About us

Staff and Associates

Salford Institute for Dementia (SID) emerged from the goal of University colleagues in enabling those living with dementia and their care partners to live as well as possible..

Our work focuses on the challenges faced by people living with dementia and their supporters and seeks to improve their lives in positive and meaningful ways. Our research is impactful and far reaching in scope and scale.  We have received funding from research councils, national and local charities, clinical commissioning groups, city and county councils, NHS trusts and other public sector providers. We collaborate with other researchers from across the world, as well as organisations, enterprises, service providers, and most importantly, people living with dementia to undertake our work.

The Institute began work in earnest to meet a community engagement agenda and established the Dementia Associates Panel. This panel is a group of people living with dementia and their care partners who work together to support and advise on the community engagement, research, education and enterprise activities that we undertake.

The staff team are tasked with taking the work of the Institute forward, this may be education or enterprise related activities, or research or community engagement activities, or a combination.

Collectively we are an experienced group of academics from different professional and disciplinary backgrounds.  We are skilled in delivering education, conducting research using a variety of research methods, securing funding from different sources to conduct research and enterprise work, and disseminating our research to academic audiences as well as our community engagement work where we maximise societal impact.

Institute staff

Professor Anthea Innes - Director

The work of the institute is directed by Professor Anthea Innes. Anthea is a social scientist who has specialised in dementia for around 25 years. She became the University of Salford’s first Professor of Dementia in June 2016 and also took on the role of the Coles-Medlock Director of the Salford Institute for Dementia. The Institute brings together innovative research across the University to find ways of helping people live well with the condition. She has previously worked at the University of Bradford as a Research Project Officer with the Bradford Dementia Group, where she also completed her PhD. She then worked as a Research Fellow and then a Senior Lecturer at the University of Stirling where she introduced and served as the inaugural programme Director for the first worldwide postgraduate online programme in Dementia Studies. In 2011, she became a Professor at Bournemouth University where she launched and directed the Bournemouth University Dementia Institute (BUDI). Anthea is a renowned leader in rural dementia care research and has led numerous public engagement and dementia awareness projects. She has led in excess of 70 research studies and collaborated on a further 20.

Anthea has over 150 publications in the form of peer reviewed or professional journal articles, book chapters, books and best practice guides.

Lesley Waring - Administrator

Lesley is the administrator for Salford Institute for Dementia and Ageing. She sits at the reception desk and is often the first face anyone will see when they come into the Dementia Hub. She offers administrative support to the Institute staff as well as being the PA to the Director of the Institute. She is our first point of contact for many in the community and she assists with practical aspects of the running of the groups we offer in the Hub. She has over 30 years’ administration experience; the last 20 years have been in the education sector. Lesley brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the team and a smile and warm welcome to all visitors to the Hub.

Mali Pocsai - Community Engagement Officer

Mali Pocsai has joined us in the hub as one of the community engagement officers. With a degree in Gerontology, lived experience of being a caregiver and an employment history inclusive of developing purpose-built housing for memory loss; she is delighted to join the team. Her principal areas of interest include connecting people, removing barriers to inclusion, and looking at the benefits of housing design on ageing well.

Siobhan Kelly - Community Engagement Officer

Siobhan has a background in the community and voluntary sector, having worked for a variety of charitable organisations for over 10 years. In 2019, she went on to start a PhD in Sociology at the University of Salford. Her research investigates the lived experience of older charity shop volunteers in the North West of England in order to better understand active ageing within the community. Siobhan has a keen interest in ageing and wellbeing in later life and is particularly passionate about social inclusion, community connectedness and empowerment. She previously worked with the Salford Institute for Dementia as a Research Assistant and is thrilled to be starting a new role at the hub.

Dementia Associates

We work very closely with a group of Dementia Associates who are people living with dementia and Carers and ex Carers.

Our group of Associates are a pivotal part of the research we carry out at Salford Institute for Dementia and Ageing and comprise of the following people.

Liz and Mike Brookes

Mike and Liz became Dementia Associates in March 2018. Their involvement with the institute began by attending the monthly Music Café; they now attend all the groups at the Dementia Hub.

Mike was a pilot in the Royal Air Force for 20 years. He began his service as an electronics officer, flying at the back of a Vulcan Bomber and even began piloting fighter jets. Being a pilot has taken him all over the world. He once flew the length of Australia, a journey that took him six hours to complete and remembers being astonished at the vastness of the country. When he left the air force Mike set up his own business in lab consumables before becoming a works manager. He feels he has had an exciting and varied career.

Liz and Mike met in the 1990’s when he was her lodger. It was possibly not the most obvious match for, while he was a pilot, she was protesting at Greenham Common! However, like the best romantic stories, they fell in love and married in 1993, they have recently celebrated their 25 year wedding anniversary. Together, they set up and ran a charity in Nicaragua. As part of their work they developed a network of trained primary care professionals to deliver health care to some of the most deprived areas in the country. During their seven years in Nicaragua they trained health care workers and set up pharmacies to benefit the community. Both agree that this was the most exciting and stimulating time in their lives.

Mike was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia in 2012. Since then they have been involved in a variety of dementia related projects. They are members of Dementia United and are engaged in shaping dementia services across the Greater Manchester area and are particularly interested in end of life care, post diagnostic support, delirium and transport. They are both Dementia Associates at SID because they are passionate about improving things for people living with the condition today and in the future. Mike has given talks about his experience at Clinical Commissioning groups and Patient Participation groups, they have also spoken at conferences and University events. Mike and Liz acknowledge that living with a diagnosis of dementia can be hard. However, they know that a diagnosis is not the end of the journey and that people can continue to live really well. They are still having a great time with each other and their two dogs!

Pat Foy 300 x 377
Pat Foy

I first got involved with dementia when my husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2010 when we were given lots of leaflets and advised to take any long haul holidays within the next two years!!  We had no experience of the disease within our families and decided we had better do something about it. One of the leaflets we had been given was from Age Concern (now Age UK) and so I contacted them. I can honestly say they were our lifeline, visiting us and talking us through the illness. From there we joined lots of different groups and although Malcolm never spoke about Alzheimer's he joined every support club he could and we had a very full and varied programme over the years, learning from other people's experiences. I joined a Carers Group and eventually we started our own group and I ended up being chair of the Carers and ExCarers Support Group, a position I still hold today. Malcolm eventually went into a care home, a decision that was taken out of my hands, and I can honestly say it was the worst day of my life.  Alzheimer's is a cruel and unforgiving disease and you have to learn to make your own rules and also learn how to live with it and to learn how to read the signs so that your loved one can lead as near normal a life as is possible. Malcolm lost his battle with Alzheimer's in 2019 and although I  felt like running away I realised that I could still give advice to newly diagnosed families and hopefully, in the not too distant future, be able to resume talks with students at Universities and hospitals about my experiences with dementia and hope it helps them to understand dementia, just like the talks I attended helped me.  I have made many " dementia friends"over the years  and we spend lots of happy times together.  Because of lockdown we have been unable to meet and have had zoom meetings instead. I cannot wait to get back to "normal" and get back into our other groups and to see my Associates at the Dementia Hub at the University for  coffee and cake and hopefully, lots of new ideas regarding research into the world if dementia.

Vera Shaw

Vera became involved with the Institute for Dementia in 2013. Vera became active with the Institute when she contributed to the original design and development of the Dementia Hub. Vera brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to her role as a Dementia Associate from her past career and her present caring roles.

Vera trained as a nurse in Salford in 1980 and spent 10 years working in the area of Neurology. For the past 20 years, Vera has supported her Father who lives with Vascular Dementia and for the past 11 years Vera has also supported her brother, also living with Vascular Dementia.  Vera continues her caring roles whilst also living with memory issues herself for the past 3 years. 

Vera is a busy lady with her involvement in numerous community groups across Greater Manchester in addition to her continued input with nursing students in the School of Health and Society, conference presentations and community engagement activities.  Vera does find time for hobbies and she is passionate about music, singing in her church choir and attending theatre productions when she can. Vera also takes a keen interest in alternative therapies including aromatherapy, meditation and massage.

Through Vera’s experience of caring for her father and brother, she became passionate about trying to improve the lives of those who are living with dementia or caring for someone living with the condition. She also has a keen interest in new and current research surrounding how the lives of people living with dementia can be improved and how carers can be supported. In her role as a Dementia Associate, Vera uses her knowledge of dementia to support others who are living life in similar ways. Vera’s dedication and experience in supporting people living with dementia to have worthwhile lives provides a valuable perspective which contributes to the work of the Institute. Most importantly, Vera offers a perspective from someone living with memory issues and is a strong advocate for raising awareness and hearing the ‘voice’ of people living with dementia.

Pam Williamson portrait
Pam Williamson

Pam became involved with the Dementia Institute in 2013 and became a Dementia Associate in 2016. She cared for her husband Peter who was living with dementia until he passed away in 2011.   Pam and Peter met through their church and were married for almost fifty years. They were keen walkers and would spend most weekends going on different routes around Greater Manchester and Derbyshire. They also enjoyed travelling to different holiday destinations and were also involved in Folk and Morris Dancing. Alongside these hobbies, Pam was a primary school teacher for over thirty years and through the dementia community has met some of her old students.

Through Pam’s experience of caring for husband, she became passionate about trying to improve the lives of those who are living with dementia or caring for someone living with the disease.  She also has a keen interest in new and current research surrounding how the lives of people living with dementia can be improved and how carers can be supported. In her role as a Dementia Associate, Pam uses her knowledge of dementia to support others who are in a similar situation. Through her first-hand experience of caring for someone living with the disease, Pam can provide both emotional and practical support to a wide range of attendees within the Hub. Pam is also the treasurer of The Carers and Ex-Carers Support Group. This provides specific support for carers of people living with dementia through numerous group sessions and trips. Pam’s passion and experience in supporting people living with dementia to have worthwhile lives provides a valuable perspective which contributes to the work of the Institute.


Mario and Maria Della-Cerra

Maria and Mario have been dementia associates since 2018 and have engaged in many different activities at the Dementia Hub. Maria was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia in 2015 and they were referred to the Institute by a social worker who suggested that the Hub would be a good way for them both to engage with stimulating social activities.

Maria and Mario met at an Italian Dance in Manchester and once talking, realised that they were both from the same area of Italy.  This provided a good conversation starter and they have now been married for forty years.  Mario was from a farming background, however when he moved to live with Maria, he realised there was a lack of farming areas within Manchester. This led him to use his skills and knowledge to work within landscaping and after completing a three-year apprenticeship, he and Maria set up their own successful landscape business. During this time, they worked for a range of clients including lottery winners and local councils.

Mario has been able to use his excellent knowledge of horticulture to develop and progress the work of the dementia garden at The Hub. His skills and contacts have enabled the development of the garden enjoyed by many of the attendees of the Good Life Club.

Through being Dementia Associates, Maria and Mario have had the opportunity to learn more about dementia and to speak with other people who are affected by dementia. The Institute allows them to meet and connect with a diverse range of people who are at different points in their journey with dementia. They are also passionate about raising awareness of dementia to the wider public and fundraising for various dementia related causes. 

Unfortunately Maria passed away early 2021.

Cherryl Handley

The first time I became aware of dementia was when my brother in law Malcolm was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2010. I was living with my sister Pat and Malcolm at that time and realised how Malcolm's personality was changing. He had always been a very active person, going to the gym and going out for meals with friends. He loved going on holidays and was always booking surprise holidays. At the beginning of his illness he was just very forgetful and constantly repeating things but as the Alzheimer's progressed he didn't want to go out and meet friends and just wanted to be with Pat and followed her everywhere. When we went out shopping, we were constantly making sure he was with us because he could quickly walk off and that was very worrying. He did love going with us to the singing with dementia group at the Humphrey Booth Resource Centre but used to get up and dance, sometimes with the artist. Like As Pat would say, he had never done that before. I think it is a very cruel disease for family and especially for the person themselves. To see someone struggling to find words is very hard. When Malcolm eventually went into care, we used to visit him every day and play dominoes, he was still able to beat us yet couldn't remember how to write his name. I think any research into dementia is very worthwhile and being an Associate at Salford I realise how necessary this is.

Jackie Gandy

Jackie has been involved with the Institute Dementia since its inception in 2014.

Jackie has extensive experience of dementia and looked after her husband Harold, who was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2006.

Jackie cared for Harold at home until 2013 while still working full-time at the University of Manchester as a Student Support Officer.

When Harold died in 2015 Jackie felt that the easiest thing to do would be to walk away from dementia entirely. However, she realised that over the years of caring she had built up a wealth of knowledge and experience of dementia and she wanted to put this to good use.

Jackie is passionate about using her expertise to make Salford a better place for people living with dementia and their care partners.


AS well as being an Associate and a Dementia Champion with Salford Clinical Commissioning Group, she is also the secretary for carers and ex-carers support group run by carers for carers.

She has been invited to speak to nurses and students about her caring role and also speak about end-of-life care.

Jackie feels that as an ex-carer it is important to stay involved in the world of dementia to support other people living with the condition, as she says it could be her one day.

Her enthusiasm for what she does is admirable, and we are very lucky to have her input on the activities undertaken at the Institute.