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Trustees and Governance

Every charitable organisation, large or small, is run by a Board of Trustees. Trustees are legally responsible for making sure the organisation does what it was set up to do and that the money it receives is spent efficiently and for the right purposes. In a small charity the trustees usually do most of the work, but in a larger charity, such as Deafness Support Network, the work is mostly delegated to professional staff.

In DSN, the Board of Trustees is usually referred to as the ‘Council’ but the function is the same. They meet four times a year, receive reports on DSN’s work; examine financial statements; make suggestions about how things might be done better, and generally check that our work meets the aims of the organisation, i.e. improving access and equality for D/deaf people.

So who are the trustees? All DSN Trustees are volunteers. They come from different backgrounds, but mostly they are people who have come into contact with DSN in some way and have become interested enough to want to help run the organisation. Many are themselves Deaf, deaf, deafened or hard of hearing and have a valuable knowledge of the problems faced by deaf people.

If you are interested in the work of the Trustees or feel that you can contribute, please contact us via the information on the Contacts Page.

  • Philip Brown – Chair

    I was born with limited hearing and followed a traditional aural deaf education path achieving academic success at Mary Hare School. I pursued a career in Environmental Health with Stockport & Macclesfield Councils. It was only when I met a fellow school mate many years later, I realised there was a regional service under the name of Cheshire Deaf Society (former name of DSN) offering assistance to D/deaf people in Cheshire which I had not encountered.

    After introducing myself, I was offered to assist in representing DSN in the influential County Council’s Social Services Committee. Shortly after, I was appointed to become a trustee, formally approved in 1998. I was appointed to Vice-Chair in 2004, becoming Chair in 2005. My mission since becoming Chair was to develop better access for D/deaf people residing in the east part of Cheshire, which came to fruition with the formal opening of the Macclesfield Office in July 2011.

  • Richard Elviss – Trustee

    When we moved from Yorkshire to Cheshire in 1985, our three children were still at school. In order that she could be at home when they returned from school, my wife became a Registered Child-minder. One of the first children that she looked after was Lauren Colville, Martin (former CEO of DSN) and Jane’s daughter. Martin persuaded me that I would find becoming a Trustee of the, then, Cheshire Deaf Society very rewarding – and also that the Society would benefit from having a hearing trustee who worked in industry as opposed to the public sector. And so it all began!
    I have seen many changes in my long association with DSN and have become increasingly aware of the particular problems and challenges that the D/deaf community face. I have found it to be a very rewarding experience.

  • Peter Morley – Trustee

    I am Peter Morley and I was born Deaf. This was because when my mother was pregnant she contracted German Measles. Growing up, I regularly went to Warrington Deaf Club as well as attending Manchester Deaf School in Old Trafford. I left school in 1960 and worked as an engineer. There was always something new to learn and I was continuously learning for 46 years. I have only recently retired.

  • Dan Birtles – Trustee

  • Tom Gibbons – Trustee

    I am a Professor of Law at the University of Manchester, specialising in media and communications law and regulation. My interest in DSN arose because of family and friends who experience deafness and hardness of hearing, and I was impressed with the range of services DSN offered and its professional approach to providing support. As a trustee, I bring my university experience of senior management roles, as a former Head of School and Director of Research.

  • David Scott – Trustee

    I live in the village of Cuddington, Cheshire and am currently Managing Director of Vision Support Trading Ltd (VST), the trading subsidiary of Chester based Charity, Vision Support. Vision Support provides services to the visually impaired while VST provides commercial transcription services into Braille, audio or large print.
    My early career was in industrial marketing, working for a variety of companies, and then in the management of leisure trusts in Wigan and Manchester. I am also Chair of the Cheshire & Warrington Social Enterprise Partnership and served on the Board of High Peak Community Housing for four years.

  • Neil Cumberlidge – Trustee

    I was born partially deaf but, with the use of hearing aids, have been able to lead a full life.  After leaving university, I worked for nearly 30 years in the Civil Service, rising to senior management and my last two posts were Regional Director for the Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs and Director of Strategy & Planning at the North West Development Agency.  I now run my own company, providing management consultancy and other strategic services.  I am married with two children, live in Knutsford and a fanatical Liverpool supporter.  I am really looking forward to supporting DSN to continue to deliver the valuable services they provide to improve the quality of life for people with hearing loss.

  • Bob Birchall – Secretary

    Bob joined DSN as Chief Executive in 2011, bringing with him twenty years of management and leadership experience from the private, public and charitable sectors. Having spent nine years in senior roles within the NHS, Bob is particularly interested in the issues of health inequality and how that may be overcome, and ensuring greater public benefit by building stronger partnerships that span health and social care.

  • John Pane – Trustee

  • Liam Glennon – Trustee

    Coming soon..

  • David Pane – Trustee