Who we are
Just Ideas draws on the experience and skills of its two Directors, Helen Garforth and Richard Usher, to ensure that we are responsive to your organisation’s needs rather than letting our services dictate what we can do. We work collaboratively with other organisations and individuals to extend our reach and expertise, across the UK and internationally.
With 20 years’ experience of cross sector working I am a specialist facilitator, writer and researcher. I have particular expertise in participatory learning and engagement, a passion for turning talk into action, and the skills to support people to explore different ways of doing things...
My love of working with people and organisations to enable them to reach their potential has driven twenty years of work in the UK voluntary sector and international development organisations. I am a specialist in qualitative research and evaluation approaches...
Mary supports Just Ideas’ research, evaluation and facilitation and leads on marketing and communications. Mary is co-ordinator for the Reading schools’ Model Climate Conference with InterClimate Network. Mary particularly enjoys the outreach work with local schools and has been inspired and humbled by their passion and energy and their commitment- to quote one of our Reading students -“to tackle the defining issue of our time”.
Graeme works with Just Ideas across research, facilitation and evaluation, and is part of a team developing the way Just Ideas can support people and groups through coaching. He was part of the Just Ideas team that evaluated St Martin’s in the field charity’s strategic thinking, researched the impact new and transient communities have on place-based community development with Local Trust, and facilitated the multi-stakeholder Reading Climate Change Partnership in its strategy development.
Charlotte is an Associate of Just Ideas and is an experienced facilitator and action researcher, undertaking a variety of projects within the social and statutory sectors and – where possible – both at the same time! Between 2013 and 2019 she was a lead facilitator on the national Building Health Partnerships and Health and Social Value programmes, where she supported cross sector senior leaders in their local collaboration and integration plans.
Leila is an Associate of Just Ideas and is a researcher with 25 years’ experience in the public and voluntary sectors including roles in homelessness, housing, community and campaigning organisations. Leila takes great pleasure in getting to know organisations in order to support them to achieve their ambitions and bring about change.
Lisa is a researcher specialising in co-production of knowledge) and brings to the Just Ideas’ team over 20 years of experience enabling environmental and social change through research and action. She has worked across the UK, through government, grass roots and cross-sector programmes. Lisa has a rich academic and practical understanding of change and its relationship to policy, power and culture. She has worked extensively on the ground as part of the Big Local Programme as and has a thorough understanding of its aims and the experience of communities delivering it.
Laura is founding Director of Debating Mental Health Ltd. She has been designing and facilitating participatory training and conversations around mental health and well-being for most of her career. She has extensive experience of engaging young people with the work of local CAMHS. Her work includes facilitation, training and support with young people, schools, communities and professionals. She has worked extensively with young people with lived experience of mental health support needs and is a strong advocate of their voices being heard in decisions that affect them at the community and national levels.