Service User and Carer Governors are elected and sit on the Council of Governors to represent Service User and Carer members’ views.

Matt Copple

Lead Governor since October 2019


I’ve been a Governor since 2018 and I am proud to say I was elected to be Lead Governor in October 2019. I also have five years’ experience as a service user and over 40 years life experience of mental health. My passion was work, but now it’s family and life, and removing the stigma associated with mental health in society.

I am a highly motivated and respected Project Manager and IT / Business Consultant with a career that spans over 20 years working for Local and Central Government clients from within the public and private sectors.

This work experience, coupled with my Governor, service user and life experiences provide me a unique and distinguished insight into mental health, work and society. I went through the mill and came out the other side. If I can, others can.

I have an IT, Customer Services, and Support Services background. My skills and experience are diverse, but I specialise delivering transformation and change.

Being part of a team in delivering transformation and change is specifically why I stood as Lead Governor for Mersey Care.

I’m passionate about technological change, bringing technology to the forefront of care within Mersey Care. I am very much aware that technology is useful, but the “always online” approach we see in today’s society can work to the detriment of our health. Balance is therefore key.

I pride myself at being able to operate effectively at all levels of business and society, utilising well developed communication, negotiation and influencing skills. I respect everyone for who they are and what they are.

Occasionally a non-conformist, I am optimistic, enthusiastic, creative and confident. I have a strong sense of the possible. I’m exceptionally forward thinking, motivated, and results driven. I am honoured to have the chance to channel my energies into delivering as Lead Governor and continue to be part of such a great team.

Second term 1 October 2021 to 30 April 2024

Marie Da Silva Bleasdale


Hello, my name is Marie Da Silva Bleasdale. I'm happily married and a mother of a teenager. Whilst working in customer services at the government (for around twenty five years+), in March 2018 I volunteered as an Expert by Experience. This is a specified facilitator role on my day off.

I enjoyed working with patients and psychologists- building resilience and recovery.  I'm a 'people' person, and I am grateful to all the individuals that voted for me. I care and I will do my best to listen and voice the concerns, which represent the Carer and Service Users of Merseyside.

2020 has specifically been a challenging year, however Mersey Care has aspiringly risen to combat these factors. To be exact, it's been great to be able to access these wonderful online self-help courses with The Life Rooms Walton.

First term 1 October 2020 to 30 September 2023

Julie Dickinson


As a re-elected Governor, I will continue to be happy to be a representative for the carers’ voice and ensure they and their loved ones are not forgotten by Mersey Care.

Born in Liverpool, I was a family carer for my Mum, and then for my father in law for 14 years who had Dementia. My husband sadly also developed Frontotemporal Lobe Dementia with Parkinson’s disease and I have cared for him for more than 10 years. I worked in the Banking Sector for 34 years and I am a member of a local ladies Choir. I am an active member of SURF, a part of Liverpool Dementia Action Alliance and this allows me to reach out to fellow carers to help with problem solving and signposting.

My experience has given me a long view on Dementia, and of the services available. Importantly the carers’ role and the challenge presented. I am an active member of the Carers’ Forum in Liverpool and I am appointed to liaise with the council lead for carers. As I am involved in the running of carers groups, this enables me tokeep current and up to date with issues affecting Dementia Carers in Liverpool.

Second term 1 October 2021 to 30 April 2024

Tommy Dunne


I was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2011 I want to show people that life does not end following a diagnosis. A diagnosis does not mean you lose your intelligence.

I started work as a train driver, then I use to train the train drivers. I then became the train interface manager for the North West before becoming the Rail compliance manager. I’ve set up a Community interest company called THRED CiC (transport health research economy dementia) together with my fellow peer and 2 former carers. with the intention of taking the fear and stigma out of dementia and improving the lives of those diagnosed with it and their Carers. We deliver post diagnostic groups. I was awarded the
British Empire Medal in 2016 for my work for People living with dementia.

I want to take the fear and stigma out of dementia. I want to show people that just because you’ve had a diagnosis of dementia, it doesn’t mean you lose your intelligence. I want to give all those who
have been diagnosed with dementia and those with other invisible disabilities a voice. It’s important that people no matter what their disabilities should be given the chance and opportunity to have their
voices heard and to be able to influence change in our health system. We don’t need people to have sympathy with us, we need people to have empathy that’s why we need a voice to educate people. I believe that I can make a difference.

First term 1 October 2021 to 30 April 2024


Mark McCarthy


I am an experienced service user governor who has a strong track record of speaking out for service users with learning difficulties and other vulnerable service users.

I am a part time maths teacher in a specialist school for students for mental health and other health problems; it is a job I feel privileged to have. Outside of work I am a keen hiker who has hiked over 2000 miles during the past four years and even written a successful hiking guidebook. I have previously worked as an IT manager both in the UK and Portugal and as both a manufacturing and engineering manager in the automotive industry. I have also worked for thirty years as a volunteer helper on the Liverpool Lourdes pilgrimage.

Having had a sibling with learning difficulties has made me a passionate advocate for those with learning difficulties.

I am caring and passionate and have been on the receiving end of our services, so I understand what is important to us as service users. I now have three years’ experience as a governor and have been a constant advocate for our most vulnerable service users especially those with learning difficulties, mood disorders and personality disorders.

Third term 1 May 2022 to 30 April 2025

Alison Reynolds


I have been a carer and advocate for a local service user for over 20 years. I therefore have considerable experience of the challenges faced by those with mental health problems and the difficulties experienced in navigating the local health care provision. 

I would like to provide a voice for other service users and carers alike, and to ensure that the trust upholds its commitment to providing the very best possible life-long care.

I moved to Liverpool in 1993 to study and made the city my home. As a carer I’ve experienced the devastating impact that poorly timed or potentially inappropriate care choices can have on the lives of those suffering from mental illness.

I feel very strongly about reducing mental health stigma and discrimination in society, in ensuring service users have a strong voice and expanding access to more user-led services that could improve overall living standards.

I currently work as a programme manager in infectious disease research in Liverpool and have over 15 years’ experience in management of international public health projects.

I’m also a Labour party member and get involved in local campaigns to support vital services like Liverpool’s One Stop Shop, maintaining bus routes and the collective action to combat climate change. During the initial Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, I joined a local mutual aid group to support elderly and vulnerable residents, befriending, signposting, delivering shopping and hot meals to those without support networks.

I hope to gain a greater insight into the workings of the trust and represent the views of service users and carers where possible.

I have experience working with a range of individuals from diverse backgrounds and across different organisational structures. I’m capable of building lasting relationships with team members, research collaborators, funders, stakeholders and policy makers and motivating people to achieve goals.

I have strong communication, negotiation and diplomacy skills and would not hesitate to ask appropriate questions and hold the non-executive directors to account. I am used to working in difficult conditions, often in hard to reach or hostile environments and can handle challenging and sensitive issues diplomatically.

First term 1 October 2021 to 30 April 2024

Hilary Tetlow

Deputy Lead Governor since April 2022


As Governor of Mersey Care Foundation Trust, I represent Carers and Service Users I am passionate to make life better for the people I represent.

As a former Consultant in Fashion Merchandising, I am confident when speaking to Board members and Chairpersons of FT listed companies. I am also well versed in speaking to the workforce and the customers of companies to seek their views. I am not afraid to raise sensitive issues and questions in representing the views of the governors, ensuring that as many governors as possible are able to raise their concerns.

I am active in Merseyside and beyond in the following:

  • A founder member secretary and treasurer of SURF (Service Users Reference Forum) for people and carers of people with dementia working together to try to make changes in attitudes and services, provide a voice and influence decision makers
  • Set up general meeting groups for coffee and natter for dementia groups
  • Involved in the patient engagement and experience group of Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group
  • Founder member of ‘tide’ carers involvement network supported by The National Lottery
  • I am chair of the LExE Group (Liverpool Experts by Experience) of Liverpool University Doctor of Psychology and am involved in selection of course candidates, teaching, research and clinical aspects of the course

As a Governor I try and attend all Board Meetings as many QRV visits as possible plus events open to Governors and members so that I am aware of what is happening in the Trust and the feelings of the workforce and the service users and carers. 

Second term 1 May 2022 to 30 April 2025

Tashi Thornley


I put myself forward to be a governor because I am passionate about service user involvement and want to ensure the service user voice is heard. I also feel I hold all the Mersey Care values.


Before I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, I was elected Vice President Education at Leeds Beckett Students’ Union. Within this role, I sat on numerous boards and committees representing students and ensuring their voice was heard. During my term in office, I was shortlisted for a national award due to my hard work.

Since being under Mersey Care, I have used a wide range of the services. This has given me an understanding and broad knowledge of the diversity of services that Mersey Care has to offer. This has helped me understand what works well but also where there is room for potential improvements to be made in order for such services to work more effectively for the benefit of all service users.

I am currently under Springhouse Personality Disorder (PD) Hub. Over the past three years, I have sat on steering groups and contributed to the development of what is now a fully functioning seven-day crisis and day service for people with PD.

I instigated a name change of the PD Hub so people could feel more connected to the service and I ensured that this vote was put out to service users. I have also recently been appointed as a Service User Lead at Springhouse.

I am passionate, determined and will always strive to make positive change, ensuring that I do my best to represent those that voted for me.

Second term 1 May 2022 to 30 April 2025

Neil Williams


I’m passionate about making the NHS accessible and accountable to its patients. I’ll strengthen the voice and represent the neurodiverse and the 1-in-4 of adults who’ll experience mental health issues.

I live in Maghull, I am married and father to two grown-up daughters.  I’m a keen reader of sci-fi, a tech geek, mental health advocate and trying to get fit after 15+ months of lockdown.

After nearly 30 years of mental health issues associated with anxiety, late last year I was diagnosed with Asperger’s (a form of high-functioning Autism) and ADHD.  Sadly, to obtain this diagnosis and treatment I had to ‘go private’ as limited NHS capacity meant a 2 year wait for initial assessment. Previously I’ve volunteered as a school governor and currently mentor young adults via the Prince’s Trust.

I suspect had I had a diagnosis come earlier in my life, a lot of the NHS’ time and money would have been saved.  I’m a huge advocate for the NHS, and my overall experience of being a patient has been positive, but it needs to be held to account. I consider myself open, honest and transparent and will represent the experiences of those using mental health services and the neurodiverse.

First term 1 October 2021 to 30 April 2024


Election will be held autumn 2023