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 a Communications and Engagement Manager in the NHS and brings a strong understanding of the vital role that VCSE organisations play in health and wellbeing. 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 and is a keen volunteer in sport.

Tim Ayre, Treasurer

Since qualifying as Chartered Surveyor, Tim has held a variety of roles in commercial property development, investment and management, and spent 15 years as Investment Director of a large property company. He subsequently set up his own consultancy company and also established, with colleagues, a specialist retail property company. Tim has held non-executive Board roles with Housing Associations (Hyde in London and Magna in Dorset) and most recently was trustee and treasurer of Citizens Advice South Somerset. He is also treasurer for Street Bridge Club and Long Sutton Gardening Club, and volunteers as a gardener for the National Trust.

Andrew Ridgwell

Andy lives in Yeovil and has a background in fundraising and grant making. He currently works as a Programmes Manager for Somerset Community Foundation, which distributes over £500,000 of grants to groups across Somerset each year. He also works part-time for Future Roots, a social enterprise based in Dorset.

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 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 the Senior Volunteering Operations and Support Manager at Macmillan Cancer Support. Her role is to help provide a supportive infrastructure that empowers the team to deliver a first class experience for the thousands people who volunteer for Macmillan. 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.

Jeremy Martin

Jeremy worked in the NHS locally for many years, most recently as part of the leadership team at Yeovil Hospital where he collaborated with Spark Somerset to develop new social prescribing models in South Somerset. Jeremy now works freelance, supporting organisations to develop their approaches to, and skills in, population health.