Our trustees

Board of Trustees 2017

Meet our trustees

Sally Lefroy, Chair

I have over 35 years' experience working as a qualified social worker and senior manager in Children and Adult Services for West Sussex County Council and two London boroughs. I have always had a great interest in mental health and for a period of time I was an approved social worker under the Mental Health Act. In the latter part of my career I worked closely with NHS statutory services to improve and develop mental health services. I have been a carer for a close relative with mental health needs and I understand the impact on partners and families of supporting a family member who is experiencing mental health difficulties.

I was a co-opted member of Worthing Mind Executive Committee in the mid 1990s when I helped support the development of the organisation in its early days.

Since my retirement 10 years ago I have worked in a voluntary capacity as a trustee for several organisations. I joined Worthing and Arun Mind in 2012 and continued as a trustee of West Sussex Mind, becoming the Chair of the Board in 2016.

I feel I am able to use my social care skills and experience for the benefit of West Sussex Mind and I am keen to support the organisation to continue to expand; both in the development of innovative services and our education programme.

Brian Hughes  

I became a trustee of Worthing and Arun Mind in 2010 because of my strong interest in mental health issues and my concern at the way these illnesses were seen as different to, and less important than, physical illness. My career prior to retirement from the NHS had laid the foundations for my involvement with Mind. I became chair of Worthing and Arun Mind in July 2011 which I was proud to do until we merged with Chichester Area in December 2013. 

Creating a new community hub for mental health services in Worthing, merging with other organisations and growing to meet the challenges ahead has been a key goal for me. My particular interests as a trustee are in corporate governance, public involvement, public and community relations and in creating strong links between trustees and the communities we serve. 

Neville Pressley  

I have been a trustee of Worthing and Arun Mind and then West Sussex Mind for nearly 25 years. I am a 71-year-old retired chartered accountant having been a partner in a large local firm. I continue working in a part-time capacity as finance director for the family company which has a number of jewellery shops in Sussex.

I have been actively involved in the voluntary sector for more than 40 years. I was a trustee of Guild Care for 30 years, including a period as chair. I became a trustee of Worthing Mind in the early 90s, soon becoming chair and continuing till 2011. I was the first chair of Worthing Homes, serving for seven years, I served two nine-year terms as a governor of Northbrook College, being vice chair for 13 years and I was a trustee of the Ropetackle Centre for eight years. Apart from West Sussex Mind, I am also a trustee of the Adur and Worthing Trust, a charity set up to promote cultural activities

I am proud to have been associated for so long with what is now West Sussex Mind and I consider that my role in its development from a small charity, which started with only three staff, as having been the most rewarding of my voluntary career. My main activity as a trustee is serving on the finance committee.

Bob Smytherman

I have been a Trustee with West Sussex Mind since 2008 (formerly Worthing & Arun Mind). I have a strong commitment to support the development of good quality services for people with mental health issues. I am a very keen user of social media in keeping people informed about mental health related issues.

I am currently a Worthing Borough and West Sussex County Councillor. I was Mayor of Worthing in 2013/14 and used my Mayoral year to raise awareness around mental health in Worthing with West Sussex Mind being one of my chosen charities and was co-founder of Worthing mental health awareness week which takes place in October each year to coincide with World Mental health day.

As well as being a Councillor I am also Town Crier for Worthing a role which brings me into contact with many local people and public figures enabling me to further raise awareness around Mind’s work.

Daniel Bird  

I have been joint treasurer of West Sussex Mind since the charity was founded in December 2013. Prior to that, I was a trustee of Chichester Area Mind so have been involved with the charity for more than six years. I am responsible for ensuring the charity's finances are sound and for advising the board on the financial aspects of the decisions it makes. I work for a grant-making charity in London and am passionate about ensuring that Mind continues to run excellent services for local people, and that we take every opportunity to use our voice in the local community to raise awareness and combat stigma.

Christine Eccleston  

I have been a service user at the Corner House for the last 10 years. I volunteered to be a trustee because I wanted to represent service users. I believe strongly that service users should play an active role in the development of services. I am excited to have joined the Board as the Corner House becomes part of West Sussex Mind and plans for the future. 

I have been a member of Capital for 10 years and have been  working for Capital as a peer support worker at Meadowfield hospital for nine years. Prior to that, I worked as director for Adur Enterprise Gateway, helping people start their own business. I had experience of starting and running my own successful food processing company. After the sale of my business, I went back to university and obtained a post graduate certificate in management studies.

Sue Hawker  

I have worked in local government for 37 years, managing a range of public services In different counties across the country. I retired in March of this year, having worked for West Sussex County Council for 23 years as county librarian, head of democratic services, director of business change and director of community services.

Throughout my career I have been passionate about improving the opportunities for individuals and improving services and localities wherever possible. I am keen to continue to contribute to these important issues and feel that mental  health issues are integral to this and deserve more attention. It would be an honour to help West Sussex Mind develop their already vital, and much appreciated, services and role within communities as a member of the board of trustees.

Martin Sherred

I am delighted to have joined as a Trustee from August 2019. I worked for local authorities for over 40 years,30 of these in West Sussex, in both children and adult services and have always had a particular interest in mental health issues.

I did my specialist mental health training at the Maudsley and was a practicing approved social worker under the Mental Health Act for many years. I was involved in the West Sussex out-of-hours service for over 20 years and was the responsible manager for that service for three years. My final role before retiring was as operational manager for mental health across West Sussex. So I believe I have an appreciation of the enormous contribution offered by West Sussex Mind to mental health services currently and would want to play my part in promoting this further in the future.

I hope my operational experience will be of value in refreshing and developing policies as required but, in particular, I expect to visit the local services regularly and listen to the people using them to ensure West Sussex Mind is fulfilling its aims as much as possible.

Di Medwell

My first experience of mental health was gained in the pharmaceutical industry, working for a company specialising in the treatment of schizophrenia and depression. I learnt an enormous amount about mental health and developed a passion for learning more. This led me to think about how I could play a part in supporting people with mental health issues and develop services, which resulted in a career change to become a qualified social worker.

I worked for over 30 years for the local authority, in adult and children services, in both practitioner and management roles, with around 19 years specialising in mental health in a variety of different settings.

In 2002, I became professional lead for adult mental health social care services, seconded to Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust, and later in 2009 for children and adolescent mental health social care services also. During this time I was involved in a number of significant service developments to improve mental health services across SPFT.

I became closely involved with Shoreham and District Mental Health Association (SDMHA) and was mentor to the service director for several years.

Following taking early retirement in September 2015, I wanted to use some of my life experiences and became a community ambassador for a local animal rescue, raising awareness and giving talks and presentations in the community.

I was also keen to continue to remain involved in mental health and, when approached by the Chair of SDMHA, became a Trustee and Director on the Board of the Corner House (SDMHA).

In August 2018, SDMHA began work with Coastal West Sussex Mind and we successfully merged in October 2019, to become West Sussex Mind.

As a Trustee, I am excited and enthusiastic about being a part of West Sussex Mind and the opportunities and challenges ahead. I feel that, with my past experience and  knowledge, I  can make a positive contribution to service development in the future, whilst remaining involved with mental health service delivery.

Denise Carroll

For about 19 years, I was on the Board of Shoreham District Health Authority, during which time I played an active role in the purchase of the Corner House. This included attending council planning meetings and allaying the fears of the local community. Of course, I also played a part in the merger with Coastal West Sussex Mind, then becoming West Sussex Mind.

I have been involved with the welfare of people and their mental health for many years, especially when, as an army officer's wife, it was expected that I should visit all the wives on a regular basis, particularly those experiencing depression, home sickness, loneliness and isolation.

Later, for about 25 years, I supplied stoma bags, visiting hundreds of people on a monthly basis. Many of them needed help in coming to terms with a major change in life. I also served on the Brighton and Hove Macmillan committee, organising many events.

I have experienced mental health problems, family-wise, whcih makes me more determined to help those with problems.

Robert Leng 

I have been a trustee of the Corner House in Southwick for the last 18 months and fully involved myself in the workings of the Board of Trustees. I have always been involved with charities and spent some 30 years helping with fundraising for WaterAid, both locally and nationally.

I had the pleasure of being a Governor at a local school and became chairman for about 10 years, during which time we also merged with another school. I was also a trustee and lately chairman of the Southern Water Charitable Trust Fund and spent 23 years managing a local church hall.

For most of my career, I have either been involved in financial matters or buildings administration. I bring to West Sussex Mind a wealth of facilities and financial experience and look forward to working with the rest of the Board of Trustees and staff


Paul Karas

I am delighted to become a trustee of West Sussex Mind. After 40 years as a scientist and leader in industry, I have seen first hand how important mental health is to the success of both the individual and the business in the workplace – and how difficult it can be to achieve in today’s business and social environment.

Like many people, my family and friends have experienced the positives of good mental health support services.

Now that I have stopped work, I am trying to focus on worthwhile voluntary work that will make a difference for a mixture of small outdoor orientated clubs and larger organisations. I hope that my industry/business-focused background and scientific/analytical outlook will complement the skills and experience of my fellow trustees in West Sussex Mind. I aim to support the team to continue to innovate and make the best of new opportunities over the coming years.


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