Who we are?

Board members

Rebecca (Becky) Nixon Chair

Becky has worked as a volunteer for the Bureau for seventeen years.  She initially offered her support to others by helping to provide an information and advice service on a range of matters to people with different types of disabilities. Testament to her hard work was her willingness to research and find the information people required to help them live independent and fulfilling lives.  In addition she became a valued and reliable member of the benefits team helping clients to complete benefit forms and gain information on the benefits to which they were entitled.

Becky’s role at the DIB has not remained static.  Despite her own health problems she has continued to develop her own skills, qualifications and experiences and enhance the support she has offered to others.  With the establishment of an IT centre at DIB, Becky took on the role of IT tutor and gained her PTLLS, the qualification which would enable her to take on a teaching role.  Since gaining the qualification she has taught individuals on a one to one basis and in group situations and she has received praise and positive feedback from students and fellow teachers alike. Her students have made good progression and some of them have gone on to gain work and the qualifications that help them to succeed in the workplace.

Becky is a highly valued volunteer at DIB.  She has the respect of staff, students, clients and members of the public.  Her expertise in disability related issues is well known and she is a source of support and help to other volunteers who recognize her commitment and experience.  She is incredibly reliable and clearly enjoys her work and the role that she plays within the organisation.  In 2015, she won a national award for her volunteering activities.


Peter Tunwell Treasurer

Born in Manchester a long time ago, I worked in the textile industry all my working life, of which the last 27 years were spent as MD of a company manufacturing  nylon and polyester yarns in Macclesfield. I have lived in Bollington for the last 40 years. My voluntary work includes director/treasurer of the DIB, Director/Board member Bollington Health & Leisure, Tax Volunteer for  national charity TOP (Tax Help for Older People) and Bollington Festival Treasurer 2005 and 2009. I am married, have 3 children (in their 30s) and a dog! I enjoy the mountains, walking, climbing and skiing.


Marion Goddard Secretary

I have been interested and involved with disability organisations as I have worked in the voluntary sector for 14 years from the mid-1970s. After 25 years as a Manager in Adult Social Care I retired in 2011, since when I have volunteered to be a Board Member at Healthwatch Cheshire East, and a Trustee at both the Disability Information Bureau and Rossendale.


Bob Birchall Board Member

I joined the Deafness Support Network as Chief Executive in 2011, bringing with me twenty years of management and leadership experience from the private, public and charitable sectors. Having spent nine years in senior roles within the NHS, I am particularly interested in the issues of health inequality and how this may be overcome, and ensuring greater public benefit by building stronger partnerships that span health and social care.


Gill Peate Board Member

I joined the Disability Information Bureau in 2015 after moving to Macclesfield with my job.  I work as a solicitor dealing with cases involving Clinical Negligence and Serious Personal Injury. 

Prior to qualifying  as a Solicitor, I trained as a Nurse and worked as a  Ward Sister at Withington Hospital.  Both professions have helped me to appreciate the many hurdles experienced by our clients at the DIB.  I am married with 2 children and enjoy cycling, hill walking and travel.


John Kirk Board Member

Educated at Kings School Macclesfield, worked in Accountancy, Retail, Transport and Distribution until having to give up work at 56 with onset of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Married to Pat for 32 years and they have four children


Dominic Lisle Volunteer Board Representative

I have been a volunteer at the DIB for 8 years now. I had a history of alcohol issues that badly effected my life. I am proud to say that I have been sober for 14 years and still attend AA meetings which keeps me in check. Volunteering at the DIB has helped me in numerous ways, giving me confidence making new friends and ensuring the DIB is a happy and fun place to volunteer. I have had so much help from the alcohol services and from Adullam housing it is very rewarding for me to give my help to the community. I am the volunteer representative on the Board and I enjoy helping the DIB with their fundraising efforts. I can say it is a pleasure to volunteer at the DIB and I appreciate Laura and the staff for helping me achieve my goal.


Staff members

Laura Smith Chief Executive Officer

I came to work for the DIB, in 2002, because I wanted to do a job where I could help people and make a positive impact on their lives. I am proud to say more than 17 years later, the DIB team have supported and helped empower thousands of local people in Cheshire East. Although challenging, I find my role enormously rewarding, and the favourite part of my job continues to be when I get chance to meet people face to face, I love to see the difference using our service can make.

The DIB staff and volunteers are a FANTASTIC team, and we work hard together to make positive change. I cannot describe how proud and honoured I feel to work with such an amazing group of people, who never lose sight of the importance of the individuals in the community that need our support.


Averil Goodier Employment Mentor

I joined the DIB in 2012 and I was so pleased to be offered the role in the capacity of “Employment Related Advisor”.  Over the past several years my role has varied to fit the needs of the business and throughout my time at the DIB I have had the opportunity to support many vulnerable people with employment and training related support.   I have over 20 years, experience working within the Welfare to Work Sector and with my understanding and knowledge I am able to support individuals with complex needs that are challenging but very rewarding, especially when they achieve even the smallest of goals which enables them to become more independent and informed.

The DIB is very welcoming, all the staff and volunteers are both professional and friendly which makes me proud to be part of such a positive organisation.


Leanne Lake Employment Mentor and HR and Finance

I have worked at the DIB now for 10 years. 

I joined in 2009 , initially as a volunteer, and was fortunate enough to be recruited to the role of Employment Advisor.    I have gone on to do a few roles now and I really enjoy the variety of things.  No two days are the same.   I love to work at DIB as it gives me purpose and I know that as a team we have made a difference to the lives of people within the community.   I can honestly say I have never enjoyed working some where as much as I do here.


Emma Budge Community Transport Manager

My life before DIB involved working in various settings supporting people of all ages with disabilities. I came to the DIB in May 2015 after meeting the Chief Executive at a Healthwatch Meeting. I was interested in local community services that supported people with their health needs and to live independently. I was very intrigued by DIB’s work and their passion for supporting local people. Luckily a very interesting job role came up with them, so I applied and was I successful! The role was working as Care Act Adviser, providing information on the Care Act 2014 and informing people about their rights to care and support.  My subsequent roles have revolved around providing disability and care related information and advice to people across Cheshire East. I am currently a mentor on The New Leaf Programme which helps people in a holistic way to find employment, build their confidence and gain new skills. All my roles with DIB have been very rewarding and working with likeminded, lovely people makes it a great place to work. DIB has done a lot for my personal and professional development and I cannot thank them enough for supporting me (so I can do my dream job of helping others!) I do regular fundraising activities for DIB so please check out our Facebook page to keep up with the latest news and events!


Kwok Wei-Wan IT Tutor and Coordinator

I have had various roles within the DIB and I started as a volunteer IT tutor since 2011. I began with 1 to 1 learners to reach their personal goals and to be more confident in using computers and technology. The DIB is a wonderful place for learners, volunteers and staff alike. We have a welcoming environment that fosters potential and opportunity for growth. By giving my time to the DIB, I developed my own style of teaching that’s practical and accessible. My experiences have been absorbing and fulfilling since joining the staff in 2014. Together with staff and volunteers, we have overcome countless challenges facing vulnerable people and provided them with the confidence to progress and lead independent lives.  


Gary Lord Welfare Rights Advisor

Definitely the best place I have worked at! I first came to DIB in 2010. I had just left a job and was looking for something to do while I looked for a part-time job. I looked at one or two other places before I came to DIB but none of them really made an impression on me. However, DIB seemed welcoming and interesting. On meeting Laura and other staff and volunteers I decided I would like to volunteer here for a day a week whilst I looked for a job. I can tell you it was a very good decision and one I have never regretted. I started sitting in doing DLA and ESA forms with a wonderful person called Anne. She showed me the ropes. Sue Yates was also great and gave me a good introduction to DIB and all the services.

DIB impressed me because there seemed to be a genuine concern for people and was run by dedicated staff and volunteers. It also seemed to have a nice combination of professionalism with informality. Shortly after this I got a part-time job but decided to dedicate a day at week to DIB on the days I wasn’t working.  Everything went swimmingly for about 2 years until a vacancy arose in the Welfare Rights Team. I initially did not apply for it because it didn’t fit I with my other role. However, I asked if DIB would consider reducing the hours, so I could dovetail this with my part-time job. This they were prepared to do, I got the job and the rest is history. It all turned out well because for the other half of the job they employed an experienced Welfare Rights worker (my colleague John Ball) which was useful for sharing the workload.

DIB has been great, has allowed for a great deal of professional development and has allowed me to meet lots of interesting people, both staff and volunteers (and not forgetting our clients). It is an organisation that this year has received long-overdue recognition, winning the Gold Winner award as charity of the year 2018. Dib has continued through some difficult times recently but has kept going providing a useful service to the people of Macclesfield and beyond. If I do eventually leave I will have great memories of working here. You can’t always say that about places you have worked at.


John Boardman Fundraising Manager

I have over 13 years’ experience in the charitable sector working for several national and international charities in both a funding and project-based delivery capacity.

My main responsibility at the DIB is to identify and build relationships with a range of charitable foundations, trusts and grant providers to financially develop and sustain our holistic support services for disabled, elderly and vulnerable people.

The DIB is like a breath of fresh air, and I feel extremely privileged to be part of such a well-loved organisation that sits directly at the heart of the community it serves and has accomplished so much.  The passion and dedication of our staff and volunteers is second to none, and there is a true family atmosphere in the workplace.


Anna Berwick New Leaf Administrator

I joined the Disability Information Bureau in 2016 as a reception volunteer. After six months I got an opportunity to join the New Leaf Team and could not believe my luck! I love to work for DIB. I feel like I am a part of something special, meaningful, that makes the real difference to people who need support and very often can’t get it anywhere else. I am very grateful for this amazing opportunity and the all the support that I have personally received from DIB’s staff and volunteers. I have met a lot of fantastic, passionate people that made a big impact on my life.


Shopmobility staff

Jacqui Kendall Shopmobility Officer

I first came to DIB in 2012, as I needed their help filling in forms and I have been receiving there help ever since. They have helped me to gain IT skills and a teaching certificate allowing me to pass on a different skills and help other people to show their talent. I love the fact that the DIB want me but really its them that I need.