Having worked within the voluntary sector for more than twenty years in a varying range of capacities, with a background in management and organisational development in the early phase of his career he quickly established that he wanted to focus more directly on healthcare and the wellbeing of people. Moving away from a corporate environment he started to develop networks within the third sector and worked across a wide range of different organisations.
In 2006 he become more interested in mental health and how people can be discriminated against in the workplace. This over a period of time led him to become the Deputy Director of what was Colchester Mind. Having identified the need for more joined up services across the Essex area he then led on the acquisition of a smaller mental health charity to ensure robust services can be developed and maintain for the future across a wider area of Essex.
He is now the Chief Executive of Mid and North Essex Mind the local mental health charity, linked to the national network that has developed the NHS five year forward view for mental health. In addition he has actively been involved with developing strategies within the local area and supported various work streams with both the local authority and clinical commissioning groups.
He is currently a public elected governor for the newly formed Essex Partnership Foundation NHS Trust (EPUT) and had previously been publicly elected for the North Essex NHS Trust a position he held for a seven year period.
James has also been a director of a children’s charity supporting early intervention across a network of schools and has also been the treasurer for Essex Council for Voluntary Youth Services which at the time was a subsidiary of Essex County Council.
James said, “Having lived in North East Essex for most of my life, I wanted to put something back into the local community that I feel so passionately about, hence my involvement with charities within the locality that do so much good work. The work of Your Living Room is extremely important and the impact of the good work carried out to date only goes to show how significant this work really is.”
Melanie is the Operations Director at Citizens Advice Tendring and has been employed there since 2007. Initially she held the position of Welfare Benefits Specialist then was awarded promotion in 2016.
Melanie has worked in the Voluntary sector for the past 25 years with a 2 year period in local government.
Her roles have included that of :
Welfare Benefits Specialist
Welfare Benefits Manager
Melanie was the first person in the UK to be awarded NVQ Level 4 in Welfare Benefits Advice and has a CIPD Qualification in Human Resource Management.
She has also been a lay member on Disciplinary Panels for Doctors Dentists and Pharmacists.
Melanie took up her appointment as a non-exec director in September 2016 for Your Living Room.
"I first met Diane when we became work colleagues through her appointment as Community Builder covering the Tendring Area based at the Citizens Advice Bureau in Clacton on Sea in 2013.
We worked well as a team and became good friends so when she told me of her next venture to help Hoarders, I wanted to be involved in such an innovative and inspiring venture. Having always worked with the public in advice settings my natural talents are in understanding complex problems people experience and the barriers they face in reaching their potential .
Enthusiasm and positivity are two major attributes I feel I bring to this role and my natural inclination to fight for social justice and against discrimination fits well with the ethos of Your Living Room.
I believe we should all support , encourage and campaign for people experiencing mental health conditions as the stigma attached to these needs to be buried along with prejudice and judgmentalism."
Joining Your Living Room as a Non-Executive Director from April 2019 is Debbie Fosker, a BACP Person-centred counsellor.
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