Difference People

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world, indeed it’s the only thing that ever has … Margaret Mead, 1901-1978

  • Caroline Macdonald

    Caroline Macdonald Chairperson

    Caroline has been involved in disability rights for over 20 years, as a campaigner, mentor, research and policy specialist, sports coach, union officer, social worker and teacher. She has worked across sectors including health, regeneration, education and the voluntary and community sector. Caroline used to work for the Big Lottery Fund where she was responsible for their disability policy. She now works for the Government’s Office for Civil Society as a policy advisor. She is a former rowing world champion and a tennis champ.

  • David Barker

    David Barker Treasurer

    David has loads of experience in executive and senior management roles in the not for profit sector in the North of England. In 2001 he was awarded an MBE for services to the employment of disabled people. David has written many articles on disability policy, employment and related matters and has often appeared on radio and television. He has a BSc in Social Sciences and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from The Open University. He a season ticket holder at Hartlepool United Football Club.

  • Gillian Lathan

    Gillian Lathan Secretary

    Gillian is a North East native with a degree in Social Work. Since graduating she has worked with a major charity in the substance misuse field, providing support to vulnerable clients with complex needs in County Durham. She also has worked in drug and alcohol misuse services in Canada. She has previously worked with veterans, in children's services and at a specialist women's centre. Gillian, like fellow trustees Caroline and Nicky, is a medal winner on the Tees Rowing Club para-rowing team. She has a rescue dog called Diesel.

  • Nicky Erevik

    Nicky Erevik Assistant treasurer

    Nicky has been working in the financial sector in the North East for almost 20 years, with a specialism in risk management, stress testing and treasury policy. She currently has risk oversight for a major regional financial institution and has in the past been a money market manager. She has a law degree and was awarded a distinction in legal practice. Nicky is a European indoor rowing medal winner and currently, like Caroline, plays wheelchair tennis. She gardens south of the River Tyne.

  • Christopher Hartworth

    Christopher Hartworth Development Director

    Christopher has been working in social welfare research and development for nearly 30 years both in the North East and overseas. He has a PhD in social science and a first degree in environmental management. Christopher carried out the initial mapping exercise which established the need for Difference and identified the first board members. He is an ex-smoker and has a whippet (and a bedlington).

  • Tanni Grey-Thompson

    Tanni Grey-Thompson Patron

    Tanni Grey-Thompson needs no introduction ... she is an all round Ace. She has been involved in disability rights for many years following on from a successful Olympic career. As somebody living in the North East of England, we thought who better to represent and be our patron than somebody who has done so much to change people's perception of disability. Now she carries the title of Baroness and sits in the corridors of power in our government. How's about that as someone to look up to?

  • Richard Boggie

    Richard Boggie Development Manager

    Richard has a professional background in HR gained over nearly thirty years in the utilities and higher education sectors in the north east. Richard graduated from Newcastle University with a degree in Economics and Business Management. He has a progressive eye disease, Retinitis Pigmentosa, and is now almost totally blind. He lives with his wife, son and his guide dog, William, in Newcastle. He is also a regular performer on the local spoken word scene, where he performs as ‘Bogsey’. Richard has been active in promoting disability rights over many years and is a Trustee at Newcastle Vision Support (formerly Newcastle Blind Society). His role with Difference will be to grow our activity, connect with disabled people and groups in our region, oversee the formal launch and manage our media and campaigns.

  • Kate Fox

    Kate Fox Trustee

    Kate Fox is a stand up poet who has appeared regularly on Radio 4 and Radio 3. She is currently working on a book of her show about the history of Northern women for a major publisher. She was diagnosed as autistic in 2017 at the age of 42 and has since begun to speak and write as a neurodiversity advocate. Most recently with her stand up show Bigger on the Inside which entwines a history of Doctor Who, autism and her life story. She has mentioned being autistic several times while appearing on the BBC - though is still surprised at how often people ignore information that doesn’t fit with their preconceptions and is determined to keep fighting stigma and stereotypes.