About the Board
Victoria is Chief Executive Officer of Disability North. Before this, she worked as a consultant in the voluntary and community sector (VCS) in evaluation, service development and bid-writing, while completing her PhD at Durham University exploring how VCS organisations support people with mental health conditions and work with members to mitigate stigma and discrimination.
Victoria is passionate about user involvement in service development and improvement. Victoria is also Chair of Silverline Memories, a dementia charity providing places to go and things to do for people with a diagnosis of dementia in the North East.
Cynthia has spent more than thirty years helping to improve the lives of people living with a long-term condition or experiencing socio-economic disadvantage. She has worked nationally, regionally and locally across the health, social care and voluntary sectors, holding leading positions. She was also part of the NHS Workforce Innovation Project with Teesside University, working at Master’s level to gain recognition as a coach and mentor.
Holding several voluntary positions, including currently as a lay person for the NHS Northern Cancer Alliance, Cynthia was also Chair of Healthwatch Northumberland for six years.
Feyi Awotona (Chair)
Feyi first moved from London to Newcastle in 1992. She has over 24 years experience in the NHS, ten years as consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology. She now works as a management consultant.
Feyi is passionate about social justice and good governance. She believes that service users’ needs and their experience of using services should be at the heart of health and social care provision. Feyi also brings to the committee the perspective of the BME community on social care and health services.
Michael retired after a 35-year career in local government. He held senior management roles in housing, adult social care commissioning, voluntary sector development and volunteering.
Michael has a particular interest in how to successfully engage people to influence policy and decision-making and the great challenge of integrating health and social care services. He also volunteers with Action Language, a local charity which helps asylum seekers and refugees to achieve their goals through learning English. In his spare time, Michael is a keen allotment holder and cyclist.
Alisdair has variously been an academic historian, a lawyer and a user of mental health services, in between stretches of generalised community activism. His day job is as team leader at Launchpad, the mental health service user involvement project for Newcastle upon Tyne. In addition, Alisdair co-chairs the Northumberland, Tyne and Wear Service User and Carer network and led the establishment of the North East mental health user and carer body, NEt.
Alisdair is also Chair of NAGAS (Newcastle and Gateshead Arts Studio), Vice-Chair of MHNE, a Governor of Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, and a Board member of NSUN, the National Survivor User Network for mental health.
Tim is a partner in the Newcastle office of Ward Hadaway law firm. Tim has lived and worked in Newcastle for over 25 years, having originally qualified in London. He specialises in advising public sector clients, such as local authorities and NHS bodies, on a range of commercial and procurement matters; this has included advising NHS trusts on private finance schemes to develop new hospitals.
Away from work Tim is a governor at a local independent school and is an active member of his local church.
Kate spent over 35 years in local government in the North East, focussing on social care, community development, regeneration and social policy. She has also been involved in voluntary activities in Newcastle and is currently a Board member of both West End Women and Girls Centre and Newcastle Council for Voluntary Service.