Meet the team

Chair of the SASP
Hamish Elvidge, Chair of The Matthew Elvidge Trust

Hamish Elvidge had a 30-year career in J Sainsbury plc as Finance, IT and Change Director and as Competition Inquiry Director. He is chair of The Matthew Elvidge Trust, which was formed after his son Matthew took his own life, aged 23 after a very short period of anxiety and depression. The Trust aims to increase everyone’s understanding of the importance of good emotional wellbeing and mental health and ensure people seek and receive the right professional support. He is a member of the National Suicide Prevention Strategy Advisory Group and National Suicide Prevention Alliance Steering Group; co-chair of The Alliance of Suicide Prevention Charities (TASC) and chair the Support after Suicide Partnership. He also chairs the Alliance for Student-Led Wellbeing, which aims to raise awareness about the importance of good mental health and provide practical help and emotional support to university students.

 

Executive Lead

Sarah Bates, SASP

Sarah joined the partnership in May 2016 as the Project Manager. She is working hard to support people who are bereaved by suicide. She passionately believes that you should not have to go through bereavement alone. Sarah has a background in psychology (MA Hons) and neuroscience (PhD). She has over 15 years’ experience of working with children and young people. Previously, she worked for Sistema Scotland, helping transform the lives of children through music. Sarah is a trained listener and has worked with organisations such as Nightline, Royal Hospital of Sick Kids and GirlGuiding UK. Contact: sarah@supportaftersuicide.org.uk

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Vice Chair of the SASP
Fergus Crow, CEO of Winston’s Wish

Fergus joined Winston’s Wish as Chief Executive in October 2015 after nearly a decade at the National Children’s Bureau.
Prior to joining NCB Fergus held a number of roles in education and children’s services. He started his career in teaching, and has a Master’s degree in education from the University of Cambridge. Fergus believes passionately that with the right support at the right time children who have been bereaved can learn to live with their grief, adjust to the changes that the death of someone close to them inevitably brings, and go on to lead full and flourishing lives. This belief stems not only from his professional understanding but also from his own experience of losing his father to cancer when Fergus was 19.

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Anne Embury
Suicide Liaison Service Lead, Outlook South West

Anne holds postgraduate qualifications in Counselling & Psychotherapy, and is a Senior Accredited member of BACP with over 20 years’ experience working in the field of mental health, including practice as a High Intensity therapist within an IAPT service. Anne is employed by Outlook South West, a provider of mental health services in Cornwall & Isles of Scilly. She has been instrumental in developing the first NHS-funded postvention service in England to support adults bereaved by suicide. As a Churchill Fellow, Anne has developed an 8-week evidence-based Grief Education Programme for people bereaved by suicide, delivered across Cornwall, which has proven to be effective in helping to facilitate resilience and wellbeing in the bereaved.

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Listening Ear

Listening Ear is a specialist counselling and therapeutic service based in Liverpool. He joined Listening Ear in 2012. The agency delivers a range of activities with specific focus on bereavement support. Richard is also on the board of “SEN Merseyside”, having previously been Chair for four years, and is Chair of Knowsley Supporting Families Forum. Prior to the work at Listening Ear, Richard worked at a range of roles at The Big Issue in the North/ Trust for 16 years, ultimately as the Managing Director. Richard graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University. Richard was the manager of the England Homeless World Cup team and is a voluntary community coach working with both children and adults.

Penny Fosten
Executive Lead NSPA

Penny is a trainer, campaigner and project manager with nearly ten years’ experience of working to improve well-being; partly inspired by the impact of addiction and depression on her family. Before joining the NSPA, she helped to establish a ‘reading for well-being’ programme in London – helping to reduce loneliness, build confidence and connection, and enhance people’s understanding of themselves and others. Penny has work with a range of partners: mental health trusts, local councils, and community organisations, in libraries, prisons, and homeless hostels. Previously, Penny spent five years volunteering within suicide prevention and has an MSc in Psychology.

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Shirley Smith
Founder, If U Care Share

Shirley started If U Care Share Foundation with her husband Dean due to their own experiences after losing their eldest son Daniel at the age of 19. There was a need for support, education and awareness to the problem of suicide. She is now an active member of the SASP and the Leadership Team, including taking a leading role in our research projects.

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Sharon McDonnell
Honorary researcher at the University of Manchester; Founder of Suicide Bereavement UK

Sharon McDonnell specialises in suicide bereavement research at the Centre for Mental Health and Risk at the University of Manchester in the UK. Her ultimate aim is to improve the future care given to those bereaved by suicide. Sharon is also the founder of Suicide Bereavement UK, an organisation that delivers training, talks and conferences in the field of suicide bereavement. Sharon is unique in her field – both possessing the skills and expertise from academia and business, and being a bereavement survivor herself. Sharon joined the SASP Leadership Team in 2016, and leads the research projects within the SASP.