Oxfordshire Mind Board

An introduction to our Board of Trustees, who govern the charity.

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Trustees play an important role in charities. Staff members and volunteers handle the day-to-day running of the charity, whereas trustees focus on the overall strategy and goals of a charity, and ensure that it is run sustainably. 

Oxfordshire Mind have four different sub-committees which support the Board, scrutinising different areas of work to add another layer of insight.

Meet our Board:

Dr Alan Cohen Chair of the Board
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Dr Alan Cohen Chair of the Board

Dr Alan Cohen was a GP principal for 20 years in Mitcham, South London until 2004. From 2005, he was senior primary care advisor to CSIP, the National Primary Care lead for the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme, and Honorary Associate Director of Primary Care at the Department of Health.

He was a Senior Fellow at the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health, for 13 years up until Nov 2009. He also worked as a Medical Director for a CCG.

He worked from 2011 until 2015 as Director of Primary Care at the West London Mental Health Trust, providing physical health care services to those at Broadmoor Hospital.

He retired from clinical practice in July 2015 but continues to teach undergraduate medical students at Salzburg Medical School, ski and publish the occasional article.

He was elected Chair in 2023.

Lucy Townsend
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Lucy Townsend

Lucy is currently Head of HR at YASA Ltd. Prior to that she was Head of People at Animal Dynamics and before that HR Manager in the University of Oxford. She spent five years in the charity sector at Oxfam GB in the Humanitarian HR team, overseeing volunteers in the team as well as providing support to international humanitarian programmes.

Lucy is Chair of the HR sub-committee and provides advice on policies and people practices as well as ensuring alignment with strategic priorities. She became a trustee in 2018.

Taffy Makaya Vice Chair
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Taffy Makaya Vice Chair

Taffy works as a Consultant in Paediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes at Oxford Children’s Hospital. In addition to her medical degree, she holds a master’s degree in Endocrinology, and she is currently studying for a Master’s in Business Administration with Oxford Brookes University. Her areas of clinical interest are in supporting children, young people and families navigate long-term medical illness. She leads the Oxfordshire endocrine transition service, and she is currently the lead physician for paediatric diabetes in Oxfordshire. Taffy is a strong advocate for encouraging workplace wellbeing, and she is a Freedom to Speak Guardian for her hospital Trust.

In her spare time Taffy enjoys travelling, running, walking, and baking.

Laura Johnson Chair of HR Sub-committee
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Laura Johnson Chair of HR Sub-committee

Laura is the founder of her own HR consultancy practice, Open HR, and a Chartered HR professional with two decades of experience in the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors. Laura’s HR career has involved working both nationally and internationally, most recently with Oxfam International as an HR Business Partner.

Laura centres social causes at the core of her work and offers HR consultancy support exclusively to the not-for-profit sector. Laura is driven by strong ethics and a passion for better mental health for all.

Laura was appointed during the summer of 2022. She is a member of the HR sub-committee, providing advice and support on strategic HR priorities for Oxfordshire Mind.

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Andrew Farrell Chair of Finance Sub-Committee
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Andrew Farrell Chair of Finance Sub-Committee Photo of Andrew Farrell Smiling at Camera

Andrew runs a commercial property investment company. Previously he was also involved in the Asset Management of a portfolio of healthcare properties owned by a property fund.

Since being appointed as a Board Trustee at Oxfordshire Mind, he now attends the Board meetings and also sits on the finance sub-committee.

Andrew is very pleased to be involved with an organisation that delivers real social benefits to the local community.

Diane Hedges Chair of Service Quality and Performance Sub-Committee
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Diane Hedges Chair of Service Quality and Performance Sub-Committee

Diane started her NHS career working in a GP Practice and has since held a range of senior roles in Commissioning functions, Primary care national negotiating team, a Strategic Health Authority, Department of Health and Local Authorities. She is an experienced health and social care senior manager and Board Director.

Diane is dedicated to Oxfordshire having been the Deputy Chief Executive of Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) setting up the Joint Commissioning function with Oxfordshire County Council Director of Adult Services and representing the CCG in local partnerships. As the CCG moved to become Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire Integrated Commissioning Board Diane was involved in planning the new arrangements and ensured safe handover of services.

Prior to this Diane worked independently running her own company as an NHS/Social care change consultant and interim Director. Assignments included devising strategy and priorities in areas of deprivation in Islington and leading a public consultation in South London. She was responsible for the establishment of Bromley Healthcare, a new Social Enterprise transferring all community services from the local Primary Care Trust (PCT). Diane was Chief Executive of a PCT in Berkshire for many years whilst also leading the commissioning function for the three PCTs in the area. She lives in Reading in Berkshire and is very keen to support Mind services developing in this area.

Susan Polywka Chair of Governance and Assurance
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Susan Polywka Chair of Governance and Assurance

Susan is a solicitor by background and has spent most of her career in the NHS, in Oxford and at the Department of Health in Whitehall.  She practiced in-house in the field of clinical negligence and as an accredited mediator before moving into the area of corporate governance; holding the post of Head of Corporate Governance and Secretary to the Board of the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust up until she stepped aside from full-time work in 2018.

She currently works part-time as a Corporate Governance Consultant in the NHS.

 

Rachel Griffiths MBE
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Rachel Griffiths MBE

Rachel is a social worker and Approved Mental Health Professional by background, specialising in mental health and mental capacity.  As a consultant in mental capacity and human rights in health and social care practice, she has worked with a wide range of agencies, from the Care Quality Commission and the Nuffield Council on Bioethics to the Fundamental Rights Agency of the European Union.

She has always been driven by a passion to enhance the human rights of people subject to restrictions on their liberty in health or social care, and to enable the voices to be heard of people living with a disorder or disability of mind.

Rachel was awarded an MBE in 2017 for services to vulnerable people. She was appointed as a Trustee in early 2024 and sits on the Service Quality and Performance Sub Committee.

Lisa Pim
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Lisa Pim

Lisa is currently a Deputy Director of Nursing, Patient Safety, and Clinical Quality and Governance in a West Midlands Mental Health NHS Trust. She has always been guided by a commitment to caring for people and making sure they receive the best possible healthcare support. She has spent over 28 years in nursing with key responsibilities in patient safety and healthcare quality, always with a focus on making things better for patients.

Lisa strongly believes that everyone should have easy access to mental health services when they need them and be provided with the best quality of care and treatment. In her role as Trustee, she is looking forward to using her experience to help make a difference.

Lisa passionately supports Oxfordshire Minds mission and work, building towards a world where everyone can get the mental health care they need, in a way that feels supportive, understanding, and meaningful. Ensuring that mental health care is seen as just as important as physical health care and is accessible for all.

Lisa was appointed as a Trustee in early 2024 and sits on the Service Quality and Performance Sub Committee.

Charlotte Glen
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Charlotte Glen

Charlotte is a fundraising professional with more than a decade’s experience working for a number of the UK’s leading charitable organisations including the Prince’s Trust, Tate Galleries and the University of Oxford. Charlotte is currently working on philanthropic development for a major capital project to improve mental health services and research in Oxfordshire.

Charlotte is a Psychology graduate with post graduate training in mental health including a Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counselling,

A committed volunteer and advocate for mental health support for everyone, Charlotte has been a Trustee since 2023 and is pleased to have the opportunity to bring her skills and experience to improve support for mental health in her local area. Charlotte sits on Oxfordshire Mind’s Finance Sub-Committee with a particular interest in supporting the work of the fundraising team.

Want to become a trustee?

If you’re interested in becoming a trustee of Oxfordshire Mind, please download the candidate information pack. Applications under our current trustee recruitment round should be submitted by 6th November, 2023.