CPAG's experience in the welfare rights field is unrivalled and this is reflected in the quality of our trainers. All are working within the sector, some for CPAG and others as senior advisers and consultants. Many of them contribute regularly to leading publications and information resources for the sector, including our own highly regarded rangeof handbooks.
Jane Ballantyne is a qualified solicitor and experienced freelance trainer. Jane has contributed to publications including the Welfare Benefits Resource Pack and Rights Guide for Homeowners.
Ellie Bergin has worked as a welfare rights worker since 1991 and currently works for Islington Council. She has worked as a trainer and as an appeals representative for Lasa, and before that at Disability Alliance and Merseyside Welfare Rights.
Michelle Büyükertas is an experienced welfare rights adviser and trainer. She currently works in the Money Advice Unit at Hertfordshire County Council, having previously spent a number of years working for CABx.
Sarah Clarke is the solicitor in CPAG’s Welfare Rights Office. She has previously worked at Tooting and Balham CAB and in private practice. She carries out test case work in social security law at CPAG and she contributes to the Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook.
Catherine Connors has worked as a local authority welfare rights officer for 16 years, most recently in a children’s centre. She has considerable experience delivering welfare rights training to a variety of audiences including social work students, primary care trust staff, housing providers, Women’s Aid and CAB advisers. She has also designed and delivered a range of training materials for a financial capability project.
Tahnyet Faroqui is an advice worker at Camden CAB and has 20 years experience in welfare benefits advice work and representation at social security appeal tribunals and employment tribunals. She has also provided training in welfare benefits, including tax credits and skills based courses for CABx and other voluntary organisations.
Edward Graham is CPAG’s Advice and Rights Manager. He has 15 years experience in benefits advice and training. He has extensive experience of providing training, advice and casework support as part of CPAG’s specialist support service.
Daphne Hall has worked in welfare rights for many years and is currently a welfare rights adviser with Bristol City Council and also a freelance trainer. She is a contributor to Disability Alliance's Disability Rights Handbook and to CPAG’s Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook.
Steve Johnson manages Walthamstow CAB. He is also a freelance welfare rights trainer to those working in the voluntary sector, lawyers, housing associations and local authorities.
Essie Rashidschi has 20 years experience as an advice worker, particularly in the field of welfare benefits and social security law. He previously worked for Lasa as part of the appeals team. He currently works as a freelance welfare rights tutor and provides casework support for CPAG’s specialist support service.
Louise Shepherd is a freelance training consultant. Louise was formerly a welfare rights trainer for the London Borough of Lewisham and training manager for a large London based housing association. She works exclusively in the public sector and recent clients include NSPCC, the National Trust, Imperial College and many local authorities and housing associations.
Aida Shoush is an experienced welfare rights adviser and trainer. She is currently working as an adviser at St Christopher’s Hospice in south London as part of a team providing advice services to patients of the Hospice and their families, as well as those who are newly bereaved. She has been an adviser in both the CAB service and other parts of the independent advice sector. She has also worked in a local authority welfare rights service and worked providing advice services at Lasa.
David Simmons is a welfare rights worker in CPAG’s Welfare Rights Office. He has more than 20 years experience of providing welfare rights advice and training and has written extensively for CPAG and other publications.
David Stickland is a freelance welfare rights trainer and welfare rights officer for the London Borough of Greenwich. He delivers training for various voluntary organisations and acts as a consultant/trainer for several large housing associations and disability organisations. Before becoming a benefits adviser for Citizens Advice, David worked as an English language teacher in Turkey where he developed an interactive training style which strives to be engaging, informative and enjoyable.
Gary Vaux is the Head of Advice (Benefits & Work) at Hertfordshire County Council and an experienced welfare benefits adviser, writer and trainer. Gary also writes a benefits column for Community Care magazine.
Rebecca Walker is an experienced freelance trainer and is currently a welfare benefits caseworker at Pitsmoor CAB in Sheffield. She has previously worked as a welfare rights adviser for Refugee Outreach and Advice Partnership and the Terrence Higgins Trust, and a trainer at Lasa. Rebecca contributes to the Disability Alliance’s Disability Rights Handbook.
Martin Williams is a welfare rights worker in CPAG’s Welfare Rights Office. He is widely experienced in representing claimants at both levels within the tribunal system having worked for Lasa appeals team from 2001 until 2008. He has also worked as a local authority welfare rights officer and in an independent advice centre. Martin is currently an author of CPAG’s Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit Legislation and works advising advisers with complex welfare benefit cases via CPAG's specialist support service.