Our staff team
Meet the People First (Self Advocacy) Team!
Andrew Lee: Director of Policy and Campaigns
Andrew is the Director of Policy and Campaigns. His job is to make sure that the voice of people with learning difficulties is heard. He works on a lot of different campaigns in lots of different ways, such as:
- speaking to members
- going to meetings with the government
- working with other disabled people’s organisations
- supporting members to take part in consultations
- by going to marches and demonstrations
Andrew has been a part of the self-advocacy movement since 1994, joining North Herts People First and then later chairing the organisation. He joined the self-advocacy movement because of personal experience of discrimination and wanting to make sure that it didn’t happen to other people with learning difficulties. Since then he has worked for his local authority as an assessor and helped to set up a user-led advocacy organisation. An assessor is someone who looks at local services to see how well they are working.
He then went on to become Director of People First (Self Advocacy) in 1999. Through his role at People First he was on the Disability Rights Commission Learning Disability Action Group, the Equality 2025 Advisory Group, and then the Equality and Human Rights Commission Disability Committee.
Tamanna Choudhury: Finance and Admin Officer
Tamanna has been part of the self-advocacy movement since 1997. She joined a local self-advocacy group which was when she started to speak up for herself. She volunteered at the group for 7 years as well as being a member of her local partnership board.
In 2003 Tamanna started working at People First (Self Advocacy). During Tamanna’s work at People First, she has run a women’s group which was aimed at supporting members. In her role as Finance and Admin Officer, she deals with money for the organisation as well as making sure all of the paperwork is kept up to date. As with everyone at People First, she is involved in all campaigns.
Since 2012 she has linked in with the Social Care Institute for Excellence as part of her work at People First. She is on the Co-production Network and also the Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Forum. As part of this forum she has delivered training to the Social Care Institute for Excellence staff. She enjoys working for People First (Self Advocacy) and campaigning for the rights of people with learning difficulties.
Brian Stocker: Director of Marketing
Brian has been in the self-advocacy movement for many years, which began when he was a volunteer at a local self-advocacy group. He then starting working with People First (Self Advocacy) as a member of the Management Committee in the early 1990s and later became the Chair of the Management Committee.
He then worked at 2 local self-advocacy groups on different projects and supported them to become user led. After this he worked at another local self-advocacy group, later becoming the manager and finally leaving after 17 years. Brian later stepped down from the People First (Self Advocacy) Management Committee and has worked at People First (Self Advocacy) as the Director of Marketing since 2013.
Brian’s job is to tell people and organisations about our services, what we do and how we can help them. He lets them know about Easy Read, this includes our training, picture bank and translation service. He has a lot of knowledge and experience of working with user-led organisations. Campaigning for the rights of people with learning difficulties and self-advocacy has been a big part of his life and it will carry on being so.
Ray Johnson: Project, Training and Office Manager
Ray got involved in the self-advocacy movement through a local group, which he then started to work for as a development worker. He started working for People First (Self Advocacy) in 2001.
Over his many years at People First, he has been educating people on what it feels like to be a person with learning difficulties, and how to make things easy to understand and make sure that people have power, choice and control over decisions in their lives. Ray has worked on two big capacity building projects, capacity building means supporting a person or organisation to get more skills. Firstly he worked on the National Project working with local self-advocacy groups around the country and secondly Disability LIB, a capacity building project working with disabled people’s organisations around the country.
Over his time he has run lots of training for self-advocacy groups, disabled people’s organisations and health and social care professionals. He is now working on the Cuts Impact Action Now research project looking into how local and national cuts and changes have affected people with learning difficulties. He will carry on standing up for people’s rights and will not give up the fight!