Our Trustees & Advisors

Our First Trustees

Our launch event on Tuesday 6 October 2015 held at the Middlesbrough Hotel and our First Trustees, Jan Rock (Founder), Ann Dale and Dr Maeve O'Sullivan.

Jan Rock - Founder Trustee & CEO

Jan worked in local government for 22 years, mainly in European and domestic funding programmes aimed at physical, social and economic regeneration, Her skills include: Strategic Planning, Public Sector Administration, Problem Solving, Project Management, Business Case Authoring, Fundraising and Bid Writing. Jan has a degree in Public Service Management, an ILM Post Grad Certificate in Leadership and Management; and is trained to Prince2 Practitioner level.

In 2010 her son had a terrible accident, which opened her eyes to a world of inequality she didn't know existed for children and young people with brain injuries. Post discharge her family experienced first-hand the lack of knowledge, help and support that is available to child brain injury families; so Jan and her husband undertook lots of research and developed an innovative approach to neuro-rehabilitation therapy that delivered significant positive outcomes for their son. This later drove her to found MATRIX Neurological as a registered charity.

She said: "In founding this charity my passion now is to share our experiences to help improve the provision of services for children and young people who have sustained an acquired brain injury (ABI) and support their families to ensure they are able to access the help and support they are entitled to. We are also working to deliver significant improvements to the long term outcomes for these forgotten children and young people; than is currently happening. We are making a significant contribution to that process."

Since founding MATRIX Neurological, Jan has spoken at many conferences and influential people about childhood acquired brain injury. She delivers brain injury awareness training from the 'lived-experience' perspective to a range of professionals and agencies. She also regularly undertakes Continuous Professional Development Training with professionals to keep abreast of new developments and current practice in paediatric neuro-rehabilitation.

In February 2020, Jan was appointed into the Chief Executive role following written approval from the Charity Commission. Jan has remained a Founder Trustee on our Unitary Board and represents operational aspects.

Sara Tweddle - CHAIR

Sara is a highly experienced Project and Programme Manager with a proven track record of success in leading, planning and implementing operational reform and other complex projects, programmes and strategic plans. She has worked at a senior level in high profile roles within the health, social housing and independent sectors. Until recently Sara worked as a key member of the NHS North of England Commissioning Support, New Business Team, where she was Programme Manager for the Cumbria Success Regime and worked with regional Health and Justice Teams. She also delivered special projects for the national Health and Justice Service for Children & Young People.

Sara’s qualifications include: a BA (Honours) Degree in Housing Studies; a CMI Management and Leadership Post Graduate Diploma; PRINCE2 Practitioner; APM Managing Successful Programmes – Practitioner; and achieved The Board Development Agency's Governance Award.

Sara is highly organised, skilled in customer focussed services and has advanced analytical and problem-solving skills. She also has excellent communication skills and she is a skilled influencer and negotiator. Her experience includes stakeholder management and writing and presenting briefings for government ministers.

Sara said about becoming a Trustee,
“I am excited about becoming a Trustee for Matrix Neurological and am looking forward to using my extensive skills and experience, gained while working at a senior level in high profile roles within the health, social housing and independent sectors, for the benefit of the charity.”

We are delighted that Sara has decided to join us with such a highly valuable skillset.

Paul Wright - TREASURER

Paul is a Financial Planning Manager with a National Insurance Company and manages a team of financial advisers across the North East and North West of England. He has almost 30 years professional experience in helping businesses develop and prosper, exit strategy planning and helping people with succession planning.

Paul joined us in January 2019 as a Parent Trustee and brings a wealth of lived experience.

We asked Paul why he wanted to volunteer his time for us, and he said:
"My first interaction with MATRIX Neurological came as a result of a family member having an ABI. This was triggered by the lack of support, guidance and assistance provided to us by the NHS after the brain injury. The relief we experienced after contacting MATRIX was priceless! Before then we had been left in the Wilderness, looking for answers and trying to understand our son's complex condition.

As a consequence of the fantastic help we received, I was determined to help others who find themselves in similar unfortunate situations, so I approached MATRIX to offer my services and became a Parent Trustee."

Paul not only brings a range of valuable professional skills to the Board, but his 'lived experience' of ABI also provides even more insight into the needs of brain injured children and young people and their families, that will guide and influence the development of new services.

ADVISORS TO THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES


Daniel Kay - IT Infrastructure Advisor

Danny Kay has been involved with the charity in 2017 when started as a volunteer then he moved into a Trustee role. He is an experienced IT Professional who has managed and delivered large scale software development projects for national and international companies. Danny has a Postgraduate Diploma and BSc (Hons) in Computing (Networks) and also an FdA in Counselling. He now works full time as an infrastructure engineer within a large statutory body.

After stepping down as a Trustee Danny wished to remain involved with the charity and now volunteers in an Advisory role.

Danny said about becoming an Advisor for us:
"It is always challenging learning about people who don’t have the help and support that they require. I believe strongly in the charities aims and objectives and the quest for fair treatment both for young people living with acquired brain injuries and their families. I find the lack of knowledgeable support for these children and their families to be a huge concern. When I stepped down as a trustee, I still wished to contribute to MATRIX's Mission, and I agreed to continue to offer my knowledge, skills and experience in an Advisory capacity."


"We are medical practitioners. The real experts are the parents. Over the last 35 years they have taught me everything I know"
Lucia Braga; Brazil
"With support parents cope better so the child has a better recovery"
Andrea Palacio-Navarro; Spain
"We are impressed with the progress you have made with the individual we referred to you."  Social Worker    
"Children and young people have poor social competence post brain injury due to reduced cognition, executive functions, and emotional control. As a result they are twice as likely to have mental health issues in the future"
James Tonks; University of London
"Parent-supported interventions after paediatric ABI bring reductions to the cost to society"
Eric Hermans; Netherlands
Child 1 - Aged 14 and 3 years after a traumatic brain injury
2019 2020 Change
REASONING 301/800 426/800   +  125
MEMORY 181/800 304/800   +  123
ATTENTION 463/800 573/800   +  110
COORDINATION 47/800 309/800   +  262
PERCEPTION 158/800 374/800   +  216
"Too often children and young people with ABI are discharged from hospital without specialist brain support that they and their families need to overcome lifelong challenges"
Andrew Ross; former Chief Executive of the Children's Trust
"Rehabilitation interventions can lead to positive outcomes for children and their families if delivered in the familiar home environment and applied to everyday situations"
Cerebra; United Kingdom
"Intensive and individualized approaches work. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn't. You have to make it relevant to the child."
Recolo; United Kingdom
"More play increases brain plasticity and makes for better recovery post brain injury"
Professor Bryan Kolb; Canada

OUR MISSION: To work to remove inequalities for children & young people affected by acquired brain injury; and provide effective support to their families that makes a real difference.

Council for Disabled Children Community Funded Charity Excellence Lottery Funded Youth Foundation BBC CiN