About Us

Our Rules

‘We had an Extraordinary General meeting on Thursday 20th September 2018 because we updated our rules at People First Dorset. Click the blue buttons on the left to read the important information.


Here are some staff photos.  On  the left is Lisa Dixon who is the Project Manager for the Speaking Up Projects.  Lisa is also Volunteer Project Manager, supports the Management Committee, does Easy Read and is a First Aid instructor.

In the middle is Laura Kerr who is our Manager. She started up the Friendship Club. 

Jo White is on the right.  She is the Friendship Club Project Manager.

Laura Dunne is the Forum and Quality Checkers Project Manager for the Dorset County Council User Led Contract.  She is also Deputy Manager.

Kerry Martin is the  Forum Project Worker.  She has lots of experience working with national organisations that help people with learning disabilities. 

Zoe Howe is a Project Worker and works with Quality Checkers and Friendship Club

Management Committee

On the left is our Management Committee:  from left to right on the back row are Joseph and Di,  on the front row Bill, Hannah and Natalie. They represent people with learning disabilities, discuss things that need to be changed and tell our Trustees.


We are governed by our Charity Trustees who are also our Company Directors.  They make the final decisions about the best way to do things. They do the fiduciary which is working out how we spend our money and making sure we follow the charity laws and guidance.

Hazel Morgan is our Chair of Trustees. 

I am delighted to be chair of trustees of People First Dorset.  I have been passionate about working with people with learning disabilities and their families to get the best life possible, since 1977. That was the year my younger son Peter was born. He had Down’s syndrome. I learnt so much from him during his lifetime and wrote ‘Through Peter’s Eyes’ (Arthur James, 1990).Later I became a Co-Director of the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities.

Ruth Bettenson is our treasurer. 

I am very proud of being a part of the People First Dorset team and of the work that our staff, our members and our volunteers carry out in the community with people with learning disabilities.

I have been a Trustee for People First Dorset for some years. I used to work as an accountant so I was happy to become Treasurer in 2015.

Although I was born in London, Dorset has been my home for many years. I now live in Dorchester with my family and our two cats.

Also on our Board:

Richard Maxfield is our Vice Treasurer. 

As a trustee I want to keep people with learning disabilities improving their lives and having a better life. I bring to the trustee board my experience of working on the Learning Disability Partnership Board, and have lived experience of living with a learning disability myself.

Paul St Quintin

I was delighted to become a Trustee of People First Dorset.  I trained as a social worker and have worked to support people with a learning disability as a manager and commissioner in Local Authorities I the south west for 35 years.  There have been huge changes in that time and People First organisations are really important in making sure things continue to improve for people with a learning disability.  I worked with Laura to help set up The Friendship Club in 2008 and am a volunteer at the North Dorset Friendship Club.

Graham Waters

My career was spent largely in local government in the south east of England where I held senior management roles in different councils and was responsible for a range of public amenities, including housing and leisure services. In 2010, I became chief executive of a Charity based in central London with around 400 employees, which provides residential care for older people and homeless hostels for younger people in various locations across the country.

I passionately believe in helping those of any age who need support and help to enjoy an independent and fulfilling life and am delighted to be able to contribute to the work of People First Dorset.

I am married with two grown up children and  love living in a thatched cottage in the Dorset countryside and looking after the latest additions to the family: chickens and alpacas.

Catherine Bolado

I am a former journalist with more than ten years’ experience across journalism, communications and PR. I started my own PR and marketing company, Jurassic Creative, in 2017. I first met the team at People First Dorset through a story I wrote on them for the Dorset Echo, and working with the team helped to establish the Our View column; what is believed to be the first weekly newspaper column in the UK written by adults with leaning disabilities. Since then I have helped with PR for the team and done fundraising via running the Weymouth Half Marathon. 

Debbie Ward

I have had a long and varied career in Local Government most recently as the first female Chief Executive of Dorset County Council, I have been a Director of Social Services and Housing Departments and was the President of the Association of County Chief Executives. I have spent the majority of my career working with communities and a wide range of organisations to transform and improve public services.

I value my independence, and the freedom to live my life in the way I want to and when I first became involved with People First Dorset I recognised the same values and aspiration for all to have the same. I have been a real supporter of the work of the organisation and the great people making the vision a reality and am delighted to have the opportunity to become a Trustee.