Board of Trustees
Chair: Kevin Sauntry – Chief Executive Officer, Sporting Communities
Kevin’s career in youth work began when he was appointed Hanley Youth Project’s (HYP) first detached youth worker in 1970, where he assessed the needs of young people who were termed in those days as ‘unclubbables’ to explore what methods of approach could be employed to reach them.
With funding from various charities and trusts the project grew and was widely recognized for its preventative work with children, young people and their families, being academically published in Collins’ Sport and Social Exclusion.
In collaboration with the Adult Education Department of Keele University the project organized over 30 national seminars which attracted 100 workers twice a year which gave the project a national profile.
In 1986 HYP became Stoke Council’s Parks and Recreation Department until 2000 when it was subject to cutbacks. Since then Kevin has worked professionally as a consultant and voluntarily as a community advocate and unpaid Director of Sporting Communities.
Secretary: Angela Glendenning
Angela has been involved with ASHA since the charity’s early days when she was chair of the North Staffordshire Racial Equality Council and of PARINS, a multi-agency partnership addressing the needs of victims of racist incidents and crime.
On her retirement from the Probation Service for six years she was a non-executive member of a local community health trust. In 2008 she was recognised as North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Citizen of the Year.
Hon. Treasurer: Jenny Dennis – Service Manager – Early Years and Childcare, Oldham Council
Jenny has over 27 years’ experience working in various social fields. After completing a BA Hons Degree at the University of Kent and a Post Graduate Degree in Leisure and Recreation Practice Jenny became a detached youth worker with HYP. She progressed to leading and initiating community development programmes in local neighbourhoods becoming Stoke’s Play Development Officer developing an inclusive city-wide service.
Jenny has since held senior management roles within Manchester City Council and currently holds a senior management role in Oldham Council’s Education Department.
Dr Barbara James:
Barbara joined the Asha team in 2011 when she was approached by Godefroid Seminega about the desperate need for English classes for newly arrived asylum seekers. Since then Barbara has organised and supervised classes by trainee teachers on the Trinity Cert TESOL programme at Keele University.
In addition she has been involved in various aspects of Asha’s work including visiting asylum seekers in their home. Barbara is especially well equipped for this role having worked overseas for 25 years on Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Ministry of Defence international aid projects in a range of countries including Greece, France, Tunisia, Oman, the UAE, Vietnam, China, Hong Kong, Mongolia and Botswana. Barbara became a trustee in 2012.
When John graduated from Galway University he worked in the public sector before moving to Chicago. On his return to England he was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest working in the south of England. His ministry took him into prisons and hospitals.
Following a second degree in Post-Colonial Literature, John moved to London to work with homeless people including asylum seekers and refugees. Relocating to Stoke-on-Trent he worked for nine years on the resettlement and integration of refugees before retiring.
Ben Rigby – Managing Director, Sporting Communities
Ben’s career in youth work began at 16. Whilst at University Ben was a Detached Youth Worker for Newcastle Borough Council and a Youth Engagement Officer for Congleton Borough Council, founding Bear Town Boxing Club and several other local clubs that are still running.
During University he worked and studied in France, becoming the first student on the Erasmus programme to attend l’Université de Poitiers. After completing a Masters degree in Sport Development Ben has held posts including lecturer, Further Education Sports Co-ordinator and Sport Development Officer.
In 2012, having developed a thorough understanding of communities, young people and a successful working structure for sport development, Ben initiated the founding of Sporting Communities and has since been recognised as Sports Coach UK’s Community Coach of the Year.
Cath has spent a good proportion of her working life as a professional practising artist with a specialism in music. She has also worked on public art commissions as a visual artist and has developed sculpture based public art across Staffordshire.
Cath not only holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Participatory Arts, but is also trained inHolistic Therapy.
Formerly the Chief Executive of the Burslem School of Art, a self-financing community arts and heritage company, Cath is now the Executive Director at Walk the Plank.
Godfrey Seminega – Coordinator Bsc (Hons) & MPH, Senior Support Worker & Charity Coordinator
In 2005 Godfrey and others established an asylum seeker and refugees community group which became Asha North Staffordshire. Godefroid is a specialist in health promotion targeting black and minority ethnic communities. Obtaining employment in health promotion in Stoke-on-Trent he became a member of the City’s BME Forum and was elected by the Forum to sit on the City’s Local Strategic Partnership. He was also an active member of the then North Staffordshire Racial Equality Council.
Lydia Mugoyikaze – Support worker
Lydia has a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Business and Marketing. Born in Rwanda she worked with the UNHCR from 1995 to 2000 as a Refugee Support Worker.
For more than eight years, Lydia volunteered for the charity then employed as sessional case worker.
Jane Bailey – Admin & Finance Support Worker
Since graduating from Staffordshire University in 1998 with a BA (Hons) in Business Studies, Jane has spent the majority of her working life in the Finance Sector as a Bank Adviser and a Financial Adviser. In more recent years Jane held the post as Treasurer and Administrator at St Giles Church in Newcastle-under-Lyme and was responsible for the financial management of a Heritage Lottery Fund project.
Bisi Bakare – Care Worker, former asylum seeker and ASHA volunteer