1. What made you want to join POhWER?

I’m passionate about people having their rights and being able to empower themselves especially those who are pushed to the margins of our society and whose voices are ignored.  So when I saw the POhWER job I thought what a great organisation because of the way it supports people to have a voice, to uphold their rights and get access to the services they need.  It’s fantastic that POhWER was started by local people who cared about equal rights and a fair voice for themselves and for all in society.  POhWER has developed real expertise from its advocacy, information and advice services and complaints specialism that can help make people make a positive difference in their own lives.  We have a real opportunity through POhWER to work in partnership with others and strengthen our collective voice as citizens too locally and nationally.  So it’s a privilege to be able to:

  1. lead and support the development of such a potentially POhWERful locally-led movement
  2. play my part in ensuring we continue to deliver top quality services,
  3. listen to our service users and to those we cannot yet reach so together we bring in innovations where we are well placed to make a distinctive difference,
  4. find ways to generate income so we can develop the voice of the movement and sustain our services in the face of government cuts.


  1. What football team do you support?

Leeds United but you cant’ win them all!! It was my closest home team where I grew up in Yorkshire.  They trained in my hometown Ilkley and as a lad I got all their autographs in their glory years. 


  1. How do you like to socialise?

Wherever I can alongside my work - whether playing hockey or spending time with friends over food and a drink, hill-walking or shouting above live music in pubs.

  1. What are your likes and dislikes? I love meeting and learning from people so am really looking forward to meeting POhWER members, service users, supporters and the POhWER teams. I like life to be fair and don’t like injustice so I care deeply that people get fair opportunities, are respected and have their rights. I don’t like letting people down even though as a CE I occasionally have to take difficult decisions but I always try and take the best decision for POhWER and the service uses we work alongside.
  2. Are you coming to our Hertfordshire Celebration Day party on 13th of December?

I have two work commitments that day already in London and Stevenage so I very much hate to miss a party but it doesn’t look possible so hope to meet you another time soon

  1. What is your favourite drink?

A coffee first thing and an occasional perfect pint of local real ale

  1. Why do you think you would be a good Chief Executive?

Well whether I’m good or not is going to be for you and the POhWER teams to say, but I am fortunate to bring lots of leadership experience that is really suited to my role at POhWER I think.  I learnt loads when I was CE of Progressio for 4 years supporting people to challenge unfair power structures in very poor countries like women in Yemen fighting for their rights, or disabled people and prisoners trying to overcome stigma and abuse in Zimbabwe.  In my 9 years before that as CE of a day hospice and hospice at home (Iain Rennie Grove House) I saw how people faced with cancer often need help to have a say in their care and to navigate the patchwork of services and I learnt much about delivering top quality care.  There and as Fundraising/Marketing Director at Abbeyfield I learnt much about local and national fundraising while also appreciating how important independence, dignity and combating isolation are for older people as mental and physical frailty advances. 

  1. What was your first job when you left school?

English Assistant Lecturer at a teacher training college on the German/ Danish border where I learnt  much about teaching and presenting while strengthening my German and Danish language skills.

  1. Where were you born?

On the foothills of Ilkley moor (indoors at the local maternity hospital mind – it was too blowy outside in February)

  1. What are your hobbies?

Hockey, music, socialising

  1. What is your favourite sport?

Hockey and weren’t the GB women amazing at the Olympics?  I love sport and even my dissertation at Uni was about disabled people playing sport in France.