Our staff

We have a staff team who – working with a wide range of experienced volunteers around the UK – deliver our services, help raise funds, and act as advocates for our work. To find out more about any of our staff members, please click on their photo.

The Management Team

Abigail Lock

CEO

Abigail joined Back Up in January 2020 with broad experience gained from a variety of organisations across the private, public and third sector. This includes Scope and the Equality and Human Rights Commission.  Abigail grew up as a child carer, this lived experience makes her appreciate the truly transformative impact that Back Up has on people’s lives.  Abigail is a passionate proponent of community and is keen to champion the amazing work of volunteers, as well as the peer led approach to Back Up’s services. She has day to day responsibility for ensuring that Back Up and its people thrive, through the development and delivery of the strategy, in consultation with the board and key stakeholders. Outside work, Abigail loves open water swimming and is an avid traveller who is always up for an adventure.

The Services Team

Kevin Filby**

Director of Services

In a career spanning more than twenty five years, Kevin has worked in a variety of roles supporting disabled children, young people and adults.

Starting as a community support worker, he went on to gain experience in a range of different settings covering health, social care, education and information, advice and guidance services.

As his career has developed, Kevin has managed individual projects and services as well as geographically spread programmes across the UK in both the private and voluntary sectors – including developing new services whilst supporting organisational growth and design.

Kevin remains passionate about high quality services and achieving good outcomes for the people we support.
In his spare time, you can catch Kevin following his local football team, playing the guitar (very badly!) or on long walks with his partner and their dog, Bailey.

Kevin Filby**

Kevin Filby**

Director of Services

Andy Masters*

Head of Services Strategic Partnerships

Injured in a rugby accident, Andy first got involved with Back Up through volunteering in the office. In that time he worked across the team, gaining a great insight into how the charity operates whilst becoming a wheelchair skills trainer and group leader. Andy became an Outreach & Support Coordinator, before moving into management of the Outreach team followed by Head of Services. He is now Back Up’s Head of Services Strategic Partnerships, developing our work across the UK. Andy is still an avid rugby follower with his match day hospitality at Twickenham gaining legendary status amongst the team.

Andy Masters*

Andy Masters*

Head of Services Strategic Partnerships

Ally Ward

Volunteer Development Manager

Ally is our Volunteer Development Manager and takes a lead, across Back Up, on the management, training and engagement of Back Up’s wonderful team of over 300 volunteers. Ally has seen Back Up grow hugely since joining in 2008. She is motivated by working with volunteers and ensuring the volunteering experience is the best it can be. Outside office hours, Ally is kept busy by her two children and enjoys family time with them and her partner, although loves child free time when she can get it!

Ally Ward

Ally Ward

Volunteer Development Manager

Sophie Elwes*

Services Manager

Sophie first got involved with Back Up after meeting some wheelchair skills trainers at Stoke Mandeville while she was an inpatient there. They told her about the ski course and she signed up as soon as possible. It was a life-changing experience for Sophie and she has been a Back Up groupie ever since. She joined the outreach and support team in 2016 and now works as our Services Manager – taking overall responsibility for the five services at Back Up – family, mentoring, CYP, vocation and courses. In her spare time she spends as much time waterskiing and wakeboarding as she can!

Sophie Elwes*

Sophie Elwes*

Services Manager

Penny Bristow

Outreach & Engagement Manager

My fiancé David sustained a C4 complete spinal cord injury in 2018 and I first came into contact with Back Up when he took part in a wheelchair skills session at Stanmore SCIC in2018. It was from that first session that I could see the positive, life-changing impacts Back Up has on those newly injured, and their families. At the time of David’s accident, I worked in Project Management but felt as though I wanted to fulfil my newfound passion of supporting those affected by SCI. I was lucky enough to join the wonderful team at Back Up as Outreach and Engagement Manager in October 2022.In my spare time, I am always busy with my fiancé, researching our next wheelchair accessible adventure, in or outside the UK! I love nothing more than spending quality time, making memories with friends and family.

Penny Bristow

Penny Bristow

Outreach & Engagement Manager

Becky Hill

Becky has been involved with Back Up in many different roles for many years. Her first engagement with the charity was on a water-skiing course, in 1991, a year after her injury. She has been hooked by the Back Up bug ever since. Becky has been a fund-raiser, group leader, mentor and trustee, becoming Chair over two terms, and was awarded Third Sector Chair of the Year in 2014. With her HR professional background she is passionate about supporting people back to work post injury and group led the very first Back to Work course and has been the trainer for a lot of the courses over the last 15years. Now she considers herself as having her dream job, as Back Up’s Vocation Specialist. Becky is married to Paul and lives in Dorset, where they together run Endeavour UK, an inclusive tourism business with an accessible holiday home and offering safari trips of a lifetime.

Melanie Burnside*

Courses Team Leader

Mel has both supported and been supported by Back Up for over 25 years. Following her spinal injury in 1996, she has been involved in the charity as a mentor and various other roles. Mel has 3 sons, 2 cats, a puppy and spends any spare time she has with friends and family. Mel is a keen genealogist and can be found frequently listening to audio books of all genres. Mel tries to get to the gym when possible and enjoys a long push around local parks with her boys. Mel is loving her role as Courses Team Leader and is proud to work for Back Up and support the life changing work that they do.

Melanie Burnside*

Melanie Burnside*

Courses Team Leader

Rich Osborn*

Regional Outreach Team Leader, Scotland

Rich is a member of our Outreach and Support team, responsible for conducting wheelchair skills and patient education sessions at the Queen Elizabeth National Spinal Injuries unit in Glasgow. As part of his role, he also provides telephone support and visits patients and staff in general hospitals and outreach clinics throughout Scotland. This is to further promote the services of Back Up and what we can offer. Through his love of adventure sports, he sustained his injury through a scuba diving accident in 2009. However, that wasn’t stopped him because when he’s not working, Rich can be found blowing bubbles and taking in the underwater beauty off the coast of Scotland, regardless of time of year!

Rich Osborn*

Rich Osborn*

Regional Outreach Team Leader, Scotland

Chris Yeates*

Regional Outreach Team Leader

Chris looks after wheelchair skills and patient education sessions at the NSIC Stoke Mandeville as well as supporting patients and staff at other hospitals in the region. Chris was involved in a road accident in 2006 which resulted in a complete C6 spinal cord injury. He enjoys spending his free time with his wife and two sons and has become a master of negotiating his wheelchair around his toy-filled living room.

Chris Yeates*

Chris Yeates*

Regional Outreach Team Leader

Alice Ridley**

Mentoring Team Leader

Alice first learnt of Back Up when they supported her family after her cousin sustained a spinal cord injury on a school rugby trip in South Africa. In 2019, Alice embarked on a career change after 10 years as a Professional Dancer, travelling the world with various shows. She wanted to use the skills she had developed over the years with her lived experience to help support other family members whose loved ones have sustained a spinal cord injury. Within her role as Mentoring Team Lead, she also runs the day-to-day coordination of the Family Mentoring Service, connecting family members who are often feeling isolated and alone to others who understand. In her spare time, Alice loves adventure and often will be found wild swimming or hiking in the Lake District with her Husband.

Alice Ridley**

Alice Ridley**

Mentoring Team Leader

Jacques Liebenberg*

Mentoring Coordinator

Jacques looks after volunteer mentors and their mentees. Jacques sustained an incomplete spinal injury at L1 in 1993 while he was in the South African Army. He likes to keep up to date with new developments in wheelchairs and other mobility equipment. He has been known to do some wheelchair maintenance in the office. Jacques is also an amateur braai (BBQ) master when the weather is nice enough to do it. Jacques enjoys travelling with his wife and has done the long haul to New Zealand multiple times.

Jacques Liebenberg*

Jacques Liebenberg*

Mentoring Coordinator

Roman Maczkiewicz*

Mentoring Coordinator

As part of the Mentoring team working alongside Alice and Jacques, Roman helps to look after and support volunteer spinal cord injury mentors and mentees. Following a spinal cord injury-related illness in 2018 and an 8-month stay in hospital, he became aware of the work of Back Up and started as a volunteer fundraiser for the Trusts team. He then became interested in mentoring and once trained became a volunteer mentor, which led to him becoming a member of the staff team in 2022. When not working Roman who is married and has 2 grown-up daughters loves attending live music gigs and sporting events. He is also a keen fair-weather hand cyclist and is the secretary of the Hand Cycling Association of the UK. His Polish heritage is important to him and being bilingual has also been very useful. His not-so-secret guilty pleasure is to have the occasional single malt whisky with just a splash of water.

Roman Maczkiewicz*

Roman Maczkiewicz*

Mentoring Coordinator

Michael Hipwell*

Regional Coordinator, London and South

Michael  helps manage relationships with the 11 UK spinal centres and ensures inpatients and staff are informed about and have access to Back Up services.  Michael broke his neck at C6 playing rugby in 2000 and then toured the world playing wheelchair rugby for Great Britain. After settling down to family life after the birth of his son, Michael began volunteering at Back Up before joining the staff team in 2008.

Michael Hipwell*

Michael Hipwell*

Regional Coordinator, London and South

Helen Fincham*

Regional Outreach Coordinator Wales

Helen joined the Back Up team in 2022 as the Outreach and Engagement Coordinator for Wales delivering wheelchair skills and peer support in Llandough Cardiff for individuals affected by a spinal cord injury and their families.

Helen became paralysed at level c5/6 in 2016 because of transverse myelitis which is inflammation on the spine. 

Helen used Back Up services as an inpatient in Cardiff. Thanks to the 1 to 1 mentoring she gained knowledge and a few tips for more independence as a tetra from someone with lived experience.

Helen enjoys spending her free time with friends and family, loves make-up, shopping, travelling, and any excuse to dress up, eat and have a good time at social events. 

Helen Fincham*

Helen Fincham*

Regional Outreach Coordinator Wales

Richard Cheshire *

Regional Coordinator, North

Richard works alongside the Sheffield and Pinderfields spinal units in delivering wheelchair skills and offering peer support. He sustained a spinal cord injury in a motorcycle accident in 2010, and since found his love in sport.

He enjoys his free time playing wheelchair basketball and rugby, doing half marathons, and watching Japanese animated films. His favourite colour is purple.

Richard Cheshire *

Richard Cheshire *

Regional Coordinator, North

Tony MacGrath*

Courses Coordinator

Tony started volunteering for Back Up in 2017 as a Mentor, and then in early 2022 started volunteering as a Back Up Lounge Host, focusing on the Arts, Crafts and Gardening Lounge! In May he started another exciting chapter at Back Up by becoming our Courses Coordinator. He describes the role as an ‘exciting adventure which has just been a joy from day one’. Tony believes that Back Up is one of those charities that holds family values at its heart, and says he knows that every single member of the team, and the course participants, feel part of this supported family which enables people affected by spinal cord injury to live life to the full.

Tony MacGrath*

Tony MacGrath*

Courses Coordinator

Nicole Scott**

Family Support Team Leader

Nicole first came across Back Up after her husband had a spinal cord injury following a motorbike accident in 2009, so she understands the importance of supporting family members. She then volunteered for a number of years, first as a mentor, then buddying on courses and latterly as a group leader on various courses. Nicole joined the Back Up team in August 2021 working within the Family Support team. Outside of work Nicole enjoys playing (plus enthusiastically supporting from the sideline) her local hockey team, socialising with family and friends and walking her dog, Elliott.

Nicole Scott**

Nicole Scott**

Family Support Team Leader

Kelsey Borrer

Family Support Coordinator

Kelsey joined the Back Up team at the end of 2022, as part of the Family Support Team.

Kelsey has been working as an A&E nurse since 2020 and has seen first-hand the impacts of trauma on not only those injured but their families.

She also experienced this closer to home when her partners’ Mum sustained a spinal cord injury during the summer of 2020.

The effect this had on the whole family is one of the reasons Kelsey chose to join Back Up, with the focus that all family members are supported whilst adapting to their new way of life.

When not working either job you might find Kelsey cycling, hiking or paddleboarding in Sussex or with family in Suffolk.

Kelsey Borrer

Kelsey Borrer

Family Support Coordinator

Dominic Ridley

Family Support Coordinator

Dominic joined the family support team at Back Up in January 2024. His first exposure to Back Up was shortly after his wife’s cousin had a spinal cord injury in 2015. Experiencing the effect Spinal Cord Injury has on the whole family and the work Back Up does has inspired him to want to support other families. Before joining Back up, Dominic spent over a decade working in musical theatre and singing on cruise ships. In his spare time, Dominic enjoys specialty coffee, football, travelling and hikes with his wife and adding to his record collection.

Dominic Ridley

Dominic Ridley

Family Support Coordinator

Lucy Robinson*

Vocation Coordinator

Lucy feels very passionately about helping people return to employment. She believes it is an important way to tackle disability, equality and inclusion within society. Lucy also enjoys helping other teams deliver effective services to improve the lives of people affected by spinal cord injury, particularly working with children and young people. Lucy also makes functional ceramics such as mugs, teapots and bowls.

When she’s not behind a computer or covered in clay, you’ll find her gardening, travelling or attending a fabulous event in fancy dress.

Lucy Robinson*

Lucy Robinson*

Vocation Coordinator

Poppy Chamberlain**

Family Support Coordinator

Poppy joined the Family Support team at Back Up in November 2022. Her partner was spinally injured in 2015 so she understands the trials and tribulations of life with a spinal cord injury, as well as how you can go on to lead a positive and fulfilled life after injury.

She has lived experience as a family member and hopes to share her experiences and knowledge with others in similar circumstances. Poppy believes everybody is entitled to live the best possible quality of life, full of opportunity, fun and confidence.

Poppy is also a Pilates teacher helping others to feel better with good movement – she teaches 1:1s on Pilates machines, group mat classes and online sessions too.

Poppy Chamberlain**

Poppy Chamberlain**

Family Support Coordinator

Ella Provan*

Children & Young People’s Guidance Manager

Ella was ten years old when she had her spinal cord injury, but didn’t get involved with Back Up till some time later. While she was at university, she started doing lots of volunteer work and this prompted her to apply for a position here. As our Under 18’s Services Manager, she works across the team to provide support for children and young people and ensures that they are involved in shaping our services. Outside of work, Ella loves travelling whenever possible. She should also have several Blue Peter badges for her arts and crafts endeavours which include knitting, writing, baking and making jewellery.

Ella Provan*

Ella Provan*

Children & Young People’s Guidance Manager

The Communications & Marketing Team

Rupa Kotecha-Smith

Head of Communications and Marketing

Rupa joined Back Up in April 2023, and provides leadership and direction on all matters relating to communications and marketing.

Her experience covers over 25 years’ working in the voluntary, education, public and private sectors, most recently she was the head of strategic communications and insight at NCVO. Rupa is a real hands-on team player and has a breadth of experience in many areas including strategy development, multi-channel campaign delivery, brand management, media and press relations. She enjoys leading and motivating teams and loves to bring out the best in people that she works with.

In her free time Rupa enjoys travelling, spending time with friends and family and taking her dog, Romeo, out on long walks.

Rupa Kotecha-Smith

Rupa Kotecha-Smith

Head of Communications and Marketing

Anthony Dhanraj

Digital Marketing Coordinator

Anthony joined Back Up’s Communications and Marketing team in November 2023. He has worked for other charities and marketing agencies in the past. Outside of work, he is a big anime/gaming fan and loves to immerse himself in his favorite series and games.

Anthony Dhanraj

Anthony Dhanraj

Digital Marketing Coordinator

Jack Phillips

Communications Coordinator

At Back Up, Jack works in the Communications and Marketing team as a Communications Coordinator. This diverse role covers everything from social media to video editing – all to ensure that Back Up’s content resonates with people affected by spinal cord injury. With a background in video game industry PR, Jack also looks after the charity’s gaming fundraising efforts!

In his spare time Jack loves travelling, climbing mountains, ambient music, and creating digital art.

Jack Phillips

Jack Phillips

Communications Coordinator

The Fundraising Team

Sean McCallion*

Head of Fundraising

Sean is our Head of Fundraising and is responsible for delivering our fundraising strategy and supporting his great team to meet their targets. He loves getting out of the office to meet our supporters and spread the word about our work. Having been involved as a volunteer and staff member for over 15 years, Sean has seen Back Up grow immensely and has been a key part of that change. At weekends, when he’s not spending time with his baby daughter, Sean enjoys getting outdoors: handcycling, swimming, sit-skiing and, with help from some willing friends, he has also made it to the top of the UK’s three highest peaks.

Sean McCallion*

Sean McCallion*

Head of Fundraising

Janet McQuade

Fundraising Manager

Janet looks after our individual supporters and community fundraisers. She also co-ordinates our Legacy Giving and In Memory Giving programmes, writes appeals, and looks after the shop.

Having emptied the nest, Janet loves live music, campervanning, cooking, yoga, and improving her Franglais. During lockdown, she embraced outdoor swimming and never looked back. Can be found most weekends in a lake in Surrey.

Janet McQuade

Janet McQuade

Fundraising Manager

Helen McCallion**

Events Manager

Helen manages our Back Up fundraising events. She has been involved with Back Up since 2008 and met her husband through working at the charity. As a busy mum of 2 small children, she enjoys spending time outdoors gardening and playing tennis or cycling with the kids as well as getting together with friends and family.

Helen McCallion**

Helen McCallion**

Events Manager

Ann Shallcross

Supporter Care Assistant

Ann joined the Back Up fundraising team in October 2023. She’s worked for a few not-for-profits before and was delighted to join Back Up. Her time outside of work is taken up with tracking down her teenagers, supporting local environmental organisations and cooking badly (when she gets a look in in the kitchen).

Ann Shallcross

Ann Shallcross

Supporter Care Assistant

Holly Butler

Trusts Fundraiser

Holly joined the Back Up fundraising team in February 2021. She has enjoyed a varied career, including previous experience of trust fundraising, and finds it rewarding to play a part in supporting our life-changing services. Outside work, she is a proud mum, enjoys being outdoors, and is looking forward to being able to socialize and travel again.

Holly Butler

Holly Butler

Trusts Fundraiser

Emily Clacy*

Community Fundraising Coordinator

Emily has been involved with Back Up since the year 2000, when she discharged herself from hospital for a week to go on one of our multi-activity courses in the Lake District! She thought it was the best rehab experience she could have had and it was here that her love for Back Up started. After volunteering for the charity for many years through mentoring, group leading and organising fundraising events, Emily has now joined the fundraising team to support our community fundraisers and is excited to be working for a charity that she is so passionate about. Emily will also be driving our Ambassador Scheme forwards and helping others to promote the valuable work we do to transform the lives of people with a Spinal Cord Injury. As a busy mum of two, when she gets time (!), Emily enjoys going to the theatre and seeing live bands, mindful drawing, learning Spanish and planning events for the local school as part of the PTA.

Emily Clacy*

Emily Clacy*

Community Fundraising Coordinator

Natalie Bonnelame

Events and Challenge Assistant

Natalie became a part of Back Up in October 2023, taking on the role of an Event and challenge Assistant. She holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Events Management. Apart from her professional pursuits, Natalie is a mother to a young daughter. In her free time, she navigates the bustling life of parenthood and indulges in her passions for travel, going out with friends and cooking. An aspiring goal on her horizon is to secure a weekend radio slot on Capital XTRA FM, where she can share the latest tunes with listeners.

Natalie Bonnelame

Natalie Bonnelame

Events and Challenge Assistant

The Finance & Operations Team

Salvatore LaMonica

Head of Finance and Operations

Salvatore makes sure the office runs smoothly and keeps everyone on budget. He is the most avoided person in the office when the budget time comes, and the person most in demand when there’s an operational issue. He is much beloved by all the team for helping them with all their technical mishaps. Better known as Salvo, he brings some classic Italian style to everyday office life.

Salvatore LaMonica

Salvatore LaMonica

Head of Finance and Operations

Beatriz Fernández

Operations Manager

Bea is Operations Manager at Back Up, where her main responsibility is to ensure that everyone on the team has everything they need to excel. With her juggling and organisation skills, she manages to maintain an efficient workflow while ensuring that everyone’s needs are met.

Her passion for helping others and her unwavering commitment to Back Up’s mission drive her to make sure that every member of the team feels supported and empowered to do their best work.

Beatriz Fernández

Beatriz Fernández

Operations Manager

George Rhind-Tutt

Operations Administrative

George joined Back Up in October 2023. He previously spent time working in hospitality and in an administrative role for a music charity. George offers administrative support in the office, coordinates office volunteers, and makes sure that everything runs smoothly. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking, playing the piano and watching football.

George Rhind-Tutt

George Rhind-Tutt

Operations Administrative

Aneta Matyasik

Finance and Operations Administrator

Aneta joined Back Up in December 2018. She is responsible for the smooth running of the office and general health and safety.
Aneta coordinates the volunteers and supports with the recruitment process. She also looks after the suppliers invoices and payment processing on Sage. In her free time, Aneta enjoys hiking, gardening and salsa dancing.

Aneta Matyasik

Aneta Matyasik

Finance and Operations Administrator


* spinal cord injured
** immediate family member has a spinal cord injury