Staff

We are a small staff team because lots of what we do is about working alongside our members and bringing people together, rather than trying to do everything ourselves. Here you can meet our team.

Gary Bourlet



Gary has been a self-advocate for over 30 years and is Co-Founder of Learning Disability England. Before this he founded People First England. Gary has a vast amount of experience in working with the media and has appeared on Channel 4 and in the Guardian. He is a civil rights campaigner and brought the People First movement to England.
Bridget Pike



TBC soon
Mariana Ortiz



Mariana looks after membership, events and training at Learning Disability England. She does the administration for LDE and Driving up Quality . Mariana has previously worked in the airline industry, from cabin crew to airports operation director, auditor and security advisor. Before working with airlines Mariana was a support worker, supporting women with learning disabilities in the USA.
Samantha Clark



Sam is the Chief Executive of Learning Disability England.
Sam’s first full time job was working in a hostel for homeless men.
She got to know lots of different people, some of them had university degrees or went to posh schools but still had struggled in their life and found themselves homeless.
After that Sam worked in several places supporting people to live independently. Sam learnt a lot about communities and how to get involved in making communities and people’s lives better.
Sam is passionate about the contribution we all can make being valued & recognised & is always looking for opportunities to collaborate with & learn from other people.
Kaliya Franklin
Kaliya is a Political Strategist at Learning Disability England. She is an experienced disability rights campaigner, writer and speaker. She blogs at the 2012 Orwell Prize shortlisted blog Benefit Scrounging Scum, was voted one of the top 10 most influential users of twitter in 2011, founded the lobbying group The Broken of Britain and was an author of The Spartacus Report.
Rachael Hall
Rachael is the Family Engagement Worker at Learning Disability England, this is a joint role with JMS Trust. She has just finished her master’s degree in Disability Studies at the University of Leeds. She has previously worked as a Personal Assistant and with disabled children within afterschool and holiday club settings. Rachael is a family carer and is passionate about disabled people being included, accessing their rights and living independently.