Who we are?

Board members

Gill Peate Board Member

I joined the Disability Information Bureau in 2015 after moving to Macclesfield with my job.  I work as a solicitor dealing with cases involving Clinical Negligence and Serious Personal Injury. 

Prior to qualifying  as a Solicitor, I trained as a Nurse and worked as a  Ward Sister at Withington Hospital.  Both professions have helped me to appreciate the many hurdles experienced by our clients at the DIB.  I am married with 2 children and enjoy cycling, hill walking and travel.

Ruth Brocklehurst Chairperson

My first association with the DIB was in 2010 when I began volunteering at the Macclesfield office. The following year I was delighted to be offered the position of Supervisor and Volunteer Support Coordinator at our Congleton branch where I worked until its closure in 2016.

With a background in foreign languages, I held a variety of management positions during my working life. From Parker Pen International via the Egon Ronay Organisation to the Berlin Headquarters of the British Army where I organised worldwide press accreditation for several Royal Visits and the Berlin Tattoo.

I ran a small childcare agency for many years and served as a school governor where I chaired the personnel committee.

However, at no point in my career have I experienced a working environment as welcoming and supportive as that of the DIB, which continues to provide a unique, non-judgemental atmosphere where both volunteers and staff thrive and gain confidence.

It is precisely this day-to-day working culture which informs our vision of a fair and inclusive society where no one is disadvantaged, and everyone can achieve their full potential. I am proud to be connected with the Bureau.

Michelle Simpson Trustee

I have been aware of DIB for some years, DSN’s Macclesfield office and DIB’s office are next to each other.

In September 2021, I had the opportunity to become a Trustee.   The staff, trustees and volunteers, are warm, friendly, and welcoming.

I have worked for Deafness Support Network (DSN) for 18 years, but in Deafness for the past 36 years, when I landed a part time administrator role for AIDS Ahead, A Health, Education and Advice for Deaf People.  This led me into becoming a qualified Counsellor/Psychotherapist, providing direct therapy for the Deaf and Deaf/Blind Community.  At the time Deaf people were unable to get counselling in their first and preferred language of British Sign Language (BSL), this was quite ground-breaking back in the 1980’s.

I currently, work for DSN as the Executive responsible for the Supported Living Services, Day Services, and the Communication Team. 

I love working within the Deaf community, BSL is a beautiful and expressive language and it is an honour to be able to  converse with the Deaf community using their language.  I have had some amazing experiences working within the Deaf community, including, having the honour to being invited to the Queens Garden Party, and the opportunity to meet her, and Prince Philip, I was also privileged to meet Princess Diana on many occasions, all when I worked for The British Deaf Association as Princess Diana was the Parton of the BDA at the time.

Mary Passmore Trustee

I started to volunteer at DIB in March 2023 and my first role was on Reception. I had chosen DIB, as in the past I have always had excellent support and advice from DIB, which has made a very positive change in my life. So, I felt I could pass that experience onto other people. 

I was honoured to be asked if I would be interested in becoming a Trustee? This was a totally new venture for me.  I read the Trustee Handbook and made the decision to become more involved at a different level. This is a huge learning curve.

Being part of the Volunteering Team for me is a very enjoyable role, very supportive, together with sharing skills and experiences.  This was obvious at the 30th Anniversary Event, where much work was required before and during the day, great fun teamwork.  I particularly enjoyed promoting DIB.

I have had many varied volunteering roles over the years, covering Mental and Physical Disabilities and other related issues. Having dealt with a range of authorities relating to vulnerable people in our community, I feel I can use these experiences to help in my role as both Volunteer and Trustee at DIB.

Lyn Walker Trustee

I’m originally from Australia where I studied Philosophy.

After moving to the UK, I studied Software Engineering and subsequently worked in Computing and Data management.

I’ve lived in Congleton for several decades and also volunteer with The Old Saw Mill, Congleton Community Credit Union, and the Bath House and Physic Garden.

I want to focus on us – the people that we are here for, the activities we engage in, and the community that embraces all of us.

Andrew Richards Treasurer

Andrew joined the Board of Trustees in November 2020 and is now the Honorary Treasurer.  Andrew spent most of his career working in the private hospital industry in the finance department, managing the accounts function in several hospitals.  The last part of his working life was spent undertaking variety of financial interim management contracts in several organisations.  He is also a Trustee of The Rossendale Trust.  Andrew was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis approximately four years ago, having been suffering from it for over ten years.  It was mis-diagnosed ten years earlier and now causes him some mobility issues.

Ali Herdson Trustee

I started volunteering for the DIB in 2020 after lockdown.  Prior to this I had worked in the legal sector as a conveyancer in property. The stress at work became too overwhelming and I took early retirement for medical reasons.

My first role for the DIB was data entry and editing the database so management were able to interpret the data of clients to enable the DIB staff to assess where help was needed.

In 2023 I was asked if I would be interested in becoming more involved by becoming a Trustee on the Board. I feel previous work experience and ability to navigate the world whilst having my own physical limitations makes me a useful Board member.


Staff members

Averil Goodier Chief Executive Officer

I joined the DIB in 2012 and I was so pleased to be offered the role in the capacity of “Employment Related Advisor”.  Over the past several years my role has varied to fit the needs of the business and throughout my time at the DIB I have had the opportunity to support many vulnerable people with employment and training related support.   I have over 25 years, experience working within the Welfare to Work Sector and with my understanding and knowledge I am able to support individuals with complex needs that are challenging but very rewarding, especially when they achieve even the smallest of goals which enables them to become more independent and informed.

The DIB is very welcoming, all the staff and volunteers are both professional and friendly which makes me proud to be part of such a positive organisation especially since becoming the Chief Executive Officer in July 2020.  The role of CEO has enabled me to work with the staff and Trustees to find innovative ways to support local disabled people by knowing the team will offer excellent information, advice, guidance, training and employability options all of which enables individuals to become more independent, have more choice and control, have a voice and feel that their health & wellbeing has improved.  We want to encourage individuals to become more digitally inclusive and enhance everyone's communication links for many other services that could be available for them.

Leanne Lake Branch Manager / HR

I have worked at the DIB now for 10 years. 

I joined in 2009 , initially as a volunteer, and was fortunate enough to be recruited to the role of Employment Advisor.    I have gone on to do a few roles now and I really enjoy the variety of things.  No two days are the same.   I love to work at DIB as it gives me purpose and I know that as a team we have made a difference to the lives of people within the community.   I can honestly say I have never enjoyed working some where as much as I do here.

Kwok Wei-Wan IT Tutor and Coordinator

I have had various roles within the DIB and I started as a volunteer IT tutor since 2011. I began with 1 to 1 learners to reach their personal goals and to be more confident in using computers and technology. The DIB is a wonderful place for learners, volunteers and staff alike. We have a welcoming environment that fosters potential and opportunity for growth. By giving my time to the DIB, I developed my own style of teaching that’s practical and accessible. My experiences have been absorbing and fulfilling since joining the staff in 2014. Together with staff and volunteers, we have overcome countless challenges facing vulnerable people and provided them with the confidence to progress and lead independent lives.  

Gary Lord Welfare Rights Advisor

Definitely the best place I have worked at! I first came to DIB in 2010. I had just left a job and was looking for something to do while I looked for a part-time job. I looked at one or two other places before I came to DIB but none of them really made an impression on me. However, DIB seemed welcoming and interesting. On meeting Laura and other staff and volunteers I decided I would like to volunteer here for a day a week whilst I looked for a job. I can tell you it was a very good decision and one I have never regretted. I started sitting in doing DLA and ESA forms with a wonderful person called Anne. She showed me the ropes. Sue Yates was also great and gave me a good introduction to DIB and all the services.

DIB impressed me because there seemed to be a genuine concern for people and was run by dedicated staff and volunteers. It also seemed to have a nice combination of professionalism with informality. Shortly after this I got a part-time job but decided to dedicate a day at week to DIB on the days I wasn’t working.  Everything went swimmingly for about 2 years until a vacancy arose in the Welfare Rights Team. I initially did not apply for it because it didn’t fit I with my other role. However, I asked if DIB would consider reducing the hours, so I could dovetail this with my part-time job. This they were prepared to do, I got the job and the rest is history. It all turned out well because for the other half of the job they employed an experienced Welfare Rights worker (my colleague John Ball) which was useful for sharing the workload.

DIB has been great, has allowed for a great deal of professional development and has allowed me to meet lots of interesting people, both staff and volunteers (and not forgetting our clients). It is an organisation that this year has received long-overdue recognition, winning the Gold Winner award as charity of the year 2018. Dib has continued through some difficult times recently but has kept going providing a useful service to the people of Macclesfield and beyond. If I do eventually leave I will have great memories of working here. You can’t always say that about places you have worked at.

Anna Berwick New Leaf Administrator

I joined the Disability Information Bureau in 2016 as a reception volunteer. After six months I got an opportunity to join the New Leaf Team and could not believe my luck! I love to work for DIB. I feel like I am a part of something special, meaningful, that makes the real difference to people who need support and very often can’t get it anywhere else. I am very grateful for this amazing opportunity and the all the support that I have personally received from DIB’s staff and volunteers. I have met a lot of fantastic, passionate people that made a big impact on my life.

Shopmobility staff

Jacqui Kendall Shopmobility Officer

I first came to DIB in 2012, as I needed their help filling in forms and I have been receiving there help ever since. They have helped me to gain IT skills and a teaching certificate allowing me to pass on a different skills and help other people to show their talent. I love the fact that the DIB want me but really its them that I need.