Tim Cooper, Chief Executive of United ResponseTim Cooper, chief executive

Before coming to United Response in 2015, Tim was chief executive of Advance, a charity that supports people with disabilities, mental health needs and learning disabilities to live the life they choose at home, at work and in the community.

Tim has a wealth of experience in supporting people with learning disabilities, including particular expertise in supported employment and housing management.

Before joining Advance, Tim was director at the Office for Disability Issues and prior to that, managing director of the Work and Independence Division of the Shaw Trust.


Julia Casserly, director of our north east division

Julia is responsible for coordinating all services and teams across the north east division, and brings with her a valuable nursing background.

Julia has over 20 years’ managerial experience in the social care sector, covering several geographical areas across the north east region.

She has a proven track record of best practice development and is committed to improving the lives of those we support in the north east. Witnessing cultural, operational and transformational change throughout her time with the organisation has afforded her in-depth knowledge of United Response’s growth and evolution. Julia’s colleagues admire her caring nature and sense of humour.

Prior to joining United Response as a senior support worker in 1991, she spent six years working for Huddersfield Health Authority as a registered mental health nurse.


Nicola Cook, director of United Response

Nicola Cook, director of our north west division

Nicola is responsible for all our services and teams across the north west division. Nicola joined United Response in 2016 from Macmillan Cancer Support where she was the Regional Manager for North West England and the Isle of Man.

Nicola has over 20 years’ managerial experience across health and social care both within the statutory and charitable sectors. She has also worked with the Department of Health and also in the USA as part of President Clinton’s Health Policy Team.

Nicola has significant experience in managing large transformational change programmes, working with health and social care providers, commissioners, and local and national government to deliver improvements to services that make a real difference to people’s lives. She is committed to working with the people we support to improve the quality of service delivery, and also to ensure that their experience is heard to positively influence change.

Prior to working in the charitable sector Nicola had senior leadership roles in a number of health organisations within primary and hospital care as well as a number of commissioning organisations.


Diane Lightfoot, director of policy and communications

Diane ensures United Response has a united voice by coordinating and synchronising all internal and external communications, messaging and branding.

Diane joined United Response as director of policy and communications in 2004. She has 17 years’ experience of communications and marketing, 15 of these spent in the voluntary sector.

Her responsibilities at United Response include press, PR, events, policy, campaigns, marketing and digital.

Diane is keen for United Response to work with vulnerable people in the community who are not eligible for state funding, but for whom a tiny bit of support could make all the difference. She is also a big advocate of our supported employment services, which she regards as a fantastic, natural form of inclusion.

Before joining United Response, Diane spent four years as head of marketing for the National Council of Voluntary Organisations. Prior to this, she was head of marketing at the Pre-school Learning Alliance, a national children’s educational charity.


Tim Jones, director of our south west division

Tim is responsible for the coordination of all teams and services within the south west region, and has a panache for forming fruitful partnerships.

Tim has 25 years of managerial experience in services for people with learning disabilities, 22 of these have been spent with United Response.

Tim holds his responsibility to those United Response supports and employs as paramount. He believes we must always strive to get things right, but that when we don't we should learn and adapt – a key part of this being able to partner with different people and organisations to produce the best results.

Previously, Tim has both commissioned and provided services under the auspices of the All Wales Strategy with Clwyd County Council. His social work career was spent predominantly in the childcare sector in both residential and field social work, and, latterly, as a senior social worker. Tim has also taught within the further education sector.


Jill Lanham, director of IT

Jill is responsible for the development of the IT strategy and supporting the technical needs of the entire organisation.

Jill joined United Response in February 2014. Although this is her first role in the voluntary sector, she has extensive experience in the public sector, including 12 years in senior NHS IT roles. She also has experience in both the housing and local government sectors.

Jill sees it as vital that technology enables, rather than impedes, the employees of United Response. If employed wisely and efficiently, she believes technology will free up people to get on with the more important aspects of their role.


Mike Crowhurst, director of our south east division

Mike is responsible for the coordination of all teams and services within the south east region. He is a strong believer in the value and efficacy of a person centred approach, both at national and local levels.

Since joining in 2013, Mike has brought to United Response a wealth of experience as a senior operational, programme and project manager, as well as skills gained in both small and large public and private sector organisations.

With a Masters in the Management of Community Care, Mike has both strong academic and practical knowledge of setting up, managing and developing community services for people with disabilities – including those with complex needs.

Previous roles have given Mike experience of working across boundaries between the independent sector, local governments and the health sector.


Sarah Battershall, director of operations

Sarah is responsible for operations across the organisation. She is a strong supporter of the campaigning work we do on behalf of those we support.

Sarah joined United Response in 2003. She trained as a nurse working with people with learning disabilities, and continued to work in health and social care for 24 years, 20 of which were in a management capacity.

Sarah believes United Response should further develop its reputation as a people-focussed organisation with a wealth of skills and a very strong practice-based support ethos. She is also passionate about supporting and working alongside local communities.

Her previous roles involved working in and managing services for people with learning disabilities, people with mental health needs, and services for women and children who are homeless or fleeing violence.


Mark Ospedale, director of human resources at United Response

Mark Ospedale, director of human resources

Mark ensures United Response has the right people, doing the right things, in the right way to help the people we support. His role includes responsibility for all people-related change, policies and processes, recruitment, staff training and employee relations.

Mark joined United Response in 2016 and has held Director roles with other well-known voluntary sector providers such as Certitude and Action for Children. Prior to this Mark was involved with the NHS and large scale technology enabled changes including the Electronic Staff Record System and setting up Financial Shared Service Centres.

With a military background as RAF Aircrew, a Fellow of the CIPD and having studied Business (MBA), Mark has a broad range of skills and knowledge in HR, leadership, planning and project management of all which he loves putting to good use in supporting people to live their lives to the full.


A photo of Jerome Walls, director of finance

Jerome Walls, director of finance

Jerome joined United Response in 2016 as Director of Finance with a ley remit to ensure that UR continues to grow in a financial sustainable manner for the long-term benefit of its beneficiaries and stakeholders.

Jerome is a Chartered Accountant who spent twenty five years in commercial financial leadership roles with blue chip companies including KPMG, Fisons plc and ICL-Fujitsu Services and was fortunate to have lived and worked in Canada, Sweden, France and Holland as well as the UK. Jerome entered the third sector in 2008 and worked for five years with largest DWP third sector provider, Shaw Trust, and as CFO was part of the team that secured a large percentage of the Work Choice prime contracts assisting disabled and disadvantaged clients into the workplace and helped steer the organisation through a large merger in 2012.

Prior to joining United Response, Jerome worked as an interim Finance Director in the third sector including periods with the well-known charities Barnardo’s and Anthony Nolan. Jerome lives in rural Suffolk and when not working or commuting is normally found out on a bike desperately trying to shed a few grammes before the next sportive arrives!


Contact any of our directors or request a full biography