Interim Chief Executive
Robin Morrison | Interim Chief Executive
Robin Morrison has had a varied career culminating in serving as Chief Executive in Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council. A Chartered Civil Engineer, Rob’s earl career at Dudley MBC involved setting up internal maintenance and service operations as profitable businesses competing for work. He moved to South Wales on local government re-organisation and took up the position as a Corporate Director in the newly formed Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council. As Blaenau Gwent is one of the poorest areas in the UK, having suffered industrial decline over many years, regeneration of the area is a core strategic priority.
After successfully improving many services Robin was promoted to the position of Chief Executive. He led the transformation of social care and worked closely with Health colleagues on improving a wide range of services to facilitate the council’s Independent Living Strategy. Having developed key skills in regeneration he was tasked with leading the transformation of the former steelworks site in Ebbw Vale by attracting external funding and encouraging partners to invest in new developments on the site. This scheme was one of the largest regeneration projects in the UK, attracting funding for projects in excess of £300m, which included a new hospital and a Learning Campus. Robin retired in 2011 and re-located to Wolverhampton where he lives with his wife Jenny, a retired teacher. He has a daughter who lives in Derbyshire.
Corporate Services Manager
Aileen Farrer / Corporate Services Manager
Aileen Farrer has 22 years’ experience in the NHS and with Stoke-on-Trent City Council around multi-agency working which included issues involving children. Aileen is also employed by Staffordshire County Council on a sessional basis as an Appropriate Adult which involves safeguarding the welfare and rights of children and vulnerable adults detained or interviewed by the Police. Aileen is also on the ECS panel of Independent Persons which requires involvement in all stage 2 complaints in children’s social care.
Comms & Marketing Officer
Mohammed Arabo | Comms & Marketing Officer
Mo has several years’ experience in increasingly responsible roles within marketing, communications, and events. In his most recent previous position, Mohammed was working in a similar role at Stafford College for over 6 years; involved in implementing online marketing strategies, print, media and assisting the College in defining innovative and effective interactive internet strategies for online communication platforms, specialist: in overseeing CMS, SEO, Social Media, web development & management, advertising, organising events, coordinating marketing activity, rebranding and developing a suite of marketing and promotional materials, and PPC campaigns.
In his current position as Communications & Marketing Officer for Engaging Communities (ECS), he is leads on developing and implementing the online and offline Comms and marketing strategy for all ECS portfolio which includes; Healthwatch Staffordshire, Wolverhampton, Walsall and Solihull, Telford and Wrekin – Independent Health Complaints Advocacy Service and Wolverhampton Health Advocacy and Complaints Service (WHACS). Responsible for the continuous improvement and development of the ECS and Healthwatch websites, delivering online and digital/social media marketing activities, coordinating the production of marketing materials required such as exhibition materials, promotional products and portfolio of tailored presentations and much more.
Mo’s experience is enhanced by his 2.1 Bachelor’s degree in Business Studies from the University of Lincoln and an MA in Sustainable Development at Staffordshire University.
Finance & Corporate Services Officer
Matthew Thompson | Finance & Corporate Services Officer
Matthew is currently the Finance & Corporate Services Officer at Engaging Communities (ECS). Matthew joined ECS back in March 2013, after graduating from Staffordshire University with a 1st Class Honours Degree in Business Studies.
Originally joining ECS as a Graduate Intern, Matthew became part of the Engagement Team in the role of Information and Signposting Officer. Matthew was responsible for developing the Healthwatch Staffordshire Service Directories and the Choose Well Leaflets, as well as co-ordinating the distribution of the Healthwatch Staffordshire promotional merchandise for the organisation.
In early 2014, Matthew progressed to join the Research Team, taking on the role of Projects Officer. This role entailed monitoring both ECS and Healthwatch Projects, ensuring that the necessary timescales were being met, and producing Project Management Suite of Documents for each project the organisation delivered. Matthew also produced fortnightly project bulletins, aimed at keeping the team informed of the status of projects and their delivery.
With Healthwatch Staffordshire being one of the lead pilot Healthwatch’s who opted to use Healthwatch England’s CRM system, Matthew became the organisation lead for both CRM use and development, working closely with both Healthwatch England and Circle Interactive to develop the CRM so that it was fit for purpose for our organisation’s use.
Following completion of his AAT Accountancy Qualification in early 2016, Matthew has since become the Finance Officer for the organisation, not only did this role entail managing the day to day finances of the ECS, but also producing monthly and quarterly management accounts for both Senior Managers and the ECS Board, as well as other Financial Responsibilities.
Jackie Owen |Engagement Coordinator
Jackie has substantial experience of working in Social Care & Health having qualified as a social worker in 1976 working initially with Children and Families and later specialising in dementia care. She came to Staffordshire in 1993 as a team manager of the social work team in Cannock hospital and went on to work in a number of roles including District Manager of Adult Social Care services in Cannock and South Staffordshire and later Head of Service Older People across the county.
In 2009 Jackie took voluntary redundancy from the council and took on the role of acting director of Staffordshire Local Involvement Network and remained for almost 3 years helping the LINk to develop a reputation as a thriving network giving a strong voice to the people of Staffordshire in influencing the services they receive.
After an absence of 3 ½ years working in supported housing, Jackie returned to an area of work that she loves by joining Engaging Communities Staffordshire in April 2016
Community Outreach Officer
Ian Wright | Community Outreach Officer
Having left North Staffs Polytechnic in 1978, Ian entered the local ceramics industry with Wedgwood. He stayed within the ceramics industry, principally at what later became Waterford Wedgwood until 2009, working as Account Manager, Sales Manager and National Accounts Manager. Following the demise of the Waterford Wedgwood group when it entered administration, Ian chose to follow a new career path, training as a Community Organiser, gaining qualifications in the Foundations of Community Organisers, Community Ideas into Action, an Introduction to Working with Vulnerable Adults, Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector and IT. He subsequently joined Engaging Communities in 2014 as a Community Organiser, and successfully completed a Community project in Tamworth during the first year. He also carried out many Healthwatch Staffordshire duties around the County during this period. In 2016, Ian became a Community Outreach Officer for Healthwatch Staffordshire, with responsibility for Lichfield, Tamworth and East Staffordshire. Ian has also enjoyed and involved himself in local Community work, including volunteering at a Community Hub, involvement with local charity fundraising organisations, involvement with junior cricket teams and a role as a school Governor since 2010.
Community Outreach Officer
Jo Hall / Community Outreach Officer
Jo has lengthy experience working with adults with complex needs in Stoke on Trent and across Staffordshire, and has worked in various services including residential drug services, alcohol treatment services, homelessness, sexual exploitation and offender based services. Jo has a 2:1 BSc (Hons) in Psychology and continued her professional development in 2015, undertaking a University Diploma in Leadership and Management and graduating with a Pass with Distinction.
Jo managed a 28 bed direct access hostel for homeless people and rough sleepers working with some of the most excluded people in Stoke on Trent. She also managed sexual exploitation services for adults and young people, and worked in a senior role in a service designed to support female offenders and which delivered a court ordered programme designed to reduce the need to reoffend by engaging the females with essential support services. Jo also has experience of working in a mental health support service providing crisis residential support to people who are in distress and may otherwise need a hospital admission.
More recently Jo has worked as the Seldom Heard Engagement Lead for Healthwatch Staffordshire and has engaged with Gypsies and Travelers, Refugees and Asylum Seekers, rough sleepers, and adults with mental health needs, Learning Disabilities, or substance misuse issues across the county of Staffordshire, helping to identify barriers to accessing essential services. As a result of this work Jo has developed an extensive network of professionals in services that support Seldom Heard groups of people.
Head of Research and Engagement
Dr Victoria Louise Stapleton| Head of Research and Engagement
Victoria has a PhD in crime prevention and community engagement and a 1st Class honours degree in Crime Science awarded at Northumbria University in Newcastle upon Tyne.
She worked as a lecturer at Northumbria University, teaching crime analysis and crime prevention and has extensive experience of research and project management across various disciplines. Victoria has presented at conferences worldwide on research relating to the built and natural environment and the way in which this influences behaviour and perception in public spaces. She has experience of conducting international fieldwork and engaging with communities on subjects of crime, fear and quality of life.
Research & Insight Manager
Deborah Faulks |Research & Insight Manager
As Research Manager, Deborah is responsible for the line management of the Research team as well as project management of team’s multiple projects. She also undertakes the development of delivery of research projects including undertaking fieldwork. She has undertaken a range of projects including NHS complaints reviews; equality and diversity reviews for NHS Trusts and local authorities. Prior to being employed by Engaging Communities, she was employed in various roles in social housing for 16 years. This included roles both in local government and housing associations. Her roles included senior management of lettings for a housing association, service improvement and evaluation; resident involvement and tenant scrutiny and tenancy support for serious ex-offenders. Education and credentials MA Housing Policy and Practice; Sheffield Hallam University; 2008 Post Graduate Diploma in Housing; De Montfort University; 2001 University Certificate in Housing; De Montfort University; 1999 BA Hons Social Policy; University of Teesside; 1995.
Research & Insight Officer
Joanne Darrant | Research & Insight Officer
Jo has a MSc in Social Research Methods and a BA Honours degree in Communication Studies from University of East London. She has focused her studies on the analysis of political discourse on detained children and families. Jo has been with the research team since June 2016 and has a particular interest in research with hard to reach groups.
Research and Insight Intern
Ros Greiner | Research and Insight Intern
Rosamund has a 1st Class BSc (Hons) in Biological Sciences from the University of Birmingham. Her studies included independent research in the form of fieldwork and literature reviews. She is part of a Birmingham Student Housing Co-Operative which involves collaborating with liberation groups, running a mother garden, and organising community events and outreach. Before her degree, Rosamund took part in a two-month development project in rural India, which included carrying out surveys, mapping a village and raising awareness of public health issues. She has experience working with young people, including at a centre providing respite care for under 18’s with additional needs.
Research & Insight Officer
Aarthi Ravi |Research and Insight Officer
Aarthi has a MSc in Counselling Psychology from Keele University and a BA honours degree in Psychology awarded by the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. She was also awarded a honorary certificate in the Psychology of Gender and Human Sexuality from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to joining ECS, Aarthi worked as a counsellor and psychotherapist, engaging with vulnerable groups such as bereaved individuals, victims of violence and at-risk children and youth. She has also worked on research with her University, conducting fieldwork and cognitive tests with children and youth. As part of her postgraduate degree, she also completed an independent research to understand the impact of migration on BME and hard to reach groups.