Our People


Joanie Dimavicius – Chair

As the English born daughter of a Lithuanian migrant Joanie brings knowledge and insights to ACCESS about being part of a migrant family. Her professional background is based in health and social policy. She has in-depth experience of the charitable sector as the founder Director of the national charity Antenatal Results and Choices (1988-2002) and as a founder trustee and Chair of the national charity Genetic Alliance UK (1989 -2013).

She spent 10 years training health professionals and was Communications Consultant to one of the Programmes of the NHS National Screening Committee for seven years. She is now retired and joined ACCESS (formerly KLARS) as a Trustee in 2013, becoming Chair in 2016.

Alastair Kent OBE FRSA – Vice Chair

Alastair was the executive director of Genetic Alliance UK (the UK alliance of over 200 patient support groups for patients and families with rare and genetic disorders) for almost 25 years. In that capacity he was actively engaged in developing policy and practice in biomedical research and service development that would reflect and respect the needs and expectations of patients and families affected by serious, chronic and life limiting diseases that are rare, genetic or which arise from a combination of both these factors. Alastair worked at a national, European and international level to ensure that the voice of patients and families were heard and acted on in situations where decisions are taken and plans are made. He has been a member of many committees and working groups and has lectured and published on a wide range of issues relevant to patient and family needs and expectations.

Alastair was made OBE for services to health care in 2011, and elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2017,

Since retiring from Genetic Alliance UK Alastair has continued to work on behalf of patients and families affected by rare and genetic diseases. He is currently co-chair of the UK Rare Disease Policy Board at the Department of Health and Social Care and Chair of the Rare Diseases Advisory Group for NHS England.

John Fletcher – Treasurer

John joined the ACCESS board in 2014.  He spent his working life providing editorial and publishing services to a range of companies.  Now retired he is applying those skills to help ACCESS promote its message and services, and has also taken on the role of Treasurer. He is married to Joanie Dimavicius, the Chair.

Thelma Wadsley – Secretary

Thelma brings experience of information, training and community capacity building to her role as Trustee with a total of 20 years management experience in charities and not for profit organisations. Having worked with unemployed adults, run her own training consultancy business for 12 years, set up support networks for farmers in crisis during the Foot and Mouth epidemic and worked in Community Development for 12 years, Thelma fully appreciates the impact of easy access to good information at the earliest opportunity.

Nell Steele – Trustee

Nell Steele used to be a family lawyer, but for the last five years has worked in a high school assisting the English teachers. She became an ACCESS trustee when the previous manager wrote to her overworked colleague and asked him to join. He really didn’t have the time, so Nell joined instead!
She has been a trustee for many years, bringing the benefit of her legal training, communication skills and useful ideas. Nell has always been impressed by what ACCESS does for migrant workers and by the commitment of its staff and volunteers.

Sailesh Panchal – Trustee

Sailesh is the Chief Technology Officer at Orwell Group, which have fintech bank ipagoo.com, bringing payments & account innovations across Europe, including Poland for 2018. Sailesh is also the Chief Payments Architect for the UK New Payments Architecture which has set the strategy for the UK. Prior to this Sailesh was at Lloyds Banking Group setting their regulatory technology strategy and solutions. Sailesh joined ACCESS as a trustee having heard of their mission in supporting and enabling people to work and integrate into the community wherever they are from, whilst on a cycle sportive with ACCESS’s Director, Emma Humphrey.  Sailesh hopes to contribute by bringing commercial, strategic and technical knowledge to the team.

Brenda Kent – Trustee

Brenda has spent most of her working life as a teacher in a variety of settings.  As a teacher of English as a Foreign Language to Adults in Cambridge language schools, she gained immense pleasure from watching her students form international friendships and learn about each other’s cultures.  Brenda felt enriched by her contact with learners from so many different backgrounds and countries.  It is this enthusiasm for cross-cultural exchange that has brought her to ACCESS. Now retired, she teaches a weekly ESOL class for local migrants as a volunteer.  She is married to Alastair Kent.


Management & Operations

Marie Connell – Director

Marie was born and raised in Kings Lynn. She grew up on Fairstead Estate and went to Springwood High School. Her first job after leaving school was with a local firm of solicitors. After a few years working abroad and then in Nottingham within the Public Sector Marie settled into a civilian career within the Police Service in London. She ended her time there in a senior management position leading the Shared Services Department. Marie decided it was time to return to the place she always called home in 2010 and worked for a number of organisations within the VCS before becoming the new Director of Access.  Marie is the Quality Representative for the Advice Quality Standard (AQS) and is also the Data Protection Officer for the organisation.

Sarah Parker – Operations Administrator

Sarah joined Access in March 2017 and works part time as the teams Operations Administrator.

Sarah worked previously as a Marketing Manager for a global organisation for 15 years achieving various qualifications throughout her career finally gaining a Master’s Degree in Business in 2009 at the Anglian Ruskin University.
Having worked in the corporate world for many years, Sarah is excited to be part of Access and is looking forward to seeing how the team works to help and support migrants within the local community.

Project Workers

Inna Celinska  (Latvian and Russian languages)

Inna attended Anglia Ruskin University and gained a BA Hons degree in Business Management in July 2012. In November 2012 she joined the ACCESS team as a tri-lingual project worker. She enjoys having the opportunity to support migrant communities and make a positive impact on their lives. Her interesting and diverse role also gives her the opportunity to enhance her essential knowledge and skills through continuous professional development and research.

Magdalena Collison  (Polish language)

Magda joined the team at ACCESS in September 2014. She has a wide range of interpreting experience in various public service situations and has worked as an interpreter since 2005. She holds professional qualifications in health and law interpreting. She always enjoyed helping people in her interpreting roles and joined ACCESS because it will enable her to help many more people. She enjoys being part of a team at ACCESS, having spent most of her time as an interpreter working alone. She is enjoying developing her skills and learning from the rest of the team.

Monika Mazeikaite  (Lithuanian language)

Monika joined ACCESS as a bilingual Project Worker in March 2011. She has completed interpreting courses that she believe add an extra professionalism to her work. She regularly attends training courses to improve her knowledge and to keep up-to-date with legislative and other changes. Monika is dedicated to helping other people and her work brings her great satisfaction.

Monika also enjoys being part of the team at ACCESS and hopes to help it grow and develop even more in the future.

Victoria Sorokina (Lithuanian and Russian languages)

Victoria joined ACCESS in March 2013. She is a multilingual project worker speaking English, Russian and Lithuanian. She holds a Batchelor`s (Hons) degree in Business and Management from Lithuania. She also has interpreting experience, which is useful in her work. She participates regularly in various training activities, which help her to improve her skills and to keep up-to-date with changes in legislation. She enjoys her job and likes new challenges. She is continuously focusing on self-improvement in her life in work and outside.

Olena Batista (Ukrainian, Russian and Polish languages)

Olena has been with ACCESS since 2006, originally as a part time project worker, then as a full time employee.  She left ACCESS in 2013 to start a new adventure in the housing sector but carried on volunteering at ACCESS.   She currently covers evening drop-ins in Wisbech and Kings Lynn.

She is very proud of what ACCESS has achieved over the many years she has been involved.  She is fully committed to ACCESS’s role in helping people to integrate into the community, supporting equality and diversity, and enhancing the life chances for newcomers by helping them understand their rights and responsibilities in this country.

She has a BA in Management from Lviv State University, Ukraine and an NVQ Level 3 in Business and Administration.

Ludmila Prohorova (Russian language)

Ludmila gained a World History of Culture Bachelor’s Degree in Latvia in 2006. In October 2013 she volunteered to help at ACCESS drop-in sessions and became a part-time project worker in January 2017. Ludmila enjoys helping people and feels she is making a difference by helping them to settle in this country. Ludmila is taking a Teaching and Learning (Teaching Assistant) Level 2 Course and also enjoys working at St. Michael’s Academy with Year 2 children.