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


Deputy Chief Executive

Ruth Richardson joined Action for M.E. as Operations Director/Deputy Chief Executive in July 2019.

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.

Ruth says:

“I am delighted to have joined Action for M.E. and to be working with such an experienced and committed team. As Operations Director 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.”

Our staff team

Our staff care passionately about people affected by M.E., and 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.

  • Anna Tabbush, Crisis, Support and Advocacy
  • Avril McLean, Scotland Support and Development
  • Bella Whately, Fundraising Manager
  • Carla Thomas, Family Support and Advocacy Worker
  • Clare Ogden, Team Leader
  • Elyssa Marshall, Membership Officer
  • Imogen Ward, Senior Practitioner
  • James McGraw, Communications and Marketing Officer
  • Jayne Taylor, Communications and Engagement Officer
  • Jo Dowell, Crisis, Support and Advocacy
  • Josh Vince, Fundraising Officer
  • Kate Dobson, Finance and Accounts Officer
  • Sally Ulph, Crisis, Support and Advocacy
  • Sam Bromiley, Participation and Influencing Officer
  • Theresa Burns, Scotland Development Coordinator