Our Board of Trustees is responsible for ensuring the charity is doing what it was set up to do and making decisions about how it is run and future developments. The Trustees meet regularly during the year to consider, determine and review Carers in Hertfordshire’s strategies, policies and performance. Our Trustees bring a depth and breadth of expertise to the charity as they have extensive backgrounds in finance, management, health and social care, and other professional roles. All Trustees support Carers in Hertfordshire in an unpaid voluntary capacity. We currently have seven Trustees and you can find out about them below.

Slava Budin-Jones (Chair)

Trustee Slava Budin-JonesAfter over 37 years in the pharmaceutical industry, initially as a Microbiologist and then in IT, Slava has recently semi-retired. Whilst working in IT she held many roles starting as a programmer, moving into support and then IT management as a Director working closely with the scientists and senior managers to define strategic direction and to manage large change programmes.

Slava has been involved in the voluntary sector since she was 17-years-old and was a school Governor for around 15 years, initially in a primary school and finally as Chair of Governors at a secondary school. She is currently a Lay Advisor for Hertfordshire MAPPA (Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements).

Whilst Slava is not a carer herself she has some knowledge of caring through her daughter who was a care worker and is now doing a degree to become a paediatric nurse.

Slava likes to keep herself busy with her many hobbies and enjoys learning new things. In addition to her qualifications in Applied Biology and IT and Management, she graduated from the Open University in 2013 with a BSc in Psychology and she continues to have a great interest in people and anything to do with psychology.The theatre has been a part of Slava’s life since she was five when she attended dance classes. She belongs to a local theatre group and performs regularly on stage, dancing, singing and acting. When not on stage she will be behind the scenes either choreographing, directing or producing. As well as performing on stage, Slava is a presenter on SG1 Radio. You can hear her Pick and Mix show on a Thursday evening. She is also a keen photographer and enjoys walking.

Slava was elected as a full member of the Board at the 2016 AGM having been a co-opted member since April 2016. She serves on the General Purposes Sub-Committee of the Board and helps out on the ICT Leadership Group for Carers in Hertfordshire.

Slava says: “As I have recently semi-retired I wanted to be able to use my business (and other) skills and experience for a good cause and also to keep my brain active. I feel very privileged to be a trustee and look forward to working with the excellent team of staff, volunteers and trustees. In my short time of involvement with Carers in Hertfordshire, it has become apparent to me how passionate everyone is in supporting the unpaid Carers who have a very challenging role but do so out of love for someone in their life.” 

Mike Ormerod (Vice Chair)

Mike Ormerod website

Mike was a secondary school teacher for 36 years at the same school prior to retiring. He is married to an English teacher and has two sons. His eldest son has Aspergers and Mike supports, guides and monitors him on a constant basis.

At work, he was a Head of Department for 28 years in History then Humanities and then PSCHEE (Personal, Social, Citizenship, Health and Enterprise Education). He served on the Senior Leadership Team creating and developing policy and practice in Recruitment and Appointments, Performance Management, Equal Opportunities and Healthy Schools programmes. He passed the course for aspiring Assistant Heads at Middlesex University.

He was a Trade Union Representative for the last four years. He was elected as Teacher Governor four times (16 years). He was also on his sons’ school’s Governing Body as Chair of Curriculum and then Chair of Governors, in which time he was involved in appointing a Deputy Head and then a Head Teacher during his Chairmanship.

He worked as a Teacher Mentor with Middlesex University to train and guide new teachers to the profession and as a mentor to Newly Qualified Teachers at school.

In 2001, Mike’s mother began to show signs of dementia and he began to develop a more caring role in her life. This became a progressively bigger and more important part of his life as she declined. From distance support, she ended up living with Mike and his family and the skills and patience he had as a teacher and mentor became more and more valuable in the support for her and the dealings with the myriad of services she needed. When it became apparent that she would be better served in a care home, a search began and a suitable place was found. He then became involved in the support and development of care in the home, creating a Relatives Support Group and mentoring some of the Care Home Staff in their NVQs.

He began to attend Forums run by Carers in Hertfordshire and soon volunteered for Stronger Voice, Carer Trainer and Carer Mentor roles. As a Carer Representative he attends the National Strategy for Dementia Implementation Steering Group and the Carers Planning and Performance Group for Hertfordshire County Council, as well as the Carer Forums for Dementia and C4A and support groups (e.g. Carers Reference Group). As a Carer Trainer he is kept busy delivering talks and he has mentored several carers.

Mike has been a full member of the Board of Directors since September 2013. He became Vice Chair in September 2014 and served as Chair of the Board between September 2015 and September 2018. Mike is a member of the General Purposes, Finance and Strategy and Services Sub-Committees of the Board and helps out on the Quality Assurance Working Group and ICT Leadership Group for Carers in Hertfordshire.

Mike says: “All my life I have tried my best to help others become the best they could be. My time as a carer was the most challenging I have had to deal with. I needed to learn new skills and different applications of old ones. Now, I want to make that process as comfortable and painless as I can for all the others stepping into this new stage in their lives, so they do not have to go through what I and many others had to. Carers in Hertfordshire has given me the opportunities to speak and support others, as well as allowing me to continue to grow and develop my experiences, skills and knowledge.”

  Mark Montgomery (Treasurer)

Mark MontgomeryMark’s career began as a trader on the floor of the London Stock Exchange in 1986 and he has been involved in stockbroking and the evolution of share trading ever since. His work in the City has ranged from running sales and trading teams with a seat at management committee and board tables. His role has involved developing and maintaining working relationships with a number of large international, institutional investing clients. Much of his working life has seen Mark based in London but he has travelled extensively during his career, including time spent working in New York and Hong Kong during the 1990s.

His involvement in charity work to date has been through fundraising efforts for various charities in the form of running one New York and two London marathons. He has also completed two, Three Peaks Challenges: the first was Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike & Snowden within 24 hours; the other being the three Yorkshire peaks in an equally testing 12 hours.

Mark comes from a medical family with a father and brother having been GPs and his wife is a Physiotherapist both as a practitioner and university lecturer specialising in care of musculo-skeletal conditions. This proximity to medical professionals has made Mark aware of some of the daily demands in medical care and the longer term challenges faced by chronic patients and the support they often require.

Mark was elected to the Board at the 2016 AGM.

Mark says: “I was introduced to Carers in Hertfordshire two years ago and was immediately impressed with the work that has been done to benefit so many in the county. I feel that the experience I have gained in my career and personal life will help me to contribute as a trustee as the organisation develops in the future.”

Val Bennett

val bennett photo webVal is a Co-founding Managing Director of 1st Choice Properties Ltd, a lettings and property management business, that started in 1994 and was sold in 2019. She continued in a part-time Consultant role for the new owner until July 2019.

She volunteers with us as a Carer Trainer, assisting with interviewing candidates for the BSc & MSc Nursing and Social Care degree courses at the University of Hertfordshire. She is also a voluntary Nursing Assistant at St Clare Hospice in Harlow.

Val’s previous roles include a voluntary Ice Hockey Manager (Level 2 qualified) and Financial Advisor/Office Manager. She was also a registered Financial Advisor with responsibility for arranging mortgages, pensions and life assurance policies and obtained a Certificate in Financial Services obtained from The Chartered Insurance Institute.

Val has had experience of different client groups via family and personal connections, including learning disabilities, dementia, and physical disabilities. She has undertaken various online courses on health and wellbeing including courses on dementia, diabetes, addiction, patient handling and general nursing.

Val was elected to the Board in September 2019.

Val says: “I was referred to Carers in Hertfordshire several years ago via my GP as I care for my elderly Mother. I was grateful for the service and support they offered and wanted to get more involved. I was then introduced to Judith and became a Carer Trainer and still carry out that role on occasions. In early 2019, I saw an advert for the Trustee post and felt it was a role that I could assist with and perhaps add value to.”

Jackie Wilks

trustee jackie webAfter gaining Jackie worked in HR for many years, initially in the manufacturing sector and then in financial services. Latterly, she was HR Director for Prudential Holborn. She left full-time employment when she was pregnant with her second child.

In hindsight she realises that she became ‘a carer’ when her daughter’s special needs became evident. She put her career on hold and became a quasi-speech therapist, physiotherapist and occupational therapist and the main advocate for her daughter, ensuring she got the specialist health and educational support that she needed. She didn’t see herself as a ‘carer’ just a mother loving her daughter and doing her best to support her.
Jackie first encountered Carers in Hertfordshire at the start of her journey with her daughter. She needed help to understand a situation and spoke to one of our Carer Support Advisors. Since that initial help Jackie has contacted the advice line a few times and attended various conferences. She has always appreciated the support that she has received.

When her mother became ill with Alzheimer’s, Jackie took on a different type of caring. She spoke to us and again received some useful advice.

Jackie now has three children and combines family life with being self-employed. She is a qualified Executive Coach and works with clients and teams to develop their performance. She works with people developing their leadership capability, changing roles and people who juggle their jobs with their caring responsibilities.

In her past she has volunteered as a school Parent Governor and has been a Trustee for ActOne Dance Base (a local charity for young people with disabilities).

Jackie was elected as a Trustee in September 2019.

Jackie says: “I really appreciated the person on the end of the phone when I was struggling to make sense of what the issues were and what I needed to do. I appreciated being able to talk through our personal situation and get some clarity on the matter and what I needed to do. Recently, I attended a talk about Supported Living which was a game changer for me in terms of my knowledge and the contacts I made. My interactions with Carers in Hertfordshire have always been positive and useful. I now have some time to contribute and will draw on my experience of caring for people with learning disabilities and dementia.”

Marian Langley

Trustee MarianAfter gaining a degree in Chemical Physics, Marian went on to qualify as a Teacher and as a Youth & Community Worker. She joined Essex County Council’s Community Education Department. Looking for more sociable hours to fit in with family life, she moved into Further Education working full-time at Loughton College and then part-time at Hertford Regional College. She tutored pre-nursing, pre-residential care and in-service social care students before moving to join Hertfordshire County Council’s Adult Care Services Training Unit. She became an NVQ Assessor and verifier for Health and Social Care levels 2 and 3: and gained her Masters degree in Adult Education.

In 2000, Marian’s mother became ill with kidney failure and eventually had to go onto peritoneal dialysis every night. As an only child, Marian became her only family support. At the same time, Marian’s husband was beginning to show signs of early onset dementia. As his condition developed and he could no longer work, Marian stepped down from her role as Training Unit Manager and went part-time in order to offer the support her husband and mother needed.

As her mother-in-law became frail Marian had more changes of job, each time to one with less responsibility and less hours until caring became almost full-time and started to take a toll on her health.
By 2012, Marian could no longer offer the degree and complexity of care that her husband’s condition required and he went into residential care (where he is still in 2019). Soon after, her mother died following a bout of pneumonia.

Marian’s first contact with Carers in Hertfordshire came as her direct caring role reduced and she had time to volunteer. She started as an Ambassador, then trained as a Mentor, and became a Hub volunteer, and more recently trained as a Carer Trainer. She continues with all these roles.

Marian joined the Board in September 2019.

Marian says: “Being a Trustee with Carers in Hertfordshire is a privilege and a responsibility I take very seriously. I want to support the organisation to reach out to all unpaid carers so that they know where to come for support and guidance before things get to breaking point.”

Melanie Barton

Trustee Melanie Since her Father’s was diagnosed with a mixed Dementia (Alzheimer’s and Vascular Dementia) in August 2017, Melanie has been determined to find out more about the condition as a way of helping her and her Mother cope, as his primary carers. Since this time, she has studied two online courses in ‘Understanding Dementia’ and ‘Preventing Dementia’, has become a Dementia Friend, and is awaiting training to become a Dementia Friend’s Champion in order to further spread awareness and create a more dementia-friendly community locally.

Melanie became involved with Carers in Hertfordshire, initially by attending our Dementia Carers’ Forums and then as a Dementia Carer Representative involved in some working groups. Our 2018 Annual Event for Carers and AGM was the turning point where she knew she wanted to be more involved with our charity.

After studying a Masters in English Literature at the University of York, Melanie’s professional background has been in Corporate Communications and Marketing. She is currently working in Change & Project Management for an engineering company, based in Stevenage. This led to her gaining her Practitioner Level qualification in Managing Successful Programmes®. She now specialises in behavioural change and continuous improvement, focusing upon relationship management and stakeholder engagement - helping teams work better together and sharing examples of good practice.

Outside of work Melanie likes to keep active, enjoying playing tennis for a local club and dancing. She has performed in a variety show for local charities! She has always had an interest in promoting and fundraising charitable pursuits, ranging from large corporate charity events as part of the communications job to more local community-type events such as celebrating 900 years of the village of Redbourn where she grew up and her parents still live.

Since moving to Letchworth Garden City, she has also been involved with the Letchworth Festival, and for the last two years she has taken part in Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Running Down Dementia Challenge for her Father. She helped fund a breakthrough to this condition by raising over £3,500 and between April and August 2019 she ran 334.4km - the distance as the crow flies between where her Father is now in Hertfordshire and the village where he grew up in County Durham!

Melanie was appointed as a Trustee in September 2019.

Melanie says: “As an unpaid carer I have felt so frustrated that I cannot help or make a difference, thrust into a situation without asking for it. The services offered by Carers in Hertfordshire have been invaluable for me to know that I am not alone. I have found the opportunities really rewarding already and am thrilled, privileged and excited to be able to take this further now with my role on the Board of Trustees.”