The Training Exchange
The Training Exchange

Our Team

Jo Bush

Jo is the director of The Training Exchange. Qualified as a youth worker and trainer, she has over 20 years experience in the development, management and delivery of training. Jo manages the organisation as well as developing and co-ordinating training and consultancy, ranging from small community based initiatives to large scale regional and national programmes. Jo has been involved in delivering drug & alcohol awareness and interventions training at professional and community levels for 22 years. Jo has extensive project management experience and has facilitated a range of service improvement initiatives.

Phil Harris

Phil has worked in the drug misuse field for over 20 years as a practitioner, trainer and manager. He worked as Volunteer Manager, Support Services Manager and Acting Director for Bristol Drugs Project. Currently he works as a researcher, treatment designer and writer in the area of evidence based practice, behavioural change and treatment policy. He has designed innovative treatment systems in 25 counties that have achieved the highest rates of clinical outcomes in the UK. He is a visiting lecturer at Bristol University and has published over 20 articles as well as four books on treatment and effectiveness including: Drug Induced, Empathy for the Devil, The Concerned Other: How to change problematic drug and alcohol users though their family members and Youthoria: Adolescent substance misuse - problems, prevention and treatment (2013).

Chris Johnstone

Chris worked for over 17 years as a doctor/group therapist within a specialist NHS alcohol team; before this working in mental health and general practice. He has over 30 years experience of teaching resilience skills, and has pioneered the role of resilience training in healthcare, education and the workplace. He has taught brief interventions to reduce alcohol-related harm since the mid 1990s. Over the last seven years he has worked closely with the Training Exchange in delivering both resilience and alcohol brief intervention training, running courses for hundreds of people throughout the South-West of England. He is the author of two books and many articles on the psychology of change, is a popular keynote speaker and now also runs courses online.

Susan Lawrence

Susan is an experienced trainer, group facilitator and practicing dramatherapist, qualified in further & adult education, youth & community work and social work. She has 20 years experience of working in the voluntary and community sector. Susan works from a community development perspective specialising in communication and confidence skills, using inclusive and creative methods to maximise participants’ learning and enjoyment.

Sal Ball

Sal has 20 years experience working in the fields of mental health, wellbeing and sexual violence. As a manager of both local and national helplines providing mental health and self injury support, she has built an expertise in training and developing good practice for both volunteers and frontline workers. Her approach aids participants to explore complex issues safely, and to manage the impact of work on their own well-being.

Sarah Blake

Sarah has over fifteen years’ experience working in frontline services. In the last five years these have been based within healthcare settings. Previously Sarah worked as an IDSVA working with high-risk clients and has experience of the MARAC, criminal justice and civil law systems. She also has experience of working with people with drug and alcohol problems. Sarah has worked directly with patients who have experienced domestic abuse and has trained clinicians and health practitioners to recognise and respond to domestic abuse. She has an MSc in ‘health promotion, research and policy change’ and a postgraduate certificate in the ‘dynamics of domestic abuse’. Sarah also has a background in domestic abuse research.

Pat Johnson

Pat was a social worker in local authority and NHS mental health services for many years. At a time when the impact of childhood abuse and trauma was not fully understood, she worked with survivors to raise awareness and influence practice by developing innovative training programmes on trauma and recovery. Later as manager of a mental health charity she set up a specialist counselling service for men and women who experienced childhood sexual abuse. She currently has a private counselling practice and is a freelance trainer.

Clare Lucas

Clare’s background is in homelessness and working with young people. Since 2002 she has been delivering training to staff, managers and commissioners in supported housing and social care. Her particular interests and expertise are around professional boundaries, lone working, risk assessment, safeguarding and outcomes based support planning, and the impact that these areas have on effective work with vulnerable people.

Susan Moores

Susan has 25 years' experience in ‘people work’, in a range of paid and voluntary delivery and management roles, which she brings to her training, facilitation and supervision work. Her style and approach is grounded in values that recognise the personal story, collective endeavour and community development; whilst also paying attention to organisational change and the wider context in which we work. She is committed to reflective practice, and works from the heart to make a positive contribution. Having worked in Bristol for two decades, she is now living in Cornwall with a varied week, including development work with social purpose organisations, delivering training and supporting staff in Plymouth, as well as occasional and cooking at a residential centre on Dartmoor!

Suzanne Pearson

Suzanne is a mental health practitioner with extensive experience of working with people who have mental health and emotional support needs in statutory and voluntary sector services. She is an independent mental health and social care trainer and CBT therapist. Suzanne is nationally qualified as a Mental Health First Aid, ASIST, KUF Personality Disorder and RECC instructor.

Dr Mike Peirce

Mike has extensive experience as a drug worker and trainer. He is founder and chief executive officer of The Southmead Project, where he developed specific services working with adult survivors of child abuse who had turned to drugs in order to suppress the emotions that follow such trauma. In 2000 he accepted an MBE for ‘services to Bristol and for the welfare of drug users’. More recently Mike has accepted an honorary doctorate from the University of Bristol for his work with adult survivors of child abuse. He continues to help pioneer and encourage further research and training into the topic.

Nicola Rich

Nicola Rich has over 20 years’ experience working in the private sector in human resources, where she is a professional HR Manager, coach and wellbeing trainer. She is also a qualified Psychotherapist, a Certified Social + Emotional Intelligence Coach through the Institute for Social + Emotional Intelligence® and a Mental Health First Aid instructor. Nicola is often invited to keynote speak at conferences on the subject of wellbeing at work and in recent times has spoken on the radio as an expert in this area.

Toria Moore

Toria has worked in charity management for 10 years, working collaboratively to develop vision, direction and strategy in keeping with organisation values and ethos. She has experience in leading teams of staff and volunteers in many situations, including overseeing expansions and restructures. Toria is an accredited c-me colour profiling facilitator and trained counsellor. She is committed to developing people as individuals and coaching teams to grow for the benefit of all.

Rowan Miller


After gaining a degree in psychology, Rowan worked in drug and alcohol services for 18 years as a practitioner and manager in both young people and adult services. She has continued to develop as a manager & leader in a number of roles including Deputy Regional Alcohol Manager for the South West, Development Manager for The Training Exchange, CEO of Somerset and Avon Rape and Sexual Abuse Support (SARSAS) and most recently as a Funding Manager for the National Lottery Community Fund. She is a qualified coach and has completed the leadership and facilitation course with Schumacher College “Co-creating the emerging future”.

Ruth Hallett

Ruth Hallett loves turning ideas into reality. Ruth has over 20 years of project and programme management delivery experience. She trained at KPMG and since then has worked on a vast range of IT and change projects for commercial, voluntary and public sector clients, including Virgin Atlantic, Barclays Bank, Marks and Spencer, a number of Local Authorities, The Welsh Assembly, Gwent Police, and Local and National NHS Organisations. High performing teams exist when everyone has equal time to speak, Ruth believes in using techniques which increase participation and make work more fun.