Anne is our Development Support Worker. More text to follow!
Who We Are
Eva first became involved with the Forum as a parent volunteer back in 2009 – and liked it so much she left her job as a translator to become our first Development Worker.
Eva has a particular interest in marketing and communications, and writes most of the articles for our newsletter and the website.
Her other main interest is SEN law, and she recently completed the IPSEA foundation legal training. Eva supports our parent carer representatives and runs our Education subgroup
Amanda has three children, the middle one of which has autism and attends a special school. Currently Amanda works part time as a Teaching Assistant at a special school.
John has been our Treasurer for over five years.
Sue is our lead on adult health and social care. She is married to David, our co-chair. Sue originally trained in secretarial work, then as a nurse. After 25 years Sue went back to college and gained a diploma in childcare and education. Sue has worked in a variety of schools, mostly supporting children with special educational needs.
Sue does voluntary work as secretary with Friends of Bents Green and also as secretary to the Beighton Scout Group. She is one of the trainers on our “Working Together with Parents” course.
Michelle’s work at the Forum is mainly that of ambassador, promoting the Forum’s work and raising awareness. Although Michelle’s career background is mainly in housing development, she is also a qualified trainer.
Michelle is a Sheffield City Council Councillor and a carer with three children and two grandchildren. Her youngest son has high-functioning Autistic Spectrum Disorder and is currently a student at Bents Green special school.
Melissa Simmonds is a parent of two children, one of whom has autism. Both attend mainstream school.
Melissa is leading on our outreach programme to Black Minority Ethnic (BME) groups. She also has a keen interest in families with disabled children accessing religious denominations, as she believes such families are living in isolation when they need the backing of their religious communities most. Melissa has recently left the Civil Service and is now a part-time Children and Families worker.
Laura is our lead on volunteers. She was a Physiotherapist prior to children, specialising in Neurology. Laura has two children, a son and a daughter. Her son has a diagnosis of autism and attends a special school.
Laura helps to run the Forum’s outreach programme, visiting schools, nurseries and community groups. She is one of our parent carer representatives and supports and mentors our volunteers. Laura is the Chair of the Sheffield Lightning Athletics Club, an athletics club for children with Autism, Asperger’s, ADHD and associated disabilities at the English Institute of Sport, and is also Chair of Governors at Bents Green Special School.
Katie is our Chair. She is a single full-time mum of two girls. Her eldest has verbal dyspraxia, autism and ADHD and is in mainstream school. Her youngest has no special educational needs, but does have various health issues. She has had major open heart surgery and suffers from extreme migraines, Raynauds syndrome and hyper mobility.
Katie attends many strategic meetings as a parent carer representative. She is also trying to strengthen our links with local parent support groups by setting up an Affiliate Membership scheme.
Joanne is a member of the Staffing, Governance and Finance subcommittee, the Education subgroup and the Transport group. She is one of our parent carer representatives and co-ordinates our outreach visits to schools and community groups across Sheffield, with Laura Gillespie.
Joanne has a daughter who has classic autism and learning difficulties, and attends the National Autistic Society’s Robert Ogden School in Thurnscoe. Joanne’s work background is in Local Government, but she is currently a full-time carer and volunteer.
Jayne is mother to two boys; Sam, her eldest, attends Bents Green Special School. Sam is autistic and has dyspraxia, ADD and oral dyspraxia. Jayne works part time as a Disability Adviser at the University of Sheffield which involves supporting disabled students. She has been involved with the Sheffield Parent Carer Forum since its inception, and was chair of the organisation from 2008 to 2017.
Deborah is our lead on social media and runs our Twitter account. She helped to set up our Forum and is also co-founder and volunteer of ACCT – a local charity providing services and support to children with Asperger’s Syndrome and high-functioning autism and their families.
Deborah has experience in management, politics and journalism and worked as an aide to a politician in Sheffield and Westminster for seven years. She worked for 13 years as an Assistant Registrar at the University of Sheffield specialising in politics and journalism. Deborah is mum to two children, one with Asperger’s Syndrome, asthma, serious allergy difficulties and sensory difficulties.
David is married to Sue (below), and together they have four children: Gemma, Jonathan, George and Joseph. George and Joseph have an autistic spectrum disorder and cystic fibrosis.
David joined at the start of the Sheffield Parent Carer Forum. He is also a Beaver Scout leader, a member of Friends of Bents Green and of Families Lobbying and Advising Sheffield (FLASh), and sits on the Carers and Young Carers Board. David has been a carer since 1999 and before that he was a joiner and packer from 1962 to 1999 for a Packing Case Manufacturer.
Clare has two teenage daughters; her younger daughter has Down Syndrome and currently attends mainstream school.
Clare and her husband Rob are active members of the Sheffield Down Syndrome group (SHEDS).