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The Meriden Team

Martin Atchison Head of the Meriden Family Programme

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Martin is Head of the Meriden Family Programme. His background is in Mental Health Nursing. After qualifying as a Mental Health Nurse he worked as an in-patient nurse for 2 years. He then started working in a Community Mental Health Team and subsequently managed this team for 5 years before starting work as a Clinical Specialist for the Meriden Programme in 2004, becoming Deputy Director in 2008.

He has been involved in various initiatives with the programme. He co-ordinated the Partners in Care campaign in the mental health trusts across the West Midlands  in 2004-2005 and worked closely with Carers in Partnership in a number of areas. He was part of the group that created the DVD with NIMHE about working with families across cultures and recently has looked at measuring the outcomes of family work from the perspective of service users, families and clinical staff.

Paula Conneely Clinical Specialist

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Paula is an Occupational Therapist by profession and has worked in a variety of roles since qualifying in 1994, including In-patient Rehabilitation, Community and Assertive Outreach services. Paula trained in Behavioural Family Therapy in early 1998 and became a Trainer later in that year. Since that time she has been actively involved in working with families, clinical supervision, family work service co-ordination and staff training in the UK, Ireland and Canada.

Paula is particularly interested in whole family approaches where a parent experiences mental health issues. She has also taken an active role in developing a number of the Meriden Family Programme training manuals and a key role in developing the competency framework for family work as part of the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) initiative.

Alison Lee Clinical Specialist

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Alison qualified as a Registered Mental Nurse (RMN) in 1995, beginning her career in Dudley initially working on in-patient wards and then being part of a community team.

Alison left the NHS for a short while to work as a Project Manager in the independent sector, returning to work for the NHS in Shropshire as manager of Assertive Outreach and Early Intervention Teams.

Alison trained in Behavioural Family Therapy in 1999 and has been a trainer/supervisor since 2004.  Alison joined the Meriden team in 2008.  Since joining the program Alison has taken a keen interest in Early intervention training and developing family work within that service.

Julia Danks Clinical Specialist

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Julia Danks is a Registered Mental Nurse by profession and registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) in the U.K. She qualified in 1987 and has since worked in a variety of roles including Acute Adult in-patient, Older Adult in-patient and Community services.

Julia trained in Behavioural Family Therapy (BFT) with the Meriden Family Programme in 2004 and trained as a Trainer and supervisor in 2006. Initially working as a family therapist within her role as a Community Psychiatric Nurse (CPN) in a busy Community Mental Health Team (CMHT) within Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust (BSMHFT) she joined the Meriden Programme team in 2009. Since that time she has continued to be actively involved in working clinically with families and providing clinical supervision, while developing and delivering staff training in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and Canada.

Julia is particularly interested in working with families in an acute setting and training in-patient staff to deliver family work.

Louisa Alderson Deputy Head

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Dr Carl Harris Consultant Clinical Psychologist

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Carl Harris qualified as a clinical psychologist in 1996 and is registered with the HCPC .  He has worked in a variety of services; life-span primary care, systemic family work, community regeneration, child and adolescent mental health and parenting.  He has provided supervision to practitioners in all of these areas and has supported them in maintaining fidelity to evidence-based models. He has been active in research throughout his professional career; much of this research has been focussed on families and has been co-produced with them.

Carl joined the Meriden team and trained in BFT in 2018.  He carries out research and training to promote the aim of putting families at the heart of quality health care.  He has a special interest in “community psychology” which sees the people, systems and services around the person as crucial to their development and well-being and uses these ideas for the benefit of service users, their families, carers and professionals.

Peter Woodhams Carer Consultant

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Peter Woodhams is a carer of a son who has suffered from schizophrenia for over 18 years and whose family unit has benefited from Behavioural Family Therapy.

Since retiring from a role in industry Peter has become actively involved in working with mental health services. Peter was previously Chair of the Meriden Family Programme Advisory Group and has worked with Meriden as a Carer Consultant on a part time basis since April 2008.  He has also worked on three NICE Guidelines as a Carer Representative.

Sam Farooq Business Manager

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Sam has been working in the NHS since 2000 and has been with the Meriden Programme since 2002. As Business Manager for the Programme, Sam is involved in the contracts that we have with organisations both here in the UK and abroad.  She also deals with all the finances relating to the Programme and is PA to Martin Atchison.

Initially, the work of the Programme was mainly around the West Midlands and with some activities taking place in locations around the UK.  Over the years, Sam has seen the Programme go from strength to strength developing new areas of work with continued focus on providing better services for families.  There has also been increasing interest in our work from organisations all over the world bringing new and varied challenges for the team.

Maria Albanese Team Administrator

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Maria has been working for the Programme as Administrative Assistant since June 2007 and provides secretarial and administrative support for all members of the Meriden team.

Previous to this Maria has also worked in roles for local authority and other NHS organisations, gaining invaluable insight working with organisations that dealt with helping people and the family unit.

Prior to this and in complete contrast, the main part of Maria’s life was spent working for architects and surveyors in leisure & retail and within the construction industry.

Nadine Berry Team Administrator

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Nadine has 11 years’ experience in the print industry, where she planned the layout of pages in a variety of magazines. After working in this industry she studied counselling for 2 years at evening classes, then worked as a part time Administrator for Birmingham City Council in a day centre for women with mental health issues. Alongside this role, she completed a diploma in Person Centred Counselling. As part of her training she joined the counselling team at a day centre in South Birmingham, counselling service users with mental illness.

After attending the Meriden Family Programme’s five day training course she felt inspired by the work of the Programme and is excited to now be a part of the team.

Debbi Wragg Clinical Specialist

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Ffion Owen Clinical Specialist

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