This is the home of blogs from Independent Lives. We work across health and social care to champion independent living and the rights of disabled people.

Our bloggers

helen-charltonHelen Charlton, Head of Marketing, Communications and Engagement

I blog about anything and everything to do with health and social care on behalf of Independent Lives. I am particularly interested in improving health inequalities and supporting marginalised people to have a voice. Contact me


katherine-beardKatherine Beard, Acting Director of Services

My work has always centred around supporting individuals with disabilities or complex health care needs.

My main passion is working in partnership with local authorities, NHS, individuals and communities to ensure everyone with a disability has the opportunity to achieve what is important to them and have the right support to do so. Contact me


rebeccaRebecca Smicle, Interim Chief Executive Officer

As CEO at Independent Lives, I  work with disabled people to develop and improve services and to create strategies to increase all citizens’ access to choice, control and to live independent lives.

I blog about health and social care integration, innovation in the sector, and about our work as a user-led charity.


david-sDavid Streeter, Communications and Engagement Officer

I really enjoy engaging with individuals and user-led groups across West Sussex and Hampshire. At the moment, much of my focus is on working collaboratively with a number of user-led access groups, to form a county-wide Access Steering Group where we can share resources and knowledge, and have a louder voice by working together. Contact me


garethGareth Shephard, Information & Communications Adviser

At Independent Lives, you will find me working on updating the organisation on the latest news and developments across health and social care. I produce the Independent Lives Direct Payments newsletters, and blog about health and social care, as well as my own experiences and opinions as a disabled person. Contact me


sophie-ramseySophie Ramsey, Marketing Officer

I’m passionate about disability rights and proud to work for a user-led disability organisation. I come from a background of marketing and campaigning – and love all things digital and social.

In my role at Independent Lives I am enjoying putting this into practice by helping to develop our online presence. I work on marketing our excellent products and services for disabled people and the professional care staff who work with them, which I will keep you updated about in my posts. Contact me