Our Trustees seek to use the Foundation’s resources to help build a better society, one more equal and less divided. Their emphasis is on tackling the causes of poverty and other social ills rather than alleviating the symptoms, and on doing so where possible by empowering the most disadvantaged, in the first instance in the Foundation’s own home conurbation and region.

Yvonne Gale
Yvonne is a Chartered Accountant who leads NEL Fund Managers in their mission to improve the economy of the North East by improving access to finance for growing local businesses. The funds NEL manages are impact investment funds underpinned by firm structures to ensure good environmental, social and governance practices are upheld.

Yvonne applies these transferable skills as the chair of the Investment Committee for the Millfield House Foundation. She is an Associate Member of the Institute of Economic Development and holds a doctorate in investment decision making. Her other local positions include being an advisory board member on the North East Local Enterprise Partnership Business Growth board.  At a national level, she is a non-executive director for the Office of the Small Business Commissioner who manage the Prompt Payment Code ensuring fair treatment of small business by large corporates.

Yvonne is a non-executive director of the international ethical lender Shared Interest Society and trustee of the Shared Interest Foundation who have a mission of enabling people to trade their way out of poverty. Her interest in the work of Millfield House Foundation stems from a childhood where poverty and inequality were ever present.

photo of Rosie Lewis

Rosie Lewis
Rosie Lewis is an ending violence against women and girls (VAWG) activist and consultant. Specialising in work with migrant and multiply marginalised women and children, her work has ranged from frontline IDVA, ISVA, service and executive management roles to strategic policy making and research positions. 
Rosie is currently working with national and regional organisations to develop strategic VAWG policy, sector research and to review standards frameworks. She continues to provide infrastructure and leadership consultancy and pro-bono support to grassroots led by and for Black and minoritised women’s organisations and the wider women’s sector. 
She holds a range of specific domestic abuse, sexual violence and leadership qualifications alongside a First-Class Honours Degree and Masters in Research. She is in the last stages of completing her PhD at Durham University.

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Emma Richardson
Emma Richardson is the Senior Manager, Poverty Lead within Northumberland County Council. Originally from the North East, Emma spent 25 years working in community settings in the West of Scotland developing programmes of support – much with parents of looked after children, still an area she is passionate about.  Case and group work led to inevitable interest in social policy, the value of voice, and meaningful impact measurement – and best deployment of resource. Enriched by a Writer in Residence project with HomeStart Scotland, asset strategy work, and a (shortlisted) bid for City of Culture, Emma now showcases the importance of quality, culture, and enrichment in addressing inequality and poverty.
Returning to the region 6 years ago, in her current role Emma enjoys working across the council and its system partners; “leaning in” as a critical friend to ensure we get the best from policy, resources, and opportunities available. At its core this includes hardship supports and targeted provision, but also seeding activity to test new ways of working in and with communities developing sustainable and ambitious approaches to shared challenges. Key in all areas of Emma’s work is spending time forming relationships, learning from others, and stretching to new models of cross sector workforce, and using this knowledge to influence impactful policy. Emma is known for her optimism and enthusiasm, both fuelled by realities of now, and the futures we reach for.

photo of Matt Roche

Matt Roche
Matt currently works for the Mercers’ Company, a livery company in the City of London. His role includes taking a lead on grant making in the north east, Norfolk and Lincolnshire, as well as leading the Company’s relationship with the church and day to day work on developing a new social investment strategy.
Prior to this Matt worked at the Big Lottery Fund, where his biggest achievement as a Head of Funding was the development of a £200m portfolio of programmes that have supported over 2,500 charities and social enterprises to become more enterprising and take on repayable finance. Before this Matt worked in the mental health and community development sectors. He has also worked as a senior consultant for Power to Change, supporting them with their work on the future of the high street, including co-authoring a report. Matt has been on a range of grant making panels/Committees, including during his work at Big Lottery Fund and for Durham University.
Matt is currently a director of Bikestop Darlington Ltd and Trustee of the Crown Street Library building. In total he has had a total of 29 years of non-executive experience of third sector organisations. This has included being on a Parochial Church Council, Deanery Synod, Chair of a charitable arts organisation, as well as a founder and Secretary of Darlington for Culture (a cultural co-operative).
Matt was recently elected as a councillor in Darlington and is the Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Health and Housing.

photo of Laura Seebohm

Laura Seebohm (Chair)
Chief Executive of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, Laura has 25 years’ experience in the statutory and voluntary sectors. Prior to joining the MMHA, Laura worked at Changing Lives, a national charity supporting people experiencing challenging times such as homelessness, addiction and trauma. Laura set up women’s services for Changing Lives, before becoming Executive Director for External Affairs, leading on public affairs, policy, communications and innovation across the organisation. True to the MMHA’s roots, Laura believes in engaging closely with people who have lived experience to amplify their voice and influence decision makers at a local, regional and national level.

Before joining Changing Lives Laura worked as a Probation Officer and her background brings specialist expertise of supporting women with experience of the criminal justice system, sexual exploitation, and domestic abuse.

Laura has experience of policy at a national level, multiple peer research projects and system change practices.  She sits on several boards, including as Chair of the Millfield House Foundation, and is an active member of the Better Way Network.

Jonathan Walker
Jonathan is Head of Policy at the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEX); responsible for leading policy and campaigning activity on behalf of its 21,000 members across a range of issues including access to justice, legal aid reform and diversity in the legal profession. Prior to this he was Policy Director at the North East England Chamber of Commerce. Jonathan holds a BA in politics and MA in media and public relations from Newcastle University and is a member of the Chartered Institute for Public Relations.

MHF Trustees may be involved in various capacities in other organisations in the North East. A register of interests and procedures for declarations of interest at meetings has been adopted.

All our Trustees live in the North East. They meet three times a year, usually in February, June and October.