Directors

Kate Sheehan

Director & Occupational Therapist

Kate qualified from Derby School of occupational therapy in 1987.

Kate is a well-respected Occupational Therapist, with over 30 years of experience. She is the former Chairperson and Treasurer of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists specialist section – Housing (COTSS – H) and represented the Royal College of Occupational Therapists in Europe. Kate chaired the genHOME research project working on the evidence base for housing modifications.

Kate has worked in partnership with Bristol University on the publication of ‘Minor adaptations without delay’, funded by the Housing Corporation and Royal College of Occupational Therapists, co-authored the new 2018 edition of the Wheelchair Housing Design Guide and wrote two chapters of the “Essential Guide for Newly Qualified Occupational Therapists’.

She has presented her work on inclusive design and housing standards at the World Federation of Occupational Therapists in Sydney, Australia, COTEC in Milan and at the RCOTSS-H conference.  She has also developed and taught on the first accessible housing course in Croatia and Bosnia.

Kate is a member of the British Association of Occupational Therapists and the Royal College of Occupational Therapists Specialist sections – Independent Practice and Housing as well as being registered with the Health Care Professionals Council.  She maintains a high level of professional development and feels the key to providing her clients with an excellent service is maintaining close networks within the commercial, housing and OT fields.

In her spare time Kate supports the local primary school in maintaining their wild gardens and is a campaigner for excellent education for all.

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Adam Ferry

Adam Ferry attended Durham University in 1999 studying Sport Science and Biomechanics. He graduated from Northumbria University in 2007 with Occupational Therapy BSc.

After developing his skills on a hospital based rotational post Adam took up a senior role within emergency care. Adam currently manages occupational therapy services into three community rehabilitation units and one acute hospital.

Over recent years Adam has established a national profile within the private sector, organising the CPD programme for The OT Show and working with a number of manufacturers and distributors of healthcare products in a consultancy role.

Adam is a member of the British Association of Occupational Therapists and the College of Occupational Therapists Specialist sections – Independent Practice and Older People as well as being registered with the Health Care Professionals Council.

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Samantha Shann

Director

Samantha qualified in 1992 as an Occupational Therapist and gained her Masters in 2011.  She also holds a post-graduate teaching qualification in Academic Practice. Samantha is a member of the British Association of Occupational Therapists and the Royal College of Occupational Therapists Specialist sections –Older Persons and Mental Health as well as being registered with the Health and Care Professionals Council.

Samantha’s clinical speciality centres on those with mental health concerns, while her wider role with The OT Service involves supervision and mentoring as well as consultancy to businesses focusing on training and Occupational Therapy expertise.

Samantha has held a number of high-profile positions within the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT).  She is the current WFOT Vice President Finance and her past roles have included Vice-Chair of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists and WFOT Programme Co-ordinator for International Cooperation.  Samantha is committed to the development of Occupational Therapy in countries where the profession does not yet exist or is in its infancy by supporting the development of professional standards and new educational programmes.

Until 2016 Samantha held the position of Senior Lecturer at Northumbria University overseeing aspects of the BSc (Hons) and MSc (pre-registration) Occupational Therapy programmes, with a particular interest in supporting student and educators in practice, facilitating students and graduates in role-emerging areas, and supervising graduate research projects. Samantha is a regular guest lecturer at various national and international universities including Creteil University in Paris, France and external examiner for the BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy programme at the University of Ghana in Accra, Ghana.

Through her work with the WFOT she represents the Occupational Therapy profession at high-level World Health Organisation (WHO) meetings and contributes to specific WHO projects for example the GATE (Global Assistive Technology) initiative, Rehabilitation 2030 and Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP). Samantha is also a working group member looking at the integration of wheelchair training in health education programmes for the International Society for Wheelchair Professionals (ISWP).

Samantha has presented at numerous international conferences and most recently was a keynote speaker at the Occupational Therapy Africa Regional Group (OTARG) conference sharing her expertise on promoting professional identity and establishing Occupational Therapy services.

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Practice Manager

Brian Trotter

Practice Manager

Brian has a wide variety of experiences to draw on in his role as Practice Manager. He graduated in 1997 from The University of Brighton with a Ba (Hons) in Physical and Business Education.  He spent some time in London fitness instructing and sports coaching before re-locating to the North East, setting up his own business with the help of the Prince’s Trust. 

As personal and professional circumstances changed Brian moved into an 11 year healthcare career,  firstly with the ambulance service and latterly in an NHS Acute Occupational Therapy service as a Technical Instructor. He is now our full-time Practice Manager and brings a committed and creative approach to the service we provide.

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Associates

Gordon Heath

Gordon qualified from Sheffield Hallam University in 2003 and completed a post Graduate Diploma in Accessibility and Design from University of Salford in 2012.

Gordon specialises in housing adaptations with an interest in making buildings work for their occupants. He provides assessment for equipment and for moving and handling. Gordon has a long history of working with children with disabilities and their families.

Gordon is a freelance trainer for a company who provide OT training across the country on all matters relating to housing and their use by disabled occupants.

Gordon is a member of the British Association of Occupational Therapists and the College of Occupational Therapists Specialist sections – Independent Practice and Housing as well as being registered with the Health Care Professionals Council.

In his spare time Gordon loves to travel with his family to experience what other countries and cultures have to offer.

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Jen Gash

I am a highly qualified, experienced occupational therapist and coach, who has worked for over twenty years with individuals and teams. My varied and extensive background leads me to work powerfully with individuals who may have hidden challenges which are impacting on relationships and performance at work, including:

People with hidden problems e.g. neurodiversity, sensory integration issues and mental health challenges. Highly creative people who struggle to harness and integrate their strengths at work. Individuals in crisis who need to make a radical shift.

As a coach, I work with a variety of tools, developmental frameworks and theoretical models. I am a visiting lecturer at Worcester University and regularly teach coaching skills to various groups. I also work with teams and at an organisational level, especially where radical creativity and systemic change is required. I have a special interest in developing new ways of working and the use of social media to promote therapeutic businesses.

Jen Gash is a domestic goddess whose talents are thwarted by a dirty dog and an inability to work the dishwasher. She fancies herself as a comedian but unfortunately finds herself funnier than others seem to. She has skills in flea chasing, killing red mite and treating chickens who are depressed.

Jen is a member of the British Association of Occupational Therapists as well as being registered with the Health Care Professionals Council.

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Rachel Russell

Rachel graduated from Coventry University in 1994 and has MSc Accessibility and Inclusive Design and in 2016 was awarded her PhD in Occupational Therapy.

Rachel’s area of expertise is in providing comprehensive home based environmental assessments and interventions for people with impairments caused by either the ageing process, chronic long term conditions or injuries. With over 20 years of clinical experience, she has the experience, skills and ability to assess individuals whose situation and needs range from the simple to the complex. In addition, she is able to offer a range of interventions and advice, including housing modifications, assistive technology, activities of daily living rehabilitation and fatigue management.

As an independent practitioner, she provides a high quality service to individuals, family members, carers and case managers. This service is driven and underpinned by person centred practice and based on sound clinical evidence.

Rachel is a member of the British Association of Occupational Therapists and the College of Occupational Therapists Specialist sections – Independent Practice and Housing as well as being registered with the Health Care Professionals Council.

In her spare time Rachel climbs mountains with her husband and son…usually in the rain.

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Simon Murnane

Simon graduated from Charles Sturt University in Australia in 2002 and a further qualification on People Handling Train the Trainer June 2011.

Simon is a highly experienced Occupational Therapist since graduating he has gained extensive experience working with clients in a variety of health and social care settings in the UK and Australia. He has worked in private practice, rehabilitation centres, local authority settings, community rehabilitation teams and hospitals. He has experience working with clients in a wide range of clinical fields including spinal cord injury, neurology, acquired brain injury, amputees and orthopaedics.

He has extensive experience in both the private and statutory sectors of providing home assessments and design of major and minor home adaptations. He has worked in specialist housing teams and is experienced in working alongside architects and surveyors. Simon also has expertise in recommending specialist equipment and assistance technology to enable his clients to remain active and independent within their homes and communities.

Simon is a member of the British Association of Occupational Therapists and the College of Occupational Therapists Specialist sections – Independent Practice and housing as well as being registered with the Health Care Professionals Council.

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Lucy Rogers

Lucy graduated in 2001 from Brunel University Brunel University and completed a postgraduate Diploma in Accessibility and Inclusive Design at University of Salford in 2009.

Since qualifying Lucy since has gained a wealth of experience working with both children and adults in the statutory and non-statutory sectors.

Lucy has worked with a variety of Local Authorities, housing providers and private companies and spent 2 years working abroad for a charity, with disabled Romanian orphans in a state run institution. Through her many roles working within the community she developed my passion – to bridge the gap between social care, health and housing. She strives to improve awareness and develop links between these sectors to highlight how health and social welfare is dependent on suitable, accessible and safe housing.

Lucy is a member of the British Association of Occupational Therapists and the College of Occupational Therapists Specialist sections – Independent Practice and Housing as well as being registered with the Health Care Professionals Council.

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Marney Walker

Marney graduated from Dorset House, School of Occupational Therapy, Oxford in 1992 and completed a MA Design Research for Disability from the London Metropolitan University.

Marney has a unique combination of training and experience in both Occupational Therapy and design. As an OT, she has over 20 years experience spanning health, social care, housing and design for dementia. Her career choices have been motivated by a commitment to equal opportunities and a passion for good design. A central consideration in her practice is a conviction that the design of the environment can have a positive impact on quality of life and well being. Over the past 12 years she has developed specialist expertise advising on the inclusive design aspects of new build extra care and supported housing for older and disabled people, to maximise access for people with physical, sensory and cognitive impairments. She is especially interested in how to design housing that is care ready and adaptable whilst avoiding over specification.

Marney has presented at national conferences on her specialist expertise in new build and design for dementia. In a voluntary capacity she has been an inclusive design advisor for the Civic Trust Awards since 2007.

Marney is a member of the British Association of Occupational Therapists and the College of Occupational Therapists Specialist sections – Independent Practice and Housing as well as being registered with the Health Care Professionals Council.

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Tess Whitehead

Tess qualified from the University of Brighton in 2006.

Tess is a highly skilled Occupational Therapist with 10 years experience specialising in paediatrics, housing and moving and handling. She has worked across both public and private sectors with children and adults with complex health and social care needs, including orthopaedic and neurological conditions, spinal injuries and conditions caused by the brain, physical injury and trauma.

Tess has a wealth of experience carrying out holistic, functional assessments, making recommendations for specialist equipment, postural seating, minor an major adaptations to maximise a persons potential and promote inclusion.

Tess is accomplished in the design planning process and will recommend options that combine functionality, aesthetics and budget. Tess is accustomed to working with architects, surveyors and case managers.

Tess has a particular interest in moving and handling and is an accredited trainer. She undertakes complex risk assessments, devises handling management plans and delivers training. Tess maintains her professional registration through supervision, reflective practice and attendance at training courses and conferences.

Tess is a member of the British Association of Occupational Therapists and the College of Occupational Therapists Specialist sections – Independent Practice and Housing as well as being registered with the Health Care Professionals Council.

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Clare Beckham

Clare is a highly-experienced Occupational Therapist with a long established clinical background in hand therapy. She is an expert in providing skilled assessments and interventions for persons with all types of hand injuries and conditions such as osteoarthritis, Dupuytrens disease, fractures of the hand and wrist, neuropathies, tendon injuries and serious multiple hand trauma. Clare has advanced splinting skills and is able to prescribe and fabricate orthoses to protect and support injuries or hand conditions.

Clare also offers psychological support to clients in order to help them cope and adapt following trauma and surgery, helping them to compensate for any permanent loss of hand function by assessing and prescribing equipment, and teaching new techniques to enable clients to return to the activities in life that are important to them.  Clare has clinical and managerial experience dealing with complex caseloads across acute and rehabilitative settings incorporating assessment and treatment plans. She is an expert in providing skilled assessments and interventions for persons with upper limb physical dysfunction, and treatment for subsequent physical and mental health problems.

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Simon Tandy

Simon qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 1998 and is currently in independent practice.  He has a sound knowledge of physical, neurological and psychosocial conditions with a key interest in vocational rehabilitation.  He has managed many complex return-to-work programmes and works actively with both the patient and employer to achieve fair and realistic outcomes.  Simon has also continued to practice as a treating Occupational Therapist both in rehabilitation and housing, he has been a case manager for 7 years for clients with complex needs, spinal injuries and acquired brain injury.

Following employment in Social Services Simon was employed as a Senior Occupational Therapist in an intermediate care team for a Primary Care Trust.  Here he was responsible for staff alongside the delivery and development of the Occupational Service.

Simon spent two years in New Zealand working on a variety of vocational rehabilitation and injury management contracts for ACC as well as working with people in chronic pain. He has sound vocational skills and has completed the Matherson System Functional capacity evaluators training.

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Mari-Kaisa Kankkunen

Mari qualified as an Occupational Therapist in Finland and has 20 plus years of experience as an Occupational Therapist including several years as a Practice Manager and Senior OT. She has worked in Social Services, Reablement, Hospital and Community settings with a wide range of client groups within the areas of Neurology, Paediatrics, Medical, Orthopaedic and Burns. 

Mari has experienced supervising other Occupational Therapists, Occupational Therapy assistants, OT students as well as Sensory Impairment staff. She has also gained work experience in Finland, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom which has given her the opportunity to work with clients and colleagues from various cultural backgrounds. She is a highly skilled clinician with supervisory and management experience evident throughout her career.

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Lucy Leonard

Qualified to Master’s level, Lucy graduated from Sheffield Hallam University in 1999 and worked in acute mental health as well as rehabilitation for people with enduring mental health problems.  She then went on to work in a community setting where she developed extensive skills in equipment and adaptations for adults with complex, long-term and neurological conditions.

In more recent years, Lucy has worked as a Clinical Specialist Occupational Therapist and now has her own business providing specialist vocational and Occupational Therapy assessments, recommending equipment and adaptations on behalf of charities and third sector organisations.

She has worked as a consultant occupational therapist for several UK-based companies to advise on their new products as well as working with the Disabled Living Foundation Charity to develop their website.

Lucy has delivered lectures on integrated working and has spoken to academics at Sheffield Hallam on integration to support their new ‘integrated curriculum’ and was subsequently invited as the Key Note Speaker at the Inter-professional Education Conference.  Lucy has appeared on BBC’s ‘Breakfast’ television to discuss innovative practice and has been interviewed on Radio 4’s ‘World at One’ regarding integrated working.  She is an external examiner and guest lecturer at Sheffield Hallam and Salford Universities and also assesses undergraduate medical students at The University of Liverpool. 

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Karen Warren

Karen qualified in 2008 and has been a local authority Occupational Therapist for 10 years before recently joining The OT Service in 2019.  She is also educated to Masters level in the areas of Deprivation of Liberty and Best Interest.

She has experience in Paediatric OT with two local authorities and has been nominated during this time for awards in going above and beyond her duties to provide excellent care.  She has also written articles that featured in OT News and the wider press.

Karen was a mature student when studying Occupational Therapy and was able to balance parenting alongside her studies due to her committed and energetic nature.  She has no fear in demonstrating this in her personal time engaging in activities such as sky-diving, power boating and open water swims.

Karen is used to a large workload with high complex cases due to the nature of the disabilities she works with.  She is confident and patient which allows her to handle issues in an appropriate manner.

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John Callas

Qualified in 2001 John has amassed extensive experience as a specialist moving and handling practitioner including the management of complex caseloads prioritising client’s and carers needs. He is a hard working, motivated and well-organised individual who is flexible and able to adapt to challenges as they arise whilst remaining aware of legislation, professional roles and boundaries.

John is highly experienced working with people in their own homes, making recommendations for minor and major adaptations, equipment and manual handling.  His focus is always on best practice alongside carer support to ensure the client’s environment meets their needs and maximises safety and occupational performance.

John has been an Associate with The OT Service since August 2017 and works in the NHS as a specialist in the field of orthopaedics, rheumatology and sarcoma. He has experience of managing complex caseloads across several healthcare specialities including Elderly care, stroke (acute and rehabilitation) as well as other neurological conditions including Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. As an orthopaedic specialist John’s caseload is predominantly those requiring more complex intervention, including treatment for patients with lower limb amputation as a consequence of both trauma and vascular disease in acute, rehabilitation and community settings.

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Sonia Rosenfelder

Sonia studied Occupational Therapy in Germany and qualified in 2002, she is WFOT certified, a BAOT member and registered in the OT Specialist Housing Section.

In her early career Sonia worked as a Locum Occupational Therapist in a number of roles giving her a wide variety of experiences from mental health services to the elderly as well as neurological and  community work.  However we consider her a housing specialist and she is currently employed by a local authority as a Senior Housing Occupational Therapist.  Her core skills lie in assessing clients with physical disabilities in order to make recommendations for major adaptations.

Sonia is a member of a major adaptations panel and a clinical advisory group for an equipment service. She is well equipped to assess adults with physical disabilities in their homes in order to provide specialist equipment, major adaptations and rehousing recommendations.  In addition she is adept at providing manual handling risk assessments, assessment for specialist seating along with reviews and evaluations of completed adaptations.

Her recent Housing CPD includes Housing Standards, Housing for Bariatric Users, Project Management and Designing Accessible Housing.

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Testimonials

Hear what our customers have to say about our team.

A highly valued ‘extra member of our team’. When it comes to identifying customer needs and wants and helping us to develop new product designs, Kate’s advice is always concise, clear and very illuminating.

Repose Furniture has been working with Kate since March 2015 and we are extremely pleased with the results. Kate immersed herself in our business from day one and has proved to be an extremely influential ambassador for Repose.

Kate’s wealth of experience allows her to bring considerable value to projects she is involved in and her passion for the work she does is contagious. Receiving an endorsement from the College of Occupational Therapy for our CPD modules was the icing on the cake.

The OT Service has been instrumental in the continued success of the Occupational Therapy Show, they are responsible for the development of the show’s CPD conference programme, which delivers seminars to over 4,500 delegates. Their service is always outstanding.