Jane Barrie OBE DL, Chairman
Jane has lived in Somerset for most of her life and is the Chair of Health Education South West. She has had several Non-Executive roles within the NHS during the last 29 years, including Chair of NHS Somerset and Chair of Dorset and Somerset Strategic Health Authority. She was a stockbroker by profession and formerly Regional Director of NatWest Stockbrokers. With a keen interest in education, she is Chairman of Trustees of the Bishop Fox’s Education Foundation, a former Chairman of Governors at Taunton School, and the former Chairman of the Learning and Skills Council for Somerset. She is a past President of Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland, the global women's organization whose members work to improve the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment. She is a Patron of St Margaret’s Somerset Hospice.
She was awarded the OBE for services to the NHS in the 2004 New Year’s Honours List and is a Deputy Lieutenant for Somerset.
Michelle Ferris, Treasurer
Michelle is the Director of Charities and Not-for-Profit at Albert Goodman LLP, a large regional accountancy firm based in Taunton. She was brought up in Somerset, and after spending some time away she returned to the county where she qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Albert Goodman, specialising in charities for the last 8 years. Michelle is also currently a trustee at Refugee Aid from Taunton, and in her spare time - outside spending time with her two young children - she is an international basketball official.
Chris is a Chartered Public Finance Accountant and a former Business Services Director of Wessex Water plc. The majority of his career has been spent in the UK but he has worked in North, Central and South America and been the Chief Financial Officer of the global technology company Achillies Group. He is a former Chairman of Somerset College of Art and Technology and board member and trustee of BIBIC the Somerset based brain injury charity. He is currently advising Pixieme.org a community marketplace for independent businesses and is a trustee of a number of local charities.
Helen has worked with children and families all her career, first as a social worker and then as Assistant Director for Children’s Social Care. Helen has run services in Education and Health and has spent 5 years as a Peer Reviewer for the Local Government leading on Early Years Reviews and taking part in safeguarding and Special Educational Needs Reviews.
Helen has run a range of community groups and served as a committee member for Home-Start.
Kokila now spends some of her time supporting adults with autism professionally, having taught a broad range of subjects and ages for thirty-two years. Kokila is a qualified mediator (excepting family and children) and is a member of the Civil Mediation Council. She also belongs to the Institute for Leadership and Management.
Her Trusteeship with Somerset Community Foundation is Kokila's second significant role working with a community-focused charity, having previously been President of Bodali Seva Mandal from 2016-2018. Kokila moved from the village of Bodali in Gujrat, India, aged 3 and has since lived in Leicestershire, Essex, Hampshire, Berkshire, Surrey and now resides in Somerset. She has taught as a supply teacher in many places, including Bristol, North Somerset and BANES.
Her time off is spent swimming, walking, reading and keeping in touch with family and friends.
John Lyon CB
John Lyon CB has spent much of his professional life working in the public sector, mostly in the senior civil service in central government. On leaving the civil service he served the House of Commons overseeing its code of conduct for members of parliament. He also has experience in the charity sector from working as the director of strategy in a research institute in Cambridge and as an elected governance volunteer with the National Trust. He has been connected to the Sedgemoor area for some 30 years, where he currently enjoys been taken for lively walks by his border collie.
Bruce has over 40 years experience in the investment industry; he worked as an institutional (pension fund) manager at Mercury Asset Management before moving to Perpetual, the retail fund group, where he was a director of the operating company. Following a family move back to the West Country, Bruce became chairman of an Exeter-based wealth management firm and he joined JM Finn following the sale of that business. Bruce has an MA in Modern Languages (Cambridge). Bruce and his wife Sophy have four children and home is a working farm on Exmoor, which consumes pretty much all the family's free time.
Lucy Nelson DL
Lucy founded Tommy’s, a national charity funding medical research into the reasons why babies are born too soon and too small, stillbirth, miscarriage, poor foetal growth and prematurity. They raise around £4million each year. She was Tommy's CEO for 10 years, a Director of Mark Birley Associates for 20 years and a Director of the Catholic Building Society. Lucy was also a Governor for 20 years and finally Chairman of Governors for Port Regis school in Dorset. Lucy was High Sheriff of Somerset 2015-16 and is now a Deputy Lieutenant. She is particularly interested in mental health and raised a fund for four mental health charities in Somerset during her year as High Sheriff. She has lived in Penselwood, Somerset for 20 years and runs a small stud, breeding horses for eventing and dressage.
Jan Ross MBE
Jan has worked in Somerset in education, both for children and adults, and in Community Development. As a volunteer, she is involved in many different charities and groups in Somerset. Jan brings to the Foundation a good network of contacts across local authority, community and voluntary sectors.
David worked in Local Government for almost forty years. He qualified as a Social Worker in 1979 and has worked in all aspects of children’s and adults services. He was Director of Children’s services in Somerset until 2010 and then Director of Peoples Services in Shropshire until 2013. David is a Governor at a local school and also Bridgwater and Taunton College. He works as a freelance trainer and teaches English as a foreign language.
Sarah is a solicitor, a consultant and in May 2020 retired as partner at Ashfords LLP in the Real Estate team. She was brought up in Surrey and worked in London before moving to Somerset in 1991. She has worked in private practice for many years but has also worked at the BBC legal department and at the Government Property Lawyers (part of the Treasury Solicitors Department). She has an interest in voluntary work and community based activities and was a volunteer and on the management team at Brixton Advice Centre for 10 years whilst working in London. Locally she has been a Parish Councillor in Pitminster for many years (including a term as Chair for 6 years) and is also involved in community activities through her parish church.
Tim is a partner and chairman of Clarke Willmott LLP, where he has worked since 1978, specialising in property development work. His work brings him into contact with Somerset businesses and landowners and he has also carried out legal work for a number of charities during his career.
He is Chair of trustees of the Albemarle charity and a member and former church secretary of Taunton Baptist Church.
Kevin is Chief Executive at the Accountancy and Wealth Management firm Old Mill which has strong roots in Somerset and the wider West Country region. Prior to this Kevin practised as a Chartered Financial Planner with Old Mill advising many wealthy individuals, families and business owners in the locality, which he very much enjoyed for several decades!
Born and bred in Somerset, Kevin lives just outside Frome with his wife Karen, daughter Millie, son Sam, and a small clowder of cats! He is a local Parish Councillor, a keen fisherman and a very poor golfer.
Giles is a trainee Investment Manager at Rathbones Brothers plc, where he supports the discretionary management of investment portfolios on behalf of private clients, trusts and charities. Giles is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment, holds a Diploma in Investment Compliance and is pursuing the Chartered Wealth Manager Qualification. Despite his young age, he already has a wealth of experience spanning across legal, financial and regulatory fields, having graduated from the University of Birmingham with a Law degree and spent over two years in London at a top 5 accountancy and advisory firm, before moving back to his home in Somerset. Giles has lived in Somerset for over 20 years and, during which time, has participated in a plethora of extra-curricular activities and events within the area, giving him first-hand knowledge and experience of Somerset from a more youthful perspective, which he can bring to the Foundation.