The Training Exchange
The Training Exchange

Our Team

Jo Bush

Jo Bush, Training Exchange Director, co-ordinates all training with support of our administration team. Qualified as a youth worker and trainer, Jo has a wealth of 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 training for trainers and drug & alcohol awareness and interventions training at professional and community levels for 25 years.

Phil Harris

Phil Harris has worked with complex needs for over 28 years as a practitioner, trainer and manager. He has extensive experience across the field having worked in frontline drug and alcohol services, street homeless day centres and mental health services.

He has managed a wide range of teams including family services, young people, dual diagnosis & personality disorders and substance misuse. He is a visiting lecturer at Bristol University Social Policy Unit. 

He has written over 20 scholarly articles on effective practice and has published five books on substance misuse, treatment effectiveness, family and young people with complex needs.

He has designed county-wide and residential treatment programmes for adults & young people, and his book on young people has been described as “unrivalled” in its scope of understanding and addressing complex needs.

Chris Johnstone

Chris has been involved in teaching resilience skills for over thirty years. After a first degree specialising in psychology, he graduated in medicine, trained as a GP and then worked in the mental health field, where for many years he ran a psycho-educational group-based programme teaching resilience skills. 

Influenced much by Positive Psychology, he trained with Martin Seligman in 2005 and started teaching Positive Psychology at Bristol University. Since then he has pioneered the role of resilience training in mental health promotion, the health service and the workplace. 

His video-based online course Personal Resilience in an Hour has participants from more than 55 different countries, his new book Seven Ways to Build Resilience was published in April 2019.

Susan Lawrence

Susan is an experienced and creative trainer, group facilitator, practicing Dramatherapist and Social Worker; qualified in further & adult education, social work, youth & community work and Dramatherapy. 

Susan has over 25 years’ experience of delivering training and supporting team and service development in a variety of sectors. 

Susan works from a community development perspective specialising in developing communication skills and confidence, using inclusive and creative methods to maximise participants’ learning and enjoyment.

Sal Ball

Sal has over 20 years’ experience working in the fields of mental health, wellbeing, trauma and personality disorder. She has worked extensively developing and running support groups within the community, delivering safe and effective courses to a wide range of clients. 

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 volunteers, frontline staff and specialist mental health professionals in supporting individuals in distress, both on the phone and in person. 

Her approach aids participants to explore complex issues safely, and to reflect on 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.

Clare Lucas

Clare’s background is in homelessness, housing advice and working with young people. 

Since 2002 she has been delivering training in to housing, homelessness and care providers to raise awareness of legal, professional and ethical issues relating to processes and culture in organisations. 

Her courses are practical using real and relevant examples and attempt to cut through the sometimes complex and confusing legal frameworks and jargon that can beset effective work. 

Susan Moores

Susan brings 30 years of varied experience in ‘people work’ to her training delivery with the company. She has been in many paid and unpaid roles in community and youth work, voluntary sector development and management. 

Her approach to supervision is grounded in values that recognise the personal story and collective endeavour, whilst also paying attention to organisational change and the wider context in which we work. 

She is committed to reflective practice, and in all roles Susan works from the heart to make a positive contribution. She has lived and worked in Bristol, Wiltshire, Kenya, Ghana and Cornwall.

Suzanne Pearson

Suzanne Pearson is a Registered Mental Health Nurse and Accredited CBT therapist. 

She has extensive experience of supporting individuals to recover from mental and emotional distress working in the NHS and voluntary sector as a practitioner and service manager. She is an independent mental health and social care trainer, qualified in adult training. 

Suzanne is nationally qualified as a Mental Health First Aid (Adult, Youth and Higher Education) and as an Applied Suicide Intervention Skills (ASIST) instructor.

Dr Mike Peirce

Mike has extensive experience as a drug worker and trainer. As founder and chief executive officer of The Southmead Project, 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.

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.

Lucy Giles


Lucy Giles has worked for SafeLives since 2010, in a range of roles including Marac development officer for the South West and Wales, practice consultant and programme Lead for Wales and the Marac lead for the organisation. She also writes domestic abuse safeguarding policy and guidance for the voluntary and statutory sector. Lucy has delivered training in a range of organisations including domestic abuse services, police, health, children’s social care, adult safeguarding, covering domestic abuse, risk assessment, Marac and multi-agency working, and domestic abuse and older people; as well as delivering regularly at conferences around the UK.

Lucy brings 30 years’ experience in the social welfare sector both frontline and strategically; primarily in mental health, homelessness/housing, substance misuse, domestic abuse and sexual violence. She was previously Chair of the board of trustees for Somerset and Avon Rape and Sexual Abuse Services (SARSAS). Lucy is an accredited trainer and has an MA in Ethics of Social Welfare.