Our Board of Trustees comprises a wide range of experts from health inequalities researchers to community practitioners, from voluntary and private sector specialists to senior policy developers.


Paul Ballantyne

Paul is our Trustee in Scotland. He is an experienced regeneration practitioner with over 30 years’ experience of managing social, economic and physical regeneration programmes. His background is in community development and he has worked in a variety of settings - local government, Scottish Government; in health, housing and regeneration agencies and latterly with the Scottish Community Development Centre. His experience includes leading a 10 year multi-agency regeneration partnership; developing patient and public involvement programmes in the NHS; managing national third sector employability initiatives; managing national regeneration learning networks. He has served on numerous third sector boards in Scotland and is currently a board member of the Workers Educational Association Scotland.

Leandra Box

Leandra is a senior manager at the Race Equality Foundation, a leading UK equalities charity. Her career has been largely within the voluntary sector and has consistently focused on tackling disadvantage and inequality in a variety of roles: as a researcher, a policy lead and now a programme lead. Leandra led the development and expansion of the nationally recognised Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities violence prevention parenting intervention and its sister programme for young people, and is an active spokesperson within the parenting sector, being a founder member of the UK Parenting Alliance. She has written widely on issues including BAME communities’ access to family support, the needs of BAME families, workforce training and development, and the role of the BAME Voluntary and Community sector. Leandra was born and brought up in North West London and continues to live in the very same area today where she is also a trustee of a small youth arts charity.

Jenny Edwards CBE (Chair)

Jenny became Chair in April 2021. She is a campaigner for mental health and wellbeing and for health equality. Jenny is an adviser to the What Works Centre for Wellbeing and the Mindfulness Initiative. She is a former Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation and Homeless Link.  She is an Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health and represents the Faculty on the National Advisory Group for Mental Health. Jenny is a trustee of Affinity Trust, supporting people with learning disabilities and leading trustees' work on Equalities, Inclusion and Diversity. She is also active in local environmental groups and volunteers in her local parks. Jenny is a founding Fellow of the Society of Leadership Fellows in St Georges House, Windsor and a Fellow of the RSA.  She was awarded a CBE in 2011.

Liz Dowler photoProfessor Elizabeth Dowler

Liz is Emeritus Professor of Food & Social Policy, University of Warwick, and previously worked in public health nutrition at both international and national levels, based at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. She draws on science and social science in working on food poverty and security, rights and justice; public health and local food initiatives; policy evaluation; and reconnection to sustainable food systems. Liz is a member and former trustee of the Food Ethics Council, a small charity working for a fairer food system. She has been advisor to UK charities such as the Food Foundation, Sustain, Oxfam UK, and to government. For many years she did international consultancies evaluating food policies and research; her work was widely published. She is also a member of the Iona Community,  a dispersed ecumenical Christian community, working for peace and social justice and rebuilding of community.

  Jackie Lodge (Deputy Chair)

Jackie has over 25 year's experience working in the charity sector. She is currently the Chief Executive of an endowed charity in Surrey which provides almshouses, community buildings, and grants for organisations tackling need and poverty. Jackie previously worked for the British Heart Foundation, heading up the UK care and rehabilitation programs. Prior to this, she held a range of management roles with the Age Concern federation supporting the governance of local organisations. Jackie has held various trustee positions on local and international charities. She has a BA in Psychology and a Master's degree in Charity Management. 


Tommy McIlravey

Tommy has been a charity CEO for 14 years and currently serves in that role at Lancashire Mind, an independent mental health charity aligned to the wider Mind federation. Prior to that he was CEO of Sahir House, an award-winning charity providing services around HIV and sexual health across Merseyside and North Cheshire. He was the Founder of the Liverpool Pride festival and continues to maintain an interest in both supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people and people from refugee and asylum-seeking communities. He also has nearly 25 years’ experience as a charity trustee and non-executive director. He currently sits on the board of Plus Dane Housing, which provides homes for thousands of people across Merseyside and Cheshire. He also works as a freelance consultant, coach and trainer. This includes private work alongside assignments for both the King’s Fund and the Cranfield Trust. He specialises in advising other leaders in the third sector around a range of issues including strategy, culture, governance and marketing. 

Barbara Simmonds

Barbara is a Chartered Accountant who for the last 20 years has been working in the UK and overseas as a freelance financial consultant in both the private and charitable sectors.  She has worked on a variety of international aid projects funded by the European Union and other donor organisations in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. She is a member of the Advisory Board of a charity providing emergency relief and development assistance worldwide and of the Business Law Committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales. Previously she worked with PwC and Avis Europe plc.


Duncan Stephenson

Duncan is Director of External Affairs for the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) and is responsible for developing the organisation’s voice on public health issues. He has been behind many of RSPH’s new policies including: campaigning for alcohol calorie labelling; creating outdoor smoking exclusion zones; and most recently drug policy reform. Duncan has more than ten years’ experience in campaigns, media relations and public affairs - working mainly on health and wellbeing issues. Before joining RSPH, Duncan looked after parliamentary and stakeholder relations for the Care Quality Commission. He was also the Head of External Affairs at the YMCA. In this role, he set up the All Party Parliamentary Group on Body Image and was instrumental in the Campaign for Body Confidence, now the BeReal Campaign. As External Relations Manager at Unilever UK, he supported their response to the Public Health White Paper, covering issues such as food labelling, marketing and advertising to children and product reformulation. Duncan is also a volunteer for OCD Action.

Shavanah Taj

Shavanah is our Trustee for Wales. She is Wales TUC’s first BME General Secretary. She joined Wales TUC in February 2019 from the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), where she had been the Welsh Secretary since 2013, having served as national union official since 2012.  Shavanah is a passionate campaigner and can often be found contributing speeches at round table debates and protest marches on issues such as anti-racism, human rights, women’s rights, fair pay, fair work and creating an equitable, sustainable green economy that delivers positive, long lasting changes for workers and the communities in which they live and work.


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