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About us

Our people

About us

Our people

About us

Our people

About us

Our people

The Estia Team

Estia Team Video

Ruwani Ampegama

Ruwani is the Interim Head of Education and Training for the Estia Centre. Since she qualified as a learning disability nurse in 1993 she has worked in community learning disability settings in south London and Surrey in a variety of roles. She has also completed a degree in health and social care and a further education teacher training.
Ruwani has a passion for supporting and working with people with learning disabilities and she is particularly interested in mental health, dementia, epilepsy and safeguarding. She is also passionate about influencing care through training and mentoring of staff teams.

Ruwani has a background in managing residential and supported living services as well as providing training for support staff. She has some experience and would like to implement co-training with people with learning disabilities as she believes that hearing from experts by experience is a powerful way of valuing people.

Mike Bloodworth

Mike is the Senior Training Officer for the Estia Centre and has spent his career working alongside people with learning disabilities and family carers. His background is in developing and leading a wide range of social care services across London, including advocacy, accommodation, respite and community-based day activity and recreational services.

Prior to joining the Estia team Mike worked as a freelance consultant specialising in the use of action learning methodology to support individual and organisational development, including the delivery of accredited programmes of learning.

He is passionate about social justice and social action for people with learning disabilities and sees effective learning and self-leadership as originating from the ability to critically reflect on our own motivations and behaviours so as to better relate to the people around us and our outside world.

Angie Degen

Angie is an executive assistant and has worked for the Estia Centre since 2005, offering marketing and business support. Angie graduated in 2008 with a post graduate degree in management studies.

Maggie Brennan

"My name is Maggie Brennan. My job at Estia is called an 'expert by experience'

I have a mild learning disability and have experienced mental illness. I have experience supporting other people with learning disability to travel. I am a representative at Lambeth Assembly. I am part of the team that design and develop easy read newsletters.

In my job at Estia I develop and deliver training packs for nurses and other professionals in understanding and meeting the needs of people with a learning disability and mental illness. I also co-facilitate the Mindapples group with Estia staff.

Clinical Trainers

At the Estia Centre we work in close collaboration with clinical subject matter experts and our experts by experience to improve the care of people with learning disabilities. Click on the tabs below to meet the Estia Team and our extended team of clinical trainers. 

Amy Baddeley

Dr Amy currently works as a clinical psychologist in the Mental Health Learning Disabilities team. She completed her clinical psychology training at the University of East London, and has an interest in working systemically with people with learning disabilities and their support networks.

Barbara Barter

Dr Barbara Barter currently works as a clinical psychologist with the mental health in learning disability team in the Trust since qualifying from North Wales in 2010. She has an interest in mindfulness, third wave behavioural approaches and clinical health psychology.

Keiron Beard

Dr. Kieron Beard has worked as a clinical psychologist in the mental health in learning disabilities team in the Trust since qualifying from the University of Liverpool in 2013. Prior to undertaking his doctoral programme in clinical psychology he worked as a senior support worker and home manager for a specialist learning disability challenging behaviour and intensive support service. Kieron has a special interest in human rights and social justice approaches to psychological care, enabling compassionate support networks, sexuality and identity.

Nick Bouras

Nick Bouras is Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at the Health Service and Population Research Department at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN), King’s College London and Director of Implemental (formerly Maudsley International).

He has been a member of several national and international organisations including Chairman of the World Psychiatric Association, section on Psychiatry of Mental Health and Intellectual Disability; Vice President of the European Association of Mental Health in Intellectual Disability; and Vice President of the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual Disability.

He has published widely and is member of the editorial boards of several journals.

John Cheetham

Dr. John Cheetham is a senior clinical psychologist in the Mental Health in Learning Disabilities Team for Southwark. John also has experience of working in inpatient services and community mental health services, and previously worked in supported living placements for people with learning disabilities and in rehabilitation hostels. John’s work in the Mental Health in Learning Disabilities Team is broad, but he has been particularly involved in developing services for people with learning disabilities who live with voice-hearing experiences, and his work is informed by community psychology and social justice approaches to psychological interventions. John’s work has also been published in peer reviewed articles and books, including on the development of services for people with learning disabilities who hear voices, the experience of being in psychiatric inpatient units, and a critique of government policy around psychological wellbeing.

Steve Hardy

Steve Hardy is a consultant nurse in learning disabilities at Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust. He has worked in mental health services for people with learning disabilities for the past two decades and has widely published in this area.

Karina Marshall-Tate

Karina is the learning disability nurse consultant at SLaM. Karina is an experienced learning disability nurse who has worked across specialist inpatient and community services in south London for people with a learning disability and additional mental illness. Karina’s areas of special interest are in the mental health needs of adults with learning disabilities and education and training to enhance clinical practice and workforce development. Karina led a two-year project scoping the education and training needs of clinicians in relation to learning disabilities and developing and delivering training initiatives such as eLearning, clinical simulation and skills-based conferences to enhance clinical practice and reduce health inequalities experienced by people with learning disabilities.

Nina Melunsky

Dr Nina Melunsky has worked as a clinical psychologist in the Lewisham Mental Health Learning Disabilities team since 2017.  Prior to this, Nina worked in psychosis services, and also as a support worker in both supported living and residential homes for adults with learning disabilities.  Nina has a particular interest in working with people with learning disabilities who are experiencing psychosis, as well as using systemic and relational approaches to support people with learning disabilities, their families and their supporters.  

Steve Moss

Steve Moss has worked for nearly 30 years in disability research, and during the 1990s, he directed a Department of Health funded programme of research on the detection and diagnosis of mental disorders in this population which saw the PAS-ADD assessment system (psychiatric assessment schedules for adults with developmental disabilities). The PAS-ADD tools have become increasingly widely used in UK services, and also in Australia, North America and Europe (where they have been translated into Spanish, Dutch, German and Greek). Read more on the PAS-ADD website. Most recently Steve has developed the ChA-PAS.

Declan Murphy

Professor Declan Murphy trained in Psychiatry at the Maudsley Hospital and IoPPN. He undertook his research training at the IoPPN and at the National Institutes of Health (NIH,USA). His research interest is in the genetic and environmental determinants of brain development and behaviour.

Jean O'Hara

Dr Jean O'Hara is a consultant psychiatrist at the Trust an the National Clinical Director for Learning Disabilities at NHS England. She has been a consultant in the psychiatry of intellectual disabilities for over 20 years and has extensive experience working with ethnic minority communities in inner city areas. In addition to her clinical and management roles, she has developed and published research and training materials on ethnicity and diversity. This work has been reflected in Good Practice Guidance (RCPsych 2011) and several books including Textbook of Cultural Psychiatry (2007) and Clinical Topics in Cultural Psychiatry (2010). She oversees the training, consultancy and research programme at the Estia Centre, is an elected fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, an elected member of Council at the Royal Society of Medicine and past President of the Psychiatric Section. From 2007 to 2014 she chaired the London-wide specialist training committee at the London Deanery; and from 2001 to 2009 was an examiner with the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Anne Parris

Annie has held a number of roles working with adults with intellectual disabilities with behaviour described as challenging to services and is currently working as a senior behaviour support practitioner (BSS) with the mental health in learning disability team. She completed a postgraduate diploma in applied psychology in learning disabilities (challenging behaviour) at the Tizard Centre, University of Kent in 2004.

Tanya Pierson 

Dr Tanya Pearson currently works as a senior Clinical Psychologist with the mental health in learning disability team in SLaM. Dr. Natalie Read currently works as a senior clinical psychologist in the Mental Health Learning Disabilities Team. 

Natalie Read

Dr Natalie Read is a clinical psychologist working in the Southwark Mental Health in Learning Disabilities team. Natalie joined the team in 2016 after qualifying from the University of East London. Prior to training as a psychologist, Natalie worked in a community learning disability team, child and adolescent mental health services, and eating disorders services. Natalie has also worked as a support worker with people with acquired brain injuries. Natalie has a particular interest in supporting older people with learning disabilities, including those affected by dementia, and in reducing health inequalities for all people with learning disabilities.


Sam Riches

Dr Sam Riches has supported people with learning disabilities in a variety of roles, from volunteer youth worker, as a trustee of a small charity for people with a learning disability and now as a qualified clinical psychologist since 1995. Since qualifying she has specialised in the mental health needs of people with learning disabilities and is based in the London Borough of Lewisham. Dr Riches helps to review and deliver training at the Estia Centre and has a particular interest in the impact of bullying and discrimination on the emotional lives of people with learning disabilities.


Kenneth Tambi

Kenneth is a qualified learning disability nurse who is currently working as a community psychiatrist nurse within the Mental Health in Learning Disability Team. He started working with the trust 12/2017 and has also acted as team leader in two different services, Lewisham and Southwark MHLD.  Kenneth also worked as a clinical charge nurse at Atlas House, which is a specialist inpatient service based in South east London (10/2016-12/2017) before joining SLAM MHLD as a CPN. He holds a degree in English Private Law and will be commencing Academic professional apprenticeship which includes the PGCert HE from January 2021 and is passionate about supporting people with learning disabilities to get appropriate support.

Debbie Spain

Dr Debbie Spain is a postdoctoral clinical researcher at King’s College London. She is a dual qualified learning disability and mental health nurse, an accredited cognitive behaviour therapist and a systemic practitioner. She has substantial clincial experience of working with adults with autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), many of whom have had comorbid mental health conditions. She has been a principal investigator and collaborator on a number of research studies, and these have principally focused on understanding and treating mental health symptoms in adults with autism, and the mental health of, and evidence-based interventions for underserved populations.

Eddie Chaplin

Eddie Chaplin is an associate professor at South Bank University. He has had extensive clinical experience in local and national mental health services for people with neurodevelopmental disabilities. He has also developed a number of academic courses at masters level relating to offending and the mental health of people with intellectual disability and/or autism. Eddie has an extensive publication portfolio and is principal editor for the Advances in Mental Health in Intellectual Disabilities Journal, including the first guided self-help manual specifically aimed at people with intellectual disabilities.
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