Michelle, CEO of Aspire, Support, Learn founded the organisation in February 2017 after running a summer club in 2016. Michelle quickly discovered that there was a real need for supported day care and employment opportunities for young adults with learning and physical disabilities in the Harlow area. Prior to starting ASL, Michelle worked as a personal assistant to two young ladies with additional needs and also worked in a local adult support day service that was run by the local authority. Michelle felt that there needed to be more choice in the local area for how young adults with additional needs spent their day so decided to open the doors of ASL. Young adults now have more choice on how they would like to spend their day either in a supported day care environment or work based training in an onsite café.
Michelle’s passion lies from caring for her ill mother who was terminally ill for three years in 2008 whilst looking after an young lady with autism. This experience opened Michelle’s eyes to the support available to the more vulnerable and knew she had to do something. Since opening ASL in 2017, Michelle has found her real vocation in life. She is dedicated and extremely passionate about changing the lives of the young people who attend ASL. Michelle has big plans for ASL and hopes that in time, she will impact the lives of even more young adults.
Michelle lives in Harlow with her husband, Caimain of 24 years who has supported her in this journey. She also has two daughters, Lauren and Georgia and a beautiful granddaughter, one year old Freya. For fun she enjoys spending time with family and friends as well as having the young adults who attend ASL visit her!
Director of Placido Recruitment Consultants, Brooke was inspired to get involved with ASL after seeing the invaluable work that Michelle at ASL was doing to support young adults with learning and physical disabilities in the community. Prior to starting her own recruitment agency, Brooke worked within the charity sector for seven years, specialising in corporate and major gift fundraising. Brooke held roles in a number of local hospices and national charities, including Help for Heroes and the NSPCC.
Brooke lives in Dunmow with her husband, James and daughter, Mia and she loves socialising with family and friends.
Director of CH Accountancy & Bookkeeping Ltd, Cheryl has worked alongside Michelle for a number of years, and seen Michelle’s vision to support young adults with learning and physical disabilities become a reality. As ASL has grown Cheryl has taken on a larger role to support Michelle in her vision. Cheryl has been running her own accountancy practice since 2014. Working with mainly parents and family businesses Cheryl has helped many people juggle their business finances and family life.
Cheryl lives in Dunmow with her fiancé James, and children Taylor, Harry, Harrison, Molly & Louie, and loves travelling as well as spending time with family and friends.
Philip is a qualified accountant (FCCA) and holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Henley Business School. He has over thirty years experience in accountancy and in the Financial Services industry, initially in public practice and subsequently at The London Metal Exchange where he ultimately held the position of Director of Finance & Company Secretary. He took a career break in 2013 which enabled him to support his wife in setting up her own practice as a Psychotherapeutic Counsellor and Hypnotherapist.
In 2014, Philip was appointed as a Trustee and Director of The Counselling Foundation (TCF), a growing medium-sized mental health charity headquartered in St Albans, with centres in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. Shortly after accepting this role, he was appointed as TCF’s Company Secretary and Chairman of its Finance, Governance and Risk Committee.He continues to hold these positions.
Philip was introduced to Michelle by his wife, and he was delighted to accept her invitation to join ASL’s board of directors. He was immediately impressed by Michelle’s passion, energy and commitment towards ASL and her goal to improve the lives of the young adults that attend the centre. He firmly believes that Michelle and her great team of helpers really do make a difference in the community in which they operate.