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Management and Clinical Team

Lisa Grove - Chief Executive
Lisa Grove

Lisa was appointed Chief Executive of Focus12 on December 1st 2015. Lisa was previously a Trustee of Focus12 and is currently a Trustee of the West Suffolk Recovery Hub.

Lisa is very proud to have lived and worked in Suffolk her whole life and has a particular connection to Bury. Lisa has worked in the public sector since 2001 in a range of roles, firstly in audit and finance, followed by Children and Young People’s Services and latterly as a senior manager with the Suffolk Fire Service. Lisa is an experienced manager who has a keen business sense, an eye for detail, a no-nonsense approach and a wealth of project management experience. In the rare instances Lisa finds herself with spare time, she can be found baking or reading.

Nancy Merfeld - Contracts & Admissions Manager
Nancy Merfeld

Nancy joined Focus12 in July 2003 as a volunteer counsellor. She holds an MA in Counselling and Personnel Services from the University of Maryland College Park and a BSc in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Texas at Austin. She is now Focus12’s Admissions Manager.

She is also certified in Clinical Hypnosis, holds a Diploma in Non-Medical Nutritional Advice and has extensive training in addiction in family related issues and dual diagnosis. Nancy is the team lead on admissions, coordinating new arrivals and managing the Access to Treatment group programme. She is also the lead on Dual Diagnosis matters. As a full time member of the team, Nancy is a member of ACA (American Counseling Association) and the National Counselling Society.

Her role as Admissions Manager is vital to the smooth running of the treatment centre. Many people enquire about trying to get a place at Focus12. All these applications have to be sorted, assessed and monitored to ensure that those clients that do eventually make it to admission are as ready as possible for the process of recovery to begin. Her role also involves preparing clients for what you can and can't do in rehab, helping people to realise they are coming in to treatment - not a leisure centre, and to answer as many of their questions as possible.

This can often mean managing would-be clients while they wait to be admitted. Instant admission is almost never possible and Nancy's job is acquire as much information as she can, as quickly as possible, to try and make the wait as short as bed space availability allows.

Josè Pereira - Clinical Manager
Josè Pereira

José Carlos Lopes Pereira was born in Mozambique, where he worked for the Mozambican Government as General Director of fishing companies. In 2003 José arrived in the UK and then studied a Diploma in Addiction Counselling, in which he achieved a Distinction. José began working as a full time Addiction Counsellor at Clouds House/Action on Addiction in 2004. José was promoted to Senior Counsellor and eventually left in March 2011.

Between April and July 2011 José worked at Streetscene, Francis House (Southampton) as an Addiction Keyworker. In August 2011, José spent one month in Scotland at Castle Graig (Peebles, Edinburgh) as a Specialist Therapist.

In September 2011, José began working at the Priory Roehampton Hospital as an Addiction Therapist. José left at the end of September 2013 to take up his current position of Clinical Manager at Focus12.

Whilst working full-time as an Addiction Counsellor, José completed a Foundation Degree,  a Bachelor Honours in Addiction Counselling and a Masters in Counselling.

José also has a strong connection with sports such as Roller Hockey, having played for his country in World Cups, being the Captain, Coach and Manager of the Mozambican National Team, and as a pan-African Coach. He is currently the technical adviser to the Mozambique and Egypt National Teams.

Arthur Nicholls - Counsellor
Arthur Nicholls

Arthur was born in the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago. His career began 23 years ago as a volunteer at CADA – South London. During this time he attended a generic training programme for professionals “Working with Problem Drug Users” at the Maudsley Training Unit, London. He then pursued and achieved his Diploma in Working with Addictions. His career has taken him full circle in the field of addictions providing him with skills in a variety of interventions.

Arthur joined Focus12 in February 2003 and registered as a member of FDAP. In 2004 he achieved a Diploma in “Working with Addictions” at CPPD. Arthur facilitates the Family Support Group, Aftercare and the DRR support service.

He is a very experienced and knowledgeable counsellor and has seen hundreds of clients successfully through the programme. Arthur's own personal life experiences mean that he has a great deal of empathy for the clients he supports.

Di Allen - Counsellor
Di Allen

Di Graduated from Focus12 in 2005. In 2006 she became a peer supporter then went on to become a student Counsellor. She subsequently received a Diploma in Psychotherapy in 2008 andlater received a Degree in Integrative Counselling in 2010.

Di also has 8 years of Substance Misuse Training. She rejoined the Focus12 team in July 2012 after working in harm reduction for a year. She is very passionate about recovery and empowering others to see the possibilities of making positive changes to their lives.

Afirah Azmi - Counsellor
Afirah Azmi

Afirah Azmi worked for over 10 years in the music industry as a Royalties Consultant and had a successful career in music publishing until a change of career was later pursued. In 2008 Afirah completed a British Association of Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP) accredited Advanced Diploma in Counselling & Psychotherapy at the University of Southampton and then further went on to study and complete a Bachelor of Science (BSc) receiving 1st Class Honours in Addictions Counselling through ‘Action on Addiction’ with the University of Bath.

Afirah has 8 years experience of working with an array of clients in both front line Tier 3 and Tier 4 rehabilitation centres. During the later part of her academic studies and training she worked with the ‘Rehabilitation of Addicted Prisoners Trust’ (RAPt) in their community program in Tower Hamlets as an Addictions Counsellor and has also worked at Clouds House primary residential treatment centre in Wiltshire during her honours year at the University of Bath via the ‘Centre of Addictions Treatment Studies’ (CATS) in Warminster.  Afirah has also completed Levels 1-5 of the ‘Chartered Management Institutes’ management qualification and is a member of CMI as well as a long standing member of the BACP. 

Afirah also worked for the London Borough of Ealing Council as a Substance Misuse Practitioner for the 0-18 SAFE service, in conjunction with the locality team. The role here incorporated a multi agency approach, working alongside Crime Reduction Initiative, Locality Teams and the Youth Offending Service (YOS), to reach out to young people in schools as well as other educational institutions such as the local colleges within the Borough. Presentations were created and delivered to schools in order to reach targets with the London Mayor's Funding. This was aimed at addressing and minimising the effects of drug related problems within the Borough, by implementing preventative strategies and hands on support.

Thomas Huggins - Counsellor
Thomas Huggins

Tom joined Focus12 from the Children’s Society where he worked with children and young people affected by parental drug and alcohol abuse. Previously, he has worked with RAPt in a structured day programme in Canary Wharf and volunteered for projects such as Drugsline and South Coast Recovery.

Tom studied Addiction Counselling at the University of Bath and is trained in Interpersonal Group Therapy, CBT, Motivational Interviewing and Family Therapy. He has also had training in Art and Play therapy.

Before he embarked on his counselling career, Tom worked in the oil industry, legal profession and in property development.