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Trustees & Senior Managers

Trust & Trustees

Our Trustees all have different backgrounds and outlooks. They share a commitment to using their collective skills for the benefit of those who really need them.

Mary Siddall - Chair

Mary Siddall

Mary Siddall is a solicitor specialising in employment law who has worked in and around Southampton for nearly 20 years. She is now employed with Springhouse solicitors and previously worked in-house at the University of Southampton. In addition to being a Trustee Mary has worked as a volunteer at Wheatsheaf Trust offering pro bono legal advice to the Trust’s clients. Mary qualified as a mediator in 2005 and has experience of both community and workplace mediation. Mary sits as an Employment Judge of the Employment Tribunal.

Anita Esser

Anita Esser

Anita is Head of Wider Healthcare Teams Education in Training and Development at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust (UHSFT) identifying and supporting the links between workforce and service need and the development of education programmes. The focus of her role is to lead widening participation in learning within the Trust, in particular for staff working in clinical and non-clinical support roles (NHS Agenda for Change pay bands 1-4) this is anything from pre-entry/employment skills through Apprenticeships to Foundation Degrees and career support.

She has worked for the NHS for over 30 years originally training as an Operating Department Assistant (now Operating Department Practicioner) in Plymouth then working in Exeter and Salisbury hospitals. Moving to UHSFT she helped lead the establishment of a successful in-house NVQ Centre. She led work in the Trust in the early 1990's to use NVQs and competencies to help develop new clinical support roles, showing the importance of linking workforce skill needs to the design and delivery of education and training programmes. The principles of this work continues to inform workforce redesign in Bands 1-4 in the Trust.

Since November 2010 she has been on secondment for 1 day a week to Southampton Solent University (SSU) leading the development of workstreams between the hospital and university to create a strategic alliance between the two organisations. This has resulted in number of successful courses being developed and other work involving SSU students.

As part of her role linking into the local community she led a successful project for the Southampton Skills Development Zone (now Solent SDZ) to create an apprenticeship recruitment framework invlving the key public sector employers in Southampton.

Steve Lent

Steve Lent

Retired from The Royal Bank of Scotland Group as Divisional Managing Director in 2004, now focused on the third sector in an independent capacity, as Trustee/Chairman, CEO and consultant to various charities and not-for-profit groups/companies: Deputy Chairman, RBS Care Homes Foundation; Deputy Chairman, RBS Benevolent Fund; Trustee (and formerly Part-Time CEO), Countess Mountbatten Hospice Charity Limited 2009-2011; Part Time CEO – Leukaemia Busters 2007-2008.

Tim Houghton


Tim is a charity CEO with more than 15 years experience in leading and managing not for profit organisations in South Hampshire and London.  Tim is currently CEO of Community First, an organisation that helps support other charities and community organisations across Havant, East Hampshire and Winchester Districts, and was previously Executive Director at Groundwork Solent.  Tim has a background in community development working mainly in disadvantaged communities and on neighbourhood regeneration programmes.    He is also a Trustee of the Rowner Community Trust in Gosport and is a voluntary sector representative with Solent LEP.  Away from work Tim enjoys sailing, running and tinkering with old Land Rovers.

Claire Williams


Claire is a Director of London based membership organisation Inclusive Employers (2010 onwards), working with employers in all sectors to develop inclusive cultures to improve performance.  With a background in HR, Claire has experience working in the public sector predominantly in the Southwest and Hampshire where she was Assistant Director of HR at Hampshire Police  (1997 - 2004).  Claire specialises in Employment Relations and Equality Diversity and Inclusion and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.  Claire is a member of Remuneration and Appointments Committee.

Edward Brunel-Cohen

Edward is a Chartered Account and is now semi-retired, having stood down in 2015 from his role as Global Director of Finance and IT at the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) in the City of London, where he had been for five years.  Before that, he spent ten years building an internet-based company that he co-founded in the USA and the UK.  His early career was in the accountancy profession (latterly with Neville Russell, now known as Mazars), which he left to become finance director of a major group of Lloyd’s insurance underwriting agencies.

Edward is married with two grown up daughters.  His new-found leisure time has enabled him to indulge his passion for travel, to resurrect his interest in target shooting, and to devote more time to his charity trusteeships.


Jo Gratrick

After working in the Automotive and recruitment sectors in technical and operations roles, Jo began work at Remploy in 2001.  She supported the substantial growth of the Employment Services business, leading the operation and developing innovative products and services for those with Learning Disabilities and Mental Health issues.  Jo then launched the Social Enterprise model in the Remploy factory businesses leading to the exit of sustainable businesses when the factories closed in 2013 and the successful acquisition and transition of the Employment Services business in 2015 to Maximus.

A part of the Executive team for both Remploy and, as an Interim, for Energy & Utility Skills and being Company Secretary for Remploy and Supporters Direct has provided strategy development and Non-Executive and Board experience. 

So after many years’ experience of working in commercial roles, within Social Enterprises and across the Third Sector, Jo is now working with Social Enterprises and Charities supporting organisations who are looking strategically at their business, wanting to grow and improve the performance of their business and who want to understand their Social Impact in order to improve bids or strategic decision making.

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