Dr Simone Coetzee

School of Health and Social Care
Dr Simone Coetzee
  • Email

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 1206 872278

  • Location

    2S2.3.26, Colchester Campus

  • Academic support hours

    9-5 Monday-Friday



I qualified as an occupational therapist in South Africa in 1998. In Johannesburg, I worked in the field of adult neurology and general rehabilitation until 2002. I came to the UK in March 2002 to explore occupational therapy in a different context and worked at the Homerton University Hospital in Hackney, East London in the fields of adult neurology, rapid response (A&E), older people and intermediate care (general rehabilitation) full time and part time over the next 13 years. I became interested in researching the role of occupational therapy in non-traditional/third sector settings while working in intermediate care day services for older people and those with long term disabilities. In 2011, I took up a PhD studentship at Brunel University London exploring the occupational experience of people with different abilities in a horticultural social enterprise. I completed my doctoral studies in 2016 and continue to do active research on the benefits and outcomes of food growing and community gardening as an occupation in different contexts. I also have a continued interest in occupational therapy practice in the third sector, particularly in role emerging and non-traditional occupational therapy settings promoting occupational, social and environmental equity and justice. In education, research and practice, I have a focus on promoting service user collaboration in both training of occupational therapists and in evaluation and development of services. My background in disability studies and has led to a strong interest in making research accessible and participatory for the people involved.


  • PhD Brunel University London, (2016)

  • MSc (Global Health and Development Disability Studies) University College London, 2009

  • BSc (Occupational Therapy) University of the Witwatersrand, 1998

  • Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Institute, UK

Research and professional activities

Research interests

Participatory action research and critical ethnography

Open to supervise

Organisational case study &ndash sustainable health and social care

Open to supervise

Third sector health and social care involvement

Open to supervise

Social enterprises

Open to supervise

People with learning disabilities

Open to supervise

Occupational science

Open to supervise

Food growing as a tool for community development and individual wellbeing

Open to supervise

Permaculture as a working approach to promote occupational, social and environmental justice

Open to supervise

The Occupational Experience of People with Different Abilities in a Horticultural Social Enterprise

Simone is currently writing up a qualitative research project using participatory action research and critical ethnography. Her doctoral research was done in collaboration with a food growing social enterprise in East London to investigate the occupational experience of people participating in this social enterprise. The enterprise use permaculture philosophy as a guide to running the organisation. Simone is interested in the impact this ethical approach to working with people, along with the organisation being a social enterprise, has on the volunteers with and without disabilities and whether the organisation naturally promotes social inclusion.

Key words: Green Care

Conferences and presentations

17 October 2014: College of Occupational Therapy Specialist Section for People with Learning Disabilities Conference, London. Platform presentation: The role of support workers working with people with learning disabilities in a food growing social enterprise


21 November 2014: Conference Presentation - Sowing, growing and working together: participatory action research in an organic co-operative. Simone Coetzee and Dr Wendy Bryant. The challenge of sustainability in a finite world: The 7th University of Essex & Writtle College Interdisciplinary Conference


10 Sept 2014: North West London Research Forum for Allied Health Professionals, Midwives and Pharmacists (Imperial College London). Title: With me, not for me: Learning Disability Support Worker Roles in a Food Growing Project **Poster Prize 1st Place winner


03 05 June 2014: (Poster) College of Occupational Therapy Annual Conference, Brighton. Title: Learning Disability Support Worker Roles in a Food Growing Project.


03 April 2014: (Paper presentation) Occupational Therapy Association of South Africa Congress. Title: Providing for Our Futures: The Reciprocal Relationship between Food Growing and Occupational Therapy.


11 July 2013: (Platform presentation) Brunel School of Health Sciences and Social Care PhD Conference. Title: Growing Places: The participation of people with a learning disability in a horticultural social enterprise.


12 13 July 2013: (Poster presentation) Growing Towards Recovery Conference, Kent. Title: Growing Places: The participation of people with a learning disability in a community market garden


30 April 2013: (Poster) Brunel Graduate School Poster Conference. Title: Growing Places: The participation of people with a learning disability in a community market garden


17 July 2012: (Poster) Brunel School of Health Sciences and Social Care PhD Conference. Title: The Occupational Experience of Participating in an Inclusive Horticultural Social Enterprise


October 2010: (Poster) UCL Centre for International Health and Development and Leonard Cheshire Disability: The Future of Global Disability ResearchTopic: Key Factors Influencing the Success of Direct Payments and Individual Budgets in the UK, and locally in the London Borough of Hackney


Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Professional Enquiry (HS240)

  • Occupational performance and process (HS893)

  • Advancing Professional Practice in Occupational Therapy (HS894)

  • Mastering occupation (HS895)

  • Professional Enquiry (SE222)

  • Foundations for occupational therapy (HS892)

  • Therapy and Occupation (HS274)

  • Practice Placement Four: MANAGE (HS899)


Book chapters (1)

Rogerson, M., Kelly, S., Coetzee, S., Barton, J. and Pretty, J., ‘Doing’ Adventure: The Mental Health Benefits of using Occupational Therapy Approaches in Adventure Therapy Settings. Editors: MacIntyre, T. and Aoife, D., . Routledge

Conferences (2)

Coetzee, S., Sluman, J. and Atwal, A., (2015). How can Occupational Therapy measure patient outcomes in acute care?

Coetzee, S., McKay, E., Bryant, W. and Nicholls, L., (2014). With me, not for me: learning disability support worker roles in a horticultural project

Grants and funding


Trial of standardised and locally developed outcome measures for the health and wellbeing service within Organiclea Community Market Garden, East London

Organiclea Limited

Assessing the validity of the Organiclea Wellbeing Log outcome measure

Organiclea Limited

+44 (0) 1206 872278


2S2.3.26, Colchester Campus

Academic support hours:

9-5 Monday-Friday