Trustees within the voluntary sector in the UK are the original 'volunteers'. Before organisations began to take on paid staff they were led and run by people who gave their time freely for the benefit of others. Although the voluntary sector now employs substantial numbers, key roles continue to be carried out by volunteers and trustees.
What is their role?
Trustees have three distinct roles:
- To ensure that the organisation effectively pursues the aims of its charter, complies with the law and remains viable.
- To be ambassadors and advocates for the organisation and represent their work externally.
- To offer the organisation their experience, expertise and advice.
Who are Action for Blind People's trustees?
Action's trustees come from all walks of life.
Chair - Dr Mike Nussbaum
Mike Nussbaum has been in the thick of social change and community development for nearly 50 years.
As a young activist he was involved in a wide range of social action programmes and by 18 was chairing national youth organisations, organising charitable fund-raising events, and leading youth summer schools.
His first career as a research chemist was cut short by failing eyesight, but Mike soon forged a second career in local government and public policy development. Mike worked with communities in some of the most challenging local authorities in the UK, initiating pioneering work in social inclusion and in urban regeneration and design. For three years, he led the government’s policy unit on Children’s Play.
Since retirement Mike has taken on various roles in the national voluntary sector but particularly in promoting and developing the role of volunteering. In 2003, he steered the merger of 3 national voluntary organisations to form a single national focus for volunteering and helped to establish national quality standards for volunteer centres and for volunteer management. He was instrumental in persuading the UK government of the need for ‘The Office of the Third Sector’ as a key function of the Cabinet Office. Currently, Vice President of Volunteering England, he was its founding Chair for 10 years, from its inception until September 2009.
Mike is involved with various charitable organisations both locally, nationally and more broadly, in the European context. He is Chair of Milton Keynes Volunteer Centre, a Board member of Bucks Vision, (formerly Bucks Association for Blind and Partially Sighted People) and served on the Campbell Park Parish Council. He acts as Community Development Adviser to the Churches Conservation Trust and is a Board member of The National Blind Childrens Society. He regularly acts as Ambassador and conference presenter for the European Volunteer Centre (CEV) and has recently become a Board Member of the Small Charities Coalition.
Mike is currently chairing a Cross Sectors Working Group (known as the Expert Volunteers Initiative) which aims to recruit volunteers to assist the hardest to reach groups of the long-term unemployed to access employment opportunities which is very relevant to people with a visual impairment.
In 2005 Mike received a national ‘Year of the Volunteer’ Award for services to volunteering, and in 2008 The Open University awarded him an Honorary Doctorate in recognition of over 40 years of public service.
Vice Chair - David Hewlett
David is Chief Executive of the Federation of Ophthalmic & Dispensing Opticians (FODO), and has also held a number of senior positions within the NHS. FODO members account for 70 percent of the UK optical market and provide over two thirds of NHS sight tests. David is a life long trade unionist who is passionate about justice, fairness and equal treatment for all. He joined as a trustee in May 2007.
Treasurer - Alan Tinger
Alan is a Chartered Accountant (FCA) and Companion of the Chartered Management Institute (CCMI). He is currently Chair – LOC Central Support Unit, Consultant/Executive Member – Federation of Ophthalmic & Dispensing Opticians and a Member of the Optical Confederation Leaders Group and a Corporate Consultant. His previous appointments include directorships of listed companies including a major opticians group.
Waqas is a freelance consultant and runs his own company specialising in learning and development, policy audits and mediation and dispute resolution. He has undertaken research, drafted guidance on diversity and inclusion and delivered training and consultancy projects to several local, national and international organisations such as UNESCO, EHRC, BBC, GMC, Hilton hotels, NHS Trusts and various local and regional authorities. Waqas enjoys reading, sports, politics and current affairs.
Michael Dudgeon, OBE DL
Mike served for 37 years as a pilot in HM Royal Air Force. He spent time with NATO and with the army. In 1999, after leaving the Royal Air Force, he joined Mercers’ Company and after three years became Master of the Company, supervising a turnover of £20 million per year and extensive charitable work in education, care of the elderly, welfare, the church, heritage and arts. Mike joined as a trustee in November 2005 and was elected Vice-Chair in September 2006.
Alistair is an academic ophthalmologist who has recently retired from many years with the NHS. He has worked with RNIB, Vision 2020 UK and the Look Federation. He is trustee of Fight for Sight. Alistair was appointed as a trustee in November 2006.
Vidar Hjardeng MBE
Vidar was brought up in Whitley Bay and attended school in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, then studied languages at Manchester University before a post-grad Journalism course at London’s City University. Now Diversity Manager for ITV News and Regions, Vidar has spent over 20 years working for ITV in the Midlands, much of that time as Editor/Executive Producer on regional political and social action magazine programmes, documentaries and ‘live’ debates. Vidar spent a number of years as a Consultant with Channel 4’s daytime political show produced by ITN and also worked on a number of documentaries for the BBC’s Disability Unit. He continues to Chair ITV Central’s Diversity Advisory Panel and is one of ITV’s representatives on the British Creative Industries’ Disability Network.
In addition to this he reviews audio-books for Radio 4’s In Touch programme and has contributed to a number of publications including The Book Magazine; Disability Now; The FT and Art, Disability and Culture, and is on the judging panel for the Spoken Word Awards. He reviews audio-described theatre and operatic productions at a variety of venues around the UK, including The Royal Albert Hall, Birmingham Hippodrome and Nottingham Theatre Royal. Vidar is a member of the Board of Birmingham Symphony Hall/Town Hall and is also a Trustee with the RNIB; The British Institute of Learning Disabilities (BILD); The National Blind Children’s Society; SHAPE ( the disability arts charity); RADAR (Royal Association for Disability and Rights) and he is Chair of the national audio description charity, VOCALEYES, having also spent several years as a trustee with the Talking Newspapers Association of the UK (for a time as vice chair).
Carol Hui is a qualified lawyer and a senior executive with extensive legal and commercial experience. She is currently BAA's General Counsel and Group Company Secretary and is on the Executive Committee of the Group. Prior to joining BAA in 2009, she was a Board Director and General Counsel of Amey plc. She has held the positions of Group Legal Director of TDG plc and Deputy General Counsel of BG plc and was previously a solicitor with the City firm, Slaughter and May. She was awarded European General Counsel of the Year in 2008 by the International Law Office and Association of Corporate Counsel. In 2009 she was named one of the top 100 lawyers by The Lawyer and in 2011 she led BAA to win the Best HR Initiative amongst in-house and public sector legal functions in the UK. Previously, she served as a member of the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration, a Prime Ministerial appointment, for six years. She was appointed a Trustee of Action in August 2011.
Rita works as a tutor at the College of North West London, helping to develop and deliver a course for support workers and tutors working with learners with a visual impairment. She has experience working with young people who are visually impaired as both a teacher and headteacher of three separate residential schools for blind and partially sighted young people. Rita is also a Braille tutor. She joined as a trustee in June 2006.
Colin Low - Lord Low of Dalston, CBE
Colin held the position of Chair of RNIB from 2000 to September 2009 and is also President of the European Blind Union (EBU). He was born in Edinburgh in 1942 and has been totally blind since the age of three. He was educated at Worcester College for the Blind, Oxford and Cambridge Universities. He taught Law and criminology for 16 years at Leeds University, from 1968-1984, before moving to London as Director of the Disability Resource Team, an organisation providing advice and services on disability. He then went on to become senior research fellow at City University, researching theories of disability; a post he retired from in 2000.
In May 2006 Colin was appointed to the House of Lords as one of the seven new non-party-political peers. He was recommended by the House of Lords Appointments Commission for his work as Chairman of RNIB, President of the European Blind Union and as a long-time campaigner for disability rights.
Colin has also undertaken important roles in a wide range of organisations concerned with blindness and disability, including the National Federation of the Blind, the Disability Alliance, the International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment and SKILL (National Bureau for Students with Disabilities).
Colin had been previously honoured to receive a CBE for services to RNIB and disabled peoples' rights in January 2000.
Colin is married to Jill and has two children, Peter and Philippa. His leisure interests include music, current affairs and an appreciation of fine wines.
Biography to follow.
Khalil spent 10 years working in the City of London specialising in mergers and acquisitions. In 2001 Khalil studied his Masters degree at UCL and stayed on in a teaching capacity. In 2003 he was given a Research Fellowship funded by the Thomas Pocklington Trust to report on the needs of visually impaired people and how they are being looked after by statutory bodies and housing associations. He is currently working on an accessibility project. Khalil joined as a trustee in January 2006.
Rick is the Managing Director of Freeney Williams Ltd which is one of the UK’s leading consultancies in the field of disability and diversity. He is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, an Associate of the Employers’ Forum on Disability and a member of the Home Office Disability Advisory Group. He is a highly experienced consultant and trainer with a high level of expertise in all areas of disability issues and how they impact on individuals and organisations. Prior to working in the field of disability, Rick was employed at a senior level in the Health and Safety Executive and, before leaving in 2001, was the Regional Development Manager for the London and South East Region. These factors, combined with his visual impairment, give him an almost unique understanding of how organisations’ can become more disability confident.
Since moving to the field of disability and diversity, Rick has worked with many major organisations in a wide range of areas. His work has included writing guidance for the DRC, supporting the development of Disability Equality Schemes, undertaking disability audits of practices and procedures, delivering high level briefings and training on a broad range of disability and diversity issues and the development of major training programmes for delivery by other trainers. Organisations that Rick has worked for include the Office for Disability Issues, the Employers’ Forum on Disability, JobCentre Plus, Credit Suisse, Barclays, House of Commons, Centrica, British Gas, The AA, Arsenal FC, the National Trust, DEFRA, the Home Office, PWC, Accor Hotels and many others from all sectors.
Rick also acts as a mentor for disabled people and assists them to develop their personal competencies, careers and leadership skills. Allied to this is his increasing work in other countries where he supports disabled people and organisations in developing their approaches to managing disability both as employers and service providers. This includes working with the ILO in Turin and Geneva.
Louise Wright OBE
Louise is Deputy Director for PSD Strategy at the Department for Work and Pensions. She has a proven track record in strategy and policy development on a wide range of issues related to work and pensions. She has advised ministers on a range of issues including civil rights for disabled people, disability benefits, welfare fraud strategy and the performance of DWP’s IT projects. Louise joined as a trustee in September 2006.