Dr Deborah Kitson, CEO

Deborah worked (1977-1992) as a social worker with children and adults with learning disabilities, then for Nottinghamshire Social Services and Health Authority as Implementation Officer where she assisted in the production of guidelines, their implementation and revision. Deborah was also a consultant for other agencies developing policies and guidelines on sexuality and the protection of people with learning disabilities.

Before being appointed as the CEO of the Ann Craft Trust in 2002, Deborah was the co-ordinator (formerly known as NAPSAC – National Association for the Protection from Sexual Abuse of Adults and Children with Learning Disabilities), from 1998.

Deborah has continued to facilitate training on a wide range of associated issues and regularly presents at national conferences. She represents the Trust on a number of government bodies and contributes to the planning and implementation of new national initiatives. She was also a member of the Steering Group of ‘No Secrets’ and is the external representative on a number of Adult Safeguarding Boards.

She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Nottingham in 2016.

Find out more about Deborah’s research and publications.


Charlotte Brooks, Marketing Officer

Charlotte joined the Ann Craft Trust in 2019 and her role involves working on the Trust’s social media channels and organising events and campaigns such as National Safeguarding Week. She has previously worked in Widening Participation roles at the University of Leicester and Edge Hill University, supporting vulnerable groups into higher education.

Charlotte combines her role at the Ann Craft Trust with studying towards a MA in Social Research at the University of Nottingham.

Follow us on twitter and keep up to date with the latest news and events @AnnCraftTrust


Lisa Curtis, Head of Safeguarding Adults and Young People

Lisa trained as a nurse for people with learning disabilities and has had a long career in nursing roles and within social care. Lisa has led a team to deliver training on a national level and worked as part of a team responsible for the quality and compliance of a major provider.

Lisa now delivers safeguarding adults at risk training to organisations across the UK to promote new initiatives and ideas in safeguarding and offers consultancy to organisations.

Find out more about our safeguarding adults at risk training.


Elliot Davies, Marketing Officer

Elliot joined the Ann Craft Trust in late 2018. His work in the third sector involves a lengthy project helping the British Red Cross fundraising team get to grips with a new database. He’s previously worked as a copywriter for a Nottingham digital marketing agency, and as a social media manager for a Derby agency. He has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Manchester, and he works as a freelance copywriter and content editor on the side.

Keep on top of safeguarding updates at our blog.


Nicola Dean, Safeguarding Adults in Sport Manager

Nicola’s post is funded by Sport England and was the first of its kind in the UK. Key priorities are reviewing and developing services in relation to adults at risk in sport and identifying, planning and implementing new initiatives in line with current practice. In addition, Nicola develops and delivers a training strategy, offers advice and information to sport and activity organisations and represents the sector at key consultations nationally.

In her spare time Nicola is a ski buddy for adults with learning disabilities and has seen some of the benefits and challenges facing adults at risk taking part in sport.

Find out more about our work in safeguarding adults in sport and activity.

Emma Gibson, Head of Safeguarding Adults in Sport

Prior to her appointment as The Ann Craft Trust’s Head of Safeguarding Adults in Sport, Emma was safeguarding lead for Badminton England for nearly 10 years.

As a former safeguarding children tutor, she has also held safeguarding and volunteer management roles in two other governing bodies of sport. She has also worked in disability sport development for the Activity Alliance, when it was called the English Federation of Disability Sport.


Sarah Goff, Development Manager – Safeguarding Young People

Sarah is our Disabled Young People Manager, she has over twenty years’ experience in the fields of child protection and social care. She is an expert in the field of safeguarding disabled children and her interests include the impact of domestic abuse and child sexual exploitation.

Sarah currently combines her role at the Ann Craft Trust as a lecturer at the University of Nottingham on their BA and MA Social Care programmes. Sarah also delivers safeguarding disabled children training to organisations across the UK to make sure children and young people’s voices are heard. She has also led and continues to contribute to world-leading research projects in the UK and Europe.

Find out more about Sarah’s research.

Matthew Harrop, Finance

Matthew Harrop joined the An Craft Trust in March 2022 as their Finance Officer, mainly responsible for processing invoices to customers and costs from suppliers. He joins the Trust having completed over 25 Years for BT plc in internal audit, financial compliance and customer service roles, before working for 3 years for The Jockey Club as a location accountant for Nottingham and Market Rasen racecourses.

When not working for the Trust, he can either be found on a Basketball Court, where he has officiated at a high level for over 30 years, on a golf course, or helping to maintain the ground at his local cricket club.


Julie Mather, Finance

Julie Mather joined the Ann Craft Trust in December 2017 to look after finance. Julie has worked in finance for 35 years, 17 of those as Treasury Manager for The University of Nottingham.

Not all accountants live for their spreadsheets, she also loves training and is passionate about health, fitness and well-being. Three years ago she left full time finance and the University to make her passion for fitness more than just a hobby and took up Personal Training full time and now splits her time between the two.

Julie is back working on University Park again, and says “but this time for the committed and dedicated team that are Ann Craft Trust, my finance role is equally as fulfilling as my personal training.”

Keep on top of our latest news and projects on our blog.

Sarah Nolan, Safeguarding Adults in Sport Administrator

Since 1997 Sarah worked in various administrative roles at the University of Nottingham supporting both students and staff. She very much enjoys a people-facing role where she feels she can make a difference and contribute to something worthwhile. Sarah joined The Ann Craft Trust team in spring 2022. In her spare time she enjoys running, walking her Springer Spaniel Teddy, and playing netball.


Joanne Pell Safeguarding Adults in Sport ManagerJoanne Pell, Safeguarding Adults in Sport Manager

Joanne’s background lies within Adult Social Care, where she worked in learning disability services, mental health services and training/personal development within the statutory sector. She has spent nearly 20 years working in Safeguarding Adults, with 10 years acting as the Strategic Lead of Adult Safeguarding within a large Local Authority.

Joanne worked with ADASS and the Ann Craft Trust in the development of the document: ‘Safeguarding Adults:  a national framework of standards for good practice and outcomes in adult protection work’. Find it here.


Hazel Rippin, Marketing Officer

Hazel has a marketing agency background and have worked with many different businesses over the years in the private sector developing strategic plans as well as campaigns. Each had similar commercial goals, from launching products to increasing sales.

In 2019, Hazel first began supporting The Ann Craft Trust’s marketing team with various projects. The first was to deliver their online checklist that was in partnership with the NCVO and National Lottery. She also helped to get the charity’s eLearning portal up and running.

In 2022 Hazel formally joined The Ann Craft Trust, and she looks forward to developing more courses that will reach the wider community.

Nat Rock, Administrator

Nat joined the Ann Craft Trust in 2015. Her background is in Event & Hospitality Management and after a few years, she moved into Human Resources Training and Development. After taking some time away and living in Japan for four years, Nat returned to the UK in time for her children to start school.

Nat worked in Training and Development for a provider where she worked with the operational team to deliver essential training while working with individuals to reach their professional and personal potential with a significant effect on daily practice and life.

Find out more about our safeguarding training events.


Catherine Sykes, Safeguarding Adults in Unregulated Sport & Activity Officer

As a qualified youth and community worker with over 25 years’ experience working in the voluntary and community sector, Catherine has worked with both young people and adults, leading on safeguarding, participation and governance. In early 2021, she took on the part time role of Lead Safeguarding Officer for Canoe Wales.

In her position at the Ann Craft Trust, she applies her knowledge of the unregulated sport sector to develop new resources and material to support those working in it.



Laura Thorpe

Laura Thorpe, Safeguarding Adults Manager

Laura has a lot of experience working with adults with learning disabilities and/or mental health problems, primarily in the learning and development sector. The foundations of this has always been in safeguarding and the Mental Capacity Act. Laura’s dissertation focused on choice and control for adults living in supported living facilities which helped to find out the real picture of the Mental Capacity Act in practice.

Laura also worked as an associate trainer with ACT. She’s now committed to help keep raising the profile of safeguarding in adults, to continue the excellent progress already made.


Kimberley Walsh, Safeguarding Adults in Sport Manager

Kimberley has been involved in sport for 30 years. For 12 years she worked for a National Governing Body in a variety of roles: development, participation, safeguarding and compliance. She represented Great Britain and trained as a full time elite athlete.

Her work within safeguarding has been based on developing awareness, best practice and understanding of safeguarding both children and adults. She is passionate about athlete welfare and wellbeing. Kimberley’s aim is to help create a safe, fun and open environment for everyone. She also wants to help reduce misconceptions and barriers.

Associate Trainers

Stephen Bartley
Claire Bearder

Bill Horrocks
Robert Kenniwell
Claire Pooley
Nick Slinn
Ros Smith
Clare Staley
Ieuan Watkins

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