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The Team

Professor Fiona Verity - Director

Fiona is Professor of Social Work and Social Care in the School of Human and Health Sciences at Swansea University. She is a sociologist and a social worker with expertise in community development, social policy and practitioner research.  Fiona began her career in Australia, in the early 1980s, as a community development worker in local government. She worked in management positions in the community health sector and held policy positions in non-government organisations. As an academic, she has taught and researched in areas of social policy and community development.

Nick Andrews - Research and Practice Development Officer

Nick is a registered Social Worker whose previous role was as Planning Officer for Older People in City and County of Swansea. Initially trained as a geologist and teacher, his early career within social care included work within a therapeutic community school, where he developed an interest in participative group based approaches to supporting people through shared responsibility and reciprocal support.

Dr Alison Orrell - Research Fellow 

Alison joined the School of Social Sciences at Bangor University in 2013 as a member of the All Wales Academic Social Care Research Collaboration (ASCC).  She has previously held positions in the School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield and before that in the Department of Health Sciences, University of York. Alison’s main research interests include: ageing and quality of life, environment and well-being, health and social care interface and research methodologies in social care.

Dr Martin Elliott- Research Development Officer

Martin is a social worker with 17 years statutory children's services experience including, front line management and practice; contracting and commissioning; and strategic development work.  His research interests include 'looked-after' children and young people; poverty and social inequality; services for disabled children and young people; child protection.

Dr Gill Toms - Research Development Officer

Gill has previously held posts in the School of Psychology and School of Healthcare Sciences at Bangor University and before that held posts at Manchester University and Cambridgeshire Community Services. Her main research interests include: psychological interventions, dementia and evidence synthesis methods including systematic reviews. Her current work is focused on developing local social care research.

Stephanie Watts- Research Development Officer.

Stephanie is a graduate from the University of Bath (BSc Psychology) and Bangor University (MSc Foundations of Clinical Psychology). Stephanie has worked in a number of research and clinical roles with children and families at the Centre for Evidence Based Early Intervention (Bangor), and in a community mental health team in North Wales. Stephanie has held posts with the Dementia Services Development Centre (Bangor) on a number of ageing and dementia studies including the Cognitive Function & Ageing Studies. Stephanie has worked internationally in research at the University of Otago (New Zealand) providing research support across a number of mental health studies, and in community settings with people with additional learning needs and mental health issues in Sri Lanka. Stephanie has a particular interest in research development especially within the older adult population. Stephanie works part time with the Centre for Ageing and Dementia Research (Swansea University) as the national coordinator of the Enabling Research in Care Homes network across Wales. 

Gemma Allnatt- Research Development Officer.

 Gemma is a social worker with 10 years social care experience. She has worked in children's residential units and frontline statutory children services. Her research interests include 'care leavers' and access to higher education and the educational achievements of 'looked after' children.


Richenda Leonard- Senior Project Officer

Richenda is a Social and Cultural Anthropology and English Literature graduate from Aberdeen and Durham University. She has previously worked as a volunteer manager and training officer and with Refugees and Asylum Seekers. 


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