Support . Empower . Advocate . Promote

Board of Trustees

Jane Dodson


Jane has worked in community and organisational development for twenty five years both internationally and locally, and has a particular interest in empowerment and social justice. She holds a BA(Hons) International Development, and an MSc in Policy Analysis and Evaluation, and has worked in the private, community and public sectors.

Jane currently works with Locality where she delivers a range of consultancy support to community groups and social enterprises, including strategic planning, cost benefit analysis, social impact assessment and investment readiness.  Jane joined our Board of Trustees in March 2017 and is pleased to have this opportunity to champion and uphold the values of seAp.

Avril Chester


Avril joined the Board of Trustees in September 2015, she is Women in IT Awards 2019 Entrepreneur of the Year and Founder & CEO of Cancer Central; a brand-new digital platform created to provide those affected by cancer with the help and support they need during their cancer journey. Having personal experience of the need to support the most vulnerable in society by giving them a voice, she is delighted to be a part of seAp.

Mandy Heslop


Mandy Heslop is currently working on training research and evaluation assignments in developing and transition countries and has over 20 years experience developing projects where she has specialised in participatory methodologies. Mandy has also worked as Research and Training Manager for a major international development charity. Mandy joined the seAp Board in 2003 and her interests include project development, monitoring and evaluation and the application of participatory and rights-based approaches to programme planning and implementation.

Verna Connolly

Honorary Treasurer

Verna has over 36 years’ experience of personnel and personnel management work in the private and public sectors. A fellow of the Institute of Personnel Development and the Institute of Paralegals, Verna has worked as a business manager in the London Ambulance Service and also as a senior manager in the Social Services Department of the London Borough of Haringey which has given her considerable experience of working with vulnerable people.

Verna is currently the Executive Manager for Personnel and Organisational Development at Hastings Borough Council, and has been the professional head of personnel service there for over 14 years.   Verna also provides personnel support to the Sussex Community Rail Partnership, a small not-for-profit organisation whose staff are spread across the whole of Sussex.

Andrew Voyce


My 65 years have been severely impacted by an enduring psychotic illness. I have managed to squeeze in an Open University degree and an MA from Brighton, however these have not been life changing events, rather they got my brain back into gear in my 50’s after years of inactivity. I’ve been well enough to put in a few years’ work, and this enabled me to run a social enterprise for creativity until subsidies ran out. My creative side has led me to document my life as an expert by experience of the mental health system, and I have an online cartoon presence with over 25,000 views. I was proud to be around when seAp was got off the ground in the early days of community care, and I was glad I helped ! This because in 2014 I had an issue where I was in line to be steamrollered by the system, yet with the backing of seAp and the essential advocacy support, I had my complaint upheld and there was a satisfactory outcome for me. I am humbled to give my support for this lifeline - as a  Trustee - to those who are not only socially excluded,  but who also have in many cases multiple disadvantages.

Adam Chambers


Adam joined our  Board of Trustees in the summer of 2016. Adam has been a barrister practicing in civil law for 25 years.  From that he has learned the importance of providing a mouthpiece for people who may not otherwise be heard in difficult situations.  He believes that the provision of advocacy services is of vital importance in a society where rights have to be asserted. He has volunteered in order to do his bit to see that this important service continues

Julie Swaffer


Julie joined our Board in September 2018. Having both a personal and professional interest in advocacy, Julie believes that all vulnerable people who are unable to speak up, should have equal rights and have a voice through independent advocacy. Over the past 15 years, Julie has been a GP Practice Manager, bringing to seAp a wealth of experience across health and social care services. A firm believer in embracing change and driving improvements, Julie is qualified in the following sectors: The Mental Health Capacity Act, Identifying Victims of Human Slavery, IG and Data Security Awareness, Equality & Diversity Discrimination Act 2005. Julie is committed to seAp's vision for the future of local advocacy services in order to empower and protect the vulnerable members of our community.

Tim O'Brien

Tim joined our Board in September 2018. Having been a teacher in the East End of London, Tim has spent most of his career as a senior management/leader in the Further Education and Training Sector. Tim has worked at several colleges across the country as well as East Sussex.  His particular skills and experience are in business planning, quality assurance and improvement. Tim has spent many years ensuring that adults and young people gain the skills required to help them overcome the barriers that hinder them reaching their full potential. 

With a passion for social justice, Tim sees advocacy as paramount in empowering vulnerable people. As a Trustee, Tim looks forward to supporting and developing seAp’s vision, mission and values. His experience and skills will help ensure that seAps continues to provide an efficient, quality service to all people who need support to make their voice heard.