Simon Sandford – Co Chair
Simon started his career as a Fitness Instructor. After this, he studied Cardiac Rehabilitation and then went on to work for the NHS, setting up exercise referral schemes. He also briefly worked for the NHS in Public Health. While working in the NHS, Simon met Chester Voluntary Action (CVA), as it was known at the time. CVA supported Simon with volunteers, much-needed policies and procedures, as well as gathering vital, wider knowledge of the sector. After leaving the NHS, he and one of his colleagues Georgie Stanley set up Healthbox CIC. They wanted to continue the work they delivered in the NHS and support their community, delivering health and wellbeing services. Simon was then approached by CVA and became a Trustee. He became the very proud Chair of Cheshire West Voluntary Action (CWVA) and is now the Co Chair alongside Gary Cliffe. Between the two of them, Simon hopes they can not only support the team, but also the wider sector.
Gary Cliffe – Co Chair and Chair of Finance Sub Committee
Gary has been involved in the community sector in Cheshire since 1997, when he started his first social enterprise Furniture Finders of Winsford, which eventually morphed into Changing Lives Together. In 2020, he left to start a new initiative in the health and social care sector with his partner. The name of the new organisation describes both Gary and his new organisation: Inclusive Community Development. He has been involved in infrastructure support for the sector for more than 15 years, leading to him joining CWVA in October 2019. In his spare time, he reads boring books, talks about the organisations he would like to set up, cycles and flies a microlight aeroplane.
Kathy Dooley –Trustee
Kathy has spent more than nine years working at community sector charities and companies supporting those with disabilities, low incomes and mental health conditions. Having gained experience working with stakeholders, external agencies and community groups, she then moved into management as a Service Manager at a specialist mental health unit on the Wirral. After joining Primary Care Cheshire (PCC) as a Wellbeing Coordinator, Kathy built relationships within the practices and communities around Frodsham and Helsby, while supporting her colleagues by drawing on her prior management experience. She then successfully applied for the Senior Wellbeing Coordinator role. Kathy is now continuing to develop her career, taking on Level 5 training in Leadership and Management, as well as moving into the Senior Management team in her current role as Wellbeing Services Manager. Kathy is enthusiastic about supporting the wellbeing coordinators, wellbeing link workers and developing the Wellbeing service as it continues to move forward over the coming years.
Councillor Lisa Denson – Trustee
Lisa’s background is 10 years in retail management, working for many different organisations. She gave up her career in 2007 to raise her three daughters and, during this time, she struggled with postnatal depression and social isolation. In 2013, Lisa decided to set up a community group called Westminster Families, which aimed to bring the community together and help people support each other in their community. The group has gone from strength to strength, supporting many families through the community café, school holiday provisions and much more. Lisa’s volunteering work has helped her get back into employment and, over the last four years, she has worked at Healthbox Wellbeing High Street, as well as supporting The Welcome Network’s Sustran People project. She is also a Councillor for Westminster in Ellesmere Port.
Shantele Sutherland – Trustee
Shantele has a legal background. After qualifying as a Barrister at the Inns of Court School of Law, her passion for equality led her to a caseworker role in the community sector, representing individuals who’d experienced discrimination at Tribunal. She then moved into her current position as Director of the local Race and Equality Centre, where she leads a diverse team of staff and services. She brings with her more than 20 years of experience in the community sector, with a particular emphasis on equality work. She is a Chester resident and lives with her husband and two dogs.
Toria Buzza – Trustee
Toria is the Strategic Wellbeing Lead at ForHousing, a housing association based in the north west of England that looks after 24,000 homes. She is responsible for tenant voice and engagement, which includes everything from overseeing the Community Development service, developing and delivering projects that help support the health and wellbeing of communities, developing strategic partnerships to raise the profile of the housing sector in reducing health inequalities, and making sure the voice of the tenant is at the heart of service development and delivery. This experience of working in close partnership with the community sector gives her a real passion for the crucial role the sector plays supporting people. In her spare time, Toria can be found running (slowly) around parks, playing football and winding up her two stepchildren and two cats.
Dr Holly White – Trustee
Holly is a Deputy Head and Lecturer in the Social and Political Sciences department at the University of Chester. Her areas of expertise include poverty and inequality, narratives of social harm, social activism and social justice, and qualitative research. Holly has evolved her knowledge in strategic development and social policy through a variety of voluntary roles, including for Citizen’s Advice, West Cheshire Foodbank and Trussell Trust. Holly is motivated by seeking opportunities for collaboration that promote social justice and wellbeing. She is also a founding member of the Beans on Toast Group, where local community food projects meet with community inspirers from the West Cheshire Poverty Truth Commission to promote change, and a Changing Minds Board member for the Trussell Trust. Holly’s favourite past time is walking her dog.