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 Foundation from the start, from delivery to students and co-ordination with with schools. She has been full-time Director since July 2016. She brings a wide range and depth of experience from fifteen years of working in education at operational and strategic management levels. Fiona began work as an English teacher in adult education, teaching GCSE and A-level as well as adult literacy within Family Learning, working at all levels from Entry 1 to post-graduate teacher training. Taking on increasing levels of management responsibility, and working within a broader educational context at local authority, regional and national levels, she gained many of the skills and experience needed for her current role within the DSM Foundation. Her passionate commitment to do all she can to prevent what happened to her son happening to anyone else drives everything she does.

Nikki Adamson - Bookings Administrator

Mandy Ashton, Drug Educator

Richard Blackman, Drug Educator

Asha Fowells, Drug Educator

Asha joined the DSM Foundation as a drugs educator in September 2018. When she isn’t delivering workshops to students or parents for the Foundation, she is drawing on her experience as a pharmacist to write articles, features and training materials for trade publications and websites, or spending time with her two secondary school aged daughters. Working for the Foundation is a natural fit for Asha, who has always had a passion for community and public health. For her, much like the move away from abstinence and towards safe sex as a way of reducing the risk of sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies, it is much more useful and pragmatic to stop skirting around the subject of substance misuse and instead arm young people with the knowledge and skills so they feel able to make safer choices when in situations involving drugs and alcohol.

Caz Heath, Operations Manager

Caz joined the team in November 2019 taking over a range of responsibilities as the Foundation continues to grow: finance, fundraising, grant applications, reporting and developing systems. 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!

Ruth James, Volunteer Drug Educator

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Anjali Jayanti, Student Drug Educator

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 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.

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.

Amanda Shortland, Project Co-ordinator

Amanda coordinates our drug and alcohol education work in schools, colleges and the community. After graduating with a degree in biochemistry, she started her career as a scientist in the pharmaceutical industry, coordinating clinical studies on development medicines before taking a career break when her children were small. Since then she has worked as a teaching assistant at a local primary school, supporting pupils with EAL and SEN before joining the Foundation in April 2018, working alongside Fiona.

Yemi Talabi, Student Drug Educator

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 privelige 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

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.

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.

Bella Thompson - Trustee

Advisory Group

Simon Bray (Chair)

Simon Bray retired as a Commander in the Metropolitan Police in early 2019, having joined in 1983. His service has included a wide range of uniform, detective and command roles, including Borough Commander for Westminster. In his final role he was Commander for protective security in Specialist Operations, and was a public order, firearms and CBRN commander. He was the National Police Chiefs Council lead on drugs, a member of the Home Secretary's Drug Strategy Board and a long-standing member of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs.

Bella Thompson - Trustee

Dr Malik Ramadhan

Malik is Divisional Director for Emergency Care and Trauma at the Royal London Hospital. He trained at Barts and the Royal London Hospital and specialised in paediatric and adult emergency care, and has been a consultant since 2008. He was awarded an OBE in 2018 for services to healthcare, having led the emergency department of the Royal London Hospital on the night of the London Bridge terror attack.

Professor Betsy Thom

Betsy is Professor of Health Policy and co-director of the Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at Middlesex University, and academic lead for prevention on the Drug Research Network Scotland. Her research interests include alcohol and drug policy, gender and substance use, and community-based approaches to prevention and intervention. She has been involved in several EU-funded projects and has worked as a consultant for UNODC. She was editor-in-chief of Drugs: Education Prevention and Policy for 20 years and a member of the board of the International Society for Addiction Journal Editors (ISAJE). Her work has included developing and running distance learning programmes in drug and alcohol studies; most recently a Masters in ‘Comparative Drug and Alcohol Studies’, a collaborative programme with Denmark and Italy. Betsy's current research is looking at drug prevention interventions for young drug users in the criminal justice systems in six EU countries.

Kalwant Singh

Kalwant has been Managing Director of Steinhoff UK Retail Limited since March 2018, prior to which he was Commercial and Supply Chain Director. Steinhoff UK Retail owns the high street brands Bensons for Beds, Cargo, Harveys Furniture, Pep&Co, Poundland and Sleepmaster. Kal has extensive experience in business, having spent most of the past two decades in logistics in managerial posts at Dixons Retail, Comet, DHL and Home Retail Group before joining Steinhoff. As a teenager, Kal was a member of the youth theatre company led by playwright Mark Wheeller, who went on to write the play about Dan commissioned by the DSM Foundation.

Sir Bernard Ingham

Sir Bernard Ingham was Chief Press Secretary to Prime MInister Margaret Thatcher for virtually the whole of her tenure as Prime Minister. He was also head of the Government Information Service for two years until his retirement. He was a journalist for 18 years, notably on The Yorkshire Post and Guardian, before becoming successively head of information in the old Prices and Incomes Board, the Department of Employment and Energy, serving Barbara Castle, Robert Carr, Maurice Macmillan, Lord Carrington, Eric Varley and Tony Benn.

He has extensive experience of the media, government and industry as a non-executive director of a number of companies, and was for 20 years in demand as a speaker at lunches, dinners and on cruise ships.