Meet the Associate Family Consultants team

Family consultants are part of Dimensions’ lifeblood. You can contact our dedicated Families team here.

Together, they act as ‘critical friends’ to Dimensions’ operational teams. The family consultants are there to help families express concerns, to act as intermediary to help bridge the communications gaps that can sometimes exist between providers and families, and to champion the rights of families across Dimensions. Seven of our family consultants are also trained to quality check services.

Demand for a ‘family voice’ around the table has, rightly, never been greater. We believe Dimensions is unique in having so many family consultants. Meet them here:

The South

Alexis Walmsley

Alexis Walmsley

Alexis’ son is supported partly by us in his own home in Berkshire. She uses a Direct Payment to buy our support which works alongside a team she employs herself on her son’s behalf. This means she has a wealth of practical experience on working creatively in partnership that is invaluable to help us learn about this unusual way if working. As a relative newcomer to Dimensions she brings fresh insight to the team and wider organisation.

Amanda Watson

Amanda’s son is supported by us in his own home in Dorset. He has autism and learning disabilities and communicates without speech. Amanda is one of the pilot team of ‘family expert’ quality checkers and will continue to fill this role alongside associate family consultant work. She manages a Direct Payment on behalf of her son and has successfully advocated for him to move closer to the family. She has had to become an expert in managing risks associated with challenging behaviour.

Roger Prew

Roger Prew

Roger’s daughter is supported by us in a shared house in Bracknell. A recently trained family quality checker he is keen to ensure family expertise is used in getting support right for people. In times of austerity Roger has a creative eye for taking full advantage of circumstances and is hoping to guide other families through these tricky times.

The East

Annie Fergusson

Annie Fergusson

Annie’s brother is supported by us in shared supported living in Worcestershire. She has been a member of the family forum and the only ‘sibling’ to sit on it. She is the editor of PMLD Link an informative newsletter for families and supports of people with profound and multiple learning disabilities and has been part of the team that developed the national PMLD Standards that were launched in November 2017.

Kate Chate

Kate Chate

Kate’s son is autistic, has learning disabilities, learning difficulties and significant sensory integration issues. He is living at home while he finishes his education. Kate is particularly interested in communication and coproduction (working together to design more effective resolutions), and is happy to support when there are difficult relationships, with a listening ear and a solution focus, because working together brings the best outcomes for all.

Kate is a Makaton tutor, a Mental Capacity Act trainer and can give training and guidance in person centred planning and it’s various tools.

The North

Claire Garrod Pullar

Claire Garrod Pullar

Claire’s son is supported by us in his own home in York. He spent too many years in an ATU but has a great life in his own home now. Before joining us as an associate Claire spoke to many new families about the support we offer. Knowing the very worst and best of support gives her unique insight into some very complex situations.

Linda Dickinson

Linda Dickinson

Linda’s son is 18 and preparing to move into his own place before too long. Linda has strong networks with families in the North East and prior to joining us she was a Family Advisor with Inclusion North. She also works as an expert by experience in the Care and Treatment Review process.

Nicola Middlehurst

Nicola Middlehurst

Nicola’s priority is that family voices are heard with compassion, respected and taken into account when it comes to the support their loved ones receive.

Nicola has a neurodiverse family and is a Master Practitioner of Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP), a graduate member of the British Psychological Society and currently completing a Master’s degree in Forensic Psychology, with a view to becoming a Chartered Psychologist.

Nicola is passionate about the Family Charter and Dimensions values, and is here to support families to build great partnerships through positive communication, mutual respect and honesty.

Nicola has also worked on the development and implementation of Psychologically Informed Frameworks, working with vulnerable adults in the delivery and impact of trauma informed care.

Susan Kirkman

Susan is the former chair and longstanding member of the Family Forum. Her son is supported by us in his own home in Sheffield. She has sat on national groups such as the Autism strategy group and National Valuing Families Forum and is passionate about families getting good support and clear information. Susan recently brought to light some changes to the way mortgages are handled for people with learning disabilities and campaigned tirelessly to keep people informed.

The West

Barbara Roberts

Barbara Roberts

Barbara’s son is supported by us in his own home in Wiltshire. She is one of the pilot team of ‘family expert’ quality checkers and will continue with that work alongside the associate family consultant team. Barbara has expertise in the benefits system. She regularly raises concerns with her MP and is a lifelong advocate for people experiencing all kinds of social exclusion.

Jan Blair

Jan Blair

Jan is one of the original members of the family forum. As one of the first families in the country to secure a direct payment and supported living for her daughter who has profound and multiple learning disabilities her early experience of navigating the system and developing a great relationship with her daughter’s support provider and team has been invaluable to us. Jan’s ‘outside’ perspective continues to bring a balanced perspective to the team.

Martin Boniface

Martin’s son, Harry, has been supported by us in Worcestershire since he left school. Harry has recently moved from residential care to supported living with us and we are using that experience to change the support we offer in these circumstances. Martin was a member of the national family forum and Waymarks Board before joining us as an Associate Family Consultant. He has a regular blog on our website and has recently had a story of discrimination towards his son on a theatre trip successfully shared in local and national newspapers and on BBC local radio.