Sonia Bassey, MBE – Chair
Sonia was formerly the Director of Public Sector Transformation for Cheshire and Warrington leading transformation across the sub-region for people affected by multiple disadvantages. She is currently undertaking a PhD with the Open University into Black Leadership in Communities.
Sonia is also Chair of Mandela8 and Africa Oye, two major black-led charities in Liverpool and has recently founded the L8 Matters Community Land Trust and brings a wealth of experience in community engagement and empowerment.
Dorcas Akeju, OBE
Dorcas retired after practising as a midwife for over 30 years. She was a Team Leader for about 4 years and became the Lead for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), Haemoglobinopathies (Sickle Cell Diseases and Thalassaemia), and Equality and Diversity for Liverpool Women’s Hospital until her retirement.
She has been active in the campaign against FGM since 1996 and was instrumental in Liverpool Women’s Hospital Trust having guidelines for caring for circumcised women. She has been involved in several initiatives such as setting up the West African Elders, now the African Elders Association, in 1999. She is very active in the community and a trustee of different organisations. She set up the Breathe Easy Foundation, supporting people with asthma and allergies, in memory of her daughter in 2014.
Dorcas has won several awards, such as the Royal College of Midwives Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007, Female Achiever of the year (Merseyside Black Achiever Award) in 2009, but the highlight of her life was the OBE Award from the Queen in 2003. She believes in teamwork and partnership and that all her achievements were possible by working with others, her family and God’s power.
Driven by a passion for ending avoidable inequalities, Ken has over 35 years of experience in housing, health, commercial enterprise, neighbourhood investment, charities, local government and social enterprise. Until 2014 he was Chief Executive of a large North West England-based housing association group, a post he held for 14 years. In 2014 Ken set up Do-Well (UK) Ltd, a personal, leadership and organisational success business which works across all sectors to enable enhanced resilience, build social movements, develop leadership and partnership capacity to help people, places and organisations define and then mobilise to achieve.
Ken is an experienced Chair and Non-Executive Director in a range of organisations. Currently, in addition to his Board Trustee role at LCVS, he is Vice-Chair of a Social Enterprise and a Lay Board Member of Liverpool CCG. He has an MBA from the Open University Business School, is a Fellow of the RSA, a Member of the Institute of Directors and a member of the Chartered Institute of Housing by examination.
In his spare time Ken enjoys spending time with his family and friends, watching football (don’t ask who), listening to live music, collecting vinyl records, drinking real ale, going to the gym, travel, and he is fussy about his coffee.
John Price is a chartered wealth manager who advises high and ultra-high net worth private clients and business owners on all aspects of wealth management and financial planning.
In January 2017, John founded Modus Wealth Management. Prior to this, he was an Executive Director at Coutts where he’d been for over 11 years, most recently leading the wealth management business in the North West.
John is the Chair of the LCVS Investment Committee and an executive committee member of the Voluntary Aid Club.
Michael Salla has made a significant contribution to promoting public health and tackling health inequalities across Liverpool for the previous 15 years.
Michael’s academic background includes attaining BSc (Hons) Sports Science and MSc Public Health degrees researching areas of physical activity, homelessness, diabetes, cancer, alcohol and smoking. Michael’s employment pathway includes working within the third sector on programmes promoting community regeneration and sports development alongside programmes within the public sector in the areas of health promotion, physical activity and the impact of housing on health.
Michael’s current role with Everton in the Community, the official charity of Everton Football Club, as the Director of Health and Sport involves reaching over 20,000 people each year leading on an evidence-based Public Health Strategy, an award-winning Disability Programme and an International Soccer Camps Programme. This work has been underpinned by Edge Hill University’s Department of Sport and Physical Activity resulting in innovative projects being co-designed, co-delivered and robustly evaluated.
Michael’s work has culminated in success at two prestigious national award ceremonies recently- The Times Higher Education Awards in 2016 and the Charity Times Awards in 2017.
Louise is a Partner in a Liverpool Law firm. Her practice area focuses on private clients and elderly and vulnerable clients. She is a member of the LCVS Investment Committee.
James Sloan is Chief Executive of Liverpool-based charity Imagine If Trust. James has a degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Health Psychology. After working in public health research and adult mental health services, James moved to the third sector in 2010. After gaining experience in fundraising and project management, he set up Imagine If Trust in 2012, taking on the role as CEO in 2015.
James is passionate about community transformation both at home and overseas. He has travelled extensively across East and Central Africa working with Non-Governmental Organisations and community organisations to improve the lives of some of the poorest people, including displaced people and refugees.
James is married to Hannah and they have two young children together.
Mike Thomas – Treasurer
Mike is LCVS’s Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Risk and Audit Committee. He is currently Director of Risk and Audit for the States of Jersey Government responsible for internal audit, risk, financial governance and insurance. He is passionate about the work of LCVS and ensuring the sustainability of the organisation and the development of its core aims and objectives.
Prior to moving to Jersey, Mike was a Director with Grant Thornton based in the Royal Liver Buildings with responsibilities for public sector external audit and advisory work across the UK. He has worked with a wide range of public sector organisations in various roles assisting organisations with their improvement journeys and challenging them to deliver better value for money for communities. He has been involved in a wide range of thought leadership work including promoting work on social value, purpose-driven business, industrial strategy, Brexit, financial resilience and data analytics.
Mike also spent 12 years as a District Auditor with the Audit Commission in Cumbria, Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Merseyside as well as leading a number of inspection teams carrying out reviews of major local authorities. Previous volunteering roles include as a Board member of a Housing Association in West Yorkshire, Director of Deeside Business Forum, Independent Member of the Information Commissioner Office Audit Committee and President of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy.
Maxine Ennis is the Chief Executive Officer at Rotunda Ltd, a highly effective charity based in North Liverpool delivering education, training and mental health support to young people and adults across the Liverpool City Region. She has worked at Rotunda for the past 11 years and has developed a culture within the organisation that has supported growth and success for the community. Her previous work has included supporting the cities response to The National Asylum Support Service, implementing a high-level strategy to deal with the statutory responsibilities of the city around housing and urban policy in this area. Maxine’s previous appointments on the Green and Open Strategic Review Board and Routes Out of Rough Sleeping Board provide a wealth of experience and strategic leadership to LCVS. On a personal level, she is a strong advocate for supporting people with multiple and complex needs out of poverty and passionate about putting lived experience at the heart of the commissioning process.
Neil trained as a Chartered Accountant at Price Waterhouse, becoming a tax specialist from 1988. He joined Grant Thornton in 1990, becoming a partner in 1997 (Grant Thornton being the seventh-largest accounting network globally). He retired from Grant Thornton in December 2021. Neil held extensive client relationships in his career as well as diverse management experience (Marketing Partner, Office Tax Partner, National Head of Property & Construction sector group, Liverpool Office Managing Partner /Senior Partner 2007 onward).
Neil has over 35 years of tax and growth advisory experience focused on entrepreneurial businesses, from professional services practices and real estate businesses, operating as partnerships, large private corporates to PE-backed and family businesses, in the UK and those expanding overseas.
His Non-Executive roles include 6 years as a Board member of The Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (and as Chair of the Audit Committee of its predecessor The Mersey Partnership) with a strong interest in the Northern Powerhouse and devolution and a current (10 years) as Board Trustee & Treasurer of a community-based registered charity.
Neil is now taking on a number of NED / Audit Chair roles as part of his new focus on supporting organisations with their growth strategy.
Gemma has 10 years of experience working in Organisation Development and facilitating positive organisational-wide culture change. Her ambition is to create workplaces where people can thrive, feel safe and supported to be who they are, no matter what their life experiences have been. Gemma is the Co-Chair of Women In Social Housing North Wales.
Gemma’s academic background includes achieving an MSc in Human Resource Management and she is Lean Six Sigma Green Belt accredited, alongside other professional qualifications including CIPD, Coaching and Organisation Development.
As a trustee of LCVS, she is excited about joining an organisation that puts well-being at the heart of the community! Liverpool is a place held dearly to Gemma – where her grandparents grew up and where she secured her first role in Social Housing… not to mention where all the fab restaurants are and truly the friendliest people.