Our team

Meet our team and find out how we support Deaf and Disabled Organisations in London and campaign for equality nationally

Tracey Lazard

Tracey LazardCEO

Tracey is a Disabled person with over 20 years of experience working in a variety of Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations (DDPOs), where she has promoted disability equality, user involvement and the Social Model of Disability and the Cultural Model of Deafness. She has been in CEO positions for the last 16 years and joined the Inclusion London team as Chief Executive in 2011. Tracey is passionate about the value and contribution DDPOs make to both equality and inclusion but also to delivering effective, accessible and holistic services that make a real difference to Deaf and Disabled people’s lives.

Email tracey.lazard@inclusionlondon.org.uk

 

Louise Holden

London Disability Hate Crime Project Manager 

Louise joined the team in September 2018 and has over 20 years of experience in the public sector, in the last 11 years working for a DDPO. They have a BSc Honours Degree in Business and Social Science, and are currently studying Development Management with the Open University.
After a serious car accident in their teens resulted in long-term health conditions, Louise started working with a local Mental Health User Group then onto a Mental Health NHS trust before working for a local London DDPO.

Louise has specialist experience in designing and developing participation-led projects and is committed to working to the social model, and is passionate about inclusion, social justice, being courageous and compassionate.

Louise is a member of the Fawcett Society, SGI-UK and Disabled People Against Cuts.

Email louise.holden@inclusionlondon.org.uk

 

Svetlana Kotova

Director of Campaigns and Justice

Svetlana joined our team in August 2016. She is a Disabled lawyer who has spent many years fighting for the rights of Disabled people. Svetlana managed our Disability Justice Project, and is now responsible for the work of our Policy, Campaigns and Justice team. Over the last 12 years she has worked in various advice and policy roles, enabling Disabled people to fight for their rights at local and international level.  Svetlana is passionate about ensuring Disabled people have equal rights and can use the law effectively to tackle discrimination and social injustice.

Email svetlana.kotova@inclusionlondon.org.uk

 

Jon Abrams

Campaigns and Justice Officer

Jon joined the team in July 2019. He has over 15 years of experience working in Disabled People’s Organisations, including plenty of campaigning work on a range of issues, including benefit cuts, social care charging, accessible transport, and meaningful involvement of Disabled people in decision-making.  Jon is passionate and committed to strengthening and protecting Deaf and Disabled people’s rights and promoting equality and inclusion.

Email jon.abrams@inclusionlondon.org.uk

 

Laura Vicinanza

Policy and Stakeholder Engagement Manager

Laura joined the team in February 2022. She currently leads Inclusion London’s strategic engagement with the Greater London Authority (GLA) and supports DDPOs with influencing local and national government policies.

Before joining IL, she completed a MSc in Social Policy and Development at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), where she specialised in gender and disability equality policies.

Over the last years she has worked in various policy and public affairs roles in the charity sector. She has experience in campaigning nationally on access to medicines for people with cystic fibrosis and influencing local authorities in the South of England to improve the care and support available to people affected by dementia.

Laura is passionate about promoting disabled people’s equality in society, is committed to the social model of disability and is keen to ensure disabled people’s voices are heard by national and local decision-makers.

Email laura.vicinanza@inclusionlondon.org.uk 

Rensa Gaunt

Media and Communications Officer Headshot of IL staff member Rensa Gaunt

Rensa joined the Inclusion London team in September 2022.

One of Rensa’s particular focuses is putting multiply-marginalised people at the centre of our liberation work, rather than seeing them as a fringe interest. This helps us to keep our work as inclusive as possible and target the areas of most need rather than the areas that are easiest to work on.

Rensa has previously worked on disability in the Higher Education sector, as well as in student representation and community volunteering. She is committed to unapologetic, user-led change.

Alongside their work at Inclusion London, Rensa is also studying for an MSc in Sign Language and Deaf Studies. They hope to improve involvement with d/Deaf people who may otherwise be excluded from Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations (DDPOs).

Email rensa.gaunt@inclusionlondon.org.uk

 

Simone Aspis

Free Our People Now Project Manager

Simone joined Inclusion London in 2022 with 25 years’ experience of campaigning with and for disabled peoples’ human and civil rights working with a broad range of disabled people’s organisations.

Simone’s successful campaigns included securing people with learning difficulties inclusion in the Disability Discrimination Act and Direct Payments legislation and strengthening disabled people’s rights to inclusive education in the Children and Families, Equality and Apprenticeships legislation.

Simone’s other interests include the institutionalisation and deinstitutionalisation of people with learning difficulties and autistic people, and topical bioethical issues. In a voluntary capacity Simone has been an advocate for disabled children and young people wanting to attend mainstream schools or who want to get out of psychiatric system.

Email simone.aspis@inclusionlondon.org.uk

 

Mariella Hill

Mariella HillPolicy and Campaigns Officer

Mariella joined the Inclusion London team in January 2023. She currently focuses on housing policy in London – creating resources for Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations (DDPOs) and conducting research into the supply of accessible housing.

She has previously worked at user-led community organisations and studied Politics and International Studies at University.

Mariella is committed to embedding an intersectional approach to her work. She is keen to secure policy change which positively impacts the most marginalised people in society, to build liberty and inclusion for all.

Email: mariella.hill@inclusionlondon.org.uk

 

Nick Wilson Young

Training and Support Programme Manager

Nick joined the Inclusion London Team in January 2024. Nick has over 30 years’ experience of capacity building with activists, charities and NGOs. He headed the user-led Lived Experience team in the national Time to Change Campaign, developing over 7000 people to campaign against mental health stigma and discrimination in their area. He also co-led charity capacity building at a major London council and for the National Council for Voluntary Organisations. Nick has lived experience of disability, both his own and in his family. Nick also worked on human rights and conflict for 16 years, including frontline peacebuilding in the Yugoslav wars, rights education in Eastern Europe for Amnesty International, running a local mediation service, and campaigning on military spending.

Email: nick.wilson-young@inclusionlondon.org.uk 

 

Gelila Tekle-Mariam

Operations Manager

Gelila joined the Inclusion London team in 2017. She has experience of working in Disabled People’s Organisations for a number of years. Gelila is passionate about supporting the development of user-led organisations, strengthening the rights of Disabled people and creating social justice for other marginalised groups.

Email gelila.tekle-mariam@inclusionlondon.org.uk

 

Christine Hathway

Senior Administrator

Christine joined Inclusion London in March 2021. She has many years’ experience working in the arts and voluntary sectors as a project and events manager and administrator.

Email christine.hathway@inclusionlondon.org.uk

 

Lara Conner

Lara Conner

Data and Insight Officer

Lara joined Inclusion London in 2021 after working in the community for the previous four years supporting disabled young people to travel confidently on public transport. During her time doing this she developed a passion for making data and research accessible and useful, and began researching disability hate crime specifically so as to integrate teaching about hate crime as part of the travel support programme she worked on. Too often information about and which will benefit disabled people is inaccessible to disabled people Lara is keen to play a role in seeing this change.

Email lara.conner@inclusionlondon.org.uk

 

 

Alex Hendra

Associate Business and Leadership Consultant

Alex has long term experience in leading organisations promoting rights and equality of Disabled people within a Social Model ethos. Proudly neurodivergent herself, she is passionate about building the capacity of people and organisations to understand and realise rights and aspirations, challenge discrimination, and become more effective agents of change.

Her experience is backed up by an Economics degree and postgraduate qualifications in Voluntary Sector Management and Practice Teaching. She uses creative and participatory methods to engage people in finding their own solutions to complex problems, building on the strengths of their lived experience. She draws heavily on design-led and coproduction approaches to free people up to innovate, take risks and embrace new ways to drive successful change.

Email consultancy1@inclusionlondon.org.uk

 

Liz Mercer

Associate Business Consultant

Liz is a Disabled women with 32 years’ experience working in the advice, health and DDPO sectors as both an adviser and a manager including: working for the CAB; working for a Primary Care Trust improving access to primary care for Disabled and BAME residents; setting up and managing an advice service at Disability Action Islington (a DDPO) as well as leading on a range of projects with Local Authority, Health and Housing providers to improve access to their services, she also managed the DAII volunteer provision and ran a monthly support group for Deaf residents; transforming an advice service for a Carers UK Carers’ Centre. She has also supported Inclusion London in their work with London DDPOs on various projects since 2017. Liz has previously served as a trustee and vice chair of her local Citizens Advice Service, leading on equality and diversity issues.

Email consultancy2@inclusionlondon.org.uk

 

Our Board of Trustees

 

Our board members are all leading figures in London’s Deaf and Disabled people’s movement. The board members are as follows:

  • Paul Hawkins – Chair
  • Thomas Lichy
  • Valerie Charbit
  • Adam Gabsi – Vice-Chair
  • Aisling Gallagher
  • Kush Kanodia
  • Natalie South-Law
  • Stephen Bunbury

The board ensures that Inclusion London continues to support the development of London’s Deaf and Disabled people’s organisations to make sure that the views of Deaf and Disabled Londoners and their organisations are heard at the highest levels.

Paul Hawkins – Chair

Paul has 12 years experience working in the community sectors, 6 of them for DDPOs. He is the Head of Volunteering and Skills Development for Attitude is Everything, who work to improve Deaf and disabled people’s access to music and live events. He leads on improving the accessibility of employment and volunteering opportunities in the industry for Deaf and disabled people. He has produced an Accessible Employment Guide and oversees Attitude is Everything’s Deaf and disabled professionals network and training programme.

Prior to working for Attitude is Everything, Paul’s previous roles included teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages for Islington Council and working as the Advice and Advocacy Manager for Barnet Centre for Independent Living. In his spare time, he is a musician and he has performed at Latitude, Kendal Calling and on Radio 1 and has also written a book about the history of Father Christmas and his links to central European folktales.

He is passionate about tackling barriers in perception and representation and making structural changes to improve accessibility. He is currently extremely interested in exploring what it means to take a social model approach to mental health.

Valerie Charbit

Valerie Charbit is a barrister practising in crime, fraud, mental health, health and safety and professional discipline. She prosecutes and defends in criminal cases and represents health authorities in mental health cases. She was a trustee for Ataxia UK for many years and is committed to achieving equality of opportunity for disabled people.

Her practice as a barrister for over 20 years means she has worked with many defendants who require extensive support to access the justice system including people with mental health issues. She strives to ensure that those with mental health issues are treated fairly by the justice system.

She is a part-time Judge for the first tier Tribunal (Mental Health) and acts as a legal advisor for the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the General Osteopathic Council, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and the Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales. She defends in professional disciplinary cases for solicitors, dentists, teachers and pharmacists. Her involvement in healthcare regulation means she has a unique understanding of healthcare professionals.

She has been engaged in Wellbeing for barristers for the last seven years serving on various committees to ensure that barristers working lives are improved. She has had a disabling knee injury for most of her life which affects her mobility and which she has struggled to come to terms with.

Adam GabsiAdam Gabsi

Adam Gabsi is passionate about Disabled people receiving the justice they deserve and, as a trustee, will endeavour to achieve this through his capabilities.

He is currently Vice-Chair of Harrow Association of Disabled people and wants to use his position to the benefit of all Disabled people, London-wide and beyond. Adam adds, “I feel like I have had two lives, one standing and one sitting (as I am now a wheelchair user), so can relate to extreme lifestyle changes and the difficulties Disabled people face during this change.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere and I will do my best to confront unfairness and inequality wherever it may occur, whilst promoting Inclusion London.”

Aisling Gallagher

Aisling Gallagher currently works as the Agent for Change at Theatre Royal Stratford East, working with Ramps on the Moon on the inclusion of Deaf and disabled artists in mainstream theatre.

Aisling runs an autistic-led theatre and arts company, Good Behaviour, and has their own practice as a freelance director and theatre-maker. In 2018 Aisling was elected as a Labour Party councillor in Lewisham, and also serves as a trustee for Southwark Law Centre.

One of the main things Aisling is currently passionate about is inclusive transport strategies, and equitable access to cycling. This is something Aisling hopes to influence in the trustee role.

Stephen BunburyStephen Bunbury

Stephen Bunbury brings to Inclusion London wide-ranging experience of strategic leadership roles within higher education as well as research expertise in equality law and disability discrimination. Stephen is the strategic lead for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and Academic Integrity and a Senior Lecturer in Law for the University of Westminster Law School. He also serves as a Board Director for the International Center for Academic Integrity. Stephen’s legal expertise in HE is highly regarded. He is widely cited as an expert in disability discrimination and higher education and leads on internal and external funded collaborative projects in higher education and inclusion.

 

Indigo AylingImage of Indigo Aylying

Indigo is a queer Disabled campaigner committed to disability justice, intersectionality and leadership of the most impacted. They are currently Impact and Evaluation Lead at Scope, where they conduct research to measure the organisation’s social impact, influence the improvement of their practices and understand the progress Scope is making towards its strategy.

Indigo also sits on the steering group for Transport for All’s disability history project, co-designing an archive celebrating the history of Deaf and Disabled people’s transport activism and the progress made in this area. Indigo holds an MPhil in Health, Medicine and Society from the University of Cambridge, where they wrote their dissertation on Disabled people’s experiences of agency and care within medical treatment and intimate carer relationships. They are also a practising artist, creating zines and running workshops exploring the non-disabled gaze through collective life drawing practises.

 

Nat South-LawPortrait photo of Nat South-Law

Natalie South-Law currently works as an inclusive design professional. Prior to this, Nat worked as Charter Manager at Attitude is Everything, a Disabled led organisation working to improve Deaf and Disabled people’s access to live music.
As well as inclusion in the music and arts space, Nat is a passionate advocate for inclusion in sports and fitness activities. She is currently on the British Shooting Air Pistol Development Academy.

Nat is an active member of the Cerebral Palsy (CP) community, using her voice to help influence change for adults with CP through working with charities such as UP – The Cerebral Palsy Movement, CP Scotland and The Bobath Centre as well as speaking to various groups to help educate around what life is like for adults with CP.

Nat is keen to expand her knowledge across the wider pan impairment intersectional world as a trustee of Inclusion London.

 

Tom LichyPortrait photo of Tom Lichy

Tom currently works as Policy and Research Lead at the British Deaf Association, building on his 20 years of experience in policy and campaigning, and leads on engagement with the new BSL Act 2022 which will impact the lives of Deaf people nationwide (photograph by Natasha Hirst).

His core values are that Deaf and Disabled people should lead on all aspects of policy creation; service design & delivery; management & evaluation; budget holding & allocation – on all issues that impact the lives of Deaf and Disabled people.

He was previously Chief Executive at Merton Centre for Independent Living, a pan-disability centre run and controlled by Deaf and Disabled people. Before that, he led DeafLondon, running campaign and Parliamentary lobbying training for Deaf people across London.

Tom has been Interim Chair at deafPLUS, a national deaf services charity run by Deaf people, and a board trustee at UK Council on Deafness, a pan-sector umbrella organisation. He has also been on the Board of Governors for Heathlands School and Frank Barnes School; both are BSL-led schools for Deaf children run and managed by Deaf people – and Tom regards them as DDPOs in their own right; both are rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted.

He has co-written a Private Members Bill on Deafness that was debated in Parliament; organised a pan-sector conference under Chatham House rules to draft a BSL Bill that became a foundation for the current BSL Act 2022; worked in policy and legislation on genetic engineering and disability; and worked in a United Nations working group that created a model regulatory framework for national Deaf and Disabled telecommunications relay services worldwide.

Tom is deaf, a fluent BSL signer, is neurodiverse with ADHD, has two wonderful deaf children and a deaf cat that likes to fight dogs. In his spare time he plays narrative-led games, reads science fiction, and fights orcs in chainmail in the British countryside.