Meet the Staff

UK Deaf Sport has a growing team of staffs focused on developing greater opportunities for deaf and hard of hearing people to reach their full potential in sport and develop a world leading system for deaf sport in the UK to grow.

Joanne Cholerton 

Joanne has over 25 years’ experience of successfully winning and delivering Government funded programmes, implementing transformational change and improving performance across the public and third sectors. She has proven ability as both a CEO and consultant in leading individual organisations and partnerships of diverse stakeholders to implement robust infrastructures that deliver their vision and goals. Joanne was named two years running as one of the Natwest Top 100 Women in Social Enterprise, which recognises the most inspiring and influential women in social enterprise and mission driven businesses in the UK. Joanne is passionate about the benefits of, and equalities in, sport. She is delighted to be the CEO of UK Deaf Sport and work with the Board and partners across the deaf community to ensure that there are more opportunities for deaf people to participate in sport and physical activity throughout their lives and more deaf athletes performing on the world stage.

Kathryn Halsey

Information Support Manager
Kathryn provides admin support to the team at UK Deaf Sport. She is hearing and has worked within the Deaf sector for over 10 years; firstly, at RNID and later at NDCS. She has worked in lots of different areas and has a strong background in events and administration. She has also studied BSL and gained her Level 6 NVQ in BSL in 2010. When she is not at work, she is busy chasing after her two young children and has recently started running.

Hannah McCormick

Communications and Marketing Officer
Hannah is UK Deaf Sport’s Marketing and Communications Officer. She is completing a Level 3 apprenticeship in Digital Marketing. Hannah is deaf and has worked with the deaf community since she was 17, working at deaf schools providing classroom support as well working with babies and young children at nurseries and clubs. She has also worked at Deaf Connections in Scotland for two years as a lead befriender working with deaf families and children. In her free time, Hannah likes to go on walks with her Goldendoodle Max, and enjoys socialising with her family and friends.

Denise Blackwell

Governance and Insight Manager
Denise has over 30 years’ experience of working in quality, compliance and governance. Denise initially worked in early years and childhood development with local authorities before going to work for Ofsted in 2001. Denise’s first role was managing several teams of early years inspectors in the South East region, before becoming the Quality and Training Manager for the Early Childhood Directorate, eventually becoming one of Her Majesty’s Inspectors (HMI). In 2016 Denise went to work as the Risk and Quality Manager for 3SC, a small social enterprise that manages DWP and MoJ contracts. Denise has joined UKDS as the Governance and Insight Manager. Away from work Denise loves walking her Cavapoochon along the many miles of sandy beach on the beautiful Lincolnshire coast and enjoys line-dancing and spending time with her four grandchildren.

Shannon Howarth

Partnerships Manager (Participation)
Shannon has 7 years of experience working in the disability and inclusion sport sector, advocating for change and an increase in opportunities for disabled people to be active. Shannon has a varied knowledge of the sector previously working for an Active Partnership, a Disability Sport National Body, and a Further Education membership organisation with a proven track record of creating successful partnerships. As well as a career in the sport and physical activity sector, Shannon has continued her academic studies alongside employment and has recently completed a Masters Degree in Sport Business, Management and Policy. Away from work, Shannon can usually be found volunteering in multiple roles within women and girls’ grassroots football. As UKDS’ Partnerships Manager (Participation), Shannon is keen to create partnerships with organisations that will lead to long lasting and sustainable opportunities for deaf people to be active.