Our Team

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Matt Ashton

Matthew Ashton

Lead DPH for Food Active (honorary)

Matthew is the joint Director of Public Health for Knowsley and Sefton and as the Lead DPH for Food Active provides strategic insight and guidance on the direction and programme.  Matthew was Chair of ChaMps, the Cheshire and Merseyside Public Health Collaborative Service, until September 2016, and is the lead Cheshire and Merseyside Director of Public Health for strategic intelligence and partnerships.  Matthew is passionate about wellbeing, social justice and reducing health inequalities, and is keen on exploring different ways of communicating with and on behalf of communities, especially through art and film.

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Simon Capewell

Scientific Advisor, Food Active (honorary)

Simon is a Professor of Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Liverpool.

Simon manages a research programme mainly involving cardiovascular disease and food policy. Joint funding totalling over £25 million, with well over three hundred peer-reviewed papers, many in top journals.

Simon is a Trustee for the UK Faculty of Public Health, for UK Health Forum, and for Heart of Mersey, a large regional CVD primary prevention charity. He contributes to policy development and service work, and has recently chaired/participated in a dozen national /international committees (including Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, British Heart Foundation, NICE, UK Faculty of Public Health, European Society of Cardiology and WHO).

Simon provides expert scientific guidance to the Food Active programme.

Beth Bradshaw

Beth Bradshaw

Food Active Research Officer, Food Active

Beth is currently studying an MSc in Public Health Nutrition also having graduated in Nutrition in July, both at Liverpool John Moores University. Beth first spent a month work placement with the Health Equalities Group in the spring as part of her undergraduate degree requirement, and is now back volunteering with the organisation having had such a valuable experience. After working predominately on the GULP campaign, her research interests now mainly surround the determinants of sugar sweetened beverage consumption in children, teenagers and young adults and its health effects with also keen interest into health inequalities and deprivation in Liverpool.

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Alex Holt

Food and Nutrition Lead, Food Active

Alex is a Registered Associate Nutritionist (Association for Nutrition). She has been with Health Equalities Group for four years, working on the Food Active programme since 2013. Alex holds an MSc in Human Nutrition, a PG Cert in Health Psychology and a BSc (hons) in Psychology. Current duties include programme planning and delivery, consultation and liaison with commissioners, development of resources including GULP, support on the local authority declaration, advisory role in terms of nutrition, policy and consultations, bid writing, and representing Food Active at local, regional and national meetings and events.

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Robin Ireland

Director of Research, Food Active (honorary)

Robin is the former Chief Executive of the Health Equalities Group having led the Heart of Mersey charity from its launch in 2003. Robin stood down as CEO in December 2016 and is now Director of Research (Honorary) for Food Active and Healthy Stadia. Robin’s research concerns lie in the relationships between sport and commercial interests and in local food policy. Robin now leads on much of the work concerning the Local Authority Declaration on Healthy Weight and Robin continues to represent Food Active at events, conferences and in the media.


Magdalena Kolka

Food in Care Project Manager, Food Active

Magda led the three yeat Hearty Lives Looked After Children project in Liverpool and now leads of the Food in Care programme Hearty Lives Liverpool supported by the British Heart Foundation, and delivered through a close working partnership with Liverpool City Council, worked with young people (aged 11-18) to devise the most effective methods of supporting healthier lifestyles through the provision of health information, appropriate training and support.

Magda has a background as a nutritionist with a Masters degree in Weight Management. Some of her work experience includes an internship at the European Food Information Council in Brussels and working as a Community Health Ambassador in Liverpool where she gained a good experience in project management and health promotion.

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Matthew Philpott

Executive Director, HEG

Matthew is Executive Director of both Health Equalities Group and its social enterprise European Healthy Stadia Network CIC. In his role for Health Equalities Group, Matthew is responsible for the strategic direction of the organisation, including management of staff, finance and reporting to the charity’s Board of trustees on a quarterly basis.

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Michael Viggars

Development Officer, HEG

Michael is a keen public health advocate and communicator, Michael started at the UK-based Health Equalities Group in May 2015 on a voluntary basis, supporting the delivery of Food Active and Give Up Loving Pop! campaign and quickly migrated to Healthy Stadia to support the expansion of the organisation. Michael has a great idea for design and produces many of Food Active’s resources, he is also the go-to person for all communications.