Board of Trustees

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

The Board is made up of 7 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 represent the interests of older people on a wide range of forums. 

If you are interested in becoming a Board member, contact [email protected] or call 208 2701.


Pen Portraits of our Trustees

Anne Raffle (Chair)

I have been a member of the Elders Council since 2014, became a Trustee in 2018 and Chair in 2019. My career was in Public Service and NHS administration.

I am currently one of the editors of The Echo – e bulletin of the Elders Council. I am a member of the Home Care and All Age Friendly City Centre task groups. I lead on the Elders Council’s involvement in two research projects with Newcastle and Northumbria Universities.

I represent the Elders Council on several external groups, including the Age Friendly City Group, the CCG Involvement Forum and the Later Life Audio and Radio Co-operative (LLARC).

I support lifelong learning and digital citizenship, and have the desire to help other older people achieve.

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. 

Alan Gowers

I have been 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 project groups and I am a member of the Finance and Funding sub-group. My areas of current special interest are housing and health and care. I am involved in the Home Care project and in the Flexible Homes co-design project.

I represent the Elders Council as a Housing Champion (a national housing forum); as a Director of Future Homes Alliance; on the National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre Partnership Advisory Group and on the Police and Crime Commissioners engagement group. I also attend the Newcastle Age Friendly City Group on behalf of the Elders Council.

Mary Nicholls

I re-joined the Board at the AGM in July 2019 and have taken on the role of Communications lead. This means that I am now responsible for editing 'The Echo' (our Magazine) and I am also one of the editors of our fortnightly e bulletin. I also oversee all the other EC communications and continue to be part of the team for the Mile Castle sessions. I am currently involved in the Flexible Homes co-design project.

Violet Rook 

I have been a Trustee of the Elders Council since 2015. I am involved in All Age Friendly City Centre project. I represent the Elders Council on Newcastle City Council’s Community Safety Group and the North East Forum on Ageing.

I contribute my wider knowledge to the organisation through my engagement in the community, as a governor in school, college and the ambulance service. I am also a Parish Councillor. I am a member of VOICE, North East Pensioners Association and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Public Health.

I am a retired nurse and midwife and a tutor in local colleges.

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 – Independent Creative Living - primarily 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.

In addition to the Elders Council, I am a Director of Communities CAN, a company which supports community-led housing projects.

I am involved in the Elders Council’s Doorbells (Housing) project and the Flexible Homes co-design project.

Alongside Alan Gowers, I represent the Elders Council on the national Housing Champions group which is run by Care and Repair England. I also attend the Newcastle Age Friendly City Group on behalf of the Elders Council.

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 ̶ 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. I am currently leading on the All Age Friendly City Centre project. I also represent the Elders Council on Urban Green Connect.