cat

Cat

Chief Executive Director & PIPPS Founder
Senior Lawyer

PIPPS was my brainchild after I saw first-hand, the struggles which disabled people face against the benefits system. I felt compelled to use my legal knowledge and skills to offer proactive support to anyone going through the claim or appeal process.

After graduating with a Law Society Law Degree (LL.B Hons) in 2014 and then obtaining one of only a handful of scholarships granted nationwide, from the Law Society for the Legal Practice Course and the Post Graduate Diploma in Law – I am currently writing my Masters (LL.M) on Disability Law.

During that time, I began working on benefits claims and PIPP’s first office was in my spare bedroom. I then rented a tiny office in the building where we still reside. In 2019, Gemma and Chantelle then came to join me and since then, we have grown from strength to strength as an organisation – helping tens of thousands of people.

Disability Law is an area that I am truly passionate about, in both my professional and personal life. I have health problems of my own, suffer from ME/CFS, ASD, ADHD and also an upper limb injury. In the past, I have been an unofficial carer for my disabled dad, so whilst I can never say I understand the exact struggles of every client, I do genuinely understand, first-hand, some of the issues disabled and ill people face.

Due to this, in 2021, I was honoured to have been recognised by the Shaw Trust as one of their ‘Disability Power 100’ – which is a list of some of the most influential disabled people in the U.K. within their Politics and Law category. – Cat Gillett – Shaw Trust Disability Power 100.

Christopher

Chris

Director
Senior Lawyer

After spending a number of years gaining life experience whilst working as a self-employed electrician following completion of an apprenticeship, I decided to take a huge leap with my career. I embarked on a journey into the Legal world – studying for a Law Degree – which I attained with first-class honours and now my Legal Practice Course (Solicitors Qualifications) with a Masters Degree in Law and Business Management – a journey that has made me into the person that I am today.

Whilst undertaking my legal studies I had a deep desire to assist those who required professional help. I started to work providing pro bono advice whilst assisting people with PIP appeals for a local authority welfare department. My experience assisting with PIP appeals paved the way for my current position as a Senior Disability Advocate, doing the job which I love.

Over the past few years, alongside my legal studies, I have spent a lot of time supporting some very close friends of mine who have been diagnosed with a number of mental health conditions. Seeing the suffering and difficulties further drove my desire to help those in need. One of the main driving forces behind my love for this job is seeing my friend’s young daughter diagnosed with serious heart conditions and associated symptoms, that will stick with her for life.

During my time working here at PIPPS, I have assisted a large number of claimants with disability applications, and assessments and now spend most of my time office based, composing legal submissions for mandatory reconsiderations and supporting claimants with their appeals.

It has been an honour to assist so many people to gain the assistance that they need and deserve. I am looking forward to continuing to provide this assistance. In addition to this, I have been able to help out with PIPP’s IT and computer systems and organisational processes due to the extensive knowledge, experience and technical/business skills that I gained in my previous career.

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Gemma Rose

Operations Director

I was the first person to join Cat at PIPPS as we began to grow back in 2019 – at which point Cat and I shared a tiny desk in a windowless office. Thank goodness we were already good friends – as we were sharing the same chair at some points. If you have followed us for a while, you will know that we have grown significantly since then (and of course, I now have my own desk 😊).

Some of you may know me by answering your queries on the free advice service via Facebook messenger or emails. I am always on standby to assist you with your general enquires or to handle your documents and evidence safely with regard to your MR’S and Appeals. Internally, I look after HR and accounts.

Outside of work, I am a doting mother of 4 and a Reiki 2 practitioner which ties in well with the work we do here at PIPP’s to help people. Over the years I have helped many people with various conditions including physical ailments and poor mental health, to find peace and relaxation within my Rose Healing Sanctuary. I love meditation and all things holistic, and I am happiest when I’m outdoors, usually somewhere green, in my T4 VW campervan. This helps me greatly with my own mental health conditions living with Chronic Anxiety and Depression since my late teens.

It’s so fulfilling to be able to help people both through Reiki and in my day job here at PIPP’s.

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Chantelle

Legally Qualified Disability Advocate

I was one the founding advocates at PIPPS, when we were just starting out back in 2018. Many of you may already recognise my face from my travelling to assist you with your face-to-face PIP assessments or know my name from speaking to me on the phone / by email when I draft your Mandatory Reconsideration or help out on the free advice service. For those of you who don’t, I’d love to give you a little background on me.

I am a busy mum of two wonderful children. I have an upper 2:1 Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice, with a focus on Criminal Law, Psychology and Mental health. It was during studying for this that, I realised I had a passion for helping people, so I took on a voluntary role at the Witness Service within Liverpool Crown Court. I met such a diverse array of people, some of whom were extremely vulnerable. I supported them emotionally and professionally through the court and evidence-giving process. As a voluntary position, I didn’t get paid for my time at the witness service, but it was still one of the most fulfilling jobs I have had. Which is what led me to PIPPS.

I’m not sure whether anyone actually knows this, but our founder Cat, is actually my sister-in-law and is engaged to my brother. Luckily for me, she’s as good of a boss as she is a sister.

I didn’t realise how much I actually do until tasked to write this little bio on myself. But yes, I am pretty busy. I have recently completed my master’s degree in criminology. As you can imagine, this was a task in itself, with a spirited toddler at home and a little boy at primary school. My dissertation thesis was on the prevalence and impact of mental health on young people. Mental health is something extremely close to my heart and I also have my own struggles with generalised anxiety disorder, which I battle with every day.

I think this is what makes me such a good advocate. I understand and can relate more than you would think, of just how detrimental mental illness can be, and how difficult it is to live with.

Working at PIPPS is such a gratifying and rewarding experience for me and I’ve loved every minute of my journey so far and the opportunities PIPP’s has given me.

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Gemma Louise

Senior Legally Qualified Disability Advocate

I come from a working-class background and am the first in my family to attend university. Following a career in contact centre and customer service roles and having run my own small business, I came to law in my 30’s embarking upon a law degree and later a master’s in law and the bar professional training course. I am now a qualified barrister but am currently unregistered in this capacity until I complete my pupillage in a barristers chambers. Whilst at university I worked for the NHS 111 service as a health adviser where I received extensive medical training. I also put my advocacy skills into practice by volunteering for the Free Representation Unit representing claimants in PIP and employment tribunal hearings and volunteering within the Autism Law Service at the Nottingham Law School Legal Advice Centre.

This voluntary work resulted in my receiving the Nottingham Trent University prize for my commitment to pro bono work, and for representing my university in the regional, national and international client interviewing competitions. I wrote my masters dissertation on the downfalls of the PIP benefit system, achieving the highest grade available (distinction) for this degree.

Whilst I am very proud of my achievements, I pride myself most on staying true to my roots. I have received lots of help along the way, including several very generous scholarships to be able to get to where I am in my career today. Whilst being paid to do the work I love is great, what is most important to me is using my skills and knowledge to support the team at PIPPS which means that they can assist those who need it the most, and those that without organisations such as PIPPS would not have the access to justice they deserve. I have loved working with so many PIPPS clients and the team so far.

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Jen

Customer Support Squad
Assessment Guru

I have many years of experience in Health and Social Care specialising in Substance Misuse. It’s been great to transfer my skills to support our disabled benefits claimants before, during and after their assessments. You will also often find me answering our free advice service messages, emails and our social media accounts.

The part of my role I enjoy most is reassuring and comforting people. I am a very spiritual person and love to meditate, connect with nature and go on adventures travelling and seeing the world.  I love South Asia and have visited there quite a few times.

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Karen

Legally Qualified Disability Advocate

I absolutely love my role as Disability Advocate here at PIPP’s, supporting all of our Clients to get the help that they need.

I am a wife and mum of four children ranging from over 30 years old to primary school age and I am a first-time grandma of a beautiful baby. My family is my reason for being and my constant support.

I have been registered as severely sight impaired since I was nine years old, with a degenerative condition which affects my optic nerves. I am one of those people with a Blue Badge and a hidden disability and the constant worry that I’m going to get a funny look. I can so easily relate when I hear from others who have had similar experiences. Two of my sons have the same eyesight condition and I live with a constant worry that my daughter might develop it as all of my children are carriers of the faulty gene.

Supporting people to claim what they’re entitled to will make their lives easier is work that I really believe in. Those of us who have to deal with the day-to-day impact of conditions or disabilities, have to jump through enough hoops to get the help we need and I know as well as anyone, that sometimes we need support with this.

Before I came to PIPPS, I worked for Victim Support, working with victims of crime, mostly victims of domestic abuse and hate crime, supporting them and giving them a voice.

I am a law graduate with a master’s degree in Law. I have particular interests in family, employment law and Social Security law.  During my Master’s my dissertation was focused on the rights of Domestic Abuse survivors.  Throughout my studies I worked in the Pro Bono law clinic and Mediation Clinic at my university, supporting and helping those with a variety of problems.

Kate

Kate

Senior Legally Qualified Disability Advocate

I am a law graduate and an associate member of CILEX, where I am training as a Legal Executive.  When I joined PIPPS, I brought extensive knowledge of DLA and PIP form completion and appeals which comes from both professional and personal experience.

I have lived experience of disability both as a carer and as a disabled person myself.  I am autistic with ADHD and also have a hearing impairment.

As someone with communication needs myself, I understand that phone calls can be difficult for many people and so, I initiated PIPP’s having the tools to offer video or captioned appointments – for those clients who need to be able to see the person they are speaking to.  I also understand how difficult the application, mandatory reconsideration and appeals process can be, and feel passionate about supporting you to claim what is your statutory entitlement.

Outside of work, I can be found swimming in freezing cold lakes, running (slowly!), reading, and playing with my children and dogs!

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Tammi

Disability Advocate

I have my own experience of having a chronic illness and understand the need for reliable and trustworthy guidance and support. After receiving such a high level of care from PIPP’s in the past, I wanted to go on to help those who were also in the position I was in, as I knew how confusing and daunting the process could be. I suffer from Fibromyalgia amongst other things and, as I am sure many of you will understand, this has dramatically changed my once very active lifestyle.

After trying to deal with my own applications alone for things such as PIP, I experienced the difficulties and uncertainties you are faced with, which is why I decided to source some help and support.  The impression the advocates left on me was one that I wanted to be able to emulate should I have the opportunity to work as a disability advocate. Now I am here, and I love every aspect of my role, I am learning every day how to support our clients and provide the necessary assistance.

I have always worked in a role where I support people, whether that be in the mental health sector, nursing care, end-of-life, or the funeral industry.  I find helping people at their most vulnerable times rewarding, this keeps me motivated and I believe it a privilege to be able to support people in this capacity.

I live with my partner, our 4 children between us, and numerous pets. I say numerous because the amount of pets we accumulate is always growing!

Rebecca

Rebecca

Customer Support Squad
Assessment Guru 

I have learnt a great deal of life experience from living with my late father who I was very involved with looking after when had life-changing disabilities. I thrive when interacting with individuals who have mobility restrictions, visual and hearing impairments, and many other types of disabilities and I am in the process of learning BSL to further help communicate and make this process as seamless as possible for everyone.

Through these interactions, I understand the importance of accessibility and inclusion. Life experience has taught me the various accommodations and assistive technologies that can help people with disabilities to live full and independent lives.

I have developed empathy and compassion when understanding the unique challenges and barriers we can face in everyday life. I feel a lot of heart-warming satisfaction in providing assistance and support when completing your PIP forms and enjoy hearing the decision once you’ve received it.

Outside of work, I enjoy long walks with my Welsh Terrier, Wilbert, and regular holidays both in the UK and abroad. I am also a fully licensed home dog boarder and own a property management company.

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Chandos

Disability Advocate

First and foremost, I want you to know that I am here to provide you with the utmost support throughout your journey in applying for DWP disability benefits.   I live with my own conditions – since the age of 3 I have lived with brain tumour diagnosis and its after affects. In 2017 I graduated from the University of Chichester with a social work degree. During my time at University, I underwent brain surgery for a brain tumour, which came back after 12 years of no growth. Due to challenges trying to find work as a graduate student I decided to start working with various universities, companies and not for profits to help advocate for disabled people’s rights. In early 2023 I graduated from the University of Leicester with a Masters’s degree in Human Rights & Global Ethics.

Because of the impact of my brain tumour, I live with weakness down my left side and have OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and anxiety giving me a unique perspective on disability and living mental health. I am passionate about the social model of disability and ensuring that people and their lived experiences are valued therefore, I hope that I am well-equipped to understand the unique challenges you may be facing.

I fully understand it can be a daunting process, and I am here to alleviate as much of that stress as possible, please rest assured that you are in capable and compassionate hands.

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Ellie

Disability Advocate

Following a career in marketing, I found myself driven to transition into a role where I could leverage my skills and expertise to make a tangible and lasting difference in people’s lives.

After falling ill in 2019 with a serious case of glandular fever, I was diagnosed with POTS. Since my diagnosis, I have had to fight to be seen and heard, all while adapting to a completely new way of life. It is through my lived experience with disability that I have developed a deep-rooted to passion to help others in a similar situation.

Family is hugely important to me, and unfortunately, several of my loved ones face very serious health challenges. Growing up, I spent a lot of time supporting and caring for them, an experience which I believe nurtured my compassionate and empathetic character. Witnessing their incredible resilience in the face of adversity has been truly inspiring. Joining PIPPS, I’m driven by the idea that anyone I assist could be in a situation similar to my loved ones: dealt a not-so-great hand and simply in need of a little help. I’m here to support you and hopefully add some much-needed positivity during your PIP journey.

Outside of work, I’m often found enjoying the outdoors, reading my Kindle, or having a cuddle with my ragdoll cat.

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Polina

Legally Qualified Disability Advocate

I am Polina, or Pol or Poli, any variation of Polina works for me! I am pretty international, being half-Indian, half-Russian and Kazakhstan born. I took the initiative to immigrate to the UK from my home country on my own to pursue education in law.

I have completed my Bachelor of Laws (LLB) at the University of Manchester, where I have achieved first class. During my studies, I have got a chance to further develop my existing passion for the rights of persons with disabilities from a legal perspective. I have a strong personal connection to this cause as I myself have been living with mental health conditions for most of my life, most notably Borderline Personality Disorder, Mixed Anxiety and Depressive disorder and PTSD, so being able to provide relief to some of the challenges people face has been close to my heart. I have taken a particularly keen interest in Mental Health Law for those reasons and won an RG Lawson prize for the highest achieved grade in the module. I have also undertaken work at the Dementia Law Clinic, which has allowed me to apply my theoretical knowledge to practice but also showed me a rather disheartening aspect of the legal system and the way in which individuals can be overlooked and neglected by the system.

Continuing my academic journey, I pursued a master’s degree and obtained merit in LLM Healthcare Ethics and Law, once again, from the University of Manchester in 2022. After that, I have taken time to reflect on how I want to kickstart my legal career, and I have firmly decided to follow my passion for advocating for the rights and well-being of individuals with disabilities, which is why I am thrilled to actively pursue this goal here at PIPPs.

My experiences as a queer person of colour with mental disabilities have instilled in me a profound appreciation for the principles of equality, diversity, and inclusion, making them my utmost priorities. This commitment is evident through my involvement as Vice President of the Queer, Transgender, and Intersex People of Colour society during my undergraduate studies.

Finally, outside of my professional endeavours, I am a parent to six beautiful parrots (four budgies and two cockatoos).

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Samiyah

Legally Qualified Disability Advocate 

I work for PIPPS alongside studying for the Legal Practice Course combined with Master’s in Law. I have an upper 2:1 Bachelor’s Degree in Law. My experience has involved attention to detail on legal research, drafting legal letters and effective support to solicitors on a number of complex cases. My success can be attributed to exceptional detail and dedication to each task.

In my final year of my Law Degree, I chose the Disability Law elective and I developed deeper knowledge to understand the phrase ‘Disabled’, to which holds a negative connotation within society. I had to analyse sociological aspects on how society attitudes impact certain people. I have experience as a support worker helping people that face daily challenges in their personal life, from mental health and physical barriers. I felt a sense of responsibility for those struggling which gave me an insight of their life, this gave me motivation to do more.

I am enjoying providing assistance to many clients on their appeals and hope to continue to make a change into their lives.

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Joy

Legally Qualified Disability Advocate

I’m Joy and I am one of the Legal Advocates at PIPP’s.  I completed my Law degree which included a year abroad in Bologna, Italy. I then obtained scholarships from the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple and the CPS in partnership with the Anthony Walker Foundation respectively which enabled me to undertake the BPTC. I am combining this with a Pro Bono Masters and look forward to qualifying eventually as a Barrister.

 

Having seen the impact of mental illness on my loved ones, I am really looking forward to making a real difference through working at PIPPS. Throughout my time at university, I’ve always volunteered and this has included law centres, law clinics and the Witness Service at Birmingham Magistrates court which has contributed to my passion for access to justice .

 

Outside of work I love to travel to new countries and cities – most recently I have been to Glasgow and Turkey for the first time. 

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Andrea

Administrator

I am the driving force behind the scenes at PIPPs HQ – looking after maintaining the files on our computer system, printing, scanning, copying and looking after our inbound post (of which there is often quite a lot as you can imagine).

When I’m not at work, I enjoy travelling with my partner and have visited many countries near and far, such as Canada, Australia and many cities and states in the USA.

Alexis

Alexis

Executive Assistant

I am Executive Assistant to the company Director and Founder Cat Gillett. I help with absolutely all aspects of Cats role and keep her organised and on track.   Prior to working at PIPP’s I was a PA to one of the Directors at the DWP.

At home, I have 2 children aged 10 and 8 and I’ve been married to my husband for 12 years although we have been together since school! I have a boxer dog called Murphy who keeps me on my toes, and I enjoy going to the cinema, long walks with the dog and a bottomless brunch with friends.

If we ever get the chance to be child free for the weekend me and my husband love going to a gig.

In Loving Memory of

Vicki (1979-2023)

Senior Disability Advocate

As one of the founding members of PIPP’s and a loved and cared for friend of many of our team, Vicki is sorely missed every day.

Vicki was a huge empath and would often say that her life experience had taught her to never judge or underestimate someone, and that she was well aware that, sometimes, we all need a little help.

She would talk about the pride she took in helping so many of our followers and clients by having difficult and emotive conversations with them. She would often cry when helping with claimant forms and assessments. She would confide in us afterwards, that she would cry long after the calls have ended.

Without a doubt, Vicki put that emotion into her work to try and get our clients the justice they deserve. For her, PIPP’s was so much more than a job to her, and she would always stress that even though parts of the job were (and of course, still are for our other Advocates) incredibly difficult, she made it a point to try to raise laughs during her time with claimants.

Vicki undertook her role with care but also as a human being and would make a point of saying that if she could make her clients laugh whilst they were telling her about their stoma exploding everywhere, or the meltdown they had in the shop over a tin of peas, then she had done her job well. And she was quite right.

You were one of a kind Vicki J, the role model that we base our Advocate position on – right to the current day. We promise to continue our work at PIPP’s, as you would have wanted, in your honour.