Meet our Trustees
Ian Harper, Service Quality Director
My name is Ian Harper and I’m the Service Quality Director for Aspire Living. I have been a Service Quality Director for almost 9 years.
My previous experience includes Co-Chair of Speakeasy NOW for 4 years, member of the Worcestershire Learning Disability Partnership Board for 4 years, Co-Chair of the Hate Crime Sub Group for 2 years and Co-Chair of Employment Sub Group for 2 years. I also worked for my father’s company for 5 years specialising in Audio for events.
I have been a special Olympics athlete for 19 years. I compete in Athletics by doing the 100 metres, 200 metres, Shot Putt & 4×100 metre relay. I am the current chair of the Athlete Input Council for Special Olympics GB & the Sargent Shriver International Global Messenger for Europe/Eurasia.
My interests are Motor Racing, business news including Financial Markets and campaigning events.
I firmly believe that people with Intellectual Disabilities are leaders in society who can achieve their dreams and potential in life, no matter how big or small their dream or goal is.
Eli Heathfield, Trustee
I have Dyspraxia and Autism and spent my entire education in school for people with special educational needs, followed by 5 years in the Learning Disability Department at College. At 21, I decided to further my education and applied for a mainstream course. I have worked very hard, and I am now on a Level 4 HNC Business Course. I also represented my college as a Student Union Officer for the academic year of 2012-2013.
I spent six months as a Young Ambassador for Mencap (South West Region) where I gained valuable experience representing people with learning disabilities.
My other interests outside of Aspire are history, the law and politics; I am my town’s youngest Town Councillor (and I believe the only Councillor serving or who has served in the town with a learning disability,) heading the town’s first Youth Advisory Group to help engage young people in our community.
I like walking in beautiful countryside, especially the Malvern Hills, and I enjoy riding horses, although I haven’t had the opportunity for a while.
I also enjoy football; my Granny Heathfield was an avid Hereford supporter and it rubbed off on me! I also support Manchester United.
Living in a log cabin and being brought up with my Mum’s menagerie of waifs and strays, makes it inevitable that I love animals and our simple way of living in the country.
I joined the Aspire Living team as a board member in August 2017. I am very proud and very excited to be a part of this organisation which is forward thinking and very importantly always puts people with learning disabilities first.
Rose Hunt, Trustee
I had been a family carer for 32 years when my son, Jonathan, died suddenly and unexpectedly in September 2017. I am passionate about equality and have worked alongside family carers and people with a learning disability in planning their futures.
I moved with my family into Herefordshire in 1989 and due to the traumatic experience of getting Jonathan’s needs met adequately I joined Herefordshire Mencap and served as chairman between 1993 – 2000. I have been an Aspire Trustee since 1993 when it was customary for Herefordshire Mencap’s chair to become a Trustee of the 2 companies founded by the committee in the mid-1980s. I have been an ECHO Trustee for 12 years and am also Chair of Governors at Blackmarston Special Primary School, my son’s former primary school.
I have worked extensively on learning disability and health issues locally, regionally and nationally. Roles have included Vice Chair of Herefordshire’s Community Health Council, working on the implementation of the first Carers Act in 1995, member of the pilot brokerage project and a stalwart of the Learning Disability Partnership Board from its inception in 2001.
Since 2004 I have worked for Herefordshire Mencap supporting the Executive Committee and was employed by Herefordshire Council in its person-centred planning team, central review team and ultimately in the West Team of the Social Care Department.
My other life revolves around my family, enjoying their exploits and helping with our two young grandsons. I also enjoy reading crime/psychological thrillers, being in the garden and I am a bit of a news-nerd!
Dr Catherine Chima-Okereke, Trustee
I am a medical consultant with a broad clinical experience; a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (FRCP) and a Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (FRCOG). I have worked full-time with the NHS for twenty-six years and as Director of Herefordshire Integrated Sexual Health for fourteen years. I retired from the NHS at the end of March 2019 but went back to work to support my Service as Consultant and Director for the new organisation, Solutions4Health (S4H). In total, I have lived in Herefordshire for twenty years. I have an executive MBA and I am a Care Quality Commission (CQC) Specialist Adviser.
My interests include music, singing, dancing, general management, planning, education, diversity and personnel. I belonged to the church choir and have played musical instruments including violin and piano. As an athlete, I was privileged to represent Nigeria in the All Africa Games. I also represented my undergraduate University (Lagos) in Ghana. My events included sprinting, hurdles and long jump.
I am a Board member of several charities including the Courtyard Theatre for The Arts Hereford and West Mercia Women’s AID. I belong to the City of Hereford Rotary Club, the Gideons and the Soroptimists for Hereford and District.
Karen Boyce-Dawson, Thera Group Director of Operations and Thera Trust Trustee
Karen has 30 years’ experience in supporting people with a learning disability in a variety of roles. Karen qualified through the years as a therapist and social worker before moving into operational senior and executive director positions some 15 years ago.
Karen is driven daily to achieve better support for people with learning disabilities so that they in turn have more control and better lives.
Having ‘come through the ranks’ of social care herself Karen is particularly driven to ensure organisations nurture and bring on new leaders into the world of social care and has worked to make accredited leadership & development, talent programmes and coaching available to staff, working with exceptional partner organisations such as the Institute of Leadership and Management and Charity Works.
Karen is both creative and practical and is an excellent facilitator known for bringing individuals and organisations together to think innovatively and deliver new ways of providing service or solutions. An example of this was her development of Dosh; a ground breaking and award winning financial advocacy organisation within Thera and the learning disability sector.
Outside of work, Karen is a busy Mum and avid cook. She also does some local voluntary work for the elderly and is a Trustee of ATL Trust fund.
Daniel James, Trustee
Daniel joined the Board in 2021, he has experience over a wide range of industry, with a focus in consultancy, principally on international renewable projects across technology, finance and auditing.
He is a chartered engineer and qualified internal auditor, as well as continuing Non-Executive Director experience as a School Trustee and Chair of the Operations Sub-Committee. As part of his support to the charity, Daniel is also a member of the Thera Group Audit Sub-Committee.
Daniel is married, proud father of three daughters and when time allows keeps fit and healthy, having hung up his rugby boots a few years ago, with running, triathlons and skiing.
He is keen to continue supporting Aspire Living and Thera to provide the important work of helping adults with learning difficulties live the lives they wish to have