I left University with a Ph.D in Human Toxico-pathology in 2002 from the University of Liverpool. I studied the effects of maternal cigarette smoking during pregnancy on the placenta and baby. During this time I gained significant knowledge of addiction, addictive behaviours and the pathological effects of addictive substances. Since then I have led and managed large portfolios of clinical research in the public sector mainly in paediatrics. Working closely with children and their families for over 20 years has given me a deep appreciation of the importance of a good start in life. In my most recent position working across health, education and social care I led a programme of health innovations which included behavioural science, biosensors and community projects.
I have been fortunate to benefit from 6 years of leadership and personal development by Ashridge Business School which means that I am able to lead an organisation on a journey of discovery, improvement and growth. I am a campaigner by nature and as such have been involved in significant fund raising for Alder Hey’s Charity where research was their leading campaign for many years (£3.2M). I have worked with all top 10 UK health charities delivering contract research which improves their evidence base of diseases, conditions and treatments. In all my appointments to date I have enabled significant growth and diversification in both the business and non-commercial sectors. I endeavour to instil a culture where everyone can thrive and reach their full potential and I hope to do this, and more, for UK SMART Recovery.
I am a busy full time working mum of 2 young boys and my husband is a care worker for vulnerable adults. I have lived experience of addiction in my family and am passionate about empowerment models of care. I believe in the philosophy that everyone should be able to Love the Life they Live and Live the Life they Love. I am very pleased and proud to be your Chief Executive.
Angie’s professional background is health. She holds a degree in Social Policy and a post graduate qualification in management and leadership. She has worked in the voluntary sector for the last 20 years. Angie has led a number of charities from their earliest stages of development and then onward to becoming established organisations with excellent reputations. She hopes to achieve a similar goal with UK SMART Recovery, which resonates with her personal philosophy of empowering people to ‘live life to the full’.
Tina is the Office Manager for UK SMART Recovery. She joined the organisation in August 2019 as a temporary member of staff before being taken on permanently in January 2020. Since leaving school Tina worked as a Sales Advisor in the insurance industry and for the previous 10 years she moved into the Facilities Management industry where she worked her way up from Administrator to Team Leader. Tina has a vast knowledge of administration and accounts experience.
Matthew is the Company Administrator for UK SMART Recovery. He joined the organisation in April 2016 on a part time basis before taking a full-time position in November of that year.
Matthew has worked in the charity sector since 2008. Firstly, as a volunteer for the British Heart Foundation locally, before joining the Citizens Advice Bureau in Stoke, also as a volunteer shortly after. A paid position followed on from his volunteering Citizens Advice a year later, where he remained until starting work for UK SMART Recovery. He has remained involvement with Citizens Advice and currently has a role on the Board of Trustees.
Graham has worked in the North West England for more than 30 years, raising money for charity and supporting events in his local community. Graham is proud to say “he found a lifeline” within SMART Recovery. He learned how to regain his self-control and by using the cognitive tools within SMART programme, he was able to manage his thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Like many, Graham believes that the ‘alcoholic’ label is counterproductive and creates stigma about what is simply a behavioural issue. It’s interesting that after addressing his own past problematic drinking, Graham was well able to maintain his own sobriety and self-control, whilst continuing to work as the proprietor of a public house. He has been sober for nearly six years and currently facilitates SMART meetings in North Wales, he trains new facilitators and works tirelessly to advocate choice and the empowerment gained from self-management in recovery.
Iain is the Community Coordinator for North and East Scotland and his experience with SMART started four years ago in a Community Rehab in Kirkintilloch. As Iain’s recovery was becoming more stable he trained as a facilitator where he helped co-facilitate and eventually hold meetings for a period of eighteen months. At the start of 2018 Iain became a Voluntary Regional Coordinator for East Dunbartonshire (just outside Glasgow). This role gave Iain a better understanding of the facilitator role and he was able to raise awareness and support individuals on their personal recovery journey. Iain is our newest member of staff and says he is looking forward to making positive impacts in the areas he will be covering in Scotland and to meeting everyone who has a passion for recovery.
Hi. My name is Kelly and I am the Community Coordinator in Central Scotland.
I was introduced to UK SMART Recovery in 2017. After my first meeting, I really wanted to get involved as I felt it refreshing to be welcomed and knowing a person wasn’t labelled or judged in a mutual aid setting. I attended meetings regularly whilst volunteering in a recovery community and studying social care in college. In 2019 I completed my facilitator training and friends and family training. I am currently studying Adult Health and Social care with The Open university and look forward to building my knowledge and relationships within UK SMART Recovery.
My name is Donald McPhater, and I am involved in SMART Recovery. I have been a volunteer facilitator in Fort William for two years, and more recently have been employed on a part time basis, as Highlands Regional Community Co-ordinator.
I am a retired geologist, having spent a good part of my time in African and Arabic countries, supporting oil drilling operations. My particular speciality and love was in the training of local geologists in the fields of petroleum & drilling operations geology. If I had not trained in geology, I would have loved to study psychology, as I have a great interest in human behaviour, and in the changing of such for the better. I could have found out earlier in my own life, why we tend to have more negative thoughts, than positive, and how our innate behaviours have been hard wired in over millennia, and not caught up with modern living and social conditions. Indeed that we can, and how we can, change our behaviours to live a happier and more fulfilling life.
My remit is to promote the SMART method in the Highlands, by supporting existing meetings, and starting new ones, particularly peer led, i.e. by those who have been “through the mill”, and wish to give back their time and experience
My other activities, are supporting persons with learning differences, converting an old fishing boat to learn about the sea and to use it to promote mental wellbeing in the area, and keeping physically fit
I’m delighted to be part of the team and am looking forward to growing the SMART Recovery Programme further in the North East.
I graduated from the University of Wolverhampton in 1997 with a degree in languages and politics. I went on to work in a wide range of industries including sales, marketing, customer service, retail and the NHS.
Yet, it was my experience of working as an English as a Foreign Language teacher that gave me the opportunity to travel the world and I am lucky enough to have lived/worked in Japan, Saudi Arabia and Russia.
However, since childhood, I was always drawn to the care profession and became interested in the recovery sector through life experiences, friends & family members.
I’m the UK Training Co-ordinator for UK SMART Recovery as well as an experienced and ‘time served’ SMART Facilitator in the Sheffield area. I have completed both the UK SMART Facilitator training programme and the American SMART Recovery Distance Training Programme. I’ve been instrumental in the continued development of the current UK SMART Recovery online Facilitator training Programme. I grade the Facilitator exercises and support students with feedback and mentoring via our community forums. The pass mark for each of the exercises and reviews is 85% and I support students to achieve this standard. New Facilitators need to be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the SMART Programme. I would strongly recommend students use the Facilitator Forum; to support personal development and help to improve the quality and efficacy of our meetings… It’s my belief, there’s no such thing as a silly question when you’re not sure of the answer!
I attended my first SMART meeting in January 2016 and loved it. Almost immediately something clicked, and I could see that SMART was going to work for me. Very quickly I was asked if I would like to train as a Facilitator. I had spent quite a while in rehab and was ready to move forward in my recovery journey. I wanted to give something back. Many meetings later I read about a vacancy for a London based Volunteer Regional Co-ordinator. Luckily, I got the role, and have been happily helping with the development of SMART Recovery across London. We’re now established in several areas where the SMART option was previously unavailable. It’s been an interesting journey of discovery, London has many varied and diverse challenges but hurrah, we now have around 44 plus SMART meetings running every week and this is growing. UK SMART Recovery may be better established in London but I’m sure there will be future challenges to face!
I was first introduced to SMART in 2013. Previous to that I had spent many years in active addiction and tried a rehab programme. My drug of choice was alcohol. I tried various recovery methods unsuccessfully before discovering that SMART recovery was right for me. I attended SMART meetings every week and they helped me to feel empowered and believe I could recover. SMART gave me tools that I could use so that I was able to develop better coping strategies. I liked that it was focussed on the present and the mutual-aid I received from other members of the group helped to motivate me to move forwards. The SMART program helped me to focus on the behaviours that were driving me to act obsessively with alcohol, as well as other areas of my life. It helps me to manage my thoughts and emotions in a healthy way and live a balanced lifestyle now. SMART works for me where other methods failed, it has helped me to gain control of my life again. I’m very passionate about the SMART program and so decided to train as a facilitator. I now work in the NHS addictions service and have delivered SMART into treatment centres over the last 4 years. In 2016 took on the role of VRC for North East England.
I first accessed recovery services in 2013 after my active addictive behaviour patterns spanning 28 years. I had tried other well-established recovery pathways before I discovered SMART Recovery in 2014. SMART made so much more sense to me than anything else I’d tired previously. Subsequently, I trained as a SMART Facilitator and after running many SMART meetings, becoming ever more involved with SMART in my local, I took on the role of VRC for the North East. Thanks to SMART I have undoubtedly changed my life for the better. I have learned so much about balancing and managing my life and my recovery. I enjoy being a VRC. It allows me to give something back to SMART and the community as a whole. It’s great supporting others to realise recovery from their addictive behaviour is possible.
I gained my recovery with SMART and I still use it every day. It’s helped me to make better choices for me, I now have more self-belief and my life is back in balance. I am passionate about SMART Recovery and my lived experiences help me to support others in my role as VRC for London. I enjoy supporting others to find their own ways to be successful in facilitating SMART meetings. This opportunity has given me the chance to have a positive impact on UK SMART Recovery. As well as in my life’s journey in helping others.
Vivian is originally from Edinburgh but has lived and worked in Northern Ireland for many years. During the last 15 years Vivian has worked supporting the homeless and people impacted by addictions and Mental Health. She founded Hydro-ease in 2015 and recently added Wellness Consultant NI to her business portfolio of wellbeing support services. In addition to her busy work life, Vivian became the Volunteer Regional Coordinator for UK SMART Recovery in June 2017. As a qualified CBT therapeutic practitioner, Vivian brings a wealth of knowledge and practical experience with her to that role. Her clear understanding of human dynamics and support of effective transformational change has been instrumental in the significant growth of SMART in Northern Ireland during recent times.
Shaun is the Community Co-ordinator for Central Scotland. Shaun was a Veteran who spent 8 years in the Royal Air Force, as an Electronic Engineer Specialist. Like other veterans Shaun did tours in conflict zones in 2003 aged only 22 years old. Once he left the Royal Air Force, like many other veterans, he had trouble adjusting to civilian life, suffering from a lot of mental health, anxiety and behavioural related issues. Shaun says he was also losing friends and family to addictive behaviours, suffering more trauma. In 2016 he finally asked for help. “I was introduced to multiple agencies with UK SMART Recovery being one of them. I went on to train as a facilitator and being supported with NHS, Combat Stress I started to find purpose again. My journey had a lot of ups and downs due to how complex my situation was but using SMART and support around me, by 2018 my life took a massive turning point. All the benefits of asking for help in 2016 started to become reality, my anxiety became manageable, my unhelpful thinking changed, my purpose made me happy, my health really improved, I was volunteering, more confidence, my family benefited and many more. In 2019 I took a brief role as a SMART VRC setting up Bo’ness first meeting with a colleague and helping further develop others in workshops. I love my main purpose helping others and right now I get to do it as a career with UKSR and continue my degree in Psychology with the Open University part time. I feel very grateful”.
For many years, I struggled with alcohol misuse & depression/anxiety. In 2017 these issues came to a head: DHI Bath & SMART Recovery were there for me from “day one”. SMART’s behavioural & mindful approach is now central to my lifestyle in recovery: improving my health & well-being; living a self-directed life; & striving to reach my full potential. In 2020, I retired after nearly 40 years’ public service and am delighted to be working as VRC (with Toby Branfoot) to support people in recovery in Bath & Bristol and across South West England.
My career has been in the NHS, working in relatively demanding and responsible professional roles. I have considerable education and research experience. A series of major physical and mental health problems left me struggling … self-medication with alcohol was a very poor choice of “coping mechanisms”!
Talking therapies, SMART Recovery (and excellent NHS care!) has kept me alive and helped me recover a sober and sensible life since 2016. I have been using my own experience, and shared experience of others, to help people struggling with addictive behaviours and other mental health problems … facilitating SMART meetings face-to-face and online since 2017, and I am a Trust member and active in other similar organisations.