The Community First board of trustees oversees the organisation and its governance. Find out more about our trustees below.
Community First Trustees
Chair of Trustees
James lives in Devizes and has a background of working both within Local Government and the Voluntary and Community Sector. Currently the Policy Manager at Test Valley Borough Council, he has a wide ranging corporate brief that includes place shaping, strategic planning and partnership working. James was previously Chair of Trustees for DEVELOP and oversaw its merger with Community First in 2016. Prior to this, he was also one of the founding members of the charity that established the UK Youth Parliament and served as its first Chair of Trustees. James is passionate about community development and the role of volunteering as part of supporting strong and vibrant communities.
Vice Chair of Trustees
Jane was born and brought up in Cheshire and has first-hand experience of living and working in rural areas. Jane has a background in finance and business management and gained over 40 years working in industry, business, and charities.
The latter included nine years working for ACRE, the national charity for rural community councils, followed by 13 years at King Edward’s School in Bath: itself an educational charity. Jane hopes to bring the knowledge and experience gained to her role as a Trustee in support of Community First.
Jane is the Chair of Community First’s Finance Committee.
Steve lives in Bradford on Avon and is Chief Executive of Wiltshire and Swindon Sport. His background includes a long career with the Probation Service and heading up a specialist Child Protection Unit with the NSPCC.
Edward was born in Lacock and has lived most of his life in North Wiltshire. His career has been in property across the UK, and is now focussed on property from offices in Chippenham.
He has a strong interest in Wiltshire, and the future for its communities
Jane and her family have lived in Wiltshire for over 20 years. Jane has a background in management and service delivery in health and social care and continues to work as an Expert Witness providing quantum reports for Personal Injury Litigation. Jane has been actively involved as a Trustee for Community First for over 10 years, with a special interest and involvement in Youth Action Wiltshire.
Jane is the Chair of Community First’s Human Resources Committee
Victoria lives in Coombe Enford, near Netheravon, and has a background working for the energy company Shell as a Community Relations Adviser. She has worked all over the world in this role, in places as varied as Iraq and California, advising on community health and safety, consultation, local jobs and social investment. Prior to Shell she worked in a Public Relations consultancy in London and briefly served in the Army as an Officer Cadet.
Having moved to Wiltshire a few years ago, Victoria has developed a love of the area. After Covid underlined the importance of community, she decided to get involved as a trustee and volunteer, and feels that Community First is the perfect way to do this.
Merope grew up in South Gloucestershire and has lived in Wiltshire for the last 15 years. She has spent most of her career in financial services latterly as a Compliance Officer in Assurance working to ensure that products and services provided to customers are fit for purpose. She is lay-chair of the Bybrook group of churches and churchwarden for her local parish.
Merope has dedicated a significant part of her career to supporting and mentoring young people to help them achieve their potential and is a passionate believer that with the right support young people can grow, flourish and achieve their potential.
“As a resident in a small rural hamlet I have first hand experience of the importance of vibrant communities and how successful ones develop and grow when people pull together. We all have our part to play in ensuring that our communities continue to flourish and provide opportunities for all.”
Piers runs a Calne based business which works predominantly with Councils around the UK to deliver amenity services to the local community. His previous experience has ranged from trading futures on the old futures exchange through to rare breed pig production.
Piers came to Community First from Youth Action Wiltshire, where he was chiefly involved with fundraising.
Tony has lived in rural Wiltshire near Malmesbury for over twenty years. He is Chairman of his Parish Council and has a background in transportation planning, the oil industry, marketing and management consultancy. Until recently he was a Trustee of Enham Trust, a charity in the South of England specialising in supporting disabled people achieve work, independence and their ambitions.
Tony Pooley sits on Community First’s Finance Committee.
Ginnie Keen, MBE
Ginnie has lived in Wiltshire for many years and been a pivotal support to Youth Action Wiltshire for more than 25 years. Over the years she has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for young people supported by YAW. She has been involved in helping young people, through various organisations including the NSPCC, RDA, Pony Club, British Eventing Youth Teams. Outside of her charity work, she is now retired from running her husband’s engineering business, and her own animal feed business.
Sanjeen has lived in rural Wiltshire for nearly 30 years. He has a background in finance and organisational transformation built up over many years in the energy sector, management consultancy and the charity sector. The latter includes a role as the Chair of Finance at the Wiltshire Air Ambulance and as an Associate Non-Executive Director for the Great Western Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
Sanjeen joined Community First to help continue the excellent work being done in making positive changes in the lives of our communities and people.
Leah has worked in non-profit organisations for over 15 years and is a committed advocate of volunteerism, social justice and the power of community. She began her career working in youth-led organisations and has professional experience in research, communications and collaborative working. Leah brings her professional experience working in youth-led and membership organisations, as well as her personal experience as a care leaver, to her Trustee role. Leah is British-Canadian and lives in Oxfordshire.
Patron, President & Vice Presidents
HRH The Duchess of Cornwall
Mrs Sarah Troughton HM Lord-Lieutenant for Wiltshire
The Earl of Radnor
William Wyldbore-Smith DL