Our Trustees

Our Trustees dedicate their time and expertise to the charity and it is their inspiration, and drive that enables us to make a difference to so many people.
The Trustees experience, skills, and beliefs help shape the Guideposts of today as well as define the Guideposts of tomorrow so that our Charity can continue to make a real and lasting difference to the lives of those affected by caring, ageing, learning disabilities and mental health.

Lydia Hirst – Chair

Lydia joined the Guideposts board of Trustees in 2009 after working alongside the charity for over 10 years. She has been Chair for the last 4 years. She conducted research as part of her Masters dissertation project on support for carers working in dementia homes; demonstrating how group collaboration using a bespoke App delivered carer support and opportunities for service improvement. Her day-job is delivering management & leadership development internationally, with a focus on strategy analysis, development & implementation. She strongly supports the ethos of the charity in working with the most disadvantaged and vulnerable in society. The Board have recognised the pressure on local government and consequent funding squeeze. Consequently, she is working with fellow Trustees and senior managers to transform the organisation to build a sustainable future delivering services for the loneliest in society to enhance their health and wellbeing.

Diana Billingham

Diana joined the Board last year and has taken on the role of Vice-Chair. She has spent most of her 35 year career working in the IT Services industry, more specifically for large international companies, working with clients in Europe, USA and Asia partnering with telecommunication and software companies, providing consulting advice and designing enterprise IT systems. She loves technology and how enabling it can bring real benefits and positive change to organisations in the digital age. She has been personally affected by dementia within her own family, seeing the devastating impact it can have on individuals and recognising how much support is needed to support people and their families at this difficult time. Diana believes that, going forward, technology should play a more important role in helping deliver innovative services for people in need and wants to support Guideposts with this.

Andrew Woodhead

Andrew joined our board of Trustees in 2013 and has 30-years of experience in healthcare management. He is a former member of a Department of Health Expert advisory panel on hip and knee surgery. Andrew left the NHS in July 2012 to establish a consultancy practice. Andrew’s experience of helping his father find support for his mother who has dementia and lives in Oxfordshire, has given him a personal interest in the needs of vulnerable adults and their carers.

Martin Gallagher

Martin joined Guideposts in 2001 and is Chief Executive of People in Action, a registered charity working with people with disabilities in Warwickshire. He is also Director of Services and board member for Mencap National Society, Chair of the Community Health Council and sits on the board of Mencap Housing Authority. Martin’s vast experience in the health care sector, in particular with regards to supporting people living with a disability.

Dr Catherine Oppenheimer

Dr Catherine Oppenheimer joined Guideposts in 1990 and is our longest serving Trustee. She is a Consultant Psychogeriatrician in the Oxfordshire Mental Healthcare NHS Trusts Department of Psychiatry of Old Age in Oxford. She is also a Senior Clinical Lecturer at the University Department of Psychiatry, a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and of the Royal College of Physicians, and Regional Advisor in Psychiatry for Oxford. Â She was formerly Psychiatric Tutor for Oxford and co-ordinating Tutor for the Oxford Regional Training Scheme in Psychiatry. She is co-editor (with Dr Robin Jacob) of the textbook Psychiatry in the Elderly, published by Oxford University Press, and writes on ethical issues in old age and sexuality in old age. Her knowledge and experience have been invaluable in helping us shape and develop support and services for older people, people with dementia and their carers.

Ingrid Blades

Ingrid joined the board in 2015 and brings a wealth of experience from working across many services including IT, healthcare, pharma, finance and the third sector. Ingrid honed her international career when working as the Global Director for Strategy and Change for Cap Gemini Ernst and Young based in the US. She also worked as Amnesty International’s Director of Transformation – when they reorganised to build their capabilities in the global south. Ingrid’s professional background and interest in human psychology, plus many roles as an HR and OD Director establishes her credentials as the HR&OD lead on the board.

Peter Smith

Peter is a retired solicitor and a commissioned and ordained Salvation Army officer. He has extensive experience of the running of charities and also financial institutions both as International Legal Advisor to the Salvation Army for over 20 years and as a director and chairman of a friendly society. He also served as a member of the board of the Salvation Army Housing Association. Currently he also serves on the boards of another charitable company namely Bethany Kids UK and International and is also a trustee of the Environment Agency Pension Fund.

Alexander Curtis

Alexander became a trustee of Guideposts in August 2018. As a local Councillor in Hertfordshire, he is very passionate about combatting social exclusion at the grassroots level within communities. Through being Europe’s youngest mayor (serving the town of Ware, Hertfordshire), Alex first came into contact with Guideposts. He was inspired by the breadth of the charity’s work, and the potential of its diverse and novel strategies for meeting the emotional and physical needs of vulnerable and disadvantaged people from a wide variety of backgrounds. Through serving on the board of Guideposts, Alex hopes to contribute to the development of the charity’s services, helping people to improve their quality of life and gain a greater sense of social wellbeing.

If you are interested in joining our board of Trustees then please contact Matthew Jones, our CEO, on 01993 893560

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