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Meet the team

Our team members have lived experience of disability, and a shared vision to make the world an accessible place for everyone. Find out more about the people behind The Disability Union.

George Baker

George Baker

Founder

I’m George, I’m 30 years old, live near Southampton and have Congenital Muscular Dystrophy. I’m passionate about making the world a more inclusive place for disabled people and doing whatever I can to increase the opportunities available to people like us. Outside of work I love music, video games and am involved in local politics. Like many people however, I’m most happy sat around with a bunch of friends talking nonsense and drinking JD and coke.

I started The Disability Union because I believe the only way to further disability rights and increase inclusion is for all disabled people to work together and support each other to get our voices heard and our needs met. 

Lauren Toovey

Lauren Toovey

HR & Finance Manager

Hey, I’m Lauren! In my spare time, you can find me playing with my 4 rescue kittens, planning my next holiday, or watching the latest Disney movie. I recently graduated with a degree in Health and Social Care. I studied part-time at The Open University as this allowed me to focus on my career at the same time. I started caring for George in 2014, and we soon became close friends with the same passion for helping people in similar positions to George. In 2018, we created the award-winning Accessible Media Agency, which employed multiple people with disabilities around the world.

In 2020 we decided this wasn’t enough and we wanted to do more, and that’s when The Disability Union was born! I’m very excited to be working for The Disability Union and helping unite and support the disabled community.

FI ANDERSON

FI ANDERSON

Senior Complex Needs Casework Manager

Fi specialises in helping our members who have complex situations and/or complex needs.

Fi lives in Bolton with her partner and children and is passionate about campaigning for disability rights and access to facilities such as Changing Places.

KARLA FIDO

KARLA FIDO

Chief Casework Engagement Manager & Liaison

Hi! I live with my husband and adorable cat Bella. When I’m not glued to an audiobook or my kindle, I like gardening, seeing family, and enjoying the sun…when we have it!  

I have hidden disabilities and have had to live through the judgemental attitudes of society. 

I joined the union as a member in need of help and they helped me realise my voice was loud enough to not only help myself but others too. 

I have training in equality and diversity, mental health, depression, and CBT and the life experiences of discrimination and battling and justifying a condition where I look ‘fine’ 90% of the time. 

I’m passionate about helping others achieve what they deserve in life, regardless of whatever bumps are in the way. 

emily haywood-smith

emily haywood-smith

Community Engagement Officer

Hi, I’m Emily. I live in Winchester in Hampshire. I enjoy wheelchair dance, netball and martial arts. I love watching sport, especially rugby and netball.

For the Disability Union I organise weekly online social events for our members. In our socials sometimes we have a guest to lead us in a physical activity, sometimes we have a low energy activity planned and sometimes we grab a cup of tea and chat about the good things in life. All members are welcome to attend, meet each other and have fun.
Kirsty Smillie

Kirsty Smillie

Strategic Development Officer

I joined TDU in May 2021 and have been working behind the scenes establishing contacts and organising community events.
I am a passionate campaigner for equality and social inclusion. Before joining the team I was a teacher in the alternative provision sector. I also led a hugely successful campaign that resulted in 5 new Changing Places facilities being installed in my local town of Gosport.
I have faced my own challenges with mental health, fibromyalgia, and pernicious anaemia. I am an advocate for the disabled community and stress the importance of using our experiences and collective voices to ensure society becomes much more accessible.
In my spare time I have been women’s officer for the Gosport Labour Party. I am a mother to 3 beautiful children, I enjoy art, swimming, and apparently can smell out a Burger King no matter where I am in the world!
TOM LEWINGTON

TOM LEWINGTON

Community & Admin Assistant

Hi, I’m Tom and I’m from London.
In my spare time, you’ll probably catch me either at football or watching it. I also play video games and love to travel. 
I’ve grown up with my oldest sibling, Aaron by my side who has Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy & a fair few other conditions.
I’ve always felt passionate about making a change and making sure everyone is treated equally. I’m also extremely passionate about helping other people and bringing a smile to people’s faces. I’m excited for this journey ahead.
ABI JAMES-MILLER

ABI JAMES-MILLER

Campaign Officer

Hi, I’m Abi, I live in Peterborough in Cambridgeshire.   
I am a young black disabled filmmaker, disability activist, and model, motivated by people and stories that challenge attitudes and encourage polarising, sometimes uncomfortable but vital conversations. I strive to tell the stories of underrepresented communities to underserved audiences. 
As a campaigns officer at The Disability Union, I create and develop campaigns, through my intersectional lens as a visually impaired black woman, that encourages society to #SeeDifferently. Breaking down the barriers that disabled people, like myself, face with campaigns that amplify and advocate for a more accessible and equitable society that leaves no one behind.
Every advocate is important and wonderful- but we massively lack BIPOC voices in the disability arena. With less representation and platform BIPOC people feel less connected to these communities and movements.
I want to use my background as a researcher at Blakademik to create campaigns more authentically, showcasing the different experiences and perspectives gained through ableism, racism, and different cultural identities, that better reflect our lived and nuanced experiences as, united, we fight to be UNHIDDEN. 
For fun, I like playing blind football and Goalball and going for a cheeky cocktail with the girls.
Brooke Woods

Brooke Woods

Community Assistant & Caseworker

Hi I’m Brooke! I’m a community assistant and I also help out a little with some casework. If you call us up it’ll probably be me you speak to! I am a Disney fanatic, and I have the tattoos to prove it! I love all things animals, my favourites are horses and dogs! I’ve got two bunnies called Flopsy and Mopsy, because who doesn’t like Peter Rabbit right?

I’ve worked as a domiciliary carer since I was 18 and I have a passion for supporting people who need it. I love my job, as I now have the opportunity to help, support, and advocate for so many more people across a much wider area. I am really looking forward to this journey and watching the Disability Union expand and seeing our members grow in numbers and voice!

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