Meet the team

Find out more about the key people providing insight and leadership to #BeeWell.

Professor Neil Humphrey, Professor of Psychology of Education

Neil Humphrey

Neil Humphrey is the Sarah Fielden Chair in Psychology of Education at The University of Manchester and former Research Co-ordinator (2013–16) and Head (2016–20) of the Manchester Institute of Education.

His research focuses on what we mean by mental health, why mental health matters, what matters for mental health and what works for mental health in children and young people. Funders of this work include the National Institute for Health Research, The National Lottery Community Fund and the Education Endowment Foundation.

Neil is the author of Social and Emotional Learning: A Critical Appraisal, published by Sage. Find out more on Professor Humphrey's research profile.

Professor Jess Deighton, Professor in Child Mental Health and Wellbeing

Dr Jess Deighton

Professor Jess Deighton is Professor in Child Mental Health and Wellbeing at UCL, Director of Innovation, Evaluation and Dissemination at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families and Director of the Evidence Based Practice Unit.

Her expertise focuses on: the evaluation of interventions and multifaceted programmes to support mental health and wellbeing in children; factors that promote resilience in children and young people; the interplay between mental health and educational outcomes.

She leads the national evaluation of the National Lottery Community Fund’s HeadStart programme and the Department for Education-funded Children and Young People’s Mental Health Research and Evaluation Programme. She is also a theme lead for the Department of Health’s Child Policy Research Unit.

David Gregson, Chairman of The Gregson Family Foundation

David Gregson

David is Chairman of The Gregson Family Foundation; an Executive Committee Member of The Institute for Fiscal Studies; a Trustee of Pro Bono Economics and The Windsor Leadership Trust; an advisor to both Sutton Trust, which seeks to improve social mobility through education, and the Invictus Games to be held in 2021 in The Hague; a Director of the FA Women’s Super League; and a member of the Advisory Boards of Phoenix Equity Partners, a leading UK mid-market private equity business, and of Alliance Manchester Business School. Previously, David was a co-founder and Chairman of Phoenix.

Over his career, he has been a director or Chairman of some 30 companies or charities. Most recently, David has been Chairman of the LTA, which is responsible for tennis in Britain; Chairman of CGL, the UK's largest social and healthcare charity; and a Director of LLDC, which is transforming East London following the 2012 Games.

David has an MBA from Alliance Manchester Business School and an MA in Maths and Physics from Cambridge University.

David Ottiwell, Principal Researcher, Greater Manchester Combined Authority

David Ottiwell

David Ottiwell is a Principal Researcher within the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s Research Team, which produces high-quality research and intelligence to form the evidence base underpinning policy and strategy for the city region. David works on a range of topics relating to the reform of public services across Greater Manchester, with a particular focus on improving outcomes for children and young people.

Since 2017, David has supported a range of projects set out in the Greater Manchester Children and Young People Plan, including the development of a dedicated Life Readiness survey which explores Year 10 pupils’ experience of growing up in Greater Manchester. In the last 12 months his team have also focused on supporting the specific aims and ambitions of the Young Person’s Guarantee, which aims to protect and progress young people’s futures following the devastating impacts of COVID-19.

David has worked in the Combined Authority since its inception and in his earlier career worked for New Economy Manchester, AGMA and Greater Manchester Police.

Alan Ferns, Associate Vice-President for External Relations and Reputation 

Alan Ferns

Alan Ferns is Associate Vice-President for External Relations and Reputation and is responsible for providing co-ordination, leadership and strategic direction for a wide range of external relations and reputation building activities. He works closely with the President and Vice-Chancellor and other senior colleagues to build and maintain good relationships with external agencies and key stakeholders and to monitor, protect and enhance the University’s global reputation

Prior to taking up his current role in January 2017, Alan was Director of Communications and Marketing at the University where he managed the award-winning central communications and marketing team. He also provided the strategy and leadership for a wider community of communications and marketing professionals across the University responsible for delivering communications and engagement activity for the University’s 40,000 students, 11,000 staff and 380,000 alumni.

Alan and his team delivered all of the communications surrounding the successful Manchester ‘merger’ of 2004 and built the brand that has transformed the global reputation of The University of Manchester since then.

He has worked in the field of university communications since 1983 at the universities of Lancaster, Salford and Manchester.

Huw Spencer, Project Manager, #BeeWell

Huw Spencer, Project Manager, GM Young People Wellbeing Programme

Huw is the Project Manager for #BeeWell, embedded in the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s (GMCA) Public Service Reform team. He has worked at the GMCA since 2018, first as a lead analyst for children’s services and more recently as a project manager for the GM early education recovery plan. He has a degree in Modern Languages from the University of Oxford and in his spare time helps organise the Northern Policy Forum – a network for young people interested in policy in the north of England.

Huw is particularly keen to ensure the voice of young people is at the heart of the wellbeing programme and will be working closely with schools, youth organisations and the arts, voluntary and sports sectors to make sure this is the case. In his spare time, Huw dances tango and is an avid follower of Manchester City Football Club.

Tanya Graham, Head of Communications and Engagement, Policy@Manchester

Tanya Graham

Tanya Graham is Head of Communications and Engagement at Policy@Manchester. She has a strong background of communications in the political arena, including as a Communications Manager for an MP. She has initiated and led campaigns involving multiple stakeholders to effect positive change within communities.