Your Governors

Our Council of Governors is made up of 25 elected representatives and 6 nominated representatives. These are all local people with an interest in our mental health and learning disability services in Surrey and North East Hampshire:

Public - North West & South West Surrey

Darren Ayres

My experience working in front line mental health for 17 years has led me to support service users in a variety of diverse settings ranging from acute hospitals through to community based recovery teams, CAMHS, IAPT, community connections and specialist employment services.

I have received extensive training in many areas of mental health. I feel passionate about the views and the needs of the people. By listening, advising and helping service users to create a pathway of wellbeing, people become empowered and positive health, social and life outcomes will follow.

Preventative services are key areas for development in reduction of inpatient admissions, coupled with the need to continue to develop community based services which support people in becoming more inclusive and enabling them to take control of their own wellbeing and recovery.

My ideas previously have led me to winning national awards for early intervention pilots in acute inpatient care.


Lyn Day

Prior to retiring Lyn was an experienced and professional manager with several large charities such as Help the Aged and the Alzheimer's Society. She was able to develop new initiatives and services from concept through to reality.

Lyn managed her teams based on a fair and consitent approach including recruitment, training, appraisal and disciplinary issues. Lyn also worked with volunteers helping the elderly and disabled remain independent in their own homes and this was the focus of her career over the last 25 years.

During her CQC assessments Lyn achieved 'excellent' in the services that she managed.

In her semi retirement, Lyn now focuses on dementia training for care agencies and care homes alongside being a carer for her 94 year old mother.


Caroline Button

Caroline is an occupational therapist specialising in mental health and employment and a chartered certified accountant. She has worked in many different types of organisations from small businesses to large corporates, third sector and the NHS.

Caroline has a lifelong physical disability and is a wheelchair user. Through her own experience of exclusion, stigma, vulnerability and disability  she is able to identify and empathise with those who live with life long conditions. As both a health professional and a service user she is aware of the complex challenges and opportunities that face both people who use services and the Trust everyday, especially in today’s climate of limited resources but growing need.

Caroline hopes to use her skills and knowledge gained professionally and personally by being a critical friend of the Trust and a voice for those in NW and SW Surrey to enhance the lives of individuals.


East and Mid Surrey

Jacqui Clark

A physiotherapist by training, Jacqui's interest in mental health started when she had a severe form of post-natal depression following the birth of her second child – Puerperal Psychosis.

Jacqui worked within the Trust for 20 years. She set up and managed a Day Unit for people with dementia and went on to work with adults with severe and enduring mental illness.

She managed a team of Community Support Workers. As well as one to one work, they developed a programme of group activities. Jacqui also managed a team of Carers’ Support Workers and set up Carer Support Groups and Information evenings.

Jacqui implemented a Government Scheme to give employment opportunities to people recovering from mental illness.

Jacqui is passionate about the health and well being of people with mental illness and when she retired she decided to apply to become a governor. Jacqui is now in her third term of office.


Sandra Dessent

Sandra is passionate about promoting mental and physical health through early intervention and helping people to create their own unique strategies to maintain good health.  

She worked in the fitness industry for 20 years and has helped many people explore the mind/body connection which she believes is key to accessing wellbeing and continual health improvement.

Sandra is currently working for a local authority and understands how financial constraints and workplace pressure effects wellbeing. Her goal is to create programmes to help employees successfully negotiate culture change in the workplace and manage/balance their work life.

Having experienced depression in the past, Sandra has used the Trust services as well as attending many health and wellbeing courses and seminars. She is now fully participating in a happy, healthy and contented life and is committed to sharing what she has learnt  on the journey to recovery.


Margaret Hicks

When Margaret returned from living in the Lebanon and Kuwait for 18 years in 1984 she moved to Hersham with her three children. Being a volunteer by nature she soon became involved in the life happening around her and in 1989 became Hersham's Surrey County Councillor. She retired in May 2017, being both "Mother of the House" and longest ever standing Surrey County Councillor.

The whole range of social care, which touches all ages was one of Margaret's major interests. Being the Mental Health Champion for Surrey opened the doors of users and providers where she was able to learn and press for recognition and improvements.

Margaret became involved in education and the whole range of school and pre school provision. She became Chairman of Governors for Surrey and private schools including further education.

She is a practicing member of St Peter's Church in Hersham. Having varied experiences of many faiths and beliefs Margaret became Chairman of Surrey SACRE where she developed the Surrey RE curriculum for Surrey's maintained schools.

Margaret was pleased to join the Trust after being nominated by Surrey County Council and is now a Community Governor.

Hampshire & Rest of England

Steve Forster

Steve is particularly interested in improving care and service availability for children and young people. He is a Hampshire County Councillor and a Hart District Councillor for Fleet. His experience of transforming major UK businesses to improve service, efficiency and costs will help in his role as a governor, as will his 30 years of successful work in IT, which supports so much of the NHS work.


Mike Nolan

Mike Nolan has been a Trust Governor for 3 years and believes there is still more he can do to help the Trust develop further.

He says the Trust is on a continuous mission to improve its services and that the Governors play a vital role in engagement and the monitoring of performance.
Following early retirement, Mike developed and managed an educational training centre (PETA) Pre-Employment Training Agency based in Epsom for young people with learning difficulties. The aim was to provide a life skills educational programme linked to national vocational qualifications and leading to open employment opportunities.

The experience was an exciting and rewarding one and was the basis for Mike’s decision to become more involved in this area by becoming a Governor.
Prior to retirement, Mike worked for two large international companies in the area of marketing commerce and manufacturing. His experiences outside of the Trust have helped him to bring a different focus to his work as a Governor.



People who use services and carers - learning disability services

David Muir

David’s focus is on helping disabled people to fight for their rights and ensuring that all those with a disability have the chance to express their views.

He has been a Governor of the Trust for the last 3 years and is looking forward to another 3 year term. He has performed a number of successful presentations for the Trust which have boosted membership numbers.

David is also chairman of Surrey and the Rest of England Voice for Kent. He is prepared to tackle any issue to do with health and learning disability.

David is keen to visit all of the new community hubs and assess how well they are providing information to people with both a learning disability and a hearing disability. He also intends to visit the day centres again to further drive recruitment of new members.


Darren Power




People who use other Trust services

Michele Amoah Powponne

Michele is a new governor and is looking forward to bringing her enthusiasm in the promotion and delivery of good mental health services to the Trust. Her background is in academia and she holds a doctorate in Philosophy. She is also about to start an MSc in Mental Health Recovery & Social Inclusions at University of Hertfordshire.

Michele has been involved with the development of the Trust's Recovery College and is currently teaching two courses and two workshops. She has lived in the United States and has experienced how life without free access to healthcare impacts on society and on mental healthcare in particular.

Michele believes that Recovery as an ideology should be at the heart of the Trust's ethos and is particularly committed of the growing importance of good psychological services. She believes this needs to be reflected at a strategic level with the inclusion of strong voices from service users. In addition, as a woman of colour, Michele feels that it is vitally important that diversity needs to be represented at all levels of planning and delivery of services.




Alexander George Farkouh

As a person who has experienced services, Alex will continue to hold the Trust to account for the services it provides and oppose Populist Doctrine in Trust policies.

Alex opposes the implementation of the outdoor smoking ban due in October 2017, as he believes it is an abuse of inpatients’ rights.

He has lead the charge to close the Mid Surrey unit at Epsom General Hospital where poor practice and conditions prevailed. Mid Surrey people needing inpatient care are now being treated at ACU in Chertsey, in a much more agreeable environment that offers safer treatment. Alex continues to be concerned that people must travel far from home.

Alex is working with the 24/7 Project Implementation Team to decide the future of our acute hospital sites, so that good care and facilities are available and easily accessible to all.

He also takes an active interest in improving the food inpatients receive.



Isaac Bury




Rebecca Harris




Simon Telling

Being a person who has used Trust services since 2014, Simon has an insight into the day to day running of this important part of the NHS. He believes the governor role is important in holding the Board to account to achieve the highest standards possible at all times.

Simon has held roles, including director positions, in major blue chip and international companies such as Inter-Continental Hotels, TGM Plc, Arriva and Detutshe Bahn.

Simon has been Director of Human Resources with a staff of 1,400 employees and has also been Health and Safety Manager. He has compiled standards of performance manuals and has a complete understanding of auditing from departmental operations to financial accounting. He believes that with the experience he has he can contribute positively in his role as a Governor.



Carers and Families

Elaine Braithwaite - Lead Governor

Elaine will use her second term as a Carer and Families Governor to continue her previous work to help people live better lives. She is committed to improvement, particularly embedding good practice for carers.

Elaine has seen considerable innovation, good practice and staff dedication in many areas but would like to see this everywhere within the Trust. She is inquisitive and tenacious in character and keen to challenge when appropriate.

Elaine has personal experience with schizophrenia, learning disability, and three types of dementia, and has naturally developed interest and knowledge in these areas. She will continue to be an active governor, who takes up many of the opportunities within the Trust to get involved, so that she can better understand where and how improvements can be made.



Penny Burnett

Penny was born in Northumberland and her initial childhood was spent in Newcastle before moving to Scotland and then to Gloucestershire. After her first marriage Penny moved to Worcester and finally to Surrey.

On leaving school Penny started work as a bank clerk before training to be a secretary, which led her in to insurance and the drinks industry before beginning her second marriage and starting her family.  

Penny bought and ran a pre-school group and when her youngest began junior school she went to university and trained to become a teacher.

Penny's qualifications include part 1 of IPM, a Diploma in Pre-school Practice, BA in Primary Teaching as well as many courses specifically relating to teaching, including first aid.

For the last seven years Penny has spent time flying between the Middle East and UK to support her husband, whose job took him to Bahrain, and her daughters here in UK.


Janice Clark

Janice has cared for her relatives for most of her adult life, juggling this with work in forest pathology research and later in NHS microbiology. For the last 25 years Janice has worked for positive change in the NHS and social care with the voice of people who use services and carers at the heart of all she does.

Outside of caring, Janice spends many happy hours with her grandchildren. She is at peace with the world in her vegetable garden, relaxing reading a thriller or listening to music.


Staff Governors

Medical - Sean Fernandez

Sean has been a consultant psychiatrist for 9 years and has a deep personal commitment to the Trust and its aim of delivering high quality services.

His day to day work in Psychotherapy with those using services, their carers and staff means he is in a good position to understand their needs and concerns and whether these needs are being addressed. He also has a good working relationship with colleagues and is able to accurately reflect their concerns.

He says the environment for the Trust and the rest of the NHS is becoming increasingly challenging with increasing demands being made on limited resources. This is a key reason why he decided to become a Governor. He has a good understanding of the Trust and its wider relationships with other organisations and believes his skills and experience will be put to good use in the role.



Qualified Nursing - Phil Boulter

Phil has over 40 years’ experience of working for the NHS and has represented nursing at a local and national level.

He has worked as a Consultant Nurse for People with Learning Disabilities since 2001 and is also trained as a registered mental health nurse.

Phil has been a Governor for six years and believes strongly in the importance of nurses having a strong presence and voice within the Trust.

He wants to continue to represent nursing staff, influencing quality of service delivery and working in partnership with the Trust Board to deliver effective and safe care in this final term as a Governor.

During his 40 years with the NHS, he has seen much change and has always believed it is important to be proactive within the field of nursing.

He has taken part in a number of national initiatives, most recently the development of the Health Equality Framework (HEF).


Therapies - Dr Anna Preston

Anna has experience of working with acute, community, learning disabilities and forensic services. Her first post within the Trust was in 2005 and she has seen many changes happen which affect people who use our services, their families and carers, as well as our staff. It is important to Anna that the voices of all these people are heard.

Anna is currently working as the Lead Psychologist for Acute Care, and is devoted to improving services through her work on a number of initiatives. She also contributes towards the development of services for people who struggle with personality disorder.

Anna is experienced in working as part of a team, and values all perspectives. She is keen to provide a psychological perspective within her role as Governor. She wants to help ensure that our services are the best they can be, and are delivered in a safe and compassionate way.



Social work and other county council employees - Robert Giacche

Robert has had vast experience dealing with the general public from being a police officer, to working as a prison officer and in the immigration service, seeing lots of different situations of care with people in custody. He feels that he has the experience to make positive changes in the overall service that is currently being provided.

Robert now works in Adult Social Care, supporting people with learning difficulties and mental health issues. In working alongside professionals from different agencies he believes it is important to listen to whom you are dealing with, thus coming up with the right support for that individual, but then also making sure that whatever support no matter how big or small, is acted upon.

His outlook into moving forward in this new venture as Governor is to learn and listen more and create positive new changes where he can using his experience of life. Robert is keen to help those in need and treat everyone equally and fairly.



Health and social care assistants - Katie Nurse



Admin/Management/Facilities - Martin Clark

Martin is the Trust's Local Security Management Specialist (part of the Clinical Risk and Safety team.)

Martin is supported by NHS Protect and provides staff with advice and support on what to do if they experience violent or abusive behaviour at work. He also works closely with staff and managers, as well as with the Police and other key stakeholders, to investigate security breaches and implement new systems to help protect the NHS.


Nominated Governors

Surrey County Council - Cllr Tim Oliver



Surrey County Council - Cllr Bill Chapman

The Surrey Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) acts under the provisions of the National Health Act 2006 to scrutinise all health services commissioned or delivered within Surrey.  Its primary focus is ensuring that residents, including patients and carers, are engaged in defining services and that any changes to services are to their benefit.  

I have served for nine years in the HOSC, as Chairman for four of those years.

In recognition of the increasing integration of social and health services the HOSC is now subsumed in Surrey County Council’s Adults and Health Scrutiny Committee and it is with that in mind that I have been appointed to the Council of Governors by Surrey County Council.

I have served as a Surrey Heath Borough Councillor for 15 years and as a County Councillor for nine years, representing Camberley East.


Hampshire County Council - Cllr Bill Withers

Bill Withers, a retired Army Officer, was born in Moascar, Egypt, travelling the globe with his Army family. He was educated at Warwick School in Warwickshire, entered the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 1973 and was commissioned as an officer in March 1974. During his 34 years in the Army he served in the Aldershot, Andover, London, Netheravon, Salisbury, Falklands, Germany, Northern Ireland and Fort Lee, Virginia (USA).

Married to Babs for 36 years, they have two daughters, Philippa a Bio Engineer and Georgina a HR Manager. Since settling in Aldershot, Babs has worked as a District Nurse Sister in the local NHS community.

A keen sportsman, Bill enjoys fly fishing and rugby. He was the Army’s representative on the Rugby Football Union Council for nine years, and a Non-Executive Director of Twickenham Experience. Keen supporter of England and a visitor to the local Aldershot and Fleet Rugby Club. A past member of Aldershot Rotary, other service associations and freemasonry, a strong supporter of local charities and youth activities to enable those less fortunate to enjoy some benefits.

A believer that ‘Change is Constant’, Bill has seen Aldershot change both in the local community and Military Garrison over the last 42 years. The Regeneration of Aldershot is critical to the future of the Borough and he will represent the residents and veterans of Aldershot South in a positive and meaningful way to ensure best practice and value for money.

Borough Councils - Iseult Roche



Action for Carers - Hasu Ramji

Hasu had to give up a highly successful, international business in order to care for mental illness in the family. For over fourteen years, both in personal capacity and role as a Care Ambassador for Action for Carers Surrey, Hasu has been networking with carers, service users, professionals and doctors at various levels within the health, social services, voluntary and the educational/skills training sectors to share and promote insights on good practices; and contributing in the development and delivery of training workshops in Surrey and other parts of the UK.

Hasu has also coached and assessed facilitators in the national Caring with Confidence/Export Patients Programme during its launch and has provided telephone counselling and support to distressed parents over a wide range of issues, as a part time volunteer in Parentlineplus. He constantly studies the work of virtually all the big names associated with change work to help people cope better with emotional distress to lead happier, more fulfilling lives.

In relation to the Trust, Hasu believes in the possibility of finding simple, cost and time effective solutions for many issues and also, in the possibility of staff being inspired to work smarter, share and promote good practises, open up to alternate perspectives and work in a proactive manner.




Surrey Police - Craig Jones



Contacting your Governor

If you would like to get in touch with your Governor, please email, call 01372 216293 or SMS text 07786 202545.