Meet the team

The staff team

Fiona Spargo-Mabbs, Director and Founder

As Dan's Mum, Fiona has led on the development and management of the DSM Foundation from the start, bringing a wide range and depth of experience from more than two decades working in education, at operational level as a teacher and manager, and at strategic levels locally and nationally. As well as working directly with young people, parents and professionals herself, Fiona is also regularly asked to speak on various national platforms and in the media, and is closely involved in policy work with government, police, academics and other agencies. She chairs a national working group addressing the issue of young people’s exposure to drugs on social media, with members including Instagram, TikTok and Snap, along with National Police Chief’s Council, National Crime Agency, Home Office, DHSC, Ofcom, academics, Children’s Society and other organisations working to protect children and young people online. She is also a member of the Home Office Reducing Demand Programme Board responsible for the strategic delivery of this strand of the government’s drug strategy, From Harm to Hope (2021).

Fiona’s first book for parents, I Wish I’d Known: Young People, Drugs and Decisions – A Guide for Parents and Carers (Sheldon Press, 2021) won the Gold Medal for Parents and Families in the Nautilus Book Awards 2022, and her most recent book, Talking the Tough Stuff with Teens (Sheldon Press) will be published in December 2022. She is author of the drug education chapter in Developing Quality PSHE provision in Secondary Schools and Colleges (Bloomsbury Education, 2022). Her TEDx talk, ‘Why drugs education is vital’, can be seen here

Fiona’s passionate commitment to do all she can to prevent what happened to her son happening to anyone else drives everything she does. She was awarded an OBE in the 2023 New Year Honours List for her work with young people.

​To discuss interview opportunities with Fiona, please contact media@dsmfoundation.org.uk

Amanda Shortland, Project Co-ordinator

Amanda joined the Foundation in April 2018 to work alongside Fiona, coordinating our bookings in schools, colleges and the community. After we were joined by Nikki in Autumn 2021, she developed her digital skills and now produces content for workshops and events and supports Nick and Caz with finance and other operational duties. She coordinates our play tour in Scotland and provides support to Nikki when our bookings get super busy! After graduating with a degree in biochemistry, she started her career as a scientist in the pharmaceutical industry, coordinating clinical studies before taking a career break when her children were small. For 11 years she worked as a teaching assistant at a local primary school, supporting pupils with english as an additional language before joining the Foundation. She is a trustee for a local homelessness charity and has recently started training as a Guide leader in her spare time.

Anjali Jayanti, Drug Educator

Anjali joined the DSM Foundation in January 2022 as a peer drug educator. She graduated from UCL in September 2023 after completing the BSc Psychology with Education programme, which supports her work at the foundation as someone passionate about supporting safety and psychological wellbeing for teens. She is now completing a Postgraduate Certificate course in Counselling and aims to become a qualified psychodynamic or person-centred therapist. Outside of academics, Anjali learns and teaches Indian Classical dance and music in her spare time, and enjoys working with young people..

Anne Smith, Drug Educator

Anne joined the DSM Foundation in November 2023 as a drug educator.

Asha Fowells, Head of Education and Engagement

Asha joined the DSM Foundation as a drugs educator in September 2018, took on the role of media manager in January 2023, and became head of education and engagement in October 2023. Working at the Foundation brings together the skills and knowledge she has as a pharmacist of over 25 years' standing alongside 20 years in journalism writing articles, features and training materials for pharmacy publications and websites (and various other roles along the way including accredited course development and chair of school governors) alongside her passion for public health, collaborative working and clear communication. When Asha isn't working, she loves seeing live music, going to the theatre, travelling, and cooking - and even more so if she combines such activities with spending time with her two teenage daughters.

Caz Heath, Head of Operations

Caz joined the team in November 2019 taking over a range of responsibilities as the Foundation continues to grow: including finance, fundraising, grant applications, reporting and developing our systems & processes. After graduating with a degree in Business Studies Caz worked for 20 years in Higher Education admin management, followed by three years as Operations Manager at her church – so brings a breadth of skills and experiences to the Foundation, including a love of spreadsheets!

Grace McCormack, Corporate and Community Fundraiser

Grace recently joined the Foundation in 2023 as a Corporate and Community Fundraiser. This is a new role for the Foundation and a very exciting one at that, as the work of the Foundation continues to grow and develop. After graduating with a degree in Drama, Grace went on to become a Drama teacher, working in secondary education teaching both Drama and English. Grace is thrilled to now be a part of Team Dan in a fundraising capacity – maintaining key relationships with individual donors and corporate partners as well as establishing new ones! In her spare time, she can be found spending quality family time with her little boy.

Jo Riches, Theatre in Education Project Co-ordinator

Jo joined the team in November 2016 as Theatre in Education Project Co-ordinator and has coordinated the bookings of 'I Love You, Mum' play and workshop for the last four tours. She also works part-time as School Business Manager and used to be a Project Manager for a large insurance company, now utilising these skills for the Foundation. She is passionate about all young people and their parents seeing the play and workshop in order for them to make safe choices and understand the full risks involved in taking drugs.

Julie Ludlow, Lead Volunteer and Company Secretary

Julie has been supporting the work of the DSM Foundation in a voluntary capacity since November 2014, doing a variety of admin, support, fundraising and resourcing roles, and was appointed Company Secretary in 2017. Julie is also mum to Harvey, who is a former Trustee, was one of the first Youth Ambassadors, and Dan's friend. Julie is completely committed to helping the Foundation educate young people about making safe choices and, and as a parent is also passionate about how important it is that parents and carers have a full understanding of the choices and pressures their children are facing around drugs.

Nikki Adamson - Bookings Administrator

Nikki joined the Foundation in November 2021 and co-ordinates all the school, college and community bookings. She has always worked in the Voluntary Sector but previously in a fundraising/event organising capacity. She once worked with the legend Stevie Wonder who flew over to the UK to perform a number of concerts for the charity she worked for at that time! Nikki has for many years played a key role in her sons' school's PTA and currently also co-ordinates the class reps throughout the school. She has also volunteered for her local rugby club and helped organise large rugby festivals for the minis section. Before starting a family, Nikki used to regularly volunteer as a Samaritan at their central London branch. Nowadays Nikki can be found spending her spare time at the side of a sports pitch watching her sons playing rugby/hockey/cricket!

Olivia Pan, Student Drug Educator

Olivia joined the DSM Foundation in September in 2023 as a student drug educator. She is currently in her second year of UCL’s Psychology with Education program, from which she has gained theoretical knowledge of what education should be like and the psychological mechanisms underlying people’s mind and behaviour. By working with young people, she hopes to show empathy to them and support them to make informed decisions about the use of substances, as well as gaining practical experience of teaching. Her hobbies include musical theatres and watching films.

Poppy Mann, Student Drug Educator

Poppy joined the DSM team as a student drug educator in September 2023. She currently is studying English Literature and Drama at the University of Birmingham, and hopes to go into a career of journalism. In her spare time you will find her out for a run, playing lacrosse or building Lego sets. She also loves reading and watching musicals, her favourite book is ‘The Great Gatsby,’ and her favourite musical is ‘Sister Act!’ She hopes to be able to pass over the same knowledge that she learnt from DSM talks that she received at school, to the schools that she will be speaking at.

Ruth James, Volunteer Drug Educator

Ruth joined the Foundation in January 2020 after retiring from teaching both adults and children for more than 25 years. She got to know Fiona when they were both working in Adult Education, Fiona in Croydon and Ruth in West Sussex. When she knew that the Foundation was looking for more drug educators, Ruth volunteered her services, going on a steep learning curve to learn both the material and how to deliver parent workshops on Zoom. More recently she has delivered in-person workshops to schools in East and West Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire and is delighted to be helping to develop the links with Billy and Beyond in the Worthing area.

In her spare time Ruth enjoys spending time with family, including two boisterous grandchildren, gardening, reading, baking, theatre trips and campervan holidays with her husband.

Sam De Neijs, Drug Educator

Sam joined the DSM Foundation in November 2023. With an academic background in Biomedical Science and Addictions specialising in Novel Psychoactive Substances and a history as a Science Communicator in museums and delivering science workshops in schools, he has delivered Welfare services at Festivals and in nightlife settings with Psycare and Safe Only Ltd. He is familiar with drug markets through his work as a chemist in the lab for the charity the Loop, providing drug checking at festivals. Sam combines his academic background and communications expertise with his hands-on trauma informed approach to guide people through adverse drug experiences. He looks forward to helping young people make informed choices using an evidence-based approach.

Sam is also a keen photographer, having used his techniques to capture subjects ranging from parakeets to confiscated recreational drugs.

Ozzie

Ozzie is a Cavachon who lives with Amanda, responsible for the wellbeing and happiness of the DSM Foundation team. He can be relied on to welcome with enthusiasm, love with affection and show great interest in any food available.

Trustees

Dr Suja Chacko - Chair

Suja has been Chair of the Board of Trustees since October 2016, having joined the board when the Foundation was set up in 2014. She brings to the role her years of senior business and HR experience in enabling the effective contribution of people to business success, board governance and regulatory compliance, having served for several years on the board of another charity and a community interest company. She also serves as a non-legal member of employment tribunals.

Suja runs an independent management consultancy specialising in strengthening people management to enhance organisational performance and employee engagement. She is a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD with a doctorate in human resource management and organisational behaviour, and a Master's degree in Management Studies (MBA equivalent). She has presented and published papers in the UK and internationally on strategic HR and employee engagement.

Suja considers it an incredible privilege to be part of a passionate team of people working so hard to make a vital impact in the lives of young people and their families.

Nick Martin - Treasurer and Trustee

Nick is a qualified Chartered Accountant and has over 20 years of experience in senior management roles of growing SMEs, including developing and delivering strategy, running finance functions and business partnering. His experience covers a broad range of sectors including audit, engineering and more recently, welfare to work. He is currently a Board Member and Head of Finance for the TCES Group where he helps the schools and services become more commercially and financially aware, as well as running the finance, facilities and IT functions.

He is also a Trustee for Sutton Schools Work, whose aims are to increase the knowledge and understanding of the Christian faith, and supports students in their social, moral and spiritual development.

Nick joined the Board of Trustees as Treasurer in October 2017.

Olivia Masih - Trustee

Olivia served as a youth ambassador for the foundation during her sixth-form years. Her involvement with the foundation deepened her commitment to its worthy cause. In March 2023, she became a trustee of the foundation, whilst pursuing an Integrated Masters in Chiropractics at Bournemouth. Olivia remains devoted to the foundation and participates in all its activities. Her perspective as a university student is useful to the foundation, especially when it comes to issues affecting young people. Her passion for healthcare and politics drives her enthusiasm for the foundation's mission.

Ian Smith – Vice Chair

Ian joined the Foundation's Board of Trustees in January 2016. He is a retired local government officer, having spent more than 35 years working in and across the public sector. Ian has a wealth of experience in developing strategy, public policy and joint delivery. One such example was the establishment of the Safer Croydon Partnership with Croydon Council, the Met Police, the Drugs Action Team and the Probation Service.

Ian is the Foundation’s Vice-Chair and leads on strategic planning and partnerships for the Board of Trustees. This important work helps the Foundation increase its influence and secure more resources, so as many young people as possible can benefit from the charity's work.

Jacob Spargo-Mabbs – Co-founder and Trustee

As Dan’s older brother, Jacob was an integral part of the Foundation from the outset, and leads on digital communication and social media for the Board of Trustees. The work of the Foundation to equip other young people to keep themselves safe around drugs is deeply important to him, for obvious reasons as Dan’s brother, and as such he is committed to continuing involvement with it.

His professional background is in as a writer and editor of information and advice in the charity sector.

Tim Spargo-Mabbs – Co-founder and Trustee

Tim is Dan's father and a co-founder of the DSM Foundation. He worked in financial services for six years before turning to a career in social care in 1993. Since January 1996 he has worked in the charitable sector supporting adults with learning disabilities in a variety of roles at a variety of levels. He is currently the office administrator for the L'Arche Community in London, as well as supporting a L’Arche community member with learning difficulties to fulfil his role as Trustee of another national learning difficulties charity.

Tim combines his financial services experience with two decades of administering the charitable sector to share responsibility within the Foundation for compliance, GDPR and data, as well as fundraising. As one of the story keepers he often joins Fiona in telling Dan's story and speaking at events, and in prisons as part of the Sycamore Tree victim awareness programme.