Simon has been Chair of Connected Voice since 2015 and is also the Chair of Northern Stage. He has previously served as Chair of North Tyneside Regeneration Partnership and of Tyneside Cinema. In his professional life, Simon was HR leader of Procter & Gamble Innovation Centres, retiring in 2018 after more than 30 years. Simon has lived in the North East since 1981, is married to Julie and they have two grown up children. He is passionate about the impact the arts can make in transforming lives and the responsibility everyone has to make society better, particularly for those in most need.
Simon Elliott - Chair
Peter Deans - Trustee
Peter has worked with charities and social enterprises for most of his career. Most recently as a freelance consultant, and before that in senior positions at the Social Investment Business and the National Lottery Community Fund.
In earlier roles he volunteered in a homeless charity, worked for previous incarnations of Connected Voice, researched the first guide to grant making trusts in the region, supported the development of the Tyne and Wear and Northumberland Community Foundation and worked in regeneration. He has served on several governing bodies including Alcohol Concern, the Millfield House Foundation, Healthwatch Newcastle and two employee ownership companies, and he has chaired the BBC Children in Need Regional Committee. He is currently on the Investment Committee for the North East Social Investment Fund and continues to do some consultancy work.
Tracy Huitson - Trustee
Tracy is NHS GP Practice Manager, West End Family Health. Tracy has worked in the healthcare and voluntary sector for 15 years, taking responsibility for leadership and governance for medical and community services, maintaining a focus throughout on equal access to healthcare for those less able to access it easily. In addition, Tracy helped to establish and grow West End Family Health CIC, a collaboration of practices who came together with voluntary sector organisations explore new ways of working to improve the wellbeing of people living in Newcastle.
Martin Horrocks - Treasurer
Martin Horrocks has more than 30 years practical senior management experience, working largely in the field of finance, but with significant roles in the fields of HR and organisational management. The first half of his career was mostly in the commercial manufacturing world :-very large marine engines, cables and carpets. He cheerfully admits to running away to join a travelling ice skating show, and is still slightly embarrassed about the brief spell in recruitment consultancy. Having seen sense, he embraced the charitable sector, working in the fields of infrastructure, culture and education.
The organisations he’s worked for have varied in size from £500k to £30m turnover, employing between 8 and 600 people. He’s currently enjoying being Finance Manager at Durham Students’ Union.
Peter Elliott OBE - Trustee
Peter was Chief Executive at Azure Charitable Enterprises for 21 years (having previously worked in a variety of manufacturing businesses). Azure provided services to people with disabilities (support for living, training, job finding and placing disabled people in work with other employers and within Azure’s own trading businesses). He was a member of the Bank of England Commercial/Industrial Liaison Panel for many years and was twice Chairman of the Northumbria branch of British Institute of Management. A governor of Northumberland College for 3 years he then served as Chairman for a further 14 years. Peter also served on the Further Education Funding Council. Since his retirement he has trustee/director charity sector volunteering roles at Connected Voice Business Services and North Tyneside Citizens Advice.
Busola Afolabi - Trustee
Busola has for the past 10 years been managing Success4All, a local education charity. Her work at Success4All, has given Busola the privilege to see the incredible talents and creativity the children and young people in the North East possess. As a MSc Psychology and BA Drama graduate she enjoys organizing fun engaging services that build upon the strengths of her service users, empowering them with self confidence to build a successful future for themselves. Connected Voice will be Busola's first trustee position and she is excited to be offered the opportunity to amplify the voices of her service users and support Connected Voice's mission.
Elaine Slater - Trustee
Elaine has worked in the charitable sector since 2004 and has a vast experience of supporting vulnerable and disadvantaged people. She is currently the Chief Executive Officer at Tyneside Women's Health supporting women to improve their mental health and emotional wellbeing. Elaine is a trained and qualified counsellor and is an experienced charity leader.
Keith Proudfoot - Trustee
Keith was appointed onto the Connected Voice board in February 2023 for his financial expertise and breadth of experience as a trustee in the VCSE sector. Keith is now retired from a distinguished career as a Chartered Accountant, and has previously been President of the Northern Society of Chartered Accountants. Keith has served as a trustee on the board of local charities including Northern Stage, and is currently a Non-Executive Director of Tyne Theatre and Opera House, and a trustee of a national LGBTQ+ support charity.
Amanda Lee - Trustee
Amanda currently works as the Research Centre Manager at St. Oswald’s Hospice. She has worked for over 20 years primarily with public sector organisations (NHS, universities, further education colleges, local authorities); third sector entities (charities, community interest companies); and commercial businesses (pharmaceutical, medical tech., engineering). As such, she has significant experience in cross-boundary working. Separately, Amanda also specialises in coaching and supporting organisational and team development.
Salha Kaitesi - Trustee
Salha is currently Artistic Director at Teakisi. She is a social entrepreneur, gender equality, empowerment champion and a self-taught blogger with multiple skills that she has acquired over the last 11 years. Fuelled by passion for empowering and promoting African girls and women, their voices, equality and diversity, she considers herself a “forever student,” eager to both build on her academic foundations in Sociology and Politics, while staying in tune with the latest digital and in person strategies that will amplify the voices of African women, her local community and those of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities.
Hannah Owens - Trustee
Hannah has a BSc in Environmental Science and has over 10 years’ experience working in sustainability and environmental management. Hannah is currently Sustainability Manager at Newcastle University, leading on development and delivery of sustainability projects and action plans to address the climate and ecological crises, and create a more sustainable future.
Hannah is passionate about all areas of sustainability and environmental justice. She has a keen interest in engagement and education for sustainability, as well as incorporating decision making on environmental and social issues within investment strategies to bring about positive change.
Sam Cooper - Trustee
Sam has 15 years’ experience in public health, occupational health and wellbeing, performance sports, and voluntary sector - managing multidisciplinary teams in some of the most competitive and complex environments in the world, including internationally in the UK, USA, Malta, France, and India. With cross-sector experience including; elite professional sport, private sector, public health, public sector services, universities, and healthcare charities – including work with member organisation Newcastle United Foundation. Sam has made contributions to research and large scale projects featured in reputable media outlets including; The Independent, The Guardian, The Athletic, BBC News, BBC Match of the Day, and ITV News. Currently Sam works for Macmillan Cancer Support (one of the UK’s biggest healthcare charities) as National Health and Wellbeing Manager.
Colette Harrison - Trustee
Colette has worked in the charity sector for over 20 years with a particular interest in connecting arts, education and volunteering. Colette has provided consultancy support locally and nationally to develop volunteering programmes. In Europe she has supported employability initiatives.
Colette is currently Development Officer, Sector Support at Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, supporting charities to recruit trustees and brokering pro-bono support from the private sector.
Previous governance roles include as Chair of Youth Action Network, National Council for Voluntary Youth Services and Fertile Ground. Colette is currently Chair of Grey College Advisory Board at Durham University, a mentor with The Girls' Network and Trustee with Fagus Anstruther Memorial Trust.