Anna Freud is a world-leading mental health charity for children, young people and their families. Our purpose is to take everything we have learned over the last 70 years to help transform the mental health of current and future generations of children and young people. We aim to close the gap between mental illness and mental wellness and to create a more compassionate society for everyone.
Established in 2012, AT-Autism is a non-profit UK autism training, clinical services and consultancy provider that operates across the UK and internationally. AT-Autism has strong autistic representation across the organisation at board and associate level.
We specialise in all aspects of neurodiversity, autism, mental health, and behaviours of concern, and have worked with numerous statutory and other bodies, including NHS and other national and local government departments in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, as well as internationally.
We offer a mixture of bespoke and CPD accredited training, with co-design, co-production and co-delivery at its core. Our remit is to provide a range of professional services from leaders in the autism field that will result in the improved health and wellbeing of autistic people, their families and the services that support them. Together we share a commitment to creating lasting positive change for autistic people, their families and the staff working with them.
Meet the team
Claire Evans, Acting Director of Education and Training, Anna Freud
Claire is an experienced leader in implementing change in organisations, delivering new children and young people’s national workforce programmes and ensuring mental health services deliver high quality, accessible and accountable interventions.
She is a Systemic Psychotherapist and leads on training across Anna Freud including Children’s Wellbeing Practitioner (CWP), Educational Mental Health Practitioner (EMHP), Recruit to Train and Tier 4 courses. Claire is the Lead from Anna Freud on the National Hub for the Knowledge and Understanding Framework (KUF) working with West London NHS Trust to create and deliver training on working with people who present with complex mental health needs.
Claire will have oversight of the National Autism Trainer Programme, including contract management, management of the Strategic Co-Leads and Lead Trainers and all programme management staff.
Dr Georgia Pavlopoulou, Strategic Co-Lead and Programme Director, Anna Freud and University College London
Georgia is a neurodivergent academic who has a PhD in Developmental Psychology and Mental Health and is the Founder of the University College London (UCL) Group in Research in Relationships and Neurodiversity, and is an AT-Autism Associate Consultant. She is using a combination of behavioural, phenomenological and participatory techniques together with a developmental approach to understand social determinants of autistic mental health through autistic people’s personal accounts (stress, belonging, loneliness, low mood, family experiences). Georgia is committed to creative participatory health and educational research, co-producing work with community members. Georgia has 20 years’ experience working with autistic people and their family members and has felt the benefits of involving them at the heart of clinical and educational decision making. She is currently a Medical Research Council (MRC) co-investigator in emotional regulation and depression prevention in autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and a trainee UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) psychotherapist.
Georgia has led national and international short courses for mental health practitioners working in educational and NHS systems with young people with atypical development. Georgia has been nominated for the David Cottrell ‘Education of CAMH Professionals’ Award 2020 and 2021 and won the UCL Impact Award 2021 and UCL Professional Award for her work with East Londoners to tackle stigma, inequalities and mental health with and for autistic adults. During the pandemic, she co-authored reports that have been cited by the Policy Innovation and Evaluation Research Unit (PIRU), which informed the government's new autism strategy 2021–2026.
She is passionate about working with marginalised groups, service users, scholar activists and mental health services to facilitate service transformation and advance mental health practice through better cross-agency collaboration, translational research and service user participation.
Dr Ruth Moyse, Strategic Co-Lead and Programme Director, AT-Autism
Dr Ruth Moyse is a neurodivergent Director and Associate consultant at AT-Autism and a Visiting Research Fellow in the Department of Psychology at the University of Southampton. She is a guest lecturer at Universities and for organisations across the country, including at Anna Freud.
A teacher by background, her interests are autism, education, and mental health. She co-leads programmes co-designed, co-developed and co-delivered with autistic people, including experts by experience, across school and health settings, in the UK and internationally. Her academic research prioritises participatory, creative approaches that seek to empower the ‘voices’ of marginalised populations and inform/transform practice through the co-creation of knowledge. She has published on the experiences of autistic girls in school and of autistic school staff.
She is a Trustee of the John and Lorna Wing Foundation, supporting autism research. Ruth sits on several Advisory committees and editorial boards. These include the editorial board of research website Information Autism, which provides impartial, scientifically accurate and accessible information on autism, and on interventions and support designed for autistic people.
Professor Richard Mills, Lead Trainer, AT-Autism
Richard is an Associate Consultant and Adviser to AT-Autism. He is a Research Fellow at the University of Bath and holds roles at universities and research centres in Australia, Japan, Singapore and Scotland. Richard chairs the Research and Innovation Council at Inspire Foundation, in conjunction with the University of Malta, and was a founding Trustee of the John and Lorna Wing Foundation, supporting autism research.
For 23 years, Richard was first Director of Services at National Autistic Society, responsible for early years, schools, and adult services, and later Director of Research. He has authored numerous scientific papers, book chapters, and articles on autism, and edited for Autism, the International Journal of Research and Practice, and the journal Advances in Autism. Richard was a member of the NICE Guideline Development Groups for Autism in Adults and Behaviours that Challenge, and of the Northern Ireland Autism Research Advisory Committee.
Richard has also acted as Autism Adviser to Jersey; consultant to the Cabinet Office; is a member of Westminster Autism Commission; is UK lead for the Australian Centre for Quality of Life; and is working with PREVENT on counter-terrorism and neurodiversity.
Chris Atkins, Community of Practice Lead, AT-Autism
Chris has worked with and for autistic people for over 30 years in a variety of specialist services and agencies. Since 2001, he has been the Chief Executive Officer at Stroud Court Community Trust, a specialist charity providing residential and support services to autistic adults. As a Director at AT-Autism, Chris has worked nationally and internationally with partner agencies to provide training and consultancy in all aspects of autism and related neurodevelopmental conditions.
He is also a Teaching Fellow for the Department of Disability, Inclusion and Special Needs at the University of Birmingham School of Education, where he facilitates undergraduate and postgraduate student communities of practice.
Chris previously worked with the National Autistic Society as Group Manager, Adult Services Manager and Head of Projects and Developments. He is the lead Learning Disability representative for the Gloucestershire Care Providers Association and was a founder member of the Gloucestershire Joint Learning Disability Commissioning Team Challenging Behaviour Strategy Working Group. Chris has many years’ experience in operational leadership and strategic development in human services. He has a particular interest in cultural and values-based organisational change, training, and staff support.
Jacky Towells, Director, AT-Autism
Jacky is an experienced and accomplished professional with substantial experience in finance, organisational management and strategic planning in the care sector. She has held senior positions in specialist autism care services in the independent sector for over 20 years. Jacky is a founding director of AT-Autism and takes a leading role in the strategic, financial and operational management aspects of the company and in providing close support to the board and network of Associates.
Irina Nedelcu, Programme Manager - Implementation, Anna Freud
Irina has over six years' experience of workforce development planning, implementation and delivery of children and young people's (CYP) mental health HEE funded postgraduate programmes. She has been successfully supporting implementation of IAPT principles across NHS, third sector, local authority mental health services as well as supporting participation, consultation and co-production with young people and adults with lived experience.
Rhys Owen, Training, Conferences and Events Lead, Anna Freud
Rhys has over 6 years’ experience of delivering a wide range of mental health and wellbeing training courses, conferences, and events; he is passionate about, and dedicated to, providing seamless, high-quality experiences for delegates. Rhys is a Training, Conferences and Events Lead at Anna Freud and will work closely with collaborators to ensure smooth delivery of the National Autism Trainer Programme.