Our Trustees

Our dedicated Board of Trustees have overall responsibility for the management of the charity. They have wide-ranging professional experience in a number of relevant areas including finance, strategy, social work, health and the voluntary sector.

Grahame Paine, Chair of Trustees

Grahame is a member of the Somerset Integrated Care Board and has a career spanning health and social care, education, consulting and financial services. He has experience of influencing high-level strategies that drive change and nudging boards toward their strategic aims. Working across different settings has enabled him to look at issues through multiple lenses and fulfil the role of a trusted collaborator. Grahame is passionate about the importance of collaboration within the local VCSE sector in securing its ongoing success.

Emily Taylor, Vice Chair

Emily is currently employed as a Strategic Engagement Officer with National Grid. She has previously worked as Communications and Engagement Manager in the NHS, bringing a strong understanding of the vital role that VCSE organisations play in health and wellbeing to our Board. She is passionate about ensuring that the VCSE sector is recognised and supported to play an equal part within the Integrated Care System. Emily has a background working within the VCSE, was a former Trustee and Engage Voluntary Sector Development in Somerset West and Taunton.

Tory Offord, Treasurer

Tory is a Chartered Accountant who enjoys working in roles with a commercial focus. Having been a lifelong volunteer and following a desire to do better, she transitioned to the voluntary sector from her previous experience in retail, e-commerce, and leisure. She is passionate about bringing sense and simplicity to numbers to allow for more effective and efficient decision making. At any opportunity when not at her laptop, Tory can be found out walking with her dog Banksy, indulging in the beautiful Somerset countryside.

Stephen Woollett

Steve is a Director of Clarity CIC which provides consultancy, advice and support for social purpose organisations across the South West. Steve has worked with and in the voluntary sector throughout his career at national, regional and local levels, including seventeen years as Chief Executive of the South West Forum. Drawing on his experience, Steve hopes he can help Spark Somerset with its strategic planning and demonstrating the impact of its work and its value to the people and communities of Somerset.

Melanie Merrill

Mel is Head of Volunteering at St Margaret's Hospice Care. She brings a wealth of experience having worked with and supported a wide range of voluntary sector organisations at a local, regional and national level to design and improve volunteering practice. She is passionate about volunteering and helping others to create an environment where people are welcomed, inspired and supported to make a positive difference in the communities they support.

Debra Drew

Debra has experience of working in the private, public and voluntary sectors and has held roles in the arts and digital marketing. She currently works as a Safeguarding Officer for Crispin School in Street. Debra is also a trustee of Friends of Street Library and served as a member of her local Parish Council from 2019 to 2022. In addition, she holds a graduate membership of the British Psychological Society and is a qualified Adult Mental Health First Aider.

Ian Bramley

Ian came to Somerset and qualified as a nurse in 1985. He spent 33 years in the NHS working in various roles including leading and developing people and services, commissioning education, and in senior leadership. Ian is passionate about helping people to find their voice and since retiring, has worked and volunteered for several charities supporting vulnerable people in the local community. He also enjoys spending time on his allotment.