Our Trustees

Our trustees dedicate their time to guiding the charity

Andrew Willshire

Andrew joined Autism Unlimited as a Trustee in December 2020. Andrew is keen to support the charity in all areas, with a particular focus on HR. Andrew wants to see the charity continue to be a force for good in supporting individuals and families across the region.

Emma Williams

Emma comes with both professional and personal experience of autism. She has a keen interest in enabling people to reach their full potential and develop skills in their local community, particularly in the area of employment and training. She is excited about the development of the Futures programme.

Gabriella Crouch

Gabriella has seen the impact Autism Unlimited can have on individuals and families and understands the value of our role in the community. Gabriella wants to give everything she can to make a valuable contribution towards our important work.

Hugh Dampney

Hugh's aspirations for Autism Unlimited are to support the staff to ensure that the people we support continue to be well looked-after, and develop their potential as far as they can.

James Brazier - Interim Chair of Trustees

James is enthusiastic, empathetic and proactive in his approach, and his vision for Autism Unlimited is to support the charity externally and help Autism Unlimited to grow in both stature and size.

Jan Cresswell

Jan brings conviction and a commitment to compassionate practice to her role as a trustee. She aims to use her education leadership experience to support the charity in being ambitious for the flourishing of autistic individuals and their families. Jan is keen to see Autism Unlimited become a leading national voice in training employers and shaping inclusive, supportive communities where people living with autism will thrive.

Jan Thurgood

Jan joined Autism Unlimited as a Trustee in July 2022. She brings experience of autism though her career in children's and adult social services and her personal life. She is passionate about enabling children and adults to fulfil their potential and about providing the best possible support and development opportunities to staff.

Julie Shield

Julie is determined, proactive and passionate about the potential for Autism Unlimited, and brings real-world experience and understanding of autism to her role. Julie’s vision is to represent the parent voice and help the charity fulfil its potential.

Meherzin Das

Living with Autism is hardly easy and takes a lifetime of strength and courage. Having joined AU as a Trustee in 2020, Meherzin is determined to support the excellent work being done to further the mental and physical health of both, people living with autism as well as their family and friends. In addition, she is keen to ensure that while staff working within the unlimited scope of AU give their best while caring for their clients, their own wellbeing is also looked after so that they have enriched working lives. As a Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Meherzin wears many hats: she is the Lead for Wellbeing and Psychological Professions for the Dorset Integrated Care System, Trustwide Lead for Psychology and Psychological Therapies for Dorset HealthCare and Clinical Lead for the Dorset Pain Management Service. She truly believes that being a psychologist is the best job in the world!

Melanie Foster

I am very much looking forward to contributing to the valuable work of Autism Unlimited and taking on the role of trustee. I began my career as a special educational needs teacher in Inner London and continued my passion in leading SEND within both Local Authorities and Charities. I have been part of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism as Eduction Development Lead with the National Autistic Society and a member of the The National Special Educational Needs and Disability Forum attended by the DfE. I have always been passionate about people and purpose and committed to social justice to enable all students to feel valued, safe and secure. I live in Hertfordshire, and although semi-retired, continue to work with schools and Local Authorities, particularly focusing on developing autistic provision. When I am not working, I love spending time with my family.

Professor Mark Brosnan

Mark has a thorough understanding of autism research and the implications for the lives of autistic people and their families/ advocates. Mark hopes his understanding of what constitutes good evidence can help support the charity to achieve the best possible outcomes for autistic people.

Andrew Willshire

Andrew joined Autism Unlimited as a Trustee in December 2020. Andrew is keen to support the charity in all areas, with a particular focus on HR. Andrew wants to see the charity continue to be a force for good in supporting individuals and families across the region.

Emma Williams

Emma comes with both professional and personal experience of autism. She has a keen interest in enabling people to reach their full potential and develop skills in their local community, particularly in the area of employment and training. She is excited about the development of the Futures programme.

Gabriella Crouch

Gabriella has seen the impact Autism Unlimited can have on individuals and families and understands the value of our role in the community. Gabriella wants to give everything she can to make a valuable contribution towards our important work.

Hugh Dampney

Hugh's aspirations for Autism Unlimited are to support the staff to ensure that the people we support continue to be well looked-after, and develop their potential as far as they can.

James Brazier - Interim Chair of Trustees

James is enthusiastic, empathetic and proactive in his approach, and his vision for Autism Unlimited is to support the charity externally and help Autism Unlimited to grow in both stature and size.

Jan Cresswell

Jan brings conviction and a commitment to compassionate practice to her role as a trustee. She aims to use her education leadership experience to support the charity in being ambitious for the flourishing of autistic individuals and their families. Jan is keen to see Autism Unlimited become a leading national voice in training employers and shaping inclusive, supportive communities where people living with autism will thrive.

Jan Thurgood

Jan joined Autism Unlimited as a Trustee in July 2022. She brings experience of autism though her career in children's and adult social services and her personal life. She is passionate about enabling children and adults to fulfil their potential and about providing the best possible support and development opportunities to staff.

Julie Shield

Julie is determined, proactive and passionate about the potential for Autism Unlimited, and brings real-world experience and understanding of autism to her role. Julie’s vision is to represent the parent voice and help the charity fulfil its potential.

Meherzin Das

Living with Autism is hardly easy and takes a lifetime of strength and courage. Having joined AU as a Trustee in 2020, Meherzin is determined to support the excellent work being done to further the mental and physical health of both, people living with autism as well as their family and friends. In addition, she is keen to ensure that while staff working within the unlimited scope of AU give their best while caring for their clients, their own wellbeing is also looked after so that they have enriched working lives. As a Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Meherzin wears many hats: she is the Lead for Wellbeing and Psychological Professions for the Dorset Integrated Care System, Trustwide Lead for Psychology and Psychological Therapies for Dorset HealthCare and Clinical Lead for the Dorset Pain Management Service. She truly believes that being a psychologist is the best job in the world!

Melanie Foster

I am very much looking forward to contributing to the valuable work of Autism Unlimited and taking on the role of trustee. I began my career as a special educational needs teacher in Inner London and continued my passion in leading SEND within both Local Authorities and Charities. I have been part of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism as Eduction Development Lead with the National Autistic Society and a member of the The National Special Educational Needs and Disability Forum attended by the DfE. I have always been passionate about people and purpose and committed to social justice to enable all students to feel valued, safe and secure. I live in Hertfordshire, and although semi-retired, continue to work with schools and Local Authorities, particularly focusing on developing autistic provision. When I am not working, I love spending time with my family.

Professor Mark Brosnan

Mark has a thorough understanding of autism research and the implications for the lives of autistic people and their families/ advocates. Mark hopes his understanding of what constitutes good evidence can help support the charity to achieve the best possible outcomes for autistic people.

A vital role

Our trustees are our 'guardians of purpose', making sure that all the decisions we make put the needs of autistic people first. They also safeguard the assets of Autism Unlimited – both physical assets, including property, and intangible ones, such as our reputation.

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