Kari Gerstheimer

CEO and Founder, Access Social Care

Kari studied law at Edinburgh University and qualified as a Solicitor in 2003. After working as a researcher with the British Columbia Human Rights Coalition in Canada, Kari returned to the UK to study for an LLM in Human Rights law at UCL and worked as a children’s rights researcher for Professor Geraldine Van Bueren QC at Queen Mary, University of London.

In 2006 Kari moved into the charitable sector; working as a Parliamentary Lead for the national deafblind charity, Sense, before setting up their beneficiary facing legal department in 2008. Whilst at Sense, Kari worked to secure meaningful amendments to the Care Act 2014 and attendant Regulations and Guidance to protect the rights and entitlements of people with dual sensory impairments.

Since moving to Mencap with her legal team in 2017; Kari has led a successful pilot of a learning disability legal network to ensure that people with a learning disability get the social care that they have a right to. In 2018, Kari was appointed as the social care strategic lead at Mencap; tasked with joining up the organisation’s work across public policy; direct care and support; and the rights of individuals, developing a new vision for the future of social care for people with a learning disability.

Kari has provided training and consultancy across the disability sector in using the Care Act to secure the right to social care. Kari was on the expert panel for the recent Involve Citizens Assembly on the future of social care funding commissioned by the Health and Social Care Select Committee.