About us Meet the team Our Patrons POhWER has five Patrons who have a wide range of backgrounds and experience but all take a real interest in the work we do. They are Lord Michael Cashman CBE, Peter Duncan, Nitu Shah, Samantha Lee Howe and Dr Melrose Stewart MBE. Lord Michael Cashman Michael Cashman had a highly successful career as an actor, singer, writer and director. He was a Member of the European Parliament for the West Midlands (Labour) from 1999 to 2014 and has played a key role in promoting equality and human rights and opposing discrimination. He was joint founder of Stonewall and in 2007 Michael was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Staffordshire for his human rights work. On 23 of September 2014 Michael was elevated to the House of Lords where he sits as an independent member. We were delighted that Michael referred to POhWER’s concerns about proposed legislation changes in the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill Committee meeting in the House of Lords. Nitu Shah Nitu is a professional Indian singer and is well known and well liked for her tremendous voice and her charitable work. Nitu was born in Nairobi in Kenya. She has always been very passionate about singing and has been performing for nearly 30 years. She has performed in parts of Europe, Africa, America and all over the United Kingdom. She has released 5 Albums of devotional songs and Bhajans. She is a passionate fundraiser for many great causes and has collected funds for water wells in Kenya, food for life, Children's homes, Children with disabilities and children with Cerebral Palsy. Nitu hopes her work with POhWER will help to ensure that Gujarati people living with dementia, disability and mental ill health can get the care and support they need. "Many in our community are living in silence, ignored or not knowing how to get the right care or to access other essential services." says Nitu. "I am honoured to be a patron for POhWER. As a team we can help people with disabilities who are living in silence." Peter Duncan Actor, presenter and documentary maker, Peter Duncan has long had a ‘daredevil’ image which he first fashioned while he was a presenter on Blue Peter. Today he continues to excite, whether it is competing in Celebrity Total Wipeout in Argentina or walking across a tightrope in his one man show. His film, television and stage career spans four decades. Peter was the former Chief Scout and has a real concern for young people. In 2012’s London Marathon he ran for POhWER, having taken part in the first ever London Marathon, running for Blue Peter and being cheered by thousands along the route. Samantha Lee Howe Samantha Lee Howe was born in Manchester and began her professional writing career in 2007. She has written over 20 novels, 40 short stories and two screenplays. Her breakaway debut psychological thriller, The Stranger In Our Bed, was released in 2020 by Harper Collins imprint, One More Chapter. The book rapidly became a USA TODAY bestseller. Rights for the film were subsequently bought by production company, Buffalo Dragon, which is due to be released in Summer 2021. Samantha has since gone on to sign a further three book deal with One More Chapter for her explosive spy thriller series, The House of Killers. A former high school English and Drama teacher, Samantha has a BA (Hons) in English and Writing for Performance, an MA in Creative Writing and a PGCE in English. Samantha has been a supporter of various charities throughout her life and she feels very strongly about upholding the rights of people in our communities who do not have the means, or are unable, to defend themselves. "I’m absolutely thrilled to be a patron of POhWER and look forward to helping to spread the word about the great services they provide for our communities in order to help empower those in need." Dr Melrose Stewart MBE Melrose Stewart (Mel) was awarded an MBE in the 2020 New Year’s Honours for services to physiotherapy. She appeared as one of the experts in the hugely successful twice BAFTA nominated and Grierson Awarded Channel 4 television programme, “Old people’s Home for 4-year-Olds”and she continues to promote intergenerational activities as a way of improving social inclusion. Mel is a Chartered Physiotherapist and Honorary Lecturer at the University of Birmingham. She is known for her focus on health promotion and challenging discriminatory practices especially racism and ageism. It was for her services in equality and diversity that she was the recipient of a Distinguished Service Award from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. Her PhD was centred on the topic of cultural competence and explored its practice in higher education. A significant portion of Mel’s voluntary work is focused on being an ambassador for the disenfranchised and underserved groups within society. She is a keen advocate in the adoption of healthy lifestyles and increasing physical activity, especially as people get older. Mel is often seen participating in her local park run, encouraging others to do the same and to find fun ways to increase their levels of physical fitness It is Mel’s goal to support, motivate and empower others to develop their potential and to challenge injustices wherever they meet it.