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Our trustees – who they are and what they do

Our trustees govern our organisation, they hold us accountable to our organisational strategy and bring their skills and expertise to strengthen our direction and delivery. Here you’ll find information about their meetings and who they are!

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What trustees do – Board meetings

Who are our trustees?

Richard Jones – chair

Richard is a passionate supporter of Shared Lives having seen the difference it makes to people’s lives. Richard has  been a Director of Social Services, worked for government and been a senior executive in the NHS.

Richard continues to be involved  in social care and health through a range of consultancy work and as a board member of Anchor Trust and Action on Hearing Loss.

Richard is a keen walker and enjoys music  and bird watching. He is currently learning to play the trumpet!

Ian Coleman – Treasurer

Ian read Economics at university and is an Accountant by profession. He was Finance Director of one of the largest metropolitan councils for 15 years and now has his own business advising on financial management and pension fund management.

He holds a season ticket holder at Manchester United, (one of the rare breed who actually hails from Manchester…!) and enjoys being a member of the National Trust. He has supported us for over 10 years.

Ramona Amuza – Trustee, representing Homeshare UK network

You can follow Ramona’s work on Twitter: @AmuzaRamona

Kenneth Stirling – Scotland representative

I’m a branch leader with Shared Lives Cornerstone. I’m based in Irvine and lead a range of housing support and care at home services across Ayrshire. I have combined registration with the SSSC as a manager in both care at home and housing support. I’ve worked in social work services and social care for the past 30 years in a variety of positions including supporting and managing children and adult services, as well as leading day services for older people (which is where I learned how to be a bingo caller). Read more

Martin Thomas – Wales representative

Martin was elected to represent Wales on the Board of Trustees by the Shared Lives Plus Cymru Committee in 2014. Martin has worked with Shared Lives schemes since 2004 and is currently Business Manager for the South East Wales Shared Lives Scheme. He is particularly interested in scheme development and raising awareness of the Shared Lives model.

Martin Ewing – England representative

I was born and raised in Edinburgh and went to Edinburgh University. Since then I have worked in various support settings in London, the West Bank and Leeds, including: supported living, supported employment, supported housing, outreach/ domiciliary care and Shared Lives. I am currently an Area Manager with St Anne’s Community Services, a registered charity and Housing Association based in Leeds.

I have been involved with Shared Lives and Shared Lives Plus since 1995, and throughout that time have always viewed it as the most person centred, and mutually beneficial form of support there is.

I live just outside Leeds in a small market town. In my spare time I enjoy playing five a side football, playing the guitar – badly, watching sport, and always have a book on the go.

Jane McMillan – Northern Ireland representative

Jane is a social worker with more than 25 years’ experience in supporting people with physical and sensory disabilities.  She began her career as a rehabilitation worker for blind people, supporting them to fulfil their potential, and over the years has worked successfully with diverse teams across the five Trust areas, including as Operations Manager of Physical and Sensory Disability Services for the Belfast Trust.  Currently a social care lead for adults and older people in the health and social care board, Jane is coordinating Trust activities to expand shared lives provision across adult services in Northern Ireland.  She is passionate about enabling people to make independent choices, build meaningful relationships, and live their best possible life, through the provision of flexible and person-centred social care.

Bart Swakowski – Shared Lives carer, elected

I have been a Shared Lives Carer for last three years. During this time, I’ve been supporting a variety of adults from different age groups and backgrounds. Since I am Polish, our household is quite multicultural and diverse, and as we all call it a “patchwork” family – colourful but fitting together nicely.

I am enthusiastic and passionate about Shared Lives and its values hence my motivation to become a Trustee at Shared Lives Plus.

I have vast experience from my 15 years working in Social and Health Care, both in managerial and hand on perspective. During my career in health and social care, I have gained knowledge of dignity and respect while dealing with vulnerable adults. My role as an advocate for people with learning disabilities taught me to put the client at the heart of the decision-making process, respectful to their wishes and beliefs.

Mike Jacobs – Shared Lives carer, elected

With sixteen years’ experience as a full-time foster carer and adult carer for special needs I understand the frustration, day to day pressures and huge personal reward of caring. Caring is something which we all need to a greater or lesser extent and something which we are all capable of giving.

It would be my hope that my experience could contribute to improving the quality of care and increasing the availability of care for those in need.

Growing up in a close family care for other family members was as it is for many a natural part of family life. We’ve approached our Shared Lives caring role in exactly the same way. Family values can always provide the most secure and loving environment.

Effective care however is always a team effort. Carers cannot cope alone and need good competent professional support to fulfil their role. There is nothing easy about caring for others and something carers need help, support and encouragement to achieve.

Maxine Palmer-Hunter – Shared Lives carer, elected

I have been a Shared Lives Carer for six years and am currently a co-carer rep for the Birmingham scheme. My background prior to becoming a Shared Lives carer has been in the education, and health and social care for over twenty years as a teacher, lecturer, trainer and foster carer. I am also a grandmother (loving every moment) as it gives me a chance to relive my childhood and parent coach and would say in three words that I am resilient, resourceful and supportive.

I want to join the board of trustees because I feel that I can bring valuable insight and understanding from my role a Shared Lives carer, I love the model and am interested in scheme development and raising awareness.  I will bring to the post the diverse skills and experience that I have acquired during my career and this can be used whilst supporting Shared Lives carers and applying my wisdom within the role of trustee.

I want to ensure that the wonderful unsung work of carers who are part of Shared Lives plus are well supported. Their voices can be heard through mine and I am passionate to ensure Shared Lives Plus, and its carers are continuously recognised within a UK professional role.

As a Trustee I feel that my experience as a carer and my professional career including director of a company that supports people who have faced adversity, empowers them to be productive within the community and helps them to lead independent lives has equipped me to be part of the board.

Vikram Swaminathan – co-opted

Vikram graduated from Liverpool University after studying Medicine. He has nearly 10 years’ experience in health and social care. Primarily trained as a medical doctor, he transitioned into business and  has gone on to successfully work within many healthcare organisations in the North West and has supported companies within medical, education and pharmaceutical fields at national level.

Vikram is excited to bring both his clinical and business experience to Shared Lives Plus to help support the organisation.