Our Board of Trustees is responsible for setting Together’s overall policy and direction. The Board currently consists of twelve people with expertise and experience in different aspects of our work, including health and social care, human resources and finance, as well as people with experience of using mental health services.
New Trustees are formally elected each year at our annual general meeting and can also be co-opted at any time during the year. Once elected, Trustees serve for three years and may stand for two subsequent three-year terms.
Carol Cole, Chair
Carol joined the board as Chair in October 2017. She has been involved in the leadership, design and delivery of strategic change throughout her career. Originally trained as a clinical psychologist in mental health and community care, she became a change management consultant with the NHS and then head of health at the Office for Public Management, before establishing a successful consultancy practice in organisation and management development. She has been a Visiting Fellow at Oxford University and at the King’s Fund as well as a senior associate of the National School of Government.
She brings extensive experience of strategy, systemic change and governance, applying psychology to enhance individual, team and organisational effectiveness. She has worked across the public and private sectors in Europe, North America and the Middle East, from the NHS to multinationals, smaller enterprises and UK charities. Carol has held several board positions and is the deputy chair at Central London Community NHS Trust and serves on the boards of Action for Hearing Loss and of the RAF Museum. She was previously the senior independent director at Hounslow and Richmond Community Health NHS Trust, vice-chair of Deafness Research UK and of the Association of Business Psychologists.
John Banks, Treasurer
John is a chartered management accountant and project manager who has worked with major financial corporations for over 25 years. John specialises in management reporting, risk, and change governance. Since 2014, he has been the Finance lead on the Trustee Board of Mind BLMK. He is currently studying toward the ICSA Certificate in Health Service Governance.
Helen spent the first 15 years of her career in Occupational Therapy, management and commissioning roles in health and social care – working with people living with HIV, substance misuse, long-term conditions and mental distress.
She moved to strategic and policy roles in 2000 and spent nine years as Health Policy Lead for the Greater London Authority, followed by six years as an independent consultant. This included working for NHS, charity, public and private sector partnerships to deliver projects related to workplace mental health, homeless healthcare and personalisation – as well as other health issues. She now works as national Specialist Advisor for People and Community Engagement at Macmillan Cancer Support.
Carole has personal experience of using mental health services and is a member of our National Service User Steering Group. She has worked as a conservator at the British Museum and now works as an artist. She is also involved in a range of work improving the experiences of people who use mental health services.
Lisa brings lived experience of mental distress and of using mental health services to the trustee role as well as experience of training and peer support.
Mark is a consultant mental health nurse and accredited cognitive behavioural psychotherapist. During a long career in the NHS he has held positions as a Consultant Nurse, Clinical Director and Professional Head of Psychological Therapies. He has experienced depression. He believes that everyone has a fundamental right to a fulfilling life and that some people are hindered in achieving this due to mental ill health. Services should strive to help unblock the obstacles in whatever form they take.
Beth is an ICT (Information and Communications Technology) professional, with over 25 years’ experience in the public sector, including in the NHS, the National Museums and Galleries of Wales, the Royal Household and two housing associations. Beth has a particular interest in using ICT to transform business services and the customer experience, and was awarded an MVO in 2007, in recognition of her transformative work at the Royal Household.
Beth is currently Technology Director at the Big Lottery Fund, and was one of the first three NHS Board Apprentices, and sat on the Board Apprentice Steering Group at Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust.
Jenny is a chartered accountant with audit and accounting experience in international audit firms. Throughout the last 15 years in the London financial sector, she has built up her expertise in operational risk. Amongst other roles, she has been responsible for demand management and strategy development.
Keith represents the National Service User Steering Group on the Board of Trustees. He has wide experience of speaking up effectively for those suffering from mental health problems who are unwilling or unable to speak up for themselves. He has served the maximum three terms permitted as an elected Public Governor of the Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys (TEWV) NHS Foundation Trust, including spells on the Trust’s various committees.
A former chair and trustee of a local user-led mental health charity in his home town of Scarborough, he served as Treasurer and Management Board member of North Yorkshire LINK (Local Involvement Network) – forerunner of today’s Healthwatch, North Yorkshire. He is a member of TEWV’s Experts By Experience Group, which, in 2016, won the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ national award for the most outstanding contribution in mental health by service user/patient.
As a volunteer, he has helped in training doctors, social workers and nurses by describing his own experiences of mental health services, whether good, bad or indifferent.
Alison is a survivor researcher and trainer in mental health with an interest in the role and value of experiential knowledge. She has over 25 years’ experience of mental health research and consultancy, including working for the Mental Health Foundation, National Survivor User Network (NSUN), Mind, Together and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
Alison’s own experience of using mental health services includes inpatient care, medication, psychotherapy and crisis services. She has written and presented extensively on the subject from a user/survivor perspective. She is currently working with NSUN on developing national standards for involvement and is studying for her PhD at City University.
Kim has been using mental health services at Together and elsewhere for 15 years. She’s been involved with multiple service user involvement projects including extensive involvement in the National Steering Group (NSG) including two years as chair. Before getting involved with Together, Kim has worked as a project manager of a youth service and served as a member of youth parliament.
Her varied background and strong understanding of policy will be invaluable as she helps Together continue working to create a stable future for the organisation and all of our stakeholders.
Dr. Ben Thomas
Dr. Ben Thomas is Professor of Mental Health and Learning Disabilities at the School of Health and Social Care, London South Bank University, and is Expert Adviser for Mental Health and Patient Safety at NHS Improvement. He is a director and trustee for a number of charities. Ben has served on a number of ministerial reviews and advisory committees to governments including Malaysia, South Korea, Australia and China.
He chairs the Mental Health Independent Advisory Group for the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicides and Homicides and is a member of the UK Expert Mental Health Advisory Group. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing and Honorary Senior Fellow at Kingston University and St George’s University of London.
Chris has many years’ experience leading both Supported Housing and Older Peoples Services. Chris is Executive Director of Operations at Hanover Housing, as well as being an appointee to the Board of Chapter One.
David is a senior HR professional with over 20 years’ HR experience and 10 years of operational business knowledge in Financial Services, Banking and Insurance. David trained with RBS, working across the Bank’s international network and holds a Masters in International Human Resource Management from Cranfield University.
In 2007 he joined CNA Insurance, a global insurer, where – as part of the Executive Committee – he contributed to the business strategy and growth of the organisation. He led the HR function of the International division through business acquisitions and organisational, cultural and transformational change. He has been a Company Director and participated on numerous Boards and Committees.
David currently supports through two other charities through volunteering: KidsOut and Working Chance. KidsOut is a charity established to promote the interests of children who are disadvantaged in any way. Working Chance is a charity established to help women leaving the Criminal Justice and Mental Health systems to find meaningful employment.
Find out more
To find out more about our Trustees or how to become one, contact: