Copy of Staff


Jane Shaw

Jane has worked with AFD for more than 25 years, having joined the organisation as a volunteer in 1996. She was a Resource Centre, clinic and home visiting volunteer for many years, served as a trustee for 5 years and was Chair of the trustees for 2 years. She also worked from head office in Haywards Heath twice a week for several years, on a voluntary basis, to help with grant applications and fund raising.

In 2005 Jane became a part-time employee as Volunteer Service Co-ordinator and subsequently took over as CEO in October 2007. Jane oversaw the migration of the organisation into a charitable company limited by guarantee and a major rebranding, in 2008.

Jane manages AFD’s NHS audiology contract and secured contracts with four Clinical Commissioning Groups in Sussex. In 2012 AFD became the first organisation in the UK to be accredited by the UK Accreditation Service (UKAS) against the IQIPS standards. Accreditation has been reconfirmed every year since.

Jane oversaw the expansion of the organisation to provide many audiology bases around Sussex and the move to new premises in both Haywards Heath and Worthing. Some of the outreach bases have now been closed due to the impact of the Covid -19 Pandemic but remote service has been maintained for all AFD patients and new patients are seen in Covid secure premises in Haywards Heath, Worthing or Steyning.

Having grown up in the hearing world, Jane lost her hearing very suddenly when she was 24 years old. For 2 years she had a little residual hearing on the right side and was able to get some benefit from one very powerful hearing aid. However, the last vestiges of sound disappeared very quickly and left Jane with no residual hearing at all. In 1989 Jane became the seventh UK recipient of a Cochlear Implant and has experienced great success with this device.

With personal experience of all levels of hearing loss and of natural hearing Jane has a great insight into the needs of our client base. Jane is totally committed to ensuring this organisation provides the best possible service to Deaf, deafened and hard of hearing people.

Jane has served as a trustee of UK Council on Deafness and the National Cochlear Implant Association. She was the proud recipient of the Heather Jackson Award for Deafened People in 2014.

Jane is often asked to advise other organisations about the delivery of adult rehabilitation audiology services by a third sector organisation and about the UKAS accreditation process.

Andy Wells

Andy is the Clinical Lead for Action for Deafness and has management responsibility of the Audiology team. Andy joined Action for Deafness in 2016 as a student audiologist then completed his Audiology training at Anglia Ruskin University.

Prior to training as an Audiologist Andy had a career in Finance working in the public sector for 16 years. He spent most of that time working for East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust in a variety of roles.

Since qualifying in Audiology Andy has continued to enhance his professional development attending specialist courses on Tinnitus and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

Andy is a keen sportsman and enjoys a variety of sports particularly football which he has played at County level.

Andy grew up in a military household and spent most of his formative years travelling and attended school in 3 different countries.

During his free time Andy likes to enjoy time with his family and makes the most of the countryside afforded to him by living on the South Coast, in Eastbourne.


James Leare

James joined Action for Deafness in April 2013, having found out about it the previous year. James graduated from the University of Southampton in 2012 with a degree in Audiology, a four-year course. James was able to gain experience in a wide range of fields in Audiology, including adult rehabilitation, paediatrics and vestibular rehabilitation.

James has a particular interest in tinnitus and vestibular rehabilitation, which is something he hopes to pursue in the future.

Sophie Patterson

Being a hearing child of profoundly born Deaf parents, Sophie had always held a strong interest in working within, and for, the Deaf community. Whilst doing several A levels at sixth form college, Sophie attended an evening class gaining CACDP levels one and two in British Sign Language which she thoroughly enjoyed.

Sophie joined Action for Deafness in September 2008 as the Worthing Resource Centre Assistant providing aftercare and advice to those with hearing aids, and demonstrating and selling equipment to provide more independence to those with a hearing loss. In Sophie’s words, “the real highlight of the job is seeing all the people who walk through our door who really appreciate the work that we do, and compliment on how much we have helped them in whatever way they needed”.
Sophie is now Audiology Administrator/ Audiologist handling the patient management system. Sophie is also a trained audiologist having trained and qualified with Action for Deafness.

Sophie continues to support the organisation with her BSL skills when required.

Mark Pearce

Mark joined Action for Deafness in September 2010 as a student audiologist having received some mentoring at a practice in Eastbourne before progressing to studying and training with the organisation. Mark completed his Foundation Degree in 2011 and became a full time Audiologist.

Since then, he has focused on adult aural rehabilitation with a particular interest in tinnitus counselling. Mark makes good use of communication skills developed during his former career in retail and staff training.

Mark is a keen runner who enjoys making the most of taking of the Eastbourne seafront and harbor close to his home as well as attending the weekly parkrun events at Shinewater Park.

Sandy Viljoen

Sandy qualified as a Speech Pathologist and Audiologist in 1992. She graduated from Stellenbosch University in the Cape Province of South Africa. She worked in this role for state hospitals in Johannesburg and Cape Town, until 1997 when she was asked to join a private practice with a leading ENT surgeon. At this point Sandy started to focus more on the Audiology side of her qualification.
She and her husband moved to the UK in 1999. Sandy worked for the NHS as an Audiologist and continued her private work part-time until she took a break from work to have children in 2002.

She returned to work part time in 2007 working at AFD’s Worthing base. Sandy then spent a few years working for a private hearing company, before returning to work with Action for Deafness in January 2013.
Sandy is local to the Steyning area where she is based and enjoys having the South Downs on her doorstep for walking.

Jenny Easey

Jenny has worked with Action For Deafness as an audiology administrator since 2011. She manages the audiologists’ schedules ensuring that patients are always seen as quickly as possible and the audiologists are always busy.

Jenny previously worked for Monarch Airlines and spent most of her 20s travelling to lots of new and exciting places.

Jenny lives close to the beach with her son and partner and enjoys spending her free time going for long walks by the sea with them.

Danielle first joined AFD in 2015 as a Resource Centre assistant at the Worthing base. During her time on the front desk she enjoyed learning more about assistive listening devices, how hearing aids work and she developed a strong interest in audiology. She progressed to the role of Worthing Services Manager and decided that she wanted to develop her knowledge of audiology further. She completed her foundation degree in hearing aid audiology in 2020 enjoyed learning more about how the ear and hearing aids work. After some time on maternity leave Danielle has now re-joined the AFD team and is excited about the future of AFD and the hearing aids that it provides. Danielle feels that the pandemic has had a huge impact on the world but that it has had a very positive impact on technology and people’s perceptions of what can be done remotely. The new hearing aids that AFD offer are excellent. Offering remote care to patients was something that was starting to come into the private sector but, due to the pandemic, it has now become widely available on the NHS. Danielle is proud that AFD has embraced the potential of the new technology.

Hi there

My name is Gerry Woodger. I joined AFD in August 2021 and I am delighted to be part of the team here.

I previously worked in administrative roles for 10 years at the Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead in the Burns and Plastic Surgery Departments.

Prior to this, my career was in the Airline industry which led to my love of travel. Other interests are music, dancing, walking and I am a member of the National Trust.

Working for a charity has always been an aspiration of mine and I am thrilled to join this beneficial organisation.  

Helen Smith
Helen had previously worked in retail for 12 years, working with a wide range of people and gaining a lot of experience in customer service. Whilst working in retail, Helen also enjoyed having conversations with some regular customers who use BSL. She became a volunteer with AFD in 2015 and then began working as Audiology Administrator full time in 2016. Helen greatly enjoys supporting the patients through her role at AFD and being part of the team.