and beyond. Previously, he was Head of Records and Programme Manager within the Chief Data Office in Barclays Execution Services. In this role, Steve was responsible for the Records Management Policy, Control Standards and Global controls capability with the purpose of mitigating a critical Global data and records management risk.
Prior to 2019, Steve had served as a Commissioned Personnel Support Officer in the Royal Air Force for 21 years. In this time, he had served across the UK and overseas in a number of leadership and management roles around HR, Infrastructure, Policy and Finance. He has also deployed operationally, completed advanced staff training and achieved a Cranfield Executive MBA and MA in Defence Studies and International Relations.
Professionally, he is keen to deliver sustainable change and exploit innovation and continue learning. Away from work, Steve lives with his wife on the Wirral in Meols with their dog Edie. In his spare time, he is a competitive runner, cyclist and enjoys all things outdoors.
Charlotte is Deputy Director of Insight and Effectiveness at the National Deaf Children’s Society. She has a background in research, analysis and strategy development. Having spent the past nine years working in the charity sector, she is passionate about ensuring work in the sector is founded in strong evidence and insight, to ensure maximum impact is achieved.
Charlotte is driven by a desire to improve people’s lives. She is delighted to be a Trustee of Autism Together, with the four values of positive communication, being person-centred, learning and respect being so close to her own heart.