Alison Matthews - Speech and Language Therapist / Senior Director

Alison has worked with adults with Learning Disabilities in the NHS for over 28 years and more recently people with mental health difficulties and also dementia. Alison led the total communication project in Oldham Learning Disability Service introducing a range of approaches including the development of the Communication Dictionary.  Alison is passionate about ensuring people with learning disabilities have a voice and choice.
She is the author of the Communication Dictionary and a publication about parents with learning disabilities

MSc Practice Development

BSc Speech Pathology and Therapy

Registered HCPC and member of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists.

Member of RCSLT Clinical Excellence Networks for Adults with Learning Disabilities

Shahnaz Ashraf - Speech and Language Therapist / Director

Shahnaz trained as a Speech and Language Therapist as a mature student at The University of Manchester. Since graduating she has worked with adults with Learning disabilities both for the NHS and with private organisations. She is a registered Signalong tutor and a trustee for the SIgnalong charity. Shahnaz particularly enjoys signing and training staff/ carers in all forms of communication.

Shahnaz enjoys working alongside support staff and other professionals who support bilingual clients and their families. She works in supporting the communication needs of adults with Learning Disabilities in Mirpuri (Punjabi) and Urdu as well as English. She is passionate about giving parents a voice and facilitating links between services and parents.


BSc (Hons) Speech and Language Therapy.

Registered SIgnalong Tutor

Registered HCPC and member of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists.

Member of RCSLT Clinical Excellence Networks for Bilingualism and Adults with Learning Disabilities

Registered Dementia Champion

Rhiannon Matthews - Communication Development Worker / Director

Rhiannon completed her undergraduate degree and Master’s degree in Childhood Studies.

She has a particular interest in learning disability and focussed both of her dissertations

on Multisensory Storytelling for children and adults with profound and multiple disabilities.

She is passionate about linking theory to practice and has 7 years experience as a support worker

in both group and one to one settings.  She is also trained as a Forest School Leader

and is working towards ensuring people of all abilities can experience outdoor and nature based activities.

Patrick Bartlett  - Music Therapist

Patrick is a music therapist, trained and worked in London, and is now based in York. Patrick has worked extensively with young people with learning disabilities, autism, behavioural and emotional difficulties, and children in need of physical support. He has also worked with adults with learning disabilities, autism and mental health issues. He works on a one to one basis as well as in

a music therapy group.
Alongside his Music Therapist role Patrick has had 9 years worth of teaching experience; one to one instrumental teaching and also with groups of children with special needs. He has strived to incorporate the qualities of delivering information to people who find it hard to understand, with the qualities of a music therapist so that he can help people communicate themselves,

be it verbally or musically. Patrick works with his service users towards being able to express themselves, and this is achieved

with the right creative support.


Music and Sound Design (BMus) at the University of Surrey
Music Therapy (MA) at the University of Roehampton
Registered HCPC member and member of the British Association of Music Therapists (BAMT)

Julie Williams - Dramatherapist

 Julie been a dramatherapist for 19 years and before that was a drama and special needs teacher.

Julie introduced Dramatherapy in three schools in the North West and has managed and facilitated numerous creative and therapeutic community arts projects in the North West. She has worked as a Dramatherapist within a professional theatre company for people with learning disabilities - ‘Full Body and the Voice’. For the last 16 years she has also been working as

a Dramatherapist within a specialist learning disability multi-disciplinary team and as a clinical lead within the NHS.

Julie is able to offer: Assessment, work on a 1:1 basis as well as group work, staff training and support.


Drama teachers Diploma, Guildford school of speech and drama 

BA education, Brighton

Post Grad Diploma in Drama Therapy, university College of Ripon and York St John

Creative arts supervision training, Sesame school of Speech and Drama

Advanced Diploma in Gestalt and experiential group work, Paul Rebilliot

Diploma in Mindfulness, Karuna Institute 

Story telling in education and therapy, Emmerson College 



 Amanda Parson-Hulse - Dance Movement Therapist

Amanda has worked with children and adults with learning disabilities for over 20 years in various settings such as schools, day centres and charities. For the last 7 years she directed ‘Soul2Feet’, a multi-cultural arts in education organisation.

Her main interest is in empowering people to express themselves creatively. She recently qualified as a Dance Movement Psychotherapist and now uses Laban Movement Analysis and Kestenberg Movement Profiling to inform her work.

She brings with her a broad range of skills using developmental movements, multi-cultural dance, Body-Mind Centering® and movement techniques to facilitate communication.


Leisure Studies (BA) specialising in Leisure & Disability, Leeds Metropolitan University.

Youth & Community Studies Diploma, Leeds Metropolitan University.

Dance Movement Psychotherapy (MA), Edge Hill University.

Member of the Association of Dance Movement Psychotherapists.

 Amir Uddin - Communication Development Worker

Amir has experience of  working  in partnership with external organisations to support staff teams and providing

support to people with LD, their families and their  carer, as well as working with young people and adults. 

Amir has experience of using talking mats, communication passports and communication dictionaries.

He has a particular flair for developing lovely resources for visual support of communication and is available

to support therapists in assessing individuals in Bangla as well as English whilst advising on cultural and linguistic issues.


Lisa Stapleton - Communication Development Worker

Lisa has worked with adults with learning disabilities for over 20 years in a variety of settings including day services,

outreach and as a Communication Development Worker. Lisa also worked in a specialist post managing services

for children and adults on the Autistic spectrum. Lisa has a strong passion in supporting families, professionals,

care services and individuals with communication difficulties to implement Total Communication approaches such as

Signalong, PECS, TEACHH and Objects of Reference.


Kim is a qualified Level 3 Social Worker, Best Interest Assessor and Person Centred Planning Practitioner who has

30 years of experience working with people Learning Disabilities. Kim’s passion is supporting people to have a voice,

she is a strong supporter of co-production and meaningful engagement.

Kim is able to Support planning, Person Centred Planning Training, co-production, safe guarding training,

Advocacy work, Best Interest Assessments.

Kim Doolan - Social Worker

Angie Brain - Graphic Artist

Angie worked as a graphic artist for Oldham Multicultural Education & Language Service for several years

before embarking on a 24 year career as a senior graphic artist within the NHS. 

Angie has branded and helped establish many projects within local communities and is  experienced

in creating quality support materials, reports and infographics. 

Angie is a qualified trainer, project manager and event coordinator specialising in design, illustration

and marketing. She is also an exhibiting fine artist and book illustrator and an experienced board member.


NWRAC Art and Design



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