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.
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.
George has held senior media and digital executive posts for 15 years across international markets. He is currently the Vice President of Marketing, Sales and Analytics for Eurosport, the biggest pan European sports broadcaster, home of The Olympics and part of the Discovery Communications Group. Prior to that, George held senior marketing and strategy roles at Sky and T-Mobile and other companies in Greece, the UK and internationally.
He was born in Thessaloniki, Greece and studied International Economics in the University of Macedonia. He also has an M.Sc. in Marketing from Athens University of Business and Economics.
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.
Mark has over 35 years’ experience in all aspects of the property development and portfolio management arenas and has held senior and executive positions with a number of major retailers in the UK and internationally, in China and Russia.
In 2007, Mark became an Executive Director of Circle Health and helped build the largest partnership of healthcare professionals in Europe. He also led the development and construction of three new award-winning hospitals and now advises NHS Trust Boards on large-scale development plans.
Mark has also been a member of NHS acute hospital Trust Boards. Since 2014, he has been a Governor and Board member of the University of West London and is also Chair of their Finance Committee.
Mark was also a Commissioned Officer in the armed forces for over ten years, primarily in infantry roles.
Since April 2011, Simon has been Foundation Secretary of Warwick Independent Schools, a small group of schools educating around 2,400 pupils, and employing 600 staff, with an annual turnover of over £35m. His role incorporates all aspects of strategy and governance, as well as operational oversight of shared services for the four schools within the Foundation. He had previously worked in two other independent schools from 2002 to 2011.
Before this Simon had pursued a financial career, working in companies ranging from a plc to large and medium sized family owned businesses. He has been a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) since 2005.
Simon had previously worked in the construction industry, initially in junior engineering and administration roles, before managing small (up to £1m) building projects for the retail sector.
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.
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.