Sheila Gregory (Chair)
I am a Carlisle girl and have worked in the voluntary sector for over 30 years – initially as Marketing Manager for the British Deaf Association and then as Chief Officer at Carlisle Mencap for 22 years. I grew the organisation from 6 to 150 staff in this period and raised £8m for Mencap before retiring in 2021. My greatest achievement is raising the capital for the £1 million Grace Little Children’s Centre.
I have served on the boards of Laurie Brewis Trust, Cumbria Training Partnership, chaired the Cumbria Public Health Alliance and sat on the Cumbria Third Sector Network Executive. I now chair a Cumbrian charity “The Triple A Project – All About Autism”.
As a recent carer of a person with dementia and a cancer survivor, I take an interest in those in need of medical and social care. I also support a number of animal welfare, environmental and wildlife charities. This ties in with my hobbies which are gardening, birdwatching and fell walking – currently completing the Wainwright mountains.
In September 2021 I was honoured to be given Diverse Cumbria’s lifetime achievement award. I have served on Cumbria CVS Board since December 2019 also serving on the Finance Committee. I am an NCIC NHS FT Governor representing CVS and was recently invited to become Deputy Chair of Cumbria CVS.
I aim to apply my wide range of experience and knowledge to further Cumbria CVS core objective, supporting the Third Sector to reduce inequality, poverty and sickness. Since July, I’ve been a Digital Volunteer with CVS, helping support the Funding Forum and advising upon the digitisation of CVS services.
Over the past 30 years, I’ve worked in or with the NHS, having undertaken many leadership roles both locally and in other parts of the UK. My experience in healthcare is wide ranging, and includes Mental Health, Acute Hospital, General Practice, Community and Ambulance Services. I now run a specialist consultancy supporting organisations to change and transform through a focus on people. We often work with and advise healthcare partnerships and systems to transform services, organisation culture and develop effective partnerships. I hold two Masters Degrees from The Open University and Cranfield University.
Cumbrian through and through, I live near Penrith with my wife, two grown up children and a number of cats and dogs. At weekends I can often be found walking dogs, taking photos or supporting Carlisle United at Brunton Park.
I am delighted to be a trustee for Cumbria CVS, currently I am the Chair of the HR committee. I can see the difference that Cumbria CVS makes in the community and how vital the work is that is being undertaken for so many people who live and work in the county.
In my professional role, I am the Chief Executive Officer for Lothian Community Transport Services. I have worked mostly in the third sector throughout my career in a range of roles. This has led to me having a broad knowledge of the third sector and a personal interest in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, and I am the lead trustee for EDI with CVS. I am also the Safeguarding lead trustee.
I am a director of a company using horses to facilitate personal development and business transformation. I also dedicate time to delivering alternative education packages to vulnerable children and adults. My passion for growth and development is not just limited to my work with people, but also my desire to improve and support the wonderful area in which we live.
For my whole life, Cumbria has been my home, my provider, and my playground. My enthusiasm for the area’s success is shown in the work that I do and the businesses I have advised, I have lived and breathed the challenges that businesses face within this economy.
I want to see our area succeed and thrive. The third-sector organisations that make up this vibrant community have such passion for giving back and I wish to do the same. Together, as part of Cumbria CVS, I hope to support our community and help Cumbria get back on its feet after its recent challenges.
I am a Registered General Nurse of 40 years, mostly in the NHS and have lived and worked in Cumbria for 25 years. I have been involved in learning and development of staff since I qualified as a nurse. I am trained as an RCN Facilitator & Best Practice in Dementia Trainer and recently completed my Post Graduate Certificate in Learning & Education. I was a Lecturer in the Nursing Apprenticeship Team at University of Cumbria and received the Royal College of Nursing Award of Merit for helping nurses and healthcare staff achieve their goals. I now work full time as the “Let’s Talk” Bereavement Project Lead, co-designing & facilitating bereavement skills training, helping people talk about death, loss and grief.
I have seen some of the valuable work that is done through Cumbria CVS and the amazing opportunities it provides for networking and collaboration. I am really looking forward to using my transferable skills to support the Board of Trustees, the staff and to support Cumbria CVS to thrive in any way I can.
It is my honour to have the opportunity to serve as a Trustee of Cumbria CVS and lend my skills and experience in effort to support Cumbria’s third sector.
My professional career has taken me to many places across the globe, usually in the capacity of marketing and business development executive. My involvement in third sector has ranged across various organisations, usually volunteering and/or supporting fundraising for non-profits for the arts, children’s orphanages, cancer treatment support charity, and most recently, We Too, a Scottish charity supporting families with children with disabilities in the North-East as well as Cerebral Palsy Scotland.
I moved to Carlisle in 2020 after living in Scotland for 10 years where I ran my own digital marketing business. I now employ someone in Carlisle and just north of the border, running a virtual digital marketing agency supporting clients in the UK and the US. I might not have many ties to local communities yet, but I am confident that my experience and perspective can benefit the vision and goals of Cumbria CVS and Cumbia’s third sector as a whole.
Charles Watt (Treasurer)
After graduating from Birmingham University, I started my chartered accountancy training with Price Waterhouse, completing my professional qualifications with Dodd & Co in Carlisle.
I have worked in financial roles for over 30 years, with a range of businesses, and was a Finance Director for 10 of those. Currently, I run my own consultancy business working for a range of clients in the North West of England.
I hope my knowledge and experience will help on the financial reporting and running of Cumbria CVS, ensuring that the management team have the financial information they need to help in its decision making.
After qualifying as a solicitor I began practising criminal law in my home time of Liverpool and joined the Crown Prosecution Service. I came to Cumbria in 1988 to take up a post as Divisional Crown Prosecutor based in Carlisle. As a Higher Court Advocate I regularly appeared in Carlisle Crown Court and was a national trainer and led on Violence against Women for the CPS.
I took early retirement in 2012 and since then I have served as a Governor for the Cumbria Partnership NHS Trust, a member of the Police Commissioner Scrutiny Panel and as a trustee and Chair of Safetynet UK. I am a Non-Executive Director of Cumbria Health on Call (ChoC).
As an associate lecturer at Cumbria University I have lectured in criminal law, advocacy and contract law. I have also trained NHS staff, Mental Health and Social Service staff on record keeping and advocacy.
I live in Cockermouth and most of my free time, weather permitting, is taken up with walking the Fells. This year I have embarked on my third round of the 214 Wainwrights Fells. I also enjoy foreign travel, needlework and cooking.
Since I first arrived in Cumbria I have always been impressed with the good working relationships between the third sector and all other organisations. I have always believed that integrated working is the way forward to create a better environment for us all.
I am particularly interested in the training and support that CVS gives to local charities. Being a trustee for CVS gives me the opportunity to work as part of the Board to share my knowledge and experience to help ensure that CVS continues, through the skill and commitment of its staff, to support and achieve our charity’s aim of maximising potential so that all voices are heard. As a trustee I am honoured to have the opportunity to be able to contribute to achieving that goal.
Sonny David Smith
I’m thrilled to be joining the Cumbria CVS family. My adventures in economics, business, and charity work have been enlightening. I’m deeply involved in ethical research at the Open University, serving on their Human Research Ethics Committee. It’s all about ensuring integrity and amplifying voices that matter.
My background in economics and business has given me a keen sense of strategic financial decision-making. Beyond crunching numbers, it’s about making impactful choices that foster growth. My experiences with fantastic teams at Lake District Neurology, Prism, and Always Another Way have enriched my understanding of community engagement and the nuances of charity work.
When I’m not immersed in my professional endeavours, I’m often lost in an audiobook or captivated by poetry. These interests and my passion for sports and mentoring remind me of the beauty of continuous learning and connection. As I step into my role at Cumbria CVS, I’m eager to collaborate, infuse fresh ideas, and champion initiatives that resonate deeply with our community. Together, let’s inspire and make a difference.
I value the work that Cumbria CVS undertakes enormously and want to help support their role and that of the VCSE sector in our community.
I have always believed in serving your community – working as a police officer for 30 years before joining Cumbria’s NHS Clinical Commissioning Group in 2012. In recent years I worked with Cumbria CVS, helping link the sector into the new health structures – which in turn helped me to understand how voluntary organisations support our communities.
I am currently a Non-Executive Director with the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board, involved in financial planning and performance analysis. I chair Stainton Village Hall and successfully raised sufficient funding to rebuild the hall.
I have lived in Cumbria for over 40 years and really value the community and its people. I want to improve standards of service and support for the most vulnerable people.
My professional career as a civil servant with the Foreign Office involved service delivery, training, regulatory work and people management – primarily in Africa and Asia – but since 2015 I have worked in the community sector with Cockermouth Emergency Response Group (CERG).
This second career started after the floods of 2015 – firstly as a trustee and then Co-ordinator. Our group used many of Cumbria CVS’ incredibly useful services – and collaborated during the floods and throughout the pandemic. I now feel it is time for me to give back if I can, with a focus on support to smaller organisations.
CERG was awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2022.