Our Board

About the Board

Victoria Armstrong
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.

Feyi Awotona
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 Brown
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.

Tim Care  (interim Chair)
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.

Alisdair Cameron
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.

Dr Alexandros Dearges-Chantler
Alexandros has a diverse and international background, with over 25 years’ experience in marketing and communications and strategic management in the private, public and NGO sectors.

Alexandros is very familiar with both the UK NHS and other health systems in Europe, especially in Newcastle upon Tyne. He is a keen advocate of patient involvement and looking at ways to reduce health inequalities and develop much more integrated services.

He has a strong interest in areas such as mental health, especially for young people, LGBT, and veteran communities. Alexandros is a member of the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and a local GP Practitioner/Patients’ Panel. He strongly believes in the principle ‘Nothing about us, without us, is for us.’

Kate Israel
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.

Kate believes strongly that citizens and communities should be fully involved in the issues and services that affect their lives. ‘Nothing about us without us’ should be the guiding principle of all professionals when planning their services.