Friends of Literacy100

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Professor Stephen MacDonald

Stephen is a Professor of Social Science at the University of Sunderland. He joined the University in 2005 as a member of the social work programme but in 2010 was moved to the criminology team. Stephen is currently the research lead for the School of Social Sciences and Head of the Centre for Applied Social Sciences (CASS). He is also the Chair of the Vulnerability and Criminal Justice Research Network. Stephen teaches undergraduates and postgraduates in criminology and social care. He has published broadly in the areas of neurodiversity and social exclusion, including issues concerning diagnosis, educational disengagement, digital inclusion, crime, victimisation, loneliness/isolation and homelessness.

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Dr Katy Jones

Katy is a Senior Research Associate in the Decent Work and Productivity Research Centre at Manchester Metropolitan University. She has previously held research posts at the University of Salford and The Work Foundation, a Westminster based think tank and part of Lancaster University. She has a BA (Hons) in Economics and Politics from the University of Manchester, an MSc in Social Policy Research from the London School of Economics, and a PhD in Educational Research from Lancaster University. She has published widely on topics related to homelessness, labour market disadvantage, and welfare conditionality. Her PhD thesis focused on literacy and numeracy provision for homeless adults. 

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Atif Choudhury

Atif co-founded Diversity and Ability (DnA) in 2009, drawing on his personal experience of dyslexia. To date, DnA has supported over 15,000 marginalised and neurodiverse learners in education and workplace settings through assistive technology (AT) training, mentoring and study skills tuition. As part of its social justice mission, DnA provides free AT training, software and well-being courses for marginalised, disabled communities unable to access traditionally funded support in higher education or the workplace. Recognition of Atif’s work includes: the ADSHE 2018 Award for his contribution to bringing AT to universities across the UK; Global Equality and Diversity’s 2018 Noon Award for DnA’s contribution to reducing homelessness for disabled learners; the UnLtd Grow It Award for DnA’s work towards reducing the disability employment gap. He was a shortlisted finalist as “Entrepreneur of Excellence’ for the 2019 National Diversity awards and remains a trustee of the pan-disability charity Disability Rights UK. Atif is  the co-founder and CEO of Zaytoun CiC (the world’s first Fairtrade Palestinian olive oil cooperative), as well as serving as a trustee for the charity War on Want.

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Claud Williams

Claud Williams is an award-winning entrepreneur, board member, and executive coach. He discovered he was dyslexic at a young age, which helped him to understand that his pathway in life was going to look different to most. This eventually led him to create his personal development start-up company Dream Nation. The lessons shared and tools he creates are informed through research and his own experiences with dyslexia. His work has proven to be effective at helping people across the neurodiversity spectrum. Claud was also appointed as an ambassador for the British Dyslexia Association whilst also being a board member within the NHS. 

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Alex Stevenson

Alex is Head of English, Maths and ESOL at Learning and Work Institute, an independent policy, research and development organisation dedicated to lifelong learning, employment and social inclusion.  Alex’s recent projects include producing new ESOL teaching and learning resources for refugees with limited literacy skills, and effective practice guidance for English language conversation clubs.  Before joining L&W, Alex taught, managed and developed adult basic skills and ESOL provision for over 13 years. He is a member of the Executive Board of the European Association for the Education of Adults and has recently joined the Executive Committee of the European Basic Skills Network.