We are pleased that as a Board we have adopted the Charity Commission’s Code of Governance and are working to adopt its principles in practice.

Hilary Ellis (member Finance, Property & Staffing and Search & Development Committees – Trustee responsible for H&S)

Hilary Ellis held senior HR roles across a range of industries, helping executives to navigate change, identify talent and develop future leaders.  After living and working in France for 16 years, Hilary now lives in Hove and draws on her experience to coach women seeking professional fulfilment and career change. She served as Board President of the Professional Women’s Network in Paris and is an active member of the Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce.


Hilary was appointed a Trustee of the Friends Centre in January 2016.

Ann Foster (Chair of the Search & Development Committee)

Ann Foster works as a school governance adviser and trainer for the London Diocesan Board for Schools and has had similar roles in Westminster, Brighton & Hove and East Sussex. Prior to this she worked as an organiser and teacher in adult and further education. She was until recently a governor of a special schools’ federation.  She leads for the Friends Centre’s Trustees on the development of the Board.


Ann was appointed a Trustee from May 2014.

Sean Hanan (member Quality Improvement Committee)

Sean Hanan worked for Ofsted as an HMI (Her Majesty’s Inspector) for ten years until 2013. . Prior to that, he worked in a school and a number of colleges in teaching and senior management roles. He is currently self-employed helping schools and colleges to improve and in particular, to use lesson observations to improve teaching and learning, and to interpret and use performance data effectively. As an experienced trainer, he also designs and delivers professional development for managers, governors and staff.

Sean was invited to become a Trustee in 2014. He took a year’s sabbatical in 2015 to sail around the world and was asked to rejoin the Board in 2016.

Richard Hopkins (Chair of Board)

Richard Hopkins  is a chartered accountant and spent 26 years as a partner in Mazars LLP – an international practice – where he was an audit partner and undertook corporate finance and forensic assignments. The practice had many charities and educational establishments as its clients. Richard has also served as a member of the corporation of Brighton & Hove City College, including stints as its Vice Chair and Chair of its Finance Committee.  He has also held appointments with Sussex Alcohol Advice Service, Sussex Rugby Football Union and Hove RFC.


Richard was appointed as a trustee in 2013.

Alan Jenkins (Chair of Quality Improvement Committee and member Finance, Property & Staffing Committee)

Formerly Principal of Varndean College (1988-2006), Alan Jenkins then worked as an education consultant with a particular focus on 16-19 ‘value added’ as a tool for quality improvement in schools and colleges.  He is now fully retired. A former chairman of Haywards Heath RFC Alan is a committee member of the Sussex Wooden Spoon charity supporting projects in schools and other organisations working with children and young people disadvantaged by their learning difficulties and disabilities.


Alan has been a Friends Centre Trustee for 19 years

Juliet McCaffery (member Quality Improvement Committee– Trustee responsible for Equality & Diversity; and  Search & Development Committee)

Juliet McCaffery worked in literacy and adult education for over 30 years, 15 of these at Friends Centre, then East Sussex and Lambeth. She was the first gender and development officer at the British Council.  She has a number of publications on aspects of literacy and  is secretary of the British Association for Literacy in Development (BALID). Juliet has a PhD for research on literacy among Gypsies and Travellers and is the secretary of Sussex Gypsies and Travellers community association. She was a Labour councillor in Brighton & Hove for 16 years and is a school governor.


Juliet has been a Friends Centre Trustee for 17 years.

Dr Linda Morrice (Vice Chair of the Quality Improvement Committee)

Linda Morrice is a Senior lecturer in Education at the University of Sussex. She worked in adult and community education for 20 years, for organisations including the Workers’ Education Association (WEA), the Open University and Morley College in London. She has published widely in the field of adult education and has particular expertise in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), migrant education and provision for disadvantaged groups. Linda has professional links with the City Council’s Migrant and Refugee Forum, with resettled refugee communities and the voluntary sector organisations supporting them.


Linda has been a Friends Centre Trustee for 10 years

Michael Nix (Chair of the Finance, Staffing & Property Committee – awaiting approval)

Michael Nix’s career includes secondary school teaching (German and French); a range of roles for East Sussex County Council and Brighton & Hove City Council and five years with Learning & Skills Council Sussex.  During his career Michael had a particular focus on school and college funding and on the planning of education provision and capital investment.  His interest in the Friends Centre began at LSC Sussex where he worked on the plan to move to Brighton Junction.  This interest continued at the City Council where he had strategic responsibility for adult and community learning. Michael retired in 2015.


Michael was appointed as a trustee in 2016.

Judith Parkes (member Quality Improvement Committee – Trustee responsible for Safeguarding)

Judith has a first degree in Business and a Masters in Marketing and after spending many years in the retail industry, moved into education. She taught Business Studies in Further Education with a role in the marketing of the College.  She spent 10 years at City College Brighton and Hove as the Marketing Director with responsibility for both home and international markets. During her time at the college she was also President of the Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce and developed links with local businesses and other institutions.


Judith enjoys her involvement with the Friends Centre as a Trustee and as a student. She was appointed as a trustee in 2014.

Helen Walker Clerk to the Board

Dr Helen Walker is an independent strategic planning consultant with experience of managing regeneration, heritage and urban design projects.  A former chair of a university department, she is currently a University of Brighton course leader for post-graduate built environment programmes with a focus on the local economy, urban planning and design. She is Vice Chair of Brighton and Hove Regency Society, a Director of Brighton Hippodrome CIC and a Trustee of Brighton Early Music Festival, Fabrica and QueenSpark Books.  A former Friends Centre and WEA lecturer, Helen was appointed as Clerk to the Trustees in January 2017.

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