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
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
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
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.
John Cowman - Director of services
LinkedIn: 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 is focussed on personalisation, independence and quality of life.
Oonagh Smyth - Director of strategy and influence
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.
Jackie O'Sullivan - Director of communications
Jackie grew up all over the North of England before the bright lights of London lured her down to study Classics at University College London (UCL). Since then she has worked in several Government Departments, done a stint at the European Commission in Brussels and worked in the food industry.
Jackie's last role before joining Mencap was as Director of National Lottery Good Causes. She joined Mencap in January 2018 and is really proud to part of the Mencap team.
Colman Cawe - Director of income generation
Colman joined Mencap in October 2016 as the Head of corporate partnerships, before being appointed as the Director of income generation in July 2018.
He has worked across a number of different disciplines for some of the largest fundraising-led charities in the UK, including Macmillan Cancer Support, British Heart Foundation and NSPCC.
Colman's connection with learning disability started at a young age, where he supported young people with a learning disability throughout his education. His commitment to an equal society is what drives him to achieve Mencap's vision of a world where people with a learning disability are valued equally, listened to and included.
Paul Stevenson - Chief financial officer
Paul joined Mencap at the start of 2019 as Chief financial officer. After graduating from King's College, Cambridge with a degree in Economics, he gained his professional accountancy qualification and then spent more than 2 decades working from Unilever, in a variety of senior financial positions across the UK, Latin America and Asia.
After returning to the UK, he joined the fashion company Burberry, where he worked as CFO Supply Chain for a number of years.
In 2017, Paul decided to transition to the not-for-profit sector and studied for a Masters degree from the Centre of Charity Effectiveness at Cass Business School in London.
He is enjoying the challenge of supporting the charitable aims and ethos of Mencap with his long commercial experience.