Trustees

Gail Findlay – Chair of Board of Trustees

Gail is a Public Health Specialist & Professor at the Institute for Health and Human Development.

Robert Brown MBE – Vice Chair of Board of Trustees

Robert Brown MBE TDCRobert is a local resident representative from Bevendean. He worked as a clinician in the NHS for 21 years as an Orthotist, and became disabled whilst at a hospital clinic at Dorking Hospital, in 1991. After intensive physio and learning to walk again, Robert was asked to join a lot of Committees within the South Downs Health Trust due to his experience as a clinician, and now as a patient.

Robert received his MBE for services within his local community. He has held many community positions including: Church Warden of the local church, Chair of the Local Scout Group and assistant Cub Scout Leader for 15 years. He was also chair of the local playgroup and youth provision called “Becca”. After having two heart attacks in 2013, Robert has cut down on a lot his voluntary work for health reasons - we are very happy to still have him as a TDC Trustee, and benefit from his extensive knowledge and experience.

"The work that has been done so far by the Development Workers on my Estate is really great,  they always back you up and help you when needed. One way a community can help our organisation is to become a Trustee, and I encourage any interested community residents to get in touch and give it a try." Robert

John Homewood

John Homewood TDCJohn is a local resident representative from Woodingdean, where he has lived for 65 years, and has worked in the community for 51 years.
Currently he is a member of many local committees: President of Woodingdean Community Association and President of Woodingdean Conservatives, Vice-Chair of Woodingdean Community Association, Director of Java Internet Cafe and Trustee of TDC.
John is also a Committee member of Woodingdean Tenants and Residents Association, Woodingdean Neighbourhood Watch, Woodingdean Carnival, Woodingdean Resilience Planning Team, Woodingdean Newsletter Group.
Before retiring, he worked in the family retail business for 43 years. He is also interested in local history.

Nick Ashwell

Nick Ashwell TDCNick studied at the University of Sussex and started work in Brighton as a teacher, later working as a detached youth worker. He  was appointed as a Community Social Worker with Brighton Social Foundation, when he set up a neighbourhood centre in the Bedford Square area and also became chairperson of Sussex Youth Association. Nick moved to Reading in 1975 to train community and youth workers at Bulmershe College and later at the University of Reading. He was a committee member with ‘Number 5’ - Reading Youth Counselling Service, and became Chair of Governors of Maiden Erlegh Comprehensive School.

Having moved back to Brighton, and retired from paid work, Nick has become a trustee with TDC and also with Brighton Health and Wellbeing Centre. These reflect his professional interests in community development, equality and justice; the difficulties of integrating social, welfare and medical services (the subject of his PhD), and how the arts can make a significant contribution to health and well-being. Nick relishes spending time with his family, in travelling and engaging with all the arts. He also shares an allotment.

Eileen O’Leary

Eileen O’Leary TDCA local resident representative from Hangleton & Knoll and committed 'Learner for Life', Eileen returned to education when she had three young children, taking an access course and going on to study law, before completing a degree in Social Policy and Administration. After graduating, she managed The Clock Tower Sanctuary for five years, and was then headhunted to work at St Anne's Homeless Day Centre where she continued to passionately champion the rights and voices of homeless, insecurely housed and vulnerable people.

Eileen has been involved with TDC since it was first formed by her fellow local activist in Hangleton, Barry Huyler. She was one of the original trustees. At the time she had just set up the Hangleton Leaseholders Association. Through fundraising and housing networks, she became part of Mentorship with Insight, before returning to education to qualify as a life coach - a skill which supported her work with homeless clients.

Eileen supports and volunteers for many causes in the city (e.g. food banks, the Esol Group, the Martlets and St Vincent De Pauls). She enjoys spending any spare time with her family and friends, including her grandchildren who are currently teaching her how to rollerblade!

Laura Williams

Laura Williams

Laura has worked in the voluntary and community sector for almost 16 years at various levels, and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our board. She has lived all over Brighton and Hove and appreciates the value of connected and strong communities.

"I am proud of the work that TDC does and very lucky to be a Trustee here."

Geoff Heath

As a community mediator with Brighton & Hove Independent Mediation Service, Geoff has had the opportunity to work with people across Brighton in a process which is about enabling people to find solutions to the challenges they face. This has a relevance to community development activity and reflects his own commitment to empowerment of people and communities.

Geoff has experience of being a trustee or committee member at a number of voluntary organisations. Most of these organisations were within housing and homelessness plus a period with a neighbourhood law centre and as Chair of Brighton, Eastbourne, Worthing and District Relate. This experience has enabled Geoff to develop a good understanding of the governance and challenges of the voluntary sector.

Denis Byrne

Denis Byrne TDC | Community Development Brighton Denis is a professionally qualified Youth & Community Worker, driven by social justice values that have led him to support families, young people and communities to challenge disadvantage, inequality and provide creative platforms for voice, campaigning and raising awareness about the issues that matter to people.

Having worked in the sector for 30 years, Denis spent 10 years with the Hangleton & Knoll project then went on to build his experience working in local authorities and a national charity before founding Sussex Prisoners’ Families in 2013.

Alongside being a trustee for TDC Denis also volunteers as an Independent Visitor in Brighton and Hove. Originally from Liverpool, Denis has lived in Hove for nearly 40 years, and loves walking on the Downs, working on his allotment and spending time with his family

Emma Haughton

Emma has over 25 years’ experience of supporting individuals and organisations in the arts, creative and social sectors to realise their vision and potential. As a creative producer Emma worked with a diverse range of national and international artists, projects and partners, including in Brighton and Hove.

Since 2011 Emma has worked as a professional, accredited coach, trainer and facilitator across the creative and social sectors. She works independently as a coach supporting individuals in their personal and professional development. As Co-founder of Generate Coaching Partnership, she supports teams and whole organisations to develop themselves and their work positively and purposefully, facilitating creative solutions to challenging issues, helping teams to understand how to work more effectively together and supporting whole staff groups to navigate cultural change.

Paul Wishart

Paul Wishart TDCPaul has worked in both the voluntary and statutory sectors and is currently based at a grant-making organisation. He has worked in housing and homelessness for 30 years in various roles, including being a Board member of different organisations,

Paul hopes to use the experience he has gained, through working in areas similar to those which TDC focuses on, to benefit people locally.

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Becoming a trustee

Our Board of Trustees have a wide range of skills, experience and knowledge. We love to hear from new people who are interested in getting involved as a trustee, and are committed to our work, values and the communities we support. Find out more on our page about becoming a trustee.

Trustee skills evaluation

To maintain an effective Board with a balance of skills and experience we undertake a regular Trustees skills evaluation. This focuses on four areas; knowledge of TDC itself, knowledge and experience of the voluntary sector, management and organisational skills, and committee skills. We actively fill any skills gaps through recruiting additional Trustees with specialist skills, as well as through training and time spent with TDC staff and projects.

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