Meet Our Trustees
Polly is currently the Service Manager at Sevilles - an organisation specialising in home care and support for people with mental health needs. Prior to that she was the Head of Mental Health & Training for The Afiya Trust, a national charity set up to reduce inequalities in health & social care. Her role included project management, staff development and a representative of the National Joint Commissioning Panel for Mental Health.
Polly regularly contributed to All Party Parliamentary Group discussions in the Houses of Parliament, advised health ministers and the CQC and was a member of the group working with the previous Archbishop of Canterbury to look at faith & mental health. Locally, Polly was the Deputy Chief Executive of Reading Resource for 9 years until November 2008. She developed an effective Peer Support Programme in partnership with a colleague from Berkshire NHS Trust.
Polly has won many awards including a Sony Gold Radio Academy Award for her work in partnership with BBC Radio Berkshire and Company Paradiso on a project called “Warning May Contain Nuts”, a mental health awareness project. They also won the Silver award the following year for “Handle with Care”, a project addressing issues for young people in care and care leavers.
Polly can be heard regularly on BBC Radio Berkshire responding to current affairs news items or as a guest reviewing the papers. She has also been a guest presenter for their African Caribbean Programme. Polly’s expertise is in people management, training, organisational development and service user involvement. She is a qualified and experienced senior manager, trainer and facilitator. She also has a small business.
In 2007 Polly was nominated for the Pride of Reading Awards for her work in mental health and her contribution to the community. She is currently Chair of Trustees for Graft Thames Valley.
Gareth graduated from Exeter University with a BA hons in Economics. He is experienced in charitable work and has previously worked as President of an Exeter based charity called Mind your Head, a mental health awareness society, and he has also supported JustPeople, Exeter, who provide volunteers wishing to take up roles in the criminal justice system with training, vetting, volunteer placements and ongoing support and development.
Gareth joined the Graft Board of Trustees in September 2013 to provide specific support with our accounts, management accounts and financial processes. Gareth worked as an Auditor at Ernst & Young - working as an associate in the Assurance service line in the Reading area. He has experience of working across a variety of different clients (from listed companies in the UK and overseas, to small privately owned companies), industries and sectors including: Retail, Telecommunications, Biomedical, and Manufacturing.
Gareth currently works at Sony Professional Solutions as a Business Analyst – Reviewing the monthly and providing analysis of Profit & Loss account with a sales turnover of excess of €350M to ensure that it is accurately reported. Gareth is a Part Qualified CIMA accountant.
Hilary is an experienced coach, facilitator and HR professional. She combines working two days a week for The Whitehall & Industry Group (WIG) with running her own career and transition coaching business, Pathway Coaching. Within WIG, a charity that exists to improve understanding between the public, private and voluntary sectors, Hilary’s role focuses mainly on designing and delivering leadership programmes and seminars for women.
She is a Certified Coach, NLP Master Practitioner, qualified MBTI Practitioner and Certified Cognitive Behavioural Confidence Coach. She holds a postgraduate diploma in Personnel Management and is a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD. Challenging, creative and pragmatic she is renowned for delivering results for her clients. Many of Hilary’s coaching clients are professional people in mid or late career.
Hilary’s background is in organisational consultancy and HR within the civil service. This included four years in a senior HR role in HM Revenue & Customs focusing on talent management and senior appointments. She also spent four years in HM Treasury as a senior consultant where she advised a range of public bodies.
Hilary became a Trustee of Graft in 2010. She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2011 and in 2012 became a support volunteer for the Reading & Wokingham Branch of the MS Society. She has used her training and facilitation experience to benefit the Society by re-designing and chairing a course to help the newly diagnosed come to terms with their condition. Her personal experience of living with a chronic progressive illness and her work for the MS Society, as well as her involvement with Graft, have strengthened her passion for helping everyone overcome their limitations, reach their potential and find fulfilment at work and in life.