Volition is recruiting 3 Trustees to join their Board and are pleased to share five candidates for Volition members to consider and vote upon.

Volition LogoTo help you consider your preferred candidates, the skills and experience we are looking for, how you can vote, and an overview of the candidates is detailed below.

Each Volition membership organisation is eligible to nominate one person to vote for 3 candidates on their behalf.

The current Volition board members are:

  • Adam Oglive (stepping down at the 2021 AGM)
  • Adrian Curtis
  • Carol Hill
  • David Blythe
  • Helen Kemp – Treasurer
  • James Hill
  • Oli Sutton
  • Philip Gleeson
  • Ruth Kettle – Chair
  • Taira Kayani (stepping down at the 2021 AGM)
  • Zoe Bawn

You can find out more about the boards of Forum Central here.

Who are we looking for?

We are passionate about reflecting the people and communities that make up the city of Leeds, as well as the incredibly rich and diverse sector we represent and want to reflect this in our board of trustees.

It is important that both large and small organisations representing the span of our membership are represented on the board as well as those with lived/professional experience representing marginalised groups or communities.

Individuals elected to the Board act as independent Trustees, rather than as a representative of the member organisation they work for, if applicable. Please see the Charity Commission publication ‘The Essential Trustee’ for information on the Trustee role.

We are specifically looking to appoint Trustees with a combination of the following skills and experience:

  • Third Sector insight and understanding
  • Understanding of national, regional and local health systems, including Local Government, Health Service and Voluntary Sector partnerships
  • Experience of advocating for people from marginalised communities
  • Experience of working with people who have a learning disability
  • Marketing experience and knowledge
  • Advocacy skills
  • Professional experience working with and developing IT systems.

Voting process

Voting is for Volition member organisations only, and one vote per organisation will be accepted. You can vote in one of two ways:

  • At the Volition Annual General Meeting on Thursday 09 December from 10.30am – 12pm. During the meeting, representatives present from member organisations will be asked to vote for their chosen three candidates. The meeting is taking place at Swarthmore Education Centre and there is the opportunity to join online via Zoom.
    • Please register your attendance on Eventbrite here if you wish to attend. During the meeting, representatives present from member organisations will be asked to vote for their chosen three candidates.
  • If you are unable to attend the AGM, you can vote in advance by completing this Google form by Wednesday 08 December at 12pm.

Those who are successfully appointed will be inducted and take up their duties at the Board meeting in January 2022.


Reasons wanting to be a Volition Trustee

  • Support and represent wider interests of the 3rd/vol sector
  • Influence key decision makers in the city through Volition to be more inclusive and responsive to community needs.
  • Ensure equality, diversity and inclusion embedded as normalised across the health and social care sector.
  • Peer support from colleagues.
  • Personal development – an opportunity to learn from others.

Skills & Experience

  • 25 years of senior leadership in Local Government and Voluntary sector. Currently CEO of Touchstone. Before this I was Operations Director and also held Business Development Director role in 2013.  In Local Gov’t held several Heads of Service roles includes being Head of Equal Opportunities in 2 local authorities (London Borough of Hounslow & Leeds City Council). In Leeds City Council I have been the Head of Efficiency and my last role was Head of Strategy and Development.
  • Expertise in the areas of equality/diversity including working at national level.
  • Extensive experience of corporate policy and strategic development (spent most of career in CEO/Corporate departments in Local Govt)
  • Extensive experience of being on Board and Committees covering 3 decades from being a school governor to being a member of national organisations.
  • Lived experience of mental health. Sectioned under the MH Act in 2011 leading to extensive experience as a service user accessing statutory and voluntary MH services in Leeds. I have a very strong service user focus and am not tainted nor loyal to the ‘profession’ of mental health/psychology and the power structures around it.

I would love to be a board member as a way to contribute and to ‘give back’ to the community. I am an advanced medical practitioner (Background as a nurse and more recently as a Physician Associate) I have over 35 years experience working within the healthcare sector.

I am also a carer for an adult child with mental health challenges and have been for the past 17 years. I understand the difficulties experienced by carers of loved ones with mental health difficulties.

I have taken early retirement and started my own wellness business (Life Inspired Wellness) which is about the development of holistic programmes for better health and vitality for women after emotional abuse. The aim of intended programme is to educate, empower and support women whilst offering tools to help reach health goals to support a healthier and happier lifestyle. Lowered wellbeing is associated with poorer health and longevity.

I believe I can bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise both from a clinical as well as community perspective. I have also done some work with VAL Leeds to understand what it means to be a board member and to be able to function appropriately as a board member.

I have served as a trustee for many mental health organisations in Leeds and would like to be a trustee again, because people found my contributions thoughtful and inspiring, as a volunteer too.

My low mood and concentration is not fossilised like it used to be. I consider my present low mood not a barrier to trusteeship but a strength, because Volition’s concerns seem to be about healthcare too.

I do not self stigmatise my mental distress, but am open about it and it dissolves more and more as time goes by. Further such openness to self health care, is reflected in my attitude towards others. There are barriers, prejudices oppressions in society, my practice is proven in inclusiveness, and involvement as a BME representative, for UKAN, Mindlink, LIP: where I was part of the MHUCRG for many years

I do have many diagnoses 27 physical and mental in all, but I view them no matter how painful or disabling at times as a tool of compassion, to help make the world a better place. Also, I really enjoyed being a trustee, and a strength told to me by others, was my ability to defuse faction fighting, or formulate a way forward in the best interests of all. I got a buzz out of trustee responsibilities.

My prime goal in life is about diversity, promotion, inclusion, equality as I have known race, disability, distress discriminations, but always worked to overcome this with organisations, such as UKAN, LIP, Advonet, Mindlink (the user network of mind which reviews its policies to make them user friendly),and diverse Minds

I have diverse experience of discrimination by race, culture, disability and distress, and am fully aware of the adverse impact of discrimination on people who deserve increased rights, and better implementation of them. I contend disabled including distressed people are still one of the most marginalised groups in society, with an unemployment rate of 60 percent, and healthcare and benefit systems that are biased against their needs and rights. This is tragic but not insurmountable.

My attitude is that nothing is insurmountable, by making allies, by hard work, by campaigning for inclusion, by promoting inclusion, and coproduction (and I have worked on all these latter, by being a trustee of 9 organisations over 30 years, and by equality training of trustees and user and carer groups in healthcare.)

I am a people person, and believe and promote human rights through advocacy, as such I was re-elected as Chair of United Kingdom Advocacy Network in 2001, thus serving for two years as chair. I began my work with UKAN as a BME co-optee to negotiate and inspire UKAN to include BME communities, which I was told I did whereas a previous BME co-optee did not do it so well. I believe commitment, both personally and socially, is freedom. UKAN is the foremost user-led and largest pressure group for better mental health care advocacy in the UK.

I would love to serve Volition as a trustee, serving everyone’s best interest and it aims.

I would like to be a Volition trustee as I have a passion for working with people with learning disabilities, and continually strive to improve and enhance local communities. I would like to think that I can inspire those with whom I work to deliver improved services and improved outcomes for the people they support, their families and their local communities.

I have advocated, worked with and for, people with learning disabilities in Leeds for the last 29 years and continue to find the experience both challenging and rewarding.

On a personal note, I have always sought to deliver, manage, lead and transform services in ways which deliver improved outcomes to peoples to enable them to benefit from the opportunities the city has to offer all its citizens.

Over the last decade I have gained experience in strategic operations management, whilst leading on developing and implementing strategic objectives. I have responsibility for multi-million pound budgets and line manage the service leads for HR, H&S, IT and Recruitment.

I have been fully involved in the development and modernisation of learning disability services in Leeds through both ILP and DSM project’s.

I feel that one of my key strengths is supporting people through significant change programmes, and that I also have excellent consultation and communication skills.

My role means that I have to deputise our Chief Executive at Aspire on a number of occasions which has led to me communicating and working with partner organisations, Trade Unions and Boards on a frequent basis.

As a Leeds lass of South Asian heritage, I immediately knew I should apply, as I have lots to offer, and this organisation is somewhere I want to be involved. Working in the health and care sector I believe there is a huge connect between health and wellbeing and the places we live, work and play, resulting in improving health and wellbeing, support in reducing inequalities and connecting with the wider Leeds communities.

I have experienced first-hand the value the VCS can bring to an individual as I have watched my parents struggle through the pandemic, as all those things they held dear, such as, connecting with friends, supporting those in need and being active, came to a stop and The Sikh Elders Service provided support and connectivity on a weekly basis, through the pandemic. Such services provide a lifeline for many.

With over 10 years of experience working with VCS organisations from local government and ICS level perspective, across Bradford, Calderdale and Leeds. I have helped raised their voice to system leaders and helped some onto an established footing. I will bring consistency, leadership and governance experience to this role.

To add to my professional experience, I am a trustee at Northern Broadsides, aiming to connect health and wellbeing with arts and culture. I am also the Co-lead for health and communications at Sikh Alliance Yorkshire, ensuring the Sikh community is voicing their issues to create a stronger community.