Board of Trustees

The Elders Council Board of Trustees is responsible for overseeing the work of the organisation.

The Board is made up of 12 trustees who are elected by the membership at the Annual General meeting.The Board meets monthly. In addition to receiving reports from co-ordinators on the project work, the Board ensures that the Elders Council is represented at key meetings in the city, such as the Age Friendly City Group. Board members also participate in a range of meetings such as Policy Cabinets hosted by Newcastle City Council and an annual meeting with the City Treasurer to discuss the Budget proposals.

If you are interested in becoming a Board member, contact Maureen Tinsley on [email protected] or call 235 9905.


Pen Portraits of our Trustees

Maureen Tinsley (Chair)
My background includes experience in the NHS – managing counselling services in GP practices in Newcastle and North Tyneside. On retirement, I ran my own business for five years. This background fostered my business development skills and strategic thinking, which I bring to Elders Council development.
I joined the EC board through my interest in the development of suitable housing for older people and continue to value the opportunity to influence policy in this field.

Steve Whitley (Secretary)
In my working life, I taught linguistics, mainly with students who wanted to work with children. I joined the Elders Council in 2003 and this is my second stint as a trustee.
I am interested in communication and co-ordinate the Communication Working Group (newsletter, radio, social media, etc.).

Nick Lambert (Treasurer)
I am a recently retired chartered accountant with a degree in Law. I spent the first half of my working life in practice, becoming a partner in Grant Thornton. For the second half, I spent twenty-five years with Newcastle-based Orchard Information Systems as Finance Director. I am a past President of the Northern Society of Chartered Accountants. I joined the Board of the Elders Council earlier this year.

Cath Smart
I was a teacher of French, initially in school and then for adult evening classes, finishing with much private tuition to small groups, pairs and individuals of all ages and abilities.

I bring to the Elders Council strong organisational skills, a friendly, welcoming demeanour and the ability to converse with anyone, whatever their situation.

From the Elders Council, I gain much knowledge, much experience and a great sense of community.

Esther Salamon
I have long experience managing multi-disciplinary projects across voluntary, public and private sectors. Areas of expertise include interim management, governance, project and organisational development, fundraising, and strategic planning and review.

I am developing a housing initiative for older artists and other creative professionals who wish to move into a smaller home, maintain their independence and creative production in a safe, stimulating and creative environment, while contributing their skills and knowledge to the vitality of the region.

Violet Rook (Deputy Secretary)
I have been a member of the Elders Council for five years; I was elected a trustee in 2015. I am involved in the Transport Group and the Communication Group. A retired nurse and midwife and a tutor in local colleges.

My ability in organisation and helping older people is shown via my activity in the community, being a governor in school, college and the ambulance service. I’m also a Parish Councillor, connecting the generations.

John Telfer
After training and working as a lawyer, I have spent many years working with and for people with disabilities. I became increasingly aware that barriers faced by older people are often similar ΜΆ although distinct. I am proud to be a trustee of the Elders Council, which has allowed me to push for joint working, so promoting the important requirements of older people whilst maintaining our independence.

Mary Nicholls
My background is in education, working mainly in primary education. I joined the Elders Council and have been a trustee for several years; it's interesting and challenging. I participate in projects, like "Active Voices" and help with planning for the Mile Castle. I volunteer for other organisations too, which I enjoy. As well as this, I sing in a choir, play steel pans, enjoy cooking and am learning calligraphy.

Julie Irvine
I am a long-standing member of the Elders Council, believing in the need for a collective voice for older people. Before retirement, I worked in both social and community work, employed in a variety of roles across the statutory and voluntary sector before teaching social work education at Northumbria University. I therefore bring to the Board professional and personal knowledge of research and our health and social care systems, together with some skills in working in partnership.

Halina Figon
I started my career as a translator/interpreter, moving overseas to work in the travel and tourism sectors. Living in politically sensitive developing countries propelled me to work as an environmental awareness consultant committed to poverty reduction. I collaborated with NGOs on EU/donor-aided projects impacting on SMEs, health and educational issues, culture and heritage conservation.

I am an advocate for lifelong learning, volunteering and participation in arts and culture that combine to add zest and enthusiasm to Elders Council members.

Alan Gowers
I have been a member for four years and a trustee since 2016.

My career was spent in consulting and project management in the UK and overseas. I have gained insight on most aspects of Elders Council work through its working groups and as member of the Strategy and Finance Task Force. My areas of current special interest are housing, health/care services, funding plus research and inclusion projects.