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Welcoming our new Allies Group members

October 28, 2023

We are thrilled to bring you an exciting update in relation to new members of our Allies Group!

We’ve been fortunate to have the support of the Allies Group  since back in 2017, when we first emerged as the UCL Centre for Co-Production. With their diverse experiences and expertise, the Allies Group have played a key role in shaping our development, fostering connections, and ensuring our sustainability. The group meets 3-4 times every year for two of hours to hear updates on our progress and discuss issues like governance plans, policy development, branding or communication strategies. Our next Allies group meeting will take place in November 2023. Meeting notes are shared after each meeting (you can read the notes from our last Allies meeting that took place on 19 June 2023 in our previous blog).

As you may have read in our blog in June, we have been working on recruiting six new members to join us to bring their unique strengths and backgrounds to work with us in the Collective.

Our co-produced Allies Group member recruitment process

We are dedicated to creating an environment where everyone has an equal opportunity to contribute based on their unique skills and experiences. Therefore, earlier this year, we set up a working group to help guide us in fostering an inclusive and equitable recruitment process for the new Allies Group members.

Understanding the potential for biases in traditional selection methods, our dedicated working group designed the application system with various submission options. This included email, audio recordings, and written forms, to accommodate different communication styles and accessibility needs, and eliminate any potential prejudices during the assessment process. Emphasising the value of diverse lived experiences, we aimed to create a supportive hybrid environment where individuals from all backgrounds felt able to share their unique perspectives. We offered support and assistance to applicants, including the option for internet costs to be covered, to ensure no one was excluded from the process due to financial reasons. Throughout the process, we strived to maintain transparency about the application and next steps, to ensure participants were well-informed about selection criteria and its different stages.

By championing accessibility and equity, we aimed to create a recruitment process that not only honoured the values of Co-Production Collective but also promoted a culture of inclusivity and belonging for all participants. There was of course plenty that we learned as a result of this process that we will be sharing as soon as we are able in a blog written by the Allies Group Recruitment Working Group and recruitment panel members.

Introducing our new Allies Group members

We are delighted to introduce you to the newest members who have joined our Allies Group, adding fresh perspectives and energy to our collective mission.

They are:

Picture of Anne Collis, a woman wearing glasses and a purple jumper.

Anne Collis was part of setting up NeuDICE CIC, a neurodivergent and inclusive community of entrepreneurs. She champions inclusive entrepreneurship and creating favourable conditions for success in business and academia.

Picture of Isaac Samuels, standing and speaking into a microphone, wearing a red and black T-shirt.

Isaac Samuels is a passionate and dedicated community campaigner and co-production advisor. Isaac brings a wealth of knowledge and 25 years of both lived and learned experiences to the table. Their extensive background in supporting marginalized communities has equipped them with a deep understanding of the unique challenges and needs faced by these groups. They believe in the transformative power of narratives and are driven by the potential of storytelling as a catalyst for social change.

Picture of Nat Farley smiling

Nat Farley is a volunteer Public and Patient Representative for the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) and the National Neurodegeneration Speciality Group (NNSG). Her lived experiences means she is passionate about inclusion empowerment, especially the inequality that surrounds people affected by Huntington’s Disease.

Picture of Nathan Hudson wearing a hat, in back and white

Nathan Hudson is a researcher at the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), with expertise in the design and delivery of inclusive and equitable approaches to research and evaluation. He focuses on research with marginalised and minoritised groups, often working closely with the voluntary and community sector.

Picture of Rosie McCann standing and smiling, wearing a green cardigan, and a patterned dress

Rosie McCann is a dedicated advocate for inclusive policymaking and community engagement. Her experiences as a disabled individual, coupled with her deep commitment to co-production values, have shaped her passion for driving meaningful change within the policy landscape.

Picture of Shoba Poduval smiling

Shoba Poduval is a clinical academic at UCL (University College London) and NHS GP in Islington. She has a background in clinical practice and policy development, and she supports the development and implementation of an anti-racist strategic framework for London Health and Social Care.

Each new member embodies our core values and shares our passion for co-production, infusing the group with a diverse range of expertise, lived experiences, and enthusiasm.

They join members of the Allies Group who are already in place:

Picture of Cristina Serrao talking wearing a patterned shirt

Cristina Serrao (Interim Co-Chair) is a patient leader and the national lived experience ambassador for NHS England. She champions both the promotion of patient leadership and the active involvement of lived experience in all aspects of the planning, design and delivery of care through co-produced clinical pathways.

Picture of Ian Needleman wearing glasses and smiling

Ian Needleman is an oral health specialist at UCL’s Eastman Dental Institute bringing together communities and people with lived experience to research the impact of oral health on life quality, performance and general health. He was part of the team behind one of our co-production pilots – read our Pilots report and watch his Co-Pro Stories video to find out more.

Picture of Mandy Rudczenko standing, with hills and sea in the background

Mandy Rudczenko has been a carer for a large part of her life, for members of her family. She has been involved in many coproduction/involvement projects with various organisations over the past 8 years, including: NHSE, The Health Foundation, The Academy of Medical Sciences, and The Cystic Fibrosis Trust. She sees the Co-Production Collective as a strong role model for authentic coproduction, and has been involved in many aspects of its development.

Picture of Mark Stears wearing glasses, a white shirt and black suit

Marc Stears (Interim Co-Chair) is an academic, political strategist, speechwriter and educator, who specialises in creating dynamic collaborations between academic researchers and broader society. Founder of UCL Policy Lab at University College London, Marc was previously part of the Sydney Policy Lab at the University of Sydney, led the New Economics Foundation, and was an academic in political theory at the University of Oxford.

Picture of Niccola Hutchinson-Pascal smiling in front of a white wall

Niccola Hutchinson-Pascal is part of the Co-Production Collective working to support authentic co-production of research, service and policy development. She is passionate about co-production, about all parties communicating on a level playing field, sharing power and ensuring organisations are aware of the value gained from this way of working.

Picture of Sarah Welsher in black and white. She is smiling at the camera with her hair let down.

Sarah Welsher is part of the team at UCL’s Health of the Public, supporting researchers to work together across disciplinary boundaries, to improve health for all. She coordinates the development of research programmes, and promotes coproduction of research so that research delivers impact and is relevant for the communities and populations it aims to support.

Picture of Simon Denegri wearing glasses, a white shirt and a suit

Simon Denegri leads the team at the Academy of Medical Sciences and was one of the original co-producers at the start of Co-Production Collective’s journey, back when he was part of the patient and public involvement team at the National Institute of Healthcare Research. Watch Simon’s Co-Pro Stories video here.

Thank you to all our Allies Group members or being the backbone of the Co-Production Collective’s Journey. We are looking forward to seeing what new Allies Group members will bring to champion co-production and support our community and our staff team to work to fulfil our mission and strategic objectives together.  

If you have any feedback or questions, then please do get in touch via email on We’d love to hear your thoughts!

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