Meet The Team
The Respond Team
Dr Noelle Blackman is the Chief Executive of Respond and a registered Dramatherapist. In 1997 she founded a unique NHS Bereavement Therapy Service for people with learning disabilities this coincided with the closure of the long stay hospitals and the complex feelings that this triggered for many former residents. She is also the co-founder of the National Network for the Palliative Care of People with Learning Disabilities.Since 1998 she has co-facilitated a user involvement group of older people with learning disabilities which began as part of the GOLD research project for The Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities.
In 2003 Noelle moved to the charity Respond as deputy to the CEO here she continued to develop staff training and psychotherapy services for adults with learning disabilities focussing particularly on abuse and trauma. She became the Chief Executive in February 2012.
She is currently a Visiting Lecturer on the MA Dramatherapy course at Anglia Ruskin University and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Hertfordshire.
She has presented papers nationally and internationally. Her published work includes the books – Loss and Learning Disability, Caring for People with Learning Disabilities who are Dying and chapters in Intellectual Disability, Psychotherapy and Trauma, Supervision of Dramatherapy and Understanding and Working with People with Learning Disabilities who Self-injure.
Relevant Qualifications: Post-Graduate Diploma in Dramatherapy; Certificate in Clinical Supervision; currently undertaking a PHD researching bereavement support needs assessment for people with learning disabilities.
Lynne has been working for Respond for two years and coordinates the ISVA (independent sexual violence advocate) and FM (forced marriage) projects. She also co-facilitates, and case manages Respond’s creative therapy women’s group. She creates bespoke psycho-educational packages, undertakes bespoke training and is an expert around the criminal justice system and around sexual and domestic violence and its impacts. Lynne has worked in the voluntary sector for over 30 years and within the areas of mental health, substance use, violence against women and girls, trauma and personal growth.
Relevant qualifications: BSc (hons) in therapy and awareness; OCN Accredited WGN – Counselling and Therapeutic interventions; University of Worcester – PG cert in sexual violence advocacy (ISVA).
Julia has spent many years working on behalf of people disadvantage by society. She was a criminal defence barrister for much of her working life. She has also worked in education and as a mental health advocate. Between 2013 and 2014, she was a volunteer on Respond’s “Circle of Support & Accountability” (COSA) Project. Together with 3 other volunteers, over a period of 18 months, they support a young person with learning disabilities away for sex offending towards a positive life in the community. Since April 2014 she has been employed by Respond to coordinate its COSA service.
Lorenzo joined the COSA service in November 2016. Prior to Respond, he worked for years in a variety of roles with vulnerable individuals. His work experience includes supporting people with learning disabilities and autism, teaching to children and adolescents with behavioural problems, working with young offenders and helping young people with mental health issues, substance misuse problems and those at risk of sexual exploitation.
Over the past 8 years Liz has worked with children, young people and families as a counsellor, nursery nurse, play worker and teaching assistant within various educational settings. More recently she has worked within a counselling and advisory role on a number of help-lines including Respond, ChildLine, Kidscape and NSPCC and currently works part time as a child therapist for Step up.
Relevant Qualifications: MA in Psychodynamic Counselling; Post Graduate Diploma in Counselling; BA (Hons) Sociology.
Luthfa has worked for over 8 years in domestic abuse, honour-based violence and forced marriage. Prior to joining Respond she worked as a domestic abuse and honour-based service coordinator, family development worker and supported housing officer. In her various roles, she worked with medium-high risk cases, delivered training, raised general awareness and managed volunteers. Through this work she built good links with grass root organisations and worked closely with faith communities to build better awareness of these issues. She has also trained male community leaders to champion against gender violence.
Anna is an HCPC registered psychodynamic art psychotherapist with a clinical interest in working with people who have learning disabilities and autism. She has over 9 year’s experience working with adults and young people who have learning disabilities and autism within the statutory care services, education and the voluntary sector. Anna has facilitated group work and 1-1 therapy within schools and healthcare and community settings, she is passionate about expression through art making and believes that giving form to emotions that cannot be expressed verbally is an extremely beneficial process that can help towards self-discovery and feeling stronger.
She has experience working with depression, anxiety, trauma, psychosis, domestic violence, sexual abuse, bereavement and substance abuse related difficulties.
Relevant Qualifications: Art Psychotherapy (MA) Goldsmiths, London. Fine Art Sculpture (BA Hon’s) University of Brighton. Anna is HCPC registered and BAAT a full member of the British Association of Art Therapists.
Rosie is a practicing Art Psychotherapist, with over substantial experience managing clinical services both in schools and in clinics. Alongside individual and group therapy, she is experienced in facilitating reflective practice, supervision, training and consultancy as well as support to families.
Relevant qualifications: Ma (Hons) Art Therapy, University of Hertfordshire. BA in Fine art (Hons), UCL. She is a BAAT member and registered with the Health Professionals Council.
Helen is the Office Manager and works part time at Respond. Her past jobs have included the London Business School Library and working for over 15 years at a Management Consultants – she then decided it was time for a change and took voluntary redundancy to explore other avenues. In this time she did an OCN level 3 distance learning course in Psychology, worked on the switchboard at Childline and volunteered at Bliss where she worked on a project to evaluate all their support units across the UK.
Tina is a part time Admin Assistant at Respond and has held Administration roles for a number of years. Past jobs have included working as an Administrator at the National Institute for Social Work and working as an Events Organiser at The Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health. Before joining Respond she worked for four years as a freelance event’s organiser for a number of Charities, NHS Trusts and DoH.
Tina is the Circles of Support and Accountability (COSA) Project Manager for our Transforming Care project in the West Midlands. The project aims to support the transition of young people with learning disabilities and/or autism who have suffered trauma back into the community from a hospital setting. Tina has worked with young people with learning disabilities and or autism for 12 years in an educational setting in the past and comes directly from a volunteering and community background in the third sector.
Dale joined us at Respond near the start of 2019, having brought with him broad administrative and service user focused experience. Having worked within the third sector for over 2 years, he has developed a strong devotion to the cause.
Jess is a state registered psychodynamic art psychotherapist and since graduating from her masters degree at Goldsmiths in 2005, has worked in a variety of settings including the NHS, youth offending services, schools and voluntary sector services. Jess has experience of facilitating groups as well as working with individuals. She has worked for many years with people with autism and/or learning disabilities, including as a support worker prior to becoming a therapist. Jess has experience of working with adults, children and young people, but her main area of specialism is her work with complex children and young people (aged 11 up to of 25) in Hackney, where she was the clinical lead and senior therapist at an established charity where she worked for 11 years.
Jess’ range of experience includes working with clients with depression and anxiety disorders such as OCD, mood disorders such as bi-polar, eating disorders, psychosis, PTSD and personality disorders as well working extensively with young people in the care system and those who are survivors of abuse, those affected by gangs, sexual exploitation, domestic violence and trauma.
Qualifications: BA (hons) Fine Art, MA Art Psychotherapy. Registered with HCPC and full member of BAAT. Jess has undertaken further professional training in evidenced based therapies such as EMDR (trauma focussed therapy) and MBT (for people with personality disorders).
Helen Gerolaki is an experienced BACP Accredited Psychotherapist practicing for over 20 years. Helen has established and managed therapy services in both the NHS and local authority settings as well as working as a tutor within counselling and psychology training settings. Helen joined Respond in 2018 and is the Forensic Service Manager for Respond delivering risk assessments, consultations and therapy as well as managing the service.
Board Of Trustees
Charles has worked in finance since 1979, as a banker and broker. Since 2010 he has worked with start-ups and charities to build sustainable enterprises.
Alison’s has worked in education all her life and retired in early 2018 from Headship of a complex needs school in Norfolk. She has worked across all sectors in education but have specialised in working in the SEN sector. For periods in her career she has worked within the Learning Disability so have a very clear overview of the whole sector and have been involved in a strategic level in developing services, particularly for vulnerable pupils. She also has a lot of experience in working across agencies, both the statutory and voluntary sectors. She is also a school governor and work on a voluntary basis for Family Action.
Jane Caldwell has a broad experience across the public, commercial and voluntary sectors. In the last 9 years she has worked across the children’s, young people’s and older people’s sectors. Previously she worked as a film producer making award winning human rights documentaries and feature films. She has started 3 businesses and began her career working in the education sector. Jane is a Trustee of Respond and a founding steering committee member of the Women’s Equality Party.
Dr Angela Hassiotis
Dr Angela Hassiotis is Professor of Intellectual Disability in the Division of Psychiatry at University of Central London. She is also the Psychiatric Lead at the London Borough of Camden Learning Disability Service.