Meet the team

Let's introduce you to our Chief Executive Officer and our Trustees

  • Cath Lee

    Cath Lee

    Chief Executive Officer

    Cath has always worked in the voluntary sector including large charities such as RNIB, Crisis and Shelter. Before joining Leeds Mencap she worked as CEO at the Small Charities Coalition and is passionate about the difference small charities like Leeds Mencap can make to the people who use their services and to their communities. Cath moved back to West Yorkshire from London with her family, having been a student in Leeds in her far too distant youth!
  • Martin Staniforth

    Martin Staniforth

    Chair of Trustees

    I have been involved with Leeds Mencap for 10 years and was elected as Chair of Trustees in 2010. Before that I worked for the Department of Health for 30 years in a variety of jobs, first in London then in Leeds. As well as chairing Leeds Mencap I work with a number of other charities in the city including Leeds Civic Trust and the Leeds Library. When not working I like to walk, watch cricket and go to the theatre, opera and concerts. I have also nearly completed a PhD on contemporary Australian fiction.
  • Danni Brearly

    Danni Brearly


    I’ve been a Trustee at Leeds Mencap for nearly 3 years and have been involved in developing the organisation’s strategy, recruiting new staff and have also provided interim communications and marketing support and guidance. I work at Leeds City Council, overseeing marketing across a wide range of areas. I have enjoyed working on major events, such as the Rugby League World Cup, the first ever city SkyRide in 2013, and the incredible Tour de France and Yorkshire Grand Départ. I’ve also volunteered with GirlGuiding for over 21 years and currently manage a Brownie unit in West Leeds. Volunteering has been a massive part of my life, but I firmly believe you get as much out as you put in. This year is a particularly exciting one for Leeds Mencap and I continue to enjoy supporting the organisation’s development as we move closer towards making a new building for our services and for others to work together a reality.
  • Sarah Brown

    Sarah Brown


    I have been a trustee since December 2013. I initially became involved with Leeds Mencap when I volunteered to take the minutes of trustee meetings. The more I found out about the great work being done, the more I wanted to help, so I was thrilled when a vacancy arose and I was appointed to the Board. I'm a solicitor for the General Medical Council during the day and a fitness enthusiast, keen but average triathlete and cake baker when I have the time and inclination!
  • Emma Farrar

    Emma Farrar


    I'm the Treasurer for Leeds Mencap. I am a Management Accountant by trade for a Facility Services company but have worked with charities for a number of years most notably Girlguiding UK where I sat on their Finance Committee for 5 years as well as running both a Brownie and Guide unit at various times. When I am not working hard, travelling up and down the country or supporting Leeds Mencap I like to spend quality time with my nephews who are 3 & 1 years old – it’s great being an Aunt!! I also like to keep pretty fit and can be found pounding the pavement on occasion when the sun is out. I feel extremely proud to say I work with Leeds Mencap – the work they do to support the community is simply amazing.
  • Tom Metcalfe

    Tom Metcalfe


    I have been a trustee since December 2015. I volunteered in a special school for children with severe and profound learning difficulties whilst at College. Whilst at University I volunteered at and went on to jointly run a group called KEEN, which was set up to provide opportunities for children with learning disabilities to engage in sports. After graduating, I attended a talk about Leeds Mencap's work and was keen to help support the outstanding work the organisation is doing. I'm a trainee solicitor for an international law firm during the day and a keen runner and water skier in my spare time.
  • Alison Van Der Wert

    Alison Van Der Wert


    I am a semi-retired lawyer, having practised in the field of family law and child protection for over 40 years. I also sat as a deputy district judge for many years. I have two children and two grandchildren. My youngest son is learning disabled, and over the years both he and I have who accessed and benefitted from many of Mencap’s services. Over the years I have also acquired extensive experience of dealing with many professional and voluntary bodies. In my spare time I enjoy gardening, cycling, walking, playing and listening to music, and dancing.
  • Chris Wilson

    Chris Wilson


    I am a trustee at Leeds Mencap and have been for several years. I got involved originally to provide advice on short term bar licensing for a fundraising event and was so impressed with the work that is done there that I just never left! I also work as a software developer and have a background in statistics and business analysis.