Bolton Deaf Society

Meet The Team

Contact our team today to find our more about our activities and services for the D/deaf community and how we can help.

John Hesketh

Chief Executive Officer

Chief Executive Officer at Bolton Deaf Society, I bring knowledge and experience in charity leadership. I have 12 years’ experience in freelance consultancy with charities and 11 years’ public sector management experience. I hold voluntary Board roles with Cracking Good Food CIC, Middlebrook Leisure Trust, Swinton Lions Rugby League Club, Swinton Lions Community Sports Foundation and Waymarking CIC, and I am qualified to postgraduate level in management, teaching, the history of education, youth and community development work. I managed Manchester Deaf Centre for 3 years prior to joining Bolton Deaf Society in March 2022, and I am a passionate champion of Deaf-inclusive system change and service development across the Borough – as well as needs-led provision at Bark Street and through our outreach base in Horwich. I am always open to the arrangement of a chat on building/service feedback and improvement ideas for the future.

Michael Stead

Advocacy Lead & Employment and Enterprise Advisor

I am the Advocate lead and Employment Enterprise advisor who has been working in the Deaf Community for over 20 years. I have been actively working to breaking down barriers and ensure Deaf people’s voices are heard within their community. Being Deaf, I have lived in experience and strong passion to ensure Deaf people are treated equally. I have a degree in Deaf studies and NVQ5 in Health and Social Care. I love being involved in outdoor activities such as mountain biking, paddleboarding and rock climbing.

Ruth Malkin

Employment and Enterprise Advisor

My name is Ruth Malkin, Employment and Enterprise Advisor at Bolton Deaf Society. I am a disability/deaf rights activist and equality trainer. I am a member of the Hand Made Choir based here at Bolton Deaf Society. I am a creative person and I am passionate about disability arts and inclusion in the arts. I was community curator for Nothing About Us Without Us, a disability/deaf rights exhibition at People’s History Museum. I have a hearing dog called Flint, who comes everywhere with me.

Kathryn Bellairs

Children’s Group Lead

Zienna Hall

Project Lead

Hi. My name is Zienna, and I am currently the Project Lead at Bolton Deaf Society, having been the Office Manager previously. I am also a professional Electronic Notetaker for Deaf and Disabled people and have my Level 3 in BSL.

Ellie Davis

Administrator & Interpreting Lead

Hello! My name is Ellie and I’m the administrator at Bolton Deaf Society, and I am also the Interpreting Lead. I am profoundly Deaf and have always been passionate about ensuring there are no barriers for Deaf people. Through my work at Bolton Deaf Society, I am excited to be part of a huge effort within the organisation to make Bolton accessible for all.

Erika Lever-Hogg


I am a qualified advocate and I teach basic BSL, I have been working here at BDS since 2021.
As a Deaf person, I have lived experience of the barriers the Deaf community face and am therefore able to empathise and help Deaf clients overcome these obstacles. I have a degree in Deaf studies. I love making a difference to people’s lives and having a positive impact on their well-being. I have a passion for helping the Deaf community overcome the everyday barriers we face.”

Louise Donlan

Children’s Group Lead

Hi, my name is Louise and I am one of the Group Leads for our Bright Start playgroup. I am passionate about ensuring all children have full access to communication in order to give them the best foundations for their learning and development. I am a member of the Hand Made choir based here at Bolton Deaf Society and am studying my BSL level 6.

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