About us

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Our staff team

Who we are

Our small, dedicated staff team, are supported by around 70 volunteers, working with us in our Keynsham and Scotland offices and at home to deliver our vital services. The majority of our Board of Trustees have had M.E. themselves, and most of the remainder have experienced it as carers.

Chief Executive

Sonya Chowdhury, pictured above, took over as Chief Executive of Action for M.E. in September 2012.

Following Sonya’s appointment, Action for M.E. carried out a full root and branch review of its activities, which precipitated publication of a bold and ambitious agenda for change. This led to increased transparency and clarity for the charity, which contributed to a shift to increased collaboration with stakeholders at every level. She says:

"People with M.E. are at the heart of everything we do. Our purpose is to end the ignorance, injustice and neglect experienced by people with M.E. We do this by meeting need now while taking action to secure change for the future. We have identified a number of challenges that continue to exist for people affected by M.E. Everything we do is in service of achieving three goals, which we call our strategic touchstones, to tackle these challenges: IMPROVE the lives of people with M.E., INSPIRE action at all levels, and INVEST in change."

Prior to joining Action for M.E., Sonya worked in senior management roles for leading children’s charity Barnardo’s where she was Head of Business Support for two days a week and National Lead for the Family Strategic Partnership for the remaining three. Sonya co-pioneered the ‘Innovating Futures’ programme which used a newly-created business generation model to help advance the practice of voluntary sector leaders.

Sonya chairs the Management and PPI Groups for DecodeME, the world's largest M.E./CFS DNA study, which launched in June 2020.

Director of Business Support & Development

Ruth Richardson joined Action for M.E. in July 2019. She said:

“I am delighted to have joined Action for M.E. and to be working with such an experienced and committed team. As Director of Business Support and Development my role is to ensure that the team are well supported, and that every penny we are given is maximised to provide the best services possible for people affected by M.E.”

Ruth has held senior leadership roles in the VCSE sector since 2010, including seven years working at Age UK Bristol where she managed a city-wide strategic programme to reduce loneliness and isolation in later life, securing £6 million of lottery funding and leading the dissemination of this funding to local community groups. Before joining Action for M.E., Ruth was Deputy Chief Executive of a community interest company, working with underrepresented groups to increase their access to health and wellbeing activities, and for six years served on the Board of Trustees of a local women’s organisation.

Our staff team

Our staff care passionately about people affected by M.E. We have daily contact with people with M.E., carers, and professionals by phone, email, and online. We also host and take part in events, conferences and workshops across the UK.

Working at home across the UK and from our office in Keynsham, our staff work a range of full and part-time hours. As of June 2021, we employ the full-time equivalent of 22.5 people.

Information, support and advocacy

  • Clare Ogden, Services Manager
  • Imogen Ward, Information and Support Senior Practitioner
  • Juliet Gilchrist, Information and Support Officer
  • Sally Ulph, Information and Support Officer
  • Karen Hoather, Information and Support Officer
  • Anna Pearce, Information and Support Officer
  • Avril McLean, Projects & Participation Senior Practitioner
  • LC Groux-Moreau, Advocacy Senior Practitioner
  • Suzi Bryne, Advocacy Officer
  • Nicolette Hughes, Advocacy Officer
  • Carina Fordham, Advocacy Officer
  • Jacqueline Hammond, Children and Young People's Advocacy Officer
  • Briony Fisher, Volunteer Development Officer

Communications, marketing and engagement

  • Evan Francis, Communications Manager
  • Charlotte Duggan, Marketing and Communications Officer
  • Lauren Tugwell, Marketing and Communications Officer
  • Jayne Taylor, Communications and Engagement Officer
  • Sian Leary, World ME Alliance Communications Officer

Research, policy and participation

  • Caitlin Holmes, Policy and Campaigns Intern
  • Claire Dransfield, Research Manager
  • Issy Lewis, Research Officer

Fundraising, finance and administration

  • Vic Lawrence, Director of Fundraising and Strategic Communications
  • Bella Whately, Fundraising Manager
  • Josh Vince, Impact and Insight Manager
  • Phoebe Dando: Finance Administrator
  • Lizzie Packham: Fundraising and Membership Administrator
  • Emily Kinder, Community Fundraising Officer
  • Sophie Bastable, Supporter Development Officer
  • Kate Dobson, Finance Manager
  • Liam Ryan, Executive Assistant