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Sharron Spindler

CEO

In 2001, after a number of years working as a project manager in the private sector, I decided to move into the voluntary sector. In 2010, having spent almost 10 years working for two national charities: the ‘Terrence Higgins Trust’ and the ‘Royal National Institute for Blind People’ (RNIB), and then for a regional domestic abuse charity, I joined Dhiverse and came full circle back into the sexual health and HIV sector! At Dhiverse we’re all about inclusivity and equality and our aim is for everyone to have the opportunity to be equipped to make informed decisions around sexual health, healthy relationships and consent. I’m passionate about raising awareness of the importance of good sexual health and relationships and helping people to understand why taking care of our sexual health is as important as taking care of our physical and mental health. I want sexual health and HIV to be normalised, so that we all feel comfortable talking about them and sharing our experiences to help others. I’m very proud of what the Dhiverse team has achieved and will, no doubt, continue to achieve. I love my job and it really is a pleasure to part of such a dedicated and professional team.

Liz MacKenzie

ABC Project Manager

Having taught at a further education college for 25 years, during which time I set up and managed a range of programmes for people with learning difficulties, I decided it was time for a new challenge. I joined Dhiverse in September 2014 and was given the amazing opportunity of setting up the ABC Project. I am passionate about the rights of people with LD and I am very fortunate to be working with this vulnerable sector of society around the important topics of relationships and sexual health. In an ideal world everyone would have the same opportunities regardless of disability, ethnic background, sexuality etc. and I feel privileged to be working for an organisation that is striving to make this possible and has had so many successes.

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Marisol Sanchez-Blesa

SLIP Programme Manager and RSE Facilitator

I have always been interested in Human Sexuality, but it was not until I was reading Sociology that this interest became a passion. I am a fully-trained Sexologist who believes that quality sex education is a key contributor to people’s happiness and healthy relationships.

I have a varied work background from social care, management, coaching, to sex counselling; my ultimate dream is to empower people to achieve their goals in different parts of their lives.

I believe sex education is a mission that should involve the family, the school, health professionals, the media, among others. Dhiverse SLIP programme gives me the opportunity to bring sex education closer to those who most need it.

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Lisa Helm-Cowley

Counsellor

Originally from the Isle of Man I trained as a Nursery Nurse and was fortunate enough to use this qualification to travel as much as possible and moved to Bermuda in 1993 to work as a nanny. In 1999 I decided to stop working so I could bring up my own children and I returned to the UK in 2000. When my youngest child started school I decided to retrain as a Counsellor/Psychotherapist and I completed my qualification in 2012. It was around this time that I started volunteering for Dhiverse as a HIV counsellor; this soon led to an employed position. In 2018 we secured funding which allowed us to open up the counselling service to all areas of sexual health and sexual identity. I am now able to support many more people and I love the challenges my role brings on a daily basis. I feel very fortunate to be working with the most amazing clients.

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Louisa Perry

ABC Project Facilitator & RSE Coordinator

I have come from a background of working with children and volunteers at Peterborough Youth Offending Service, where I have spent many years supporting volunteers in their work with young people on court orders.  I have trained and supervised volunteers working with young people, many of whom come from difficult backgrounds and with a range of challenging circumstances.

The position at Dhiverse as Parents Outreach Coordinator came as an exciting new challenge, and I saw it as a new opportunity to use some of these skills to support young people in a different way; by engaging with parents to give information on Relationships and Sex Education, and facilitate discussions on a range of topics around sex and growing up that parents may wish to learn more about.  My aim is to give parents the opportunity to have frank and open conversations around sexual health, enabling them to feel more knowledgeable and confident in talking to their child about these important areas of their development.  I’m really excited to be part of the team at Dhiverse, and look forward to supporting young people to develop healthy and safe attitudes, and to form positive beliefs and values which they can carry with them into adulthood.

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Clare Gockel

ABC Project Facilitator

Prior to joining Dhiverse I worked as a Teaching Assistant at a special needs school in Peterborough.  I was at the school for almost 6 years and I absolutely loved my time there but I was ready for a new challenge and a new role. When I saw the position advertised for ABC Facilitator and the aims and values of the project I knew I had to go for it! 

I am incredibly passionate about supporting and empowering young people and adults with autism and learning disabilities and I’m lucky to be part of a team that shares that passion.   I really enjoy my role at Dhiverse!

Kelly McNamara

Slip Programme Facilitator

I have always had a fascination with taboo topics. I find it interesting that we can all be having similar experiences, but it is deemed socially unacceptable to speak about them. I am interested in the consequences of this lack of conversation and want to be involved in reducing them.

Throughout my psychology degree I developed a real passion for reducing dangerous stigmatisation around bodies, sex and relationships. I believe that high quality sex education is the only way to improve sexual health, and that this should be a fully diverse and inclusive mission.

The SLIP programme allows me to open the conversation and improve education around sex, and related topics, with young people who need it most.

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Esther Hiller

Trainee Counsellor

Originally from London, I started my career working for the civil service in various roles including working in Job Centre’s. I then moved to Cambridgeshire where I started my family. I have since worked in childcare and for the last 5 years have been working as a Youth Worker. It was whilst doing this that I decided to train as a Counsellor.

 

I am currently studying a Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling and have been fortunate to secure trainee counsellor role with Dhiverse. I am passionate that counselling should be accessible to everyone and hope that I will be able to offer this within my work at Dhiverse.

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Dr Andrew Carmichael

Chair of Trustees & NHS Consultant Physician

I have been on the DHIVERSE Board of Trustees since 2017. I am a consultant physician with an interest in Infectious Diseases at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge. I look after inpatients and outpatients who have a range of infections including HIV infection. I am the lead for the HIV service including our Regional HIV Network of consultants in sexual health in Bedford, Bury St.Edmunds and Huntingdon.

Dr Susan Walker

University Lecturer

I have been a trustee of Dhiverse since 2018. I was attracted to the role because I believe that everyone, and especially young people, have the right to accurate and inclusive information and support to help them look after their own sexual health and well-being. I am a university lecturer and researcher whose subject of interest is contraception and sexual health. Prior to becoming an academic, I worked as an NHS GP.

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Professor Jeffrey Grierson

Professor of Health and Social Care

Professor Grierson is a social psychologist who has researched in the area of HIV AIDS since 1993. He has an extensive track record of conducting large-scale social research with communities living with HIV. As PI on eight national studies of people with HIV (six Australian, two in New Zealand)(11) he has provided key data on the needs and experiences of people with HIV and directly informed government policy and community action. He was PI on cohort studies including Positive Health and FLUX. He has lead research initiatives that have investigated HIV and sexuality including social support, sexual health, sexual and social networks. He has worked in communities across the Asia Pacific Region and currently works on projects in the UK addressing HIV positivity, LGBTQ+ priorities and the social networks of young people with mental health challenges.

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Hannah Schober

Health Education Projects Manager

I joined the board of trustees at Dhiverse in 2017 because I wanted to contribute to a local sexual health charity’s work. Dhiverse’s work stood out to me because of their holistic and inclusive approach towards meeting the local community’s sexual health needs, especially the ABC project working with individuals with learning disabilities. I believe that everyone should have access to relevant and applicable sexual health education, advice, testing and support. I have appreciated being part of delivering Dhiverse’s work to provide these services in and around Cambridgeshire.

I graduated from Cambridge University with a degree in Archaeology and Anthropology in 2015. Since then, I’ve already had a varied career working in further education policy at the Department of Education before completing an MSc in Population Health at UCL and transitioning into the healthcare sector. 

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Gaby Clements

Secondary School Teacher

In May 2021, I was appointed to the role of Trustee at Dhiverse. As a Secondary School Teacher, I believe it is vitally important to educate the next generation of young adults to make responsible, safe and empowering personal choices surrounding their sexual health. I am therefore really passionate and excited to challenge stigma, raise awareness and incite change both in my classroom but in the wider community too.

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Ness Cooper

Sexologist (Freelancer Copywriter, consultant, and educator)

With over 15 years of experience within the field of human sexuality as a sexologist, it made sense to put the knowledge I have learned into supporting Dhiverse. In 2022 I became a trustee for Dhiverse, with the aim to offer my continued support and skills towards improving sexual health and wellbeing.

Over the years I have trained in various areas of sexual health and well-being, including holistic methods and clinical. And even trained under the Kinsey Institute for human sexuality.

In my career, I work one-on-one with individuals and couples daily, with many seeking advice on navigating sexual well-being and health. I also write sex and relationship content for media outlets such as Marie Claire. When I’m not writing or supporting clients, I am consulting top sexual wellness brands on their PR, ads, and copywriting campaigns. Helping to normalise the conversations around sex and relationships so individuals can be their authentic selves.

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