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    Monday – Friday 9:00 – 5:00

    Our Team

    Rachel Yates
    Rachel Yates Hoyles Health and Social Care BSc (Hons) and PGCert in Coaching and Mentoring.Project Manager
    Over the last 18 years my passion and work in the charity sector has led me to gain many skills, experience and knowledge in mental health, dementia, and coaching. In addition to my qualifications, I also hold:

    • Accredited senior practitioner coach and professional member of the EMCC.
    • NLP diploma.
    • Trustee and Director of Made in Haslingden (A small charity that provide the community with meaningful engagement, supporting those who may feel lonely, isolated, and living with dementia).
    • ILM in leadership and management.
    • Project management experience.

    I’ve worked in a specialized dementia team for many years and also have a family member living with dementia. My passion for creative person-centered wellbeing has grown and this can be seen within my work as mindfulness, poetry, affirmations and the use of many various best practice models and theories.

    I’ve worked on the Empowered Carers project since 2019 and seen the positive impact it has had on so many carers and their families. It is an honor and delight to work within the Empowered team. A diverse, highly skilled, creative and compassionate team.

    Phil McEvoy (PhD, RMN)Empowered Carers Facilitator
    In 30 years of work as a Mental Health Nurse I have worked across the full range of services in primary and secondary care, as a front line clinician and manager. Throughout this time I have maintained active research interest, which focuses upon the development of relationally centred approaches to service delivery, based on the psychodynamically informed principles care. For the last 10 years I was the Managing Director of Six Degrees Social Enterprise where we developed and piloted Empowered Conversations and Empowered Carers.
    • Member of INTERDEM pan-European network of researchers collaborating in research on and dissemination of Psychosocial Interventions in Dementia
    • Member of the Greater Manchester, Lancashire and South Cumbria Clinical Senate
    • Trustee of charity the Transform Research Alliance
    • Author of more than 30 published articles and book chapters
    Emma Smith (MSc, BA)Project Manager
    I have over 15 years’ experience of project start-up, management and delivery gained across the environmental and health and social care sector in Manchester and Salford.

    I am passionate about investing my energy, time and enthusiasm in to the social enterprise sector and I’m proud to work and live in Salford. For the past 5 years I have directed my career towards working more and more with people living with dementia and those affected by dementia.

    Director – Empower You – supporting disabled people and those around them to lead more active lives.

    Dr Margaret Garner (MRCGP, MMedSci child health, MMT (Nordoff Robbins) Music, Health, Society)Facilitator
    I trained as a doctor and have worked in Greater Manchester and Salford for 35 years as a community paediatrician and as a GP, before graduating as a Music Therapist in 2015.

    I now work as a Music Therapist with Aspire at the Humphrey Booth Resource Centre in Swinton, Salford, with carers and people living with dementia. I am supported by a grant from Booth Charities.

    I facilitate courses for Empowered Conversations and run Come and Sing weekly sessions. I am currently developing a related, music and movement centred course – Moving Beyond Words with Barbara and Clare. Qualities of music- pulse, dynamics and phrasing- are also inherent qualities of spoken language. ‘Playing’ with these qualities within music making can illuminate our understanding of other forms of communication, both verbal and non-verbal.

    I want to help carers and people living with dementia enhance their communication with each other and sustain their relationships; key factors in improving their quality of life.

    Clare TallisFacilitator
    I am passionate about movement and wellness and to this end taught Physical Education in secondary schools for eight years and led outdoor adventure activities for teenagers in the UK and abroad. More recently I retrained as a Physiotherapist and have worked for the last ten years within the NHS in Stroke rehabilitation. This has allowed my interest and passion for wellbeing in dementia to develop and also made me keenly aware for the need for supportive training such as Empowered Conversations.

    I first discovered the Empowered Conversations course when I took part as a participant in 2017 to support my professional role and also my communication with my own mum who was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2015. I immediately understood and experienced at a practical personal level the value of the course. I was delighted to be invited to complete training in order to join the team and deliver the course to others across Greater Manchester.

    Barbara Lewis BA(Hons), PGCEFacilitator

    Barbara Lewis has successfully pursued a number of careers – fashion buyer, Further Education teacher and music teacher – all of which have good communication at their heart. However, she says the two most important jobs she has had are bringing up her two, now grown up, children and caring for her mother after she developed dementia.

    She is currently an entrepreneur developing the range of clothing she designed for her mother to maintain her dignity.

    She came across Empowered Conversations when she was introduced to Emma by a colleague. She related to the philosophy of the Empowered Conversations communications course as it was very much akin to the approach she had taken during her own caring experiences.

    She was absolutely delighted to be approached to train to facilitate the course. She wants to help carers and people living with dementia maintain their relationships through good communication, understanding and empathy.

    As a fellow musician she is also helping Margaret Garner develop the music-centred course, as she used music in many ways with her own mother and is very much convinced that music has a great role to play in communication.

    Amanda Barrell
    Amanda Barrell (Dip Cons, Dip HYP, SNHS Dip – Stress Mgt)Project Facilitator
    I have 30 years’ of professional and personal experience supporting people with various needs and their carers. I am passionate about well-being and ‘living well with dementia’ for both carer and the person living with dementia. I joined the Empowered Conversations team in May 19.

    I am a qualified counsellor and Hypnopsychotherapist. I have worked in a range of settings providing therapeutic interventions in areas such as stress management, weight management and bereavement. I’ve been a team leader for Dementia advisors in Oldham for the last 5 years, providing activities within the community for people living with Dementia and their carers. I was also the co-ordinator of Oldham Dementia Action Alliance. I have lived in Salford all of my life and am very proud to be part of the team and to now both live and work in my home town.

    Jen Earl
    Jen Earl (BA (Hons), MA, PGCERT, Fellow of the HEA)Facilitator
    I am a Health librarian, working at Salford University teaching students and staff how to find and assess the best evidence for research and assignments. I helped care for my mum when she was diagnosed with dementia a few years ago. This led to me trying to find information and support to help me find better ways of communicating.

    I attended the Empowered Conversations course which I found incredibly helpful in both finding better ways to communicate but also in meeting other people in similar situations. I was then really excited to become part of the team, training to become a facilitator whilst proving support to the team delivering the courses. I feel very passionate about Empowered Conversations and the work they do to help support those caring for family living with dementia. The course gave me the opportunity to improve communications with my mum, making our time together much easier and creating a more positive relationship between us. I believe very strongly in the work we do, the help and support we provide and I feel honoured to be part of such a vibrant, passionate and dedicated team and look forward to supporting future courses.

    Paul Earl
    Paul Earl (BSc Hons, PG Dip, ITiL Man)Facilitator
    With an initial background in Mathematics, I spent over 20 years working within both higher education and social housing in various management and project roles. Having lost nearly 4 stone in 2015, I now run my own Slimming World groups in Swinton, helping and supporting others as they transform their lives.

    My mother-in Law Nancy was diagnosed with both vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s. To say I was struggling would be an understatement but in 2016, along with my wife we attended an Empowered conversations course. While not giving me all the answers, it did enable us to improve our communications and ultimately the whole relationship. It is now a total privilege to work within Empowered Conversation as a course facilitator. I am honoured to be part of an amazing team who are 100% committed to supporting both family carers and people living with dementia improve their relationships.

    Vicky Richardson (Counselling and Psychotherapy BSc Hons)Empowered Carers Facilitator
    As a qualified person-centred counsellor, I provide a warm, empathic, and accepting environment, supporting individuals to safely explore their experience and feelings and come to their own understandings and decision-making processes.

    I love the holistic approach of Empowered for the individual, with masses of different support available. Also, and importantly, over the last three to four years, I have been caring for a close family member living with Dementia and have a personal passion around exploring and supporting individuals and families affected by these difficult challenges, to find more peace and connection together.

    Karen StonesFacilitator
    I attended a few of the Empowered Conversations courses to support me with my mum, who has Parkinsons and Dementia with Lewy Body disease. I quickly saw just how valuable the content was in helping to understand dementia and how myself, other Carers and their families could continue to connect with the person living with dementia.

    It made such a huge difference being with others in a similar situation. I knew I needed to try and share what I had learned with others affected by dementia. I feel proud to be doing that today as an Empowered Conversations facilitator.

    Judith Bower (Cert Ed, BEng, PGDipHE, MSc.)Empowered Carers Facilitator
    I have a number of skills and experience that I feel would be useful for the project having worked in different roles for Alzheimer’s Society Central Lancashire for 13 years. During this time I worked as an information and awareness officer introducing and expanding charity services within the local NHS mental health services and Age Concern Central Lancashire.

    As a Dementia Adviser, I visited and supported many people living with dementia and their Family Carers within their own homes and in care homes. I was involved with setting up and running Dementia Cafes and Support Groups. I was also an internal trainer bringing a practitioner’s perspective through writing and delivering many courses, including Adaptive Interaction, Progression of Dementia and Complex Needs.

    Mike Yates (BSc Hons and MSc Psychology)Empowered Carers and Empowered Conversations Facilitator, Researcher
    I have a passion for Psychology with a particular interest in the mechanics of the brain and Dementia. The Empowered movement supports empowerment and promotes curiosity within problem-solving for Dementia Carers. This along with the genuine passion of the team and the overall support offered to people attracted me to the role.

    I have experience of supporting people in their journey to making positive changes in their own life. I hope to bring support to the research involved within the Empowered team.

    Lydia Morris (PhD, ClinPsyD)Research Fellow and Clinical Psychologist
    I have over 10-years experience of clinical practice and research in Salford and Greater Manchester. I trained as a Clinical Psychologist (ClinPsyD) and then pursued my increasing interest in research by doing a PhD (both the ClinPsyD and PhD were at the University of Manchester). In the past 6-years I have focused on research developing psychological interventions.
    I am committed to developing helpful interventions that improve services and better meet peoples’ needs. I am excited by the opportunity to use my skills to develop and evaluate the Empowered Conversations approach to meet the needs of those living with dementia and their carers.
    Axel BergstromEmpowered Conversations Facilitator
    I trained as a speech and language therapist in Sweden where I developed a passion for supporting people living with a dementia. I am currently pursuing a PhD in linguistics focusing on dementia communication.

    I got in touch with Empowered Conversations through my postgraduate studies, and ultimately joined the team. It is an absolute privilege to work with Empowered Conversations in supporting carers and people living with a dementia in their communication.