We are committed to maintaining the highest standards of governance and comply with the principles outlined in the Code of Governance for Voluntary Organisations, which is approved by the Charity Commission.

The executive team prepares matters such as policy, strategy and budgets for consideration and approval by the trustees, who then monitor the implementation of these plans.

Jan Tregelles ­- chief executive

Twitter: @JanTregelles

Janine Tregelles

My association with Mencap began during my time with New Era Housing Association, developing community based housing for people with a learning disability ­ many of whom are still supported by Mencap today. It wasn't until 1996 that I actually began working for Mencap, setting up Golden Lane Housing to create secure improved housing options and solutions. Golden Lane Housing is successful because it's based on identifying and securing the right housing and support package to enable people to live in their own home.

After the success of this project, moving into the role of director of Personal support was a very natural and welcome progression for me. For 12 years I was truly privileged to lead, work alongside and learn from talented and committed teams who are transforming people’s lives often under the most difficult circumstances.

My exposure to the range of families and carers has helped me to gain a practical insight into both the joys and challenges that families live with everyday, so I am especially proud now to be leading Mencap as the CEO in placing families at the centre of our work. 

Eileen Downey - director of quality

Twitter: @Eileen_Downey

Eileen Downey

Eileen began her career in local authority services as a support worker in residential care for vulnerable children and young people – a position she describes as the hardest job she has had. 

Prior to joining Mencap in 1995, Eileen worked as an operational manager at Macintyre Care. She says her time at Mencap has allowed her to work alongside and be involved in the lives of great people. 

Angela Buxton – people director

Twitter: @AngelaMBuxton

Angela Buxton

After graduating from the University of East Anglia, where she studied American and English literature, Angela went on to lead a varied career which has included managing a Havana cigar store and teaching English to Italian students.

Her managerial skills led her to becoming an Ofsted personnel advisor, before she joined Mencap in 2007. Angela describes her life at Mencap as very busy and that she’s very proud of the work the charity does.

Kate McLeod - chief financial officer

Twitter: @katemc60

Kate Mcleod

Kate joined Mencap in 2009 after spending many years working for a range of American investment management houses and banks as a financial controller and chief Financial officer.  

She became finance director for personal support in 2013, and was made chief financial officer later that year. 

Gerard Cousins - director of marketing and engagement 

LinkedIn: Gerard Cousins

Twitter: @GSCousins

Gerard Cousins

Gerard joined Mencap in January 2016 from the children’s charity Barnardo’s where he worked for more than 15 years as the Director of Marketing, Communications and Fundraising, which makes him perfect for his role here at Mencap. He specialises in retail, and is working on opening our first Mencap Charity shop in 2016. 

His passion to make the world a better place for people with a learning disability started when he signed up as a volunteer at a Mencap Gateway club in Northern Ireland when he was 14 years old. 

John Cowman - director of services 

LinkedIn: John Cowman

John Cowman

John grew up in Dublin in Ireland and qualified as a Physiotherapist from Trinity College Dublin in 1995. He then went on to complete a Masters in Research Methodology and qualified as a Statistician; lecturing at the University for a year before moving to the UK in 1998. He initially worked in paediatrics and then as a lead researcher on a study examining the aetiology of Gulf War Syndrome. 

He moved into the community in the NHS in 2001, where he began in earnest his work with people with learning disabilities. He continued to work through the management hierarchies and became a Director of Business Development and Performance in Havering Primary Care Trust, establishing the first Autonomous Provider Organisation in the UK and going on to effect a major merger of NHS Community Providers. 

He moved into the Third Sector in 2011 as the Director of Health for Young Epilepsy, advancing to Director of Operations. After a short period of time in the Royal Hospital for Neuro-Disability, he joined Mencap in May 2016. John has always had a significant drive to create equality for those with disabilities, specifically for people with a learning disability, and will utilise this in ensuring the Personal Support directorate of Mencap focusses on personalisation, independence and quality of life. 

Oonagh Smyth - director of strategy and influence

Twitter: @OonaghSmyth

Oonagh Smyth

Oonagh joined Mencap in 2012 as head of governance and planning, but her interest in learning disability issues started when she was 17 and volunteering at one of Mencap’s Gateway Clubs in Belfast while sitting her A Levels.

She joined Mencap from the National Council for Voluntary Action, where she was a senior consultant in governance and leadership. She has also held positions at the Equality Commission and Westminster Equality Partnership.

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