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Meet the Board of Trustees

Our Board of Trustees are responsible for our leadership and governance. They are all volunteers and oversee the governance of our organisation i.e. making sure we are operating in line with the expectations of our regulators and funders. They support the CEO and management team in the development of our vision and strategic direction. The trustees have a wealth of experience and expertise in lots of different sectors.

Trustees Biographies

Jon Crockett – Chair of Trustee Board

I have spent my life, professionally and as a volunteer working to improve the life chances of all in our communities especially those in the disadvantaged areas of the West Midlands where we work.

Having retired from a successful career in Public Service, including 25 years spent in the NHS and 15 years as CEO of the NHS in Wolverhampton  I have continued to work actively in board and governance roles across a wide range of organisations including Housing, Further and Higher education as well as organisations across the Third Sector

I am a qualified accountant and was president of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy for the Midlands and a regional council member for over fifteen years.

I have lived and worked all my life in and around the Black Country and am proud of our heritage and passionate about making a difference for our people and communities.

Steve Handscomb – Vice Chair of the Trustee Board

I have been very lucky in life to have had a good education and career so feel that I want to give something back to people in the community who are not as fortunate as me using the skills and abilities I have.

I am Commercial Director of a business that makes environmentally friendly cement products and my background  has been in technical and commercial roles in the cement and concrete industry.

My hobbies include watching rugby, walking , working on time pieces, reading,  watching films and spending time with my family.

Nick Cheesewright – Trustee

I believe Citizens Advice performs an essential function in our modern society, in which it is all too easy for people to fall through the cracks and need help to find their way forward. I hope that my knowledge and experience contribute in some small way to delivering that help.

Over the years I worked in both small and large businesses and ended up working for British Waterways (now the Canal & River Trust) initially as finance manager for the West Midlands region. Later I worked on many regeneration projects such as Brindley Place in Birmingham and the Forth and Clyde Canals in Scotland.

I play golf because it gets me out in the fresh air with friends . I have also recently begun to do more gardening for the same reason. Indoors I enjoy spending time on computers and have built my own PCs in the past.

Sue Cooper – Trustee

I joined  Citizens Advice Dudley Borough as a volunteer adviser but after four years I decided it was time to use my knowledge and skills at a more strategic level, joining the board in April 2017.

I started my career in the NHS working as a research statistician at what was then the Regional Health Board in Birmingham. I moved into management and gained skills both in operational management and strategy development.  I also have a Masters in Health Care Management from Warwick University. Before taking voluntary early retirement I was Associate Director For Primary Care in Dudley and for the last 18 months was based at Wolverhampton Primary Care Trust.

My other commitments include being Co-Chair of Governors at Netherton Park Nursery School. I love to be busy and enjoy travelling, gardening, cycling and walking.

Bernard Cysewski – Trustee

I’ve been involved with Citizens Advice for almost 20 years as volunteer generalist adviser, advice session supervisor and now a trustee. I’ve always believed you only get out of an organisation what you put in. So being passionate about helping people has always been my driver and I’m proud of what Citizens Advice stands for.

I work full time in a demanding job helping lead a housing & welfare team at Walsall council dealing with homelessness and people in crisis. I’m also a trustee for South Staffs Water Charitable trust and sit on the water consumer challenge group panel.

When time allows I love to walk in Snowdonia but recently I’ve been spending more time working on the allotment growing fruit & veg for my family, neighbours and staff at work. I find by being outdoors is a great way to clear the mind & de-stress.

Sarah Dugan – Trustee

I believe we can really make a difference to people’s lives through offering advice and support when it is needed most.

I am the Chief Executive of Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust. We work in partnership to provide community and mental health services to our local communities.

I am a nurse by background. In my spare time I like to spend time with my friends and family and enjoy watching films, going to the theatre and travelling.

 

John Hussey – Trustee

Having trained and served as a Generalist Adviser with Citizens Advice Dudley Borough for 5 years, I have a deep commitment to the ideals and values of Citizens Advice. I want to work with highly skilled and motivated colleagues as we seek to transform our organisation and the services provided to the communities of Dudley and Wolverhampton.

My career background is in education as a teacher in the inner City and Headteacher and Executive Principal of a Multi Academy of several schools with an age range from 2-19 years.

I’m Chair of a local Community Association seeking to serve the very complex needs of a deprived Ward in Birmingham.  I love my escape to the local allotment, enjoy literature, music and theatre. Getting better with my photography – I prefer being behind the camera not in front – and my guitar playing.

Steve Iafrati – Trustee

I am very proud to be part of Citizens Advice and associated with their work. Through my research and through personal experience, I am aware that you never know when you need some advice or someone to point you in the right direction.

I am a senior lecturer in Social Policy at the University of Wolverhampton and I publish in the areas of poverty and welfare, with a particular interest in food poverty and housing. I also have responsibility for overseeing the doctoral programme within social sciences, law and history as well as supervising PhD students. I am also vice-chair and a trustee of the Social Policy Association.

Outside of work, myself and my wife have three rescue dogs and I am  a season ticket holder at Birmingham City. I also have a keen interest in photography ever since my parents gave me a camera when I was young to photograph one of our family holidays.

Louise Jones – Trustee

I developed a passion for assisting those that need help in our communities whilst working as a volunteer for CAB when I was a newly qualified solicitor. As my career progressed, I became a trustee to enable me to continue to give back where I can.

I am a Statutory Director of a private legal firm and a specialist child protection lawyer. I am responsible for managing at strategic and operational levels.  I spend a great deal of my time litigating in court on behalf of children who find themselves in the care system. I am the current chair of the Family Drugs and Alcohol Court operations group with the express aim of reducing the number of children removed from their families because of substance abuse.

Hill walking is my chosen pastime. The outdoors gives me a sense of calm and peace. I have been known to do a bit of wild swimming but only in the summer months! Reading about the Neolithic period and archaeology in general is my idea of a good night in.

Mark Jones – Trustee

I initially worked as a volunteer adviser at our Brierley Hill location. I really enjoyed helping people with their issues and through giving advice making a positive difference to their personal situations. I am passionate about the work Citizens Advice does, I want to give back to our community and have been a trustee for the last 20 years.

I am a Legal Adviser and work for a trade union. I have 20 years’ experience of providing employment law advice. I have a keen interest in social policy, current affairs and am committed to social justice and a more inclusive society.

I enjoy cooking – the first rule of survival, and like eating spicy food. I am a real ale fan, audio books and  addicted to my fitbit and maintaining my daily step count.

Stuart Maynard – Trustee

I wanted to find a way of helping my community that would fit around my busy work schedule. I hope that my skills and experiences can support the amazing work carried out by the Citizens Advice Dudley and Wolverhampton Team.

I work for a large, international IT company. My role as Service Director is to lead our delivery teams, understand the needs of my customers and find ways of enabling their businesses through innovative IT services and solutions.

As a family we enjoy going for walks with the dog, watching live music and comedy (usually with my daughter), film and playing poker with the children (not for money as they usually beat me). I also do quite a lot of travel with my job, which allows me to experience different countries and cultures around the world.

Geeta Patel – Trustee

I feel strongly that people who are struggling need the safety net offered by Citizens Advice, which gives free, informed, and confidential information and advice about money, legal, consumer and other problems such as food poverty.

I have over 30 years of experience in leadership and governance roles in the voluntary, healthcare, and public sectors. My work has included: addressing disadvantages in employment in housing for Black, Minority Ethnic people, challenging inequality in health provision for Asian women, and working on health and well-being issues in Wolverhampton.

I am on the board of Women of Wolverhampton, a grassroots charity that facilitates positive change for women by advancing gender equality and equal participation. I am in the NHS NExT Director programme, a project which aims to develop more diversity on NHS boards.

I am married with three sons. I enjoy reading, walking, and spending time with my extended family.

Primula Paul – Trustee

Unfortunately society is not equal.  The differences start from birth, through to the education a person receives and then follows them into their adult life.  I believe the Citizens Advice family is the helping hand for many that need it at certain points in their life.

I have worked in Human Resources for 30 years in the private sector, NHS and local Government. My current role is to provide HR support to schools and academies.

I also undertake other voluntary work, which keeps me busy on weekends.   During lockdown I have started walking and hopefully I will carry on with that and explore the UK.

Our Service is…..

  • Free – we wont charge for our services
  • Confidential – we wont disclose unless a case of safeguarding
  • Independent – We put you first, it’s about your rights and responsibilities
  • Impartial – Our advice is based on what is right for you as an individual

We value diversity, promote equality and challenge discrimination