Tel: 023 9229 6919 Fax: 023 9242 0488

Our Trustees

Members of the E.C. Roberts Centre Board.

Our Trustees

Andrew Sayer (Chairman)

Malcolm Childs (Vice Chair)

Jennifer Bennett

Professor John Craven CBE

Rev. Canon Bob White

Margaret Geary.

District Judge Charles Ackroyd TD RD DL

Tom Floyd

Nicola Venton

Marcella Kirby.

Andrew Sayer (Chairman)

Andrew Sayer is an Assistant Director at the Department for International Trade (DIT). His current role is leading the communications area within the Trade Policy Group division of DIT. Previous leadership roles, within the public and private sectors, have also covered marketing and branding responsibilities in the UK and abroad. He is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and a Chartered Insurer. He has been awarded a public sector award for delivering outstanding operational support to customers with special needs.

Between 2015-17 he was seconded to one of the Prince of Wales’ charities “Business in the Community” (BITC) as their Business Connector for Portsmouth. Portsmouth was chosen by BITC as the location for a Business Connector because areas within it fall within the 20% most deprived areas of the U.K. The role involved facilitating the creation of long term and mutually beneficial relationships between organizations in the Portsmouth area. This was when he first became aware of the Roberts Centre and the work that it undertakes.

Whilst in the role he facilitated a number of relationships for the Centre and worked on the development of the Robert Bear books. He was initially asked to join the Marketing Committee before being invited to become a trustee in 2017.

Malcolm Childs (Vice Chair)

Born in Portsmouth in 1942, I was educated there at primary level followed by boarding school. Employment since leaving formal education has been mainly in the child care profession. I hold professional qualifications in both residential and field social work. My final position was as a Senior Manager locally. From that experience I bring skills in financial and human resource management as well as negotiating and networking within the voluntary, private and statutory sectors.

Since retirement I have worked in a voluntary capacity in various fields including family support and education as well as support of the elderly and vulnerable. As a Governor of a local authority educational provision for children with special needs I have lead responsibility for safeguarding and serve on the finance committee.

I have been a trustee of the Roberts Centre for 10 years and was motivated to do this through my earlier involvement with the Centre in my capacity as a Senior Manager. I am an ardent supporter of the range of services provided by the centre and the commitment and enthusiasm of the staff.

Jennifer Bennett

Educated in Portsmouth, Jennifer started her career in the law with a leading firm of solicitors in the city where she first encountered Portsmouth Housing Association and its charitable subsidiary, The EC Roberts Centre.

During her career she has developed one of the most influential Social Housing law teams in the country and has been consistently recognised as a leading individual in the legal directories.

Her specialist areas are property law; leasehold, funding work; governance and regulatory law. The majority of her clients are charities and regulated. She is a Consultant Solicitor at Capsticks which is a specialist law firm for the Health and Housing with offices in London Winchester Birmingham and Leeds. She is a member of the Chartered Institute of Housing.

During her career, she has held a portfolio of NED appointments including Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, a local school governor, a director of a charitable not for profit loan provider regulated by the FCA  and is currently a Board Member of a national Registered Provider of Housing with over 33000 homes in management across England.

Becoming a trustee of the Roberts Centre means an opportunity to directly contribute her experience to a highly regarded organisation there for those families in Portsmouth facing homelessness and child care challenges.

Professor John Craven CBE

John retired in 2013 as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Portsmouth where he worked for sixteen years.  He studied mathematics and economics at Cambridge and was a Kennedy Memorial Scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  He then taught economics at the University of Kent, becoming a Professor in 1986.  He is currently completing a Masters degree in Philosophy at King’s College, London.  John served for seven years as a member of the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England and continues to advise on the financial aspects of clergy training.  John is currently a trustee of the National Museum of the Royal Navy, and a governor of the University of the West of England.  He serves as a lay adviser to the health service on the confidentiality of medical records.   As Vice-Chancellor John was a patron of the EC Roberts Centre, and his current focus as a Trustee is on finance and the development of proposals to replace the Centre with a new building.

Rev. Canon Bob White

Bob White grew up in Portsmouth and has been an Anglican Priest for nearly 30 years. He is currently the Vicar of St Mary’s Church in Fratton. He has an active interest in the life of the local community and in seeking to support those who serve the needs of those who live within it. He also has a wider responsibility in the Diocese for Urban Ministry and is the Church Urban Fund Officer. He has a long experience of working as a Trustee of a variety of local Charities and served for some time as a member of the Board of Portsmouth Housing Association. He currently chairs the Fratton Big Local Partnership and the Churches Homeless Action Group. This Group seeks to keep homelessness issues on the Church’s agenda and each year raises signifcant sums of money in a Christmas Appeal – one of the major recipients of which is the Roberts Centre.

Margaret Geary

Margaret’s past work as a social work and probation practitioner, a Community Safety lead in Coventry, a Director in Government Office West Midlands and Strategic Director of Health, Housing and Social Care in Portsmouth has been driven by a commitment to social justice. One of the constants in her work has been efforts to improve the involvement of individuals and communities receiving services, in shaping those services so that the outcomes meet their needs.


District Judge Charles Ackroyd TD RD DL

Charles Ackroyd is a District Judge and regularly hears cases from Portsmouth concerning children and disadvantaged families. Before becoming a judge in 1998 he was a solicitor in private practice in Southampton and the New Forest. He also pursued a twin career as an Army reservist and was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire in 2013.


Tom Floyd

Tom Floyd was Chair of Trustees of the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Community Foundation from 2010 to July 2017.  Until 2009, his career was in business and strategy roles in the biochemical industry, lastly as President of the Microbiology Division for Thermo Fisher Scientific, based in Basingstoke. Prior to that Tom enjoyed almost thirty years with Unilever including three international assignments in Cote d’Ivoire, Netherlands and USA. He became a Fellow of CIMA in 1988. Tom was the High Sheriff of Hampshire in 2016/17 and, as a DL for Hampshire, leads a team promoting the Queens Award for Voluntary Service. Tom is also a Governor at Sparsholt College.

Nicola Venton

Nicola is a highly accomplished and seasoned professional with a comprehensive background of progressive success in process, project, standards development and management. Nicola has an extensive record of achievement, delivering projects within tight cost constraints, quality and time. Motivation, leadership and coordination of teams and skills coupled with providing innovative solutions and ensuring customer satisfaction.

Within her career Nicola has worked in several large financial institutions over the last 20+ years. Nicola has benefited from the learning, education, skills and experience of working from the ground floor up and is currently Senior Regional Director for cxLoyalty.

It is through cxLoyalty where she first encountered the work of The Roberts Centre and recognised the value they add in supporting our local community and families.  Nicola is a highly skilled Service Delivery Senior Director with Regional accountability for UK and EU markets within an American based company which sees Nicola deliver strategic vision for UK, Brazil, Germany and Nordic Markets, deliver complex projects and metrics as well as coupled with experience in international regulatory environments including Health and Safety, FCA, ICOB and ICO.

Both born and educated in Portsmouth with close family ties all around Nicola started her career after leaving Portsmouth University. Nicola is married with a young son and understands the need for an organisation to support the challenges being faced by our Portsmouth families in today society. Nicola`s family is a key supporter in her being able to commit to the Roberts Centre and her ability to use her experience and expertise to be an effective member of the Trustees.

Her drive and determination for delivering innovative leadership, strategic vision and exceptional performance without compromising standards is something she is keen to use to contribute directly to the success of The Roberts Centre. Nicola has always believed in a culture of leading by example and from the front; but at all times driving motivation, engagement and communicate across all levels, believing very much that no one person delivers the results it is a cumulative effort of the people on the  journey; everyone needs to bring the best of themselves for the benefit of the team. Communication and understanding is vital but also so is daring to challenge the norm and push for progress.

Becoming a trustee is an opportunity for Nicola to directly support her local community and ensure where we can make a difference to deliver a change for those families and children who need us – we are there.

Marcella Kirby

Marcella has worked, studied and lived in Portsmouth for over 30 years.  She worked in the Financial Services sector for many years and it was there that she discovered her Project Management abilities, she thrived in an environment where expectations were high and challenges had to be overcome.  When the Portsmouth office closed, she signed up for a degree course and graduated three years later.  She went on to work as the office manager at St Luke’s School (now Charter Academy) and is currently employed as a manager at the University of Portsmouth.

She has volunteered with a number of organisations, including the Credit Union, her parish church and Portsmouth Friendly society.  With first-hand experience of fostering and adoption she served on Portsmouth City Council’s Adoption panel and over time developed a better understanding of the issues faced by young people in care and care leavers.

Marcella believes that access to good quality, affordable housing is essential for all, but especially for the most disadvantaged in society.  She has become a trustee of the Roberts Centre because she wants to be part of a movement to make practical improvements to the lives of people in Portsmouth.



The Roberts Centre Board of Trustees/Directors meet bi-monthly. At every meeting the accounts, variances, cash flow, and Key performance indicator information are presented and discussed.

At every Board meeting an updated Risk map (RAG rated)  is presented so the Board can monitor progress and efficacy of plans and mitigation actions. Once a year a Vision Day is held with the Board and Senior Management Team to review direction, areas of need and plan the focus for the next years objectives.


HM Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, The Duchess of Richmond & Gordon. The Anglican Bishop of Portsmouth.



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