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Trustees

The trustees meet bi-monthly and are responsible for the overall management and control of the charity, receiving reports from the Management Team.

Would you be interested in becoming a trustee of DASH? We are always looking for new members to bring their skills and experience to us. Please contact us for a non-obligation chat and/or application pack.

Les Punton - Chair

Role: Chair
Appointed:

As Chair - 26/11/2019

As Secretary - 25/10/2011

Profession/Status:
NVQ Assessor, Derwentside College, Durham

Profile:
Les is responsible for the delivery of QCF framework Apprenticeships in the Health and Social Care sector, delivering the Diploma levels 2, 3 and Management qualification, delivering the TEC CERT qualification, Key skills A.O.N. and Communication and Employees Rights and Responsibilities.

Les also worked as a Basic Skills Care Assistant (Voluntary) at St Georges Hospital, Morpeth.

Les worked as a retained fire fighter (1999 – 2001) and provided first response emergency assistance to fires, road traffic accidents and chemical incidents within the Northumberland County. Durham County Council Children’s Home Lay Inspector (voluntary) 1989 to 1992. He has also worked as a labourer, welder and cleaner.

Interview with... Les

How long have you been a trustee for DASH and what caused you to become involved?

I have been a trustee for 10 years.

I got involved with DASH as I was the trainer / assessor for DASH staff and decided to become a trustee so I could help to make a difference for those less fortunate than myself.

What does the DASH Management Committee do?

As a trustee on the DASH management committee we make decisions effecting the way DASH is run. We decide on policy and procedures, make decisions regarding funding and finance and support the management team and staff to carry out their vital work supporting the service users.

What is your role and what does it involve?

My role within DASH - I am the Chair for the management committee.

My role involves working closely with Madeleine Ashdown (previous Chair) during the transition from Secretary to Chair, leading on decision making discussions and carrying out appraisals for the DASH managers.

I am the lead Lecturer for Health and Social Care at Derwentside College. Myself and my team carry out training for DASH staff.

What do you like most about your role?

As a trustee I enjoy developing plans and policies which helps DASH to move forward as a front line provider of essential services for people with housing issues.

What are the most challenging parts of the role?

The most challenging part of the role of trustee is ensuring funding is available so that the essential services provided by DASH can continue.

What positives and challenges do you see for DASH in the current economic and political climate?

The government’s recent cutbacks in social welfare has had a knock on effect for the most vulnerable in our society which has highlighted the importance DASH’s provision of services.

Austerity measures have also had an impact on funding DASH receives which is challenging.

On a positive note, It is rewarding to see residents who are helped by DASH move on with their lives.

Ruth Craige - Secretary

Role: Secretary
Appointed:

As Secretary 26/11/2019

As Trustee 30/07/2019

Profession/Status:
Admissions Manager (Undergraduate), Durham University

Profile:
Ruth originates from Leicestershire, but moved to Durham to study Physics, and then later Secondary Mathematics Teacher Training. Ruth has worked for Durham University since 2007, and has been working in university admissions since 2009, first as the Admissions Officer with responsibility for statistics, before a change to manage the Undergraduate Admissions Team. Her most recent achievement has been leading her new team, as part of the wider Recruitment and Admissions Office, through an institutional restructure.

In her spare time, Ruth enjoys playing computer games, drawing, calligraphy and working with oil pastels. She also takes part in Live Action Role Playing games across the country.

Gary Eaborn - Treasurer

Role: Treasurer
First appointed: 30/10/18

Profession/Status:
Studying for a doctorate in the Theology department of Durham University

Profile:
Gary is DASH’s treasurer. He is currently studying for a doctorate in the theology department at Durham University. Prior to this, Gary was a London-based partner in an international law firm for 18 years. His voluntary sector experience has largely been through church projects including with refugees, a food bank and a night shelter.

An interview with …

How long have you been a trustee for DASH and what caused you to become involved?

I have been a trustee since the end of 2018. Having moved to Durham to study for an MA in Christian Theology, I was looking for a local volunteering opportunity and there happened to be a vacancy at DASH. I was very impressed by what I saw as I am a firm believer in the need to deliver local and tailored solutions to complex problems like homelessness. DASH provides attention to individual needs and delivers its services with compassion.

What does the DASH Management Committee do?

The Management Committee has an essential supervisory role to ensure that DASH can meet its objectives and is financially prudent.

What is your role and what does it involve?

I am the treasurer, so I work closely with the Finance Officer, Heather in relation to all aspects of the financial management of DASH.

What do you like most about your role?

Being treasurer requires an understanding at some level of everything going on within DASH, and the finances are crucial to delivering the best service in the most cost effective way and on a sustainable basis - so I think it is a role that allows me to make a real contribution.

What are the most challenging parts of the role?

The challenge is to ensure that what we are doing is relentlessly focussed on the mission of providing shelter and helping people rebuild their lives.

What positives and challenges do you see for DASH in the current economic and political climate?

Charities like DASH with a distinctive local flavour and history are becoming increasingly rare. This is both a positive and a challenge. The challenge is to continue to demonstrate the value of local and personalised solutions - rebuilding lives can only ever be done on an individual basis.

Marie Therese Pinder - Trustee

Role: Trustee
Appointed: 28/10/2014

Profession/Status:
Retired Social Worker

Profile:
Marie-Therese, a Londoner by birth, has spent her adult life in the northeast.
Working firstly as a librarian, then a social worker for many years, she was a long-term board of management member of Three Rivers Housing Association and Four Housing, now part of the Bernicia group, and also a management committee member of Durham Young People's Centre Association.
In recent years she has served firstly as a board member, subsequently a forum member, of the Durham Area Action Partnership, participating in the task and finish groups for the voluntary and community sector, young people, and older people.
She retains links with her university college and enjoys a range of activities connected with her interests in local history and archives, the built environment, exploring the countryside as well as the arts.

Volunteering? You? What, Me?

How does it happen?  

Somebody says would you like to....?  Or you think maybe I could...?  You pick up a leaflet and make a phone call, or you go online and find a website...?

Somehow or another YOU can be a VOLUNTEER, offering YOUR enthusiasm, creativity, talents, hopes for making something better than it was, helping a friend, adding an activity to a CV, joining in...  The list is endless, as is what happens to YOU, receiving satisfaction, broadening your mind, meeting people, having your ideas challenged, doing things out of your comfort zone, feeling more worthwhile, empowering yourself and others, gaining confidence, social skills, learning something new every day of your life...

This is the other list that can go on and on, every day, week, month and year of being a VOLUNTEER

Kate Curry - Trustee

Role: Trustee
Appointed: 27/10/2015

Profession/Status:
Area Manager, South Tyneside Homes

Profile:
Kate has worked in social housing for the last 24 years- beginning as a trainee housing officer in a local authority and working with a range of social housing providers in a variety of roles throughout her career. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Housing and has lived in Durham for the last 10 years. Kate is keen to help make a contribution to her local community using her professional skills. Kate has 3 school age children & has recently taken up running again.

An interview with... Kate

How long have you been a trustee for DASH and what caused you to become involved?

I first became involved in 2015, I read about DASH in a newspaper article and jumped at the opportunity to become involved in a housing organisation based in my home town

What does the DASH Management Committee do?

They oversee the running of the organisation and provide direction and support for the paid staff, everyone involved brings a professional or personal interest in helping make a difference in Durham  

What is your role and what does it involve?

My experience and contribution tends to be focussed around the housing management elements of the service, as well as experience of risk management, health and safety and general management.

What do you like most about your role?

My day job takes me out of Durham, I like the fact this is a Durham based charity & service- making a difference in my community.

What are the most challenging parts of the role?

Finding time to give it the time and attention it deserves

What positives and challenges do you see for DASH in the current economic and political climate?

The ever-decreasing funding streams that seem to be mirrored by the increasingly complex needs that customers have makes every day a challenge. Personally, I think the lack of real investment in social housing for a decade remains our biggest political challenge.

On a positive note – DASH, as a local charity based organisation is able to provides a unique and person centred service in the Durham area.

Patrick Conway - Trustee

Role: Trustee
Appointed: 30/10/2012

Profession/Status:
Former County Councillor (Durham County Council)

Profile:
Formerly a local government corporate chief officer for 23 years, Patrick recently provided executive support to the Leader of Durham County Council. Involved with Citizens Advice for over 30 years, as chair oversaw the integration of seven bureaux to form County Durham Citizens Advice.
Has ten years part time teaching experience with the Open University in the social sciences. Appointed OBE in 2007. Interests include sport, walking the hills of northern England, jazz, the arts generally and World War One.

Interview with... Patrick

How long have you been a trustee for DASH and what caused you to become involved? 

Seven years. Was chair of the AAP and guided through a funding application for a feasibility study that enabled DASH to apply, successfully for a government grant that enabled additional properties to be purchased. Was impressed by the work of the organisation which registered with my social values 

What does the DASH Management Committee do?

Directs the organisation, sets policy, scrutinises operations. In short has the legal and financial responsibilities for the organisation as set out in the constitution and objects 

What is your role and what does it involve?

As a trustee have legal and financial responsibilities to ensure the organisation is sustainable. Contribute ideas to forward planning and policy development. Given the location of many DASH operations have an understanding of immediate community/ social matters that affect Gilesgate/Gilesgate Moor and the organisation 

What do you like most about your role?

Developing policy and trying to promote the work of DASH in the wider community and with key funding and political organisations 

What are the most challenging parts of the role?

Ensuring that however well meaning the work of the organisation is, DASH is pragmatic in its operations and remains politically astute.  

What positives and challenges do you see for DASH in the current economic and political climate?

Positively, as long as DASH continues to develop a wider community profile and engage with other bodies, its excellent work will become increasingly recognised and supported. I do feel DASH has improved significantly its management, policy development and profile. Inevitably there are financial challenges and the impact of universal credit remains an unknown quantity but as one of the few bodies in the region tackling single homelessness, particularly for the more vulnerable, I feel the future is bright.

Madeleine Ashdown - Trustee

Role: Trustee
First appointed: 25/07/2000

Profession/Status:
Director, Ashdown Architects

Profile:
Madeleine stepped down as Chair of DASH in November 2019, a role she had since October 2014. She has been a board member since 2000. She trained as a solicitor, and has worked for many years in a family-run architectural practice (Ashdown Architects) based in Durham. The practice has particular expertise in the provision of social housing and community-led projects. Alongside her ‘day job’, Madeleine has many years’ experience in the voluntary sector, having worked as an adviser, and welfare benefits and employment tribunal representative for Citizens Advice for 12 years. In her spare time, she enjoys running, walking and reading. In 2016 she walked the Hadrian’s Wall Path with her daughter.

Helen Burton - Trustee

Role: Trustee
Appointed:
30/04/19

Profession/Status:
Deputy Head Teacher

Profile:
I have been a teacher for 25 years, after completing my degree at Bradford University and PGCE at Keele University. After teaching in Warrington for 3 years, I decided I wanted some adventure so moved to New Zealand and taught there for 8 years. Since returning from N.Z. in 2006, I have taught in 3 secondary schools in County Durham. I consider myself a proud County Durham girl and love everything about our great region!

An interview with... Helen

How long have you been a trustee for DASH and what caused you to become involved?

I became a trustee for DASH in June 2019 after receiving a request for volunteers to step into the role. I wanted to commit to voluntary work in the community I serve and believed that at DASH I could make a positive contribution.

What does the DASH Management Committee do?

Holds the organisation to account, making informed decisions regarding finance, staffing and strategy.

What is your role and what does it involve?

My role is as a Trustee which involves making financial and legal decisions that ensures the organisation is functioning within set parameters and is as effective as it can be.  I also believe it is to promote the great work that DASH does within the local community, enabling young people to understand the difficulties facing the community and engaging with the organisation to make positive change.

What do you like most about your role?

It is far too early for me to state what I like and/or find challenging but I’m sure, as I become more involved, it will provide me with many challenges!

Victoria Halliday - Trustee

Role: Trustee
Appointed: 28/05/19

Profession:
Solicitor at EDF Renewables

Profile:

I am an in-house Solicitor at EDF Renewables working on both onshore and offshore renewable technologies. I studied French at Leeds University and spent a year teaching English in France, but otherwise I have lived in Durham all of my life.

I wanted to get involved with DASH after interacting with others in need. I am hoping that the skills that I have developed in my job will be beneficial in my role as trustee on the DASH Management Committee. I look forward to working with the other committee members to make a difference in the local community, and to contribute to the great work that DASH does.

An interview with…

How long have you been a trustee for DASH and what caused you to become involved?

I have only been a trustee for DASH for 3 months, having officially been made a full board member at the end of the May 2019 board meeting. I decided to become involved with DASH as I was looking for ways to volunteer with a homelessness charity in the Durham area. I spotted that DASH were looking for trustees, and I felt that this would be a way of contributing that I could fit around my full time job.

What does the DASH Management Committee do?

The DASH Management Committee is responsible for governing DASH and directing how it is managed and run in accordance with its constitutional documents. In order to do this, the Committee meets on a bi-monthly basis to, amongst other things, review: the managers’ reports, business development, and financial information.

What is your role and what does it involve?

My role as trustee involves being a member of the DASH Management Committee, attending the regular Committee meetings, and acting collectively with the other trustees to govern DASH and take decisions. Trustees also get involved in wider events organised by the charity such as fundraising.

What do you like most about your role?

I like working with, and learning from, the other DASH Management Committee members to support the great work carried out by the people who work at DASH.

What are the most challenging parts of the role?

It’s a bit early to say what the most challenging parts of the role are at this stage. As a new trustee, the main challenge is to get up to speed with what the charity does and how it is managed.

What positives and challenges do you see for DASH in the current economic and political climate?

A big challenge for DASH, as with other charities, is the uncertainty surrounding our exit from the European Union. This has also led to a challenging economic environment. DASH therefore has to prepare for continued dependence on the support it provides.

Mark Reid - Trustee

Role: Trustee
First appointed: 11/2019

Profile:

Mark was born in Edinburgh and moved to the North East to study at Newcastle University.  In his early career he worked in children’s homes and assessment centres before he qualified as an accountant.  Mark has worked in the social housing sector for over 20 years; 15 at Executive level.  Until recently he was the Executive Director of Resources of a large North East Housing Association and profit for purpose business that invests its surplus in to improving its 30,000 properties and building new homes.  Prior to working in the housing sector Mark had 10 years management accountant experience working in the NHS.  Now resides in County Durham.

An interview with …

How long have you been a trustee for DASH and what caused you to become involved?

Since November 2019 and I very much look forward to contributing to the continued success of DASH and identifying housing options that meet peoples needs

What does the DASH Management Committee do?

The Committee oversees and directs the running of DASH ensuring that it is well governed, well run and delivers the outcomes it has been set up to do.

What is your role and what does it involve?

As a trustee of DASH I see my role as to uphold the values and objectives of the organisation and to act with integrity in all the decisions I make.

What do you like most about your role?

Meeting the people involved:  the staff, volunteers and service users and all those connected with the organisation

What are the most challenging parts of the role?

Although its early days I’m sure there will be some tough decisions to make along the way and it’s making sure the right decisions are made in the interests of those we seek to serve.

What positives and challenges do you see for DASH in the current economic and political climate? 

Like most organisations, there are many pressures on funding and we need to be innovative in the way we deliver services and ensure DASH remains financially strong.