We have three members of staff and are led by an elected board of volunteer trustees, who are endorsed by our member organisations.
Neurological Alliance Staff
Sarah Vibert, Chief Executive
Sarah has been Chief Executive of the Neurological Alliance since October 2016. Previously she was Director of Strategy and External Affairs at Epilepsy Society. There she was responsible for strategy, business development, partnerships, policy, user involvement, and communications. Prior to working at Epilepsy Society, Sarah held a number of management roles in the charity sector and local government, including working in policy and strategic projects for the Mayor of London and in the Charities Office of HRH the Prince of Wales.
Elaine Cooper, Senior Policy and Campaigns Adviser
Elaine Cooper joined the team in January 2017. Elaine has a background in charity communications, having worked in a number of media and policy roles, many of which were with health charities. She has worked for one of the UK’s largest charities, Cancer Research UK, and spent time volunteering with one of the smallest, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust. Elaine also spent four years with charity infrastructure body NCVO, in the Compact Voice team, and comes to the Neurological Alliance from Breast Cancer Now, where she worked on the Breast Cancer Awareness Month campaign.
Fiona Tate, Administration and Communications Assistant
Fiona has a background in working in the charity sector, specialising in communications. She has worked for a number of organisations, including CLIC Sargent, JHub, United Response and, more recently, Parkinson’s UK in the role of Project Coordinator. Fiona has also volunteered for various charities, such as the British Red Cross and YMCA Palestine, undertaking different communications projects.
Neurological Alliance Board of Trustees 2015 -16
Suzanne Dobson, Chief Executive, Tourettes Action (Chair)
Suzanne has been Chief Executive of three charities, the National Childbirth Trust, BLISS and for the last five years Tourettes Action.
Since being involved with Tourettes Action Suzanne has become aware of the gaping holes in provision for all people living with neurological conditions and is keen to work with the Alliance to ensure that neurological services are available to a high standard and across all areas of the UK. People living with neurological conditions seem to have been overlooked within the health service and she is passionate about redressing the balance.
Suzanne was elected as Chair of the Neurological Alliance in November 2016.
Ruth Ingledew, Chief Executive, Myaware
Ruth has been Chief Executive of Myaware, the patient group for people with myasthenia, since 2012 and has seen the charity through a rebrand and relaunch increasing membership by over 40%. Myaware supports 52% of people with myasthenia in the UK and Ireland through off and on-line services; funds research and raises awareness. Ruth is particularly interested in specialist neurological nurses with seven posts seed-funded by Myaware.
Ruth’s background is commercial, most recently as Sales and Marketing Director of the UK’s largest showering equipment provider for people with reduced mobility, where she campaigned for continued Government funding for disabled adaptations.
Sally Light, Chief Executive, Motor Neurone Disease Association (Deputy Chair)
Sally joined the MND Association in December 2012. She has a first degree in Nursing Studies and a Masters degree in Healthcare Management. Before joining the Association Sally was Director of Rehabilitation at the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability; a national charity providing care and rehabilitation for people following brain injury.
Her previous career has been in management roles in the NHS as executive director at Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and at the NHS Modernisation Agency where she supported organisations with waiting list management and service redesign. In 2006 Sally joined the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority in British Columbia, to help them learn from the NHS; she spent nearly four years living and working in Vancouver.
Sue Millman, Chief Executive, Ataxia UK
Sue has been Chief Executive of Ataxia UK since May 2007. The ataxias are a set of degenerative, life limiting, conditions for which there are no cures affecting around 10,000 adults in the UK. Ataxia UK funds medical research to find treatments and cures and provides support. She has been CEO of various charities for over 25 years, with a long track record of representing service user interests to government and policy makers. She is a member of the NHS England Specialised Services Patient and Public Voices Assurance Group. At Ataxia UK she has focussed on forging research partnerships with ataxia charities, particularly in Europe, the US and Australia; and encouraging pharmaceuticals to develop an interest in the ataxias.
Caroline Morrice, Director, Guillain-Barre and Associated Neuropathies
Caroline joined the Guillain-Barre Syndrome Support Group in 2007 and worked with the Board of Trustees to develop the charity’s business plan, culminating in the rebranding and conversion to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation in 2014. She is committed to the work of the Neurological Alliance and to being part of a Board that represents all neurological conditions giving a voice to the smaller charity and raising the profile of neurology.
Previously she worked in the public sector, covering protocol, business and financial planning and latterly as a government internal auditor.
Guy Parckar, Chief Executive, The Dystonia Society
Guy is the Chief Executive of the Dystonia Society, having been appointed in July 2015.
He is focused on maintaining and growing the support provided by the Society to the 70,000 people across the UK with dystonia, and on raising the profile of dystonia and neurological conditions more broadly.
He worked for more than a decade at disability charity Leonard Cheshire Disability, in a variety of roles focusing on policy, campaigns, parliamentary and communications work. Prior to that he worked in Parliament for a MP. He also served for several years as a trustee of Disability Alliance.
Mr Nick Rijke, Director of Policy and Research, MS Society
Nick Rijke joined the MS Society in January 2012. Previously he has worked in the private, public and third sectors, covering communications and public affairs, research, NHS improvement programmes, with his early career being in investment banking.
His work has included roles with the National Osteoporosis Society, the Environment Agency, the Local Government Association and the House of Commons.
Amanda Swain, Executive Board Member, UKABIF
Amanda is a Consultant Clinical Specialist (AHP) and a Master in Health Laws. She has 25 years’ experience in acquired brain inury (ABI) and neurological rehabilitation. Amanda is a trustee of UKABIF Amanda works as an independent consultant on specialised ABI, neuropsychiatry and neurological rehabilitation services to the NHS, GP consortiums and independent providers sectors and is one of the specialist advisors to the chair of the Specialised Health Care Alliance.
Amanda has held senior positions in health and social care sectors in the NHS, private and voluntary sectors of the UK, Middle East and New Zealand. Her passion is to ensure that people who need assessment, diagnosis, treatment and support not only receive it but that the service is one of quality that produces the best outcomes for them.
Since 2000, Amanda has been involved in writing national standards and service structures and has contributed to several national enquiries, papers and initiatives; she has directed the writing of standards and audit of services against standards in three countries.
David White, Chair, Cavernoma Alliance UK
David White has been chair of the Trustees of Cavernoma Alliance UK (CAUK) since April 2013, which he first joined in 2008 when his wife was diagnosed with two cavernomas, one of which has since been successfully removed surgically. He is a biological scientist, and has recently retired as Director (CEO) of The Institute of Food Research, and previously as Director of Science at the Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council, a government-funded funding body; in this role he had considerable interaction with some government departments and the Medical Research Council. He is now a semi-professional photographer.
Simon Wigglesworth, Deputy Chief Executive, Epilepsy Action
Epilepsy Action’s deputy chief executive for 12 years Simon is responsible for the day to day operation of the charity, business planning and budget development. With a particular focus on campaigns and policy he has led a number of national high profile campaigns such as A Critical Time for Epilepsy.
Simon recognises the need for coordinated work across the neurological charities to capitalise on the current developments such as the appointment of the NCD and the development of SCNs and within Specialised Commissioning.
He brings relevant skills and experience to support achieving the NA’s goals with wide experience of charity finance, governance and law.
Matt O’Neill, Chair, Narcolepsy UK
The chair of Narcolepsy UK, Matt is a “late-developing” narcoleptic, with both narcolepsy & cataplexy, currently on a long-term disability scheme from his employer as he attempts to bring his condition under control. Previously, he has headed strategic change programmes within the City of London and managed large teams across diverse support roles covering incident management, business continuity, property and technology relocation and infrastructure projects. His main charity interests are in access to medicines, intervention and support and addressing inequalities.
Alice Doyle, Chief Executive, Brain and Spine Foundation
Alice is currently CEO at the Brain & Spine Foundation, the national charity providing expert information and support for people affected by any of the 350+ neurological problems. There she is working to develop services and support for people with a greater range of conditions and to improve understanding of neurological problems among patients and families as well as health professionals. In the last two years she has worked particularly to diversify and grow funding streams, raise the charity’s profile and to improve governance.
She previously led the charity HemiHelp, for children, young people and families affected by hemiplegia where she developed an understanding of the range of issues caused by conditions affecting the brain and how charities can respond to this.
Alice has a Postgraduate Diploma in Voluntary Sector Management from the Open University and is also a Trustee at the Small Charities Coalition and Mac Keith Press.
Her particular strengths are in financial management, fundraising and governance, all of which she plans to bring to her trustee role at the Neurological Alliance. She is committed to developing a voice for the neurological community as a whole and campaigning for better support and services for anyone with a neurological problem.
Val Buxton, Director of Strategic Intelligence and Excellence, Parkinson’s UK
Val has worked in the neurology field for the past nine years as a director of Parkinson’s UK, leading on a range of areas including policy and campaigns, service improvement, professional education and involvement and inclusion. Her passion for tackling health inequalities has been evident throughout her career as a nurse, health care researcher, lecturer, journalist, manager and government public health policy advisor. She is committed to raising the profile of neurological conditions and developing the strongest possible levers to achieve consistent, high quality services for all.