OPAAL has a small staff team who are located around the country. Our head office is in Stoke-On-Trent.



Kath Parson

OPAAL Chief Executive Officer

Kath is a qualified Nurse, Lecturer and Trainer. Kath has held a number of professional roles including nurse, youth and community worker, college lecturer, trainer, training director, community director and chief executive.

Kath’s experience in advocacy spans forty years in where she has a special interest in leadership and strategic partnership development. Kath sits on a variety of national bodies advising on research projects, policy development and older people’s advocacy.

Kath is an avid volunteering champion and has held a number of volunteer roles including being a school governor for twenty years. Kath is in her eighth year as OPAAL’s Chief Executive and is extremely proud of what she and the team have achieved to improve advocacy services for older people during this time.

Angela Broadbridge

OPAAL Deputy Chief Executive Officer

Angela has over ten years of experience supporting charities with information, policy and research management and has supported local advocacy projects for over five years delivering services for Gateshead Advocacy Information Network.

Angela is passionate about advocacy and is particularly interested in supporting advocacy partners and advocates telling others about the values and benefits of advocacy.  She has led work nationally exploring the impact of personalisation and self-directed support with advocates and advocacy partners; she recently had a piece of research published with Institute for Public Policy Research on patient experience and the integration of health and social care.

Angela runs a local parental mental health project on weekends and is a founding member of Emerging Leaders Network North, a new initiative to support emerging leaders in NE charities to develop their leadership and management skills.  She enjoys blogging, photography and walking in her spare time.

Marie McWilliams

OPAAL Operations Manager

Marie has a degree in Social Administration. She spent many years in the Civil Service before leaving for a 2 year spell living in Singapore.

Marie joined Age Concern Northumberland in 2003 where she set up their advocacy, information and advice and befriending services. She led on campaigns, sat on the National Council on Ageing’s Rural Affairs Group and represented the North East of England’s nine Age Concern organisations on the National Campaigns Partnership.

Marie joined OPAAL as National Development Officer in 2009. Initially working on the Making it Personal and Policy into Practice projects, Marie’s work is now very diverse and includes supporting the national Cancer, Older People and Advocacy programme.

Anne Smith

OPAAL Finance Officer

Anne has worked in finance since leaving school, holding accounts/finance department positions from Accounts Clerk to Senior Finance Officer, and finally in June 2001 as the Finance Officer at the Beth Johnson Foundation.

Her finance experience includes becoming a passed finalist of the Association of Accounting Technicians’ Advanced AAT Accounting Qualification Level 4. Anne semi-retired from being Beth Johnson Foundation’s Finance Officer role in April 2011 but was asked to continue to operate the accounts for the Older People’s Advocacy Alliance (OPAAL).

Anne is also a volunteer bookkeeper for a locally based charity, The Barracks Trust Limited, which owns the grade II listed Barracks building in Newcastle-under-Lyme. Anne’s interests include going to the fantastic local theatre in the round at the New Vic Theatre, as well as reading, walking, crafting and spending time in Anglesey.