Sense is a national disability charity that supports people with complex communication needs to be understood, connected and valued.
Sense is governed by a Council of Trustees. The Council work to uphold our vision, protect our assets and funds, and ensure that we comply with legislation and regulation. On a day-to-day basis, Sense is managed by an Executive team.
We currently have 14 trustees.
Justin is a Senior Group Leader at the Francis Crick Institute in London. Over the past 30 years he has worked across diverse areas of biomedical research, including a study exploring how our ears convert sound energy into signals for our brains to understand.
Justin is best known for his work using laser-based optical methods to study single biological molecules. He also serves on national and international scientific review bodies, granting agencies and learned societies.
Gillian has been a trustee of Sense since 1996, with breaks in 2005 and 2013. A parent of a young man who is deafblind, Gillian has an in-depth knowledge of deafblindness. She is a passionate advocate when talking to politicians, business people, service providers and the public, influencing and motivating political, financial and practical support for Sense.
Gillian previously held management roles in sales and customer services, supported students with disabilities and worked as project manager for a design company. She now supports her husband in his health and safety consultancy and works for a not-for-profit health insurance company.
Nick is a chartered accountant and has spent the last 30 years in finance and business. He worked for 10 years as an investment banker in the City of London and has subsequently been finance director of a number of quoted and unquoted UK-based companies, most recently as chief financial officer of a multi-national engineering group.
Nick is a school governor and lives near Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire.
Natalie initially became involved with Sense because her youngest sister has CHARGE syndrome. She is deeply committed to Sense's work and, in particular, the support provided to young siblings.
Natalie has worked as a fundraiser for charities including Friends of the Earth and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.
She previously worked for Sense as a fundraiser and in our Sense Holidays and Short Breaks team, and volunteered to support children and siblings at our family days.
Ashling has a daughter who is deafblind, and has been involved with Sense for over 10 years. She was co-chair of a joint commissioning group in London for two years, and was involved in the implementation of SEND (special educational needs and disabilities) reforms within the local authority.
Ashling has also been an Independent Supporter, providing advice, information and support to parents and helping them to gain a better understanding of their rights and entitlements under the Children and Families Act.
Graham is Director of Creative Programmes at the Birmingham Hippodrome, which is an independent, not-for-profit registered charity, and one of the UK’s busiest theatres. Graham oversees all Hippodrome creative activity, from major city festivals and unique events, to work with local schools and vulnerable children and young people.
Graham has worked in the UK cultural sector on a diverse range of national and international projects, including the delivery of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, heritage regeneration, tourism and creative industries initiatives. Graham brings over 20 years’ experience to the Council, which is committed to the Sense Arts and Wellbeing programme.
Mythily is a solicitor, and a partner at Fladgate in London, one of the UK’s top 100 law firms.
Mythily was first introduced to the work of Sense International in India in 2008 and has been involved ever since. She has organised several awareness and fundraising events in India, and has developed a keen awareness of Sense’s work and the people we support.
Benedict is Deputy Director for Joint Commissioning for Oxfordshire County Council, where he is responsible for commissioning social care. He works with partners, such as the NHS, private, community and voluntary sector service providers, to offer the best possible services.
Benedict worked for Sense as Head of Campaigns and Public Policy from 2000 to 2002, and has continued his association, working as a volunteer leader on Sense Holidays for more than 15 years. Benedict is passionate about ensuring the voice of disabled people is heard, and ensuring a strong voluntary sector role in providing services for people living with complex disabilities.
Des worked in the railway industry for over 30 years, holding several management positions before retiring in 2010 due to the deterioration of his sight.
Des has Usher syndrome and has been a member of Sense for over 20 years. He is passionate about supporting other members and encouraging social engagement, and has been a committee member for the Hearing and Sight Impaired (NSI) UK South national branch of Sense since the late 1990s. He became a trustee in January 2014.
Andy had a 25 year long career with accountants KPMG in the Midlands, before he left to focus on turning round underperforming businesses.
He was an external member on the Finance and Audit sub-committee for 18 months, before becoming a trustee.
David is a technology and marketing specialist with almost 40 years’ experience both in the UK and internationally. This includes 15 years in senior management positions with Sony, including as CEO of Sony PlayStation in London.
David is currently a Trustee for the National Autistic Society as well as a Senior Independent Director of Keywords International, PLC, RED Entertainment (Dubai), consultant at the Quantic Group and an accredited Growth Accelerator Coach for UK companies. David is fluent in German, Japanese and French, and holds an MBA in Marketing, as well as a PhD in Chemical Physics.
Brian has worked with children and adults who are deaf, blind, visually impaired and deafblind in Northern Ireland for over forty years. He has been Principal Social Worker for Sensory Impaired Services and from 1991 to 2011 was Director of RNID NI (Royal National Institute for Deaf People Northern Ireland).
He has worked as a consultant and has served on a number of Boards and Committees, including being Chair of the Ulster Institute for the Deaf and Honorary Secretary of the European Society on Mental Health and Deafness. He has also been a member of the Northern Ireland Civic Forum. He was President of the World Congress on Mental Health and Deafness in Belfast in 2014. Brian is currently a member of the Board of Habinteg Housing Association, Chair of Northern Ireland Sense Council and a member of NDCS l(NI) Advisory Committee.
He became an MBE in 2001 and holds a number of other awards.
Sue founded the Kent Branch of Sense and was its chair until 2013. She has also been a Sense parent trustee since 1993. Sue was a non-executive director for the local health trust for learning disabilities and mental health, and has acted as a Mental Health Act manager. She has campaigned for the rights of people with complex communication needs, including sitting on a Kent County Council panel that wrote a county-wide disability strategy.
She is also a member of the Sense International Board and Sense’s Quality Board, which oversees the quality of the services provided by Sense.