Our Trustees all have different backgrounds and outlooks. They share a commitment to using their collective skills for the benefit of those who really need them.

Mary Siddall – Chair

Mary Siddall - ChairMary Siddall is a solicitor specialising in employment law who has worked in and around Southampton for nearly 20 years. She is now employed with Springhouse solicitors and previously worked in-house at the University of Southampton.

In addition to being a Trustee, Mary has worked as a volunteer at Wheatsheaf Trust offering pro bono legal advice to the Trust’s clients. Mary qualified as a mediator in 2005 and has experience of both community and workplace mediation.

Mary sits as an Employment Judge of the Employment Tribunal.

Anita Esser

Anita EsserAnita is Head of Wider Healthcare Teams Education in Training and Development at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust (UHSFT) identifying and supporting the links between workforce and service need and the development of education programmes.

The focus of her role is to lead widening participation in learning within the Trust, in particular for staff working in clinical and non-clinical support roles (NHS Agenda for Change pay bands 1-4) this is anything from pre-entry/employment skills through Apprenticeships to Foundation Degrees and career support.

She has worked for the NHS for over 30 years originally training as an Operating Department Assistant (now Operating Department Practitioner) in Plymouth then working in Exeter and Salisbury hospitals. Moving to UHSFT she helped lead the establishment of a successful in-house NVQ Centre.

She led work in the Trust in the early 1990s to use NVQs and competencies to help develop new clinical support roles, showing the importance of linking workforce skill needs to the design and delivery of education and training programmes. The principles of this work continue to inform workforce redesign in Bands 1-4 in the Trust.

Since November 2010 she has been on secondment for 1 day a week to Southampton Solent University (SSU) leading the development of workstreams between the hospital and university to create a strategic alliance between the two organisations. This has resulted in a number of successful courses being developed and other work involving SSU students.

As part of her role linking into the local community, she led a successful project for the Southampton Skills Development Zone (now Solent SDZ) to create an apprenticeship recruitment framework involving the key public sector employers in Southampton.

Steve Lent

Steve LentRetired from The Royal Bank of Scotland Group as Divisional Managing Director in 2004, Steve is now focused on the third sector in an independent capacity.

He is Trustee/Chairman, CEO and consultant to various charities and not-for-profit groups/companies: Deputy Chairman, RBS Care Homes Foundation; Deputy Chairman, RBS Benevolent Fund; Trustee (and formerly Part-Time CEO), Countess Mountbatten Hospice Charity Limited 2009-2011; Part-Time CEO – Leukaemia Busters 2007-2008.

Tim Houghton

Tim HoughtonTim is a charity CEO with more than 15 years of experience in leading and managing not for profit organisations in South Hampshire and London.  Tim is currently CEO of Community First, an organisation that helps support other charities and community organisations across Havant, East Hampshire and Winchester Districts, and was previously Executive Director at Groundwork Solent.

Tim has a background in community development working mainly in disadvantaged communities and on neighbourhood regeneration programmes.

He is also a Trustee of the Rowner Community Trust in Gosport and is a voluntary sector representative with Solent LEP.  Away from work, Tim enjoys sailing, running and tinkering with old Land Rovers.

Edward Brunel-Cohen

Edward Brunel-CohenEdward is a Chartered Account and is now semi-retired, having stood down in 2015 from his role as Global Director of Finance and IT at the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) in the City of London, where he had been for five years.

Before that, he spent ten years building an internet-based company that he co-founded in the USA and the UK.

His early career was in the accountancy profession (latterly with Neville Russell, now known as Mazars), which he left to become finance director of a major group of Lloyd’s insurance underwriting agencies.

Edward is married with two grown-up daughters. His new-found leisure time has enabled him to indulge his passion for travel, to resurrect his interest in target shooting, and to devote more time to his charity trusteeships.

Jo Gratrick

After working in the Automotive and recruitment sectors in technical and operations roles, Jo Gratrick began work at Remploy in 2001.  She supported the substantial growth of the Employment Services business, leading the operation and developing innovative products and services for those with Learning Disabilities and Mental Health issues.  Jo then launched the Social Enterprise model in the Remploy factory businesses leading to the exit of sustainable businesses when the factories closed in 2013 and the successful acquisition and transition of the Employment Services business in 2015 to Maximus.

Jo is now working with Social Enterprises and Charities supporting organisations who are looking strategically at their business, wanting to grow and improve the performance of their business and who want to understand their Social Impact in order to improve bids or strategic decision making.

David Watson

David Watson is currently employed as Director, Group Strategic Planning at Centrica.  He is an energy expert with nearly twenty years’ experience in the UK energy market focused in regulatory, policy and strategy roles.  David’s background gives him a number of relevant skills for his role on the Board, including strategic planning, negotiation and commercial acumen.  He also holds a degree in Business and Law.

David has experience in the voluntary sector, notably with Enactus where he is currently a Business Advisor and latterly with the Hampshire Advocacy and User Group for the Blind and Partially Sighted

Lynn Simpson

Lynn Simpson Chartered FCIPD is an HR Consultant who works with organisations to deliver cultural change and transformation.  She has worked at a strategic level in blue-chip organisations and has over twenty years’ experience in human resources across a number of sectors.  As divisional HR Director for Babcock International Group she delivered people strategies around growth, acquisition, talent management and leadership.  She was previously trustee and Chair of Southampton Counselling and Therapy Centre.

Sheila Stokes White

Sheila Stokes White is a strategic consultant in leadership and board development. She has designed and delivered bespoke programmes for many organisations from strategic reviews to significant change and organisational transformation projects.  In the process she has mentored boards, senior teams and key leaders enabling them to clarify their future vision, values, culture and strategy in large and small companies, government departments and professional organisations.

As a senior strategic adviser to central and local government she has delivered successful assignments across the UK on systems leadership, integration of health and social care and transformation and culture change.  She founded a management consultancy offering organisational development, facilitation, mentoring and leadership development to organisations throughout the country.  An experienced mentor, facilitator and presenter, Sheila is a member of the Institute of Directors and currently facilitates a monthly group for female members providing a confidential environment for peer networking and exploratory debates.  Sheila was a non-executive director of an NHS trust for 11 years where she sat on the Audit Committee, acted as critical friend and brought a wider strategic partnership perspective to the table.

A humanities graduate, Sheila qualified as a probation officer at Bristol University and had extensive experience in the service which included working in the civil courts on divorce & custody issues, managing a team of officers in a prison offering long term therapeutic work with life sentence prisoners and, finally, joining the senior management team.  Her book “The Ethics of Work” was published in 2014

Linda Matthews – CEO

Linda has extensive experience in the Disability and Welfare to Work sector having previously worked at Enham Trust as the Director of Learning, Employment and Self Employment.  Then moving to CDG – WISE Ability in 2010 to head up the Department of Works and Pensions Work Choice Contract for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Linda is now the CEO at two Charities based in Hampshire, Wheatsheaf Trust and Yateley Industries.

Sam Peplow – Director of Delivery

An experienced Operational Leader in the Disability and Welfare to Work Sector with a further background of working in Supply Chain Management and Further Education. Sam has worked on Department of Work and Pensions contracts since joining Shaw Trust as Operations Manager in 2012 and subsequently joining CDG – WISE Ability as Deputy Director. Prior to this working for over 8 years on Education Skills Funding Agency contracts within Adult Learning and Further Education across England.

Sam is now the Director of Delivery at Wheatsheaf Trust as well as Deputy CEO at another Charity based in Hampshire Yateley Industries for the Disabled.

David Carpenter – Finance Manager

David Carpenter is the Finance Manager at the Wheatsheaf Trust.  He is a chartered accountant with extensive charity sector experience having worked in the sector since 2007 for charities included the RNLI, Victim Support, Winchester Science Centre and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.

Having trained at a London practice in the 1990s, David also spent time working in industry for rigging and engineering companies, before relocating to the South Coast.

He has volunteered for the Citizens Advice Bureau, serving as both a trustee and treasurer, and continues to volunteer for a local Fundraising Group.