Staff Team and Trustees

Staff Team

Paul Hook - Facebook

Paul Hook - Chief Executive Officer
[email protected]
Pronouns - He/Him/His

Jason Saw

Jason Saw - Director of Services
[email protected]
Pronouns - He/Him/His


Helen Bashford – Older LGBTQ Project Development Worker
[email protected]
Pronouns - She/Her/Hers

woods photo of me

Reuben Davidson – Trans, Non-Binary, and Intersex Social Prescriber
[email protected]
Pronouns - He/Him

Emily Farmer

Emily Farmer – Bereavement, Older People’s and Dementia (BOLD) Projects Coordinator
[email protected]
Pronouns - She/They


Raf Galdeano - Casework and Client Services Manager
[email protected]
Pronouns - They/Them/Theirs

Jack Mason

Jack Mason – Bereavement, Older People’s and Dementia (BOLD) Projects Manager
[email protected]
Pronouns - He/Him/His

Ciara Murphy

Ciara Murphy – Safe Accomodations Domestic Abuse Caseworker
[email protected]
Pronouns - She/Her

Astrid Palmer

Astrid Palmer - LGBTQ Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA)
[email protected]
Pronouns - She/Her/Hers

Susan Morgan - IRIS Group Facilitator
Pronouns - She/Her

Cass Watson – Health & Inclusion Coordinator
[email protected]
Pronouns - She/They


Lesley Whittal – Finance and Administration Officer
[email protected]
Pronouns - She/Her/Hers


Jane Woodhull - Inclusion & Engagement Project Manager
[email protected]
Pronouns - She/Her/Hers

Chris Baker

Chris Baker - Helpline & Insights Manager
[email protected]
Pronouns - He/Him/His


Simon Dowe

Simon Dowe - Chair - He/Him

Simon is a chief executive with over 30 years' experience working for third sector organisations. He has a track record in fundraising and managing a wide range of complex programmes, and is an innovative leader with expertise in operations, finance, strategic planning, and sustainable organisational development.

Simon has an ability to place and manage talent and build strong and lasting relationships internally and externally with stakeholders across a range of sectors.

In 2012, Simon moved to Hove from South Africa. He became a trustee for Switchboard in 2019, bringing with him extensive experience in shaping and changing organisations in challenging environments. Simon became chair at our AGM in December 2021.

Jeffrey Howard

Jeffrey Howard - Vice Chair - He/Him

Jeff has lived and worked in the UK, Canada, Switzerland, and the Netherlands for international businesses including Swarovski and The Body Shop. His career spans multiple sectors and he has a unique blend of senior level commercial, HR and consulting experience. Jeff has led major performance transformation projects at The Body Shop, L’Oreal and Swarovski. His work focuses on optimising performance through culture, leadership and organisational effectiveness.

Jeff’s approach is differentiated by his strong commercial instinct, founded in early career experience as a retailer with full P&L accountability. He is currently Senior Vice President of Operations for Swarovski, where he leads the operational support for Swarovski’s philanthropic endeavours, the Swarovski Foundation and Swarovski Waterschool. Previously he held roles including Senior Vice President Global Human Resources for Swarovski Consumer Goods Business, Global Head of the Leadership Development and EMEA Director of Retail for The Body Shop.

Jeff has a specific affinity for values-based organisations and a track record of volunteering for Brighton-based third sector organisations, advising on strategy, HR and organisational development.

Charlotte Fiander 1

Charlotte Fiander - She/Her

Charlotte is a communications professional with over 17 years of experience working within the charity sector and specialising in membership organisations and development. She is the current Head of Communications at Cobseo, the Confederation of Service Charities, and previously led the communications team at the National Federation of Women’s Institutes, most notably leading the promotion of the organisation’s year-long centenary celebrations.

She leads on all equality, diversity, and inclusion work in her current role through developing inclusive strategy to foster engagement and debate as well as providing advice and support to over 300 individual organisations. She previously led on the development of the WI’s inclusion policies.

Charlotte has worked with a variety of trustee boards throughout her career and is keen to use her communications and charity experience to support the LGBTQ+ community in Sussex.


Lucy Cryan - Treasurer - She/Her

Lucy is a chartered accountant and her career focuses on forensic accountancy and the prevention, detection and investigation of financial crime. She has also advised organisations on their compliance, governance and risk management programmes, including issues relating to ethics, business conduct and diversity and inclusion.

Lucy has extensive experience of articulating financial information and financial governance matters to individuals without a finance background, and is looking forward to bringing this to her first trustee role. Lucy has lived in Brighton since 2021.

Josh Wells 1

Josh Wells - He/Him

Josh is a medical affairs professional and specialist pharmacist by training with an extensive background in clinical operations, research, and health inequalities.

He has worked within a variety of organisations such as the NHS, Public Health England, and the voluntary sector, with one of his earliest roles at the Terrence Higgins Trust, where he developed an interest in LGBTQ+ health and HIV. Josh was previously the senior clinical lead for a digital LGBTQ+ sexual health service while teaching and developing the LGBTQ+ health curriculum for Kingston University in his current academic post.

Josh has recently submitted his PhD in behavioural diagnostics and sits on several committees for LGBTQ+ advocacy, including the Pharmacist Defence Association and RxSHARE, an international 2SLGBTQ+ think tank that represents pharmacists for sexual and gender health advocacy, reform, and equity.

Josh is excited to join Switchboard as his first trustee role with a view to bringing his experience in clinical governance, safeguarding, and research to support the wider Sussex LGBTQ+ community.


Giancarlo Angelucci - Chair of Governance - He/Him

Giancarlo is an international development professional with over 10 years’ experience in supporting grassroots organisations. He is experienced in impact assessment, monitoring tools and the marketing of not-for-profit organisations. He is currently working at Comic Relief as Evaluation and Learning Manager.

Originally from Italy, after several years volunteering in Brazil, he moved on to complete a Master’s degree in Human Rights and International Development, which involved an internship at the Argentinian Human Rights Secretariat in Buenos Aires. After 10 years in the UK working in the charitable sector, he is very excited to take up his first role as a trustee and support the LGBT+ community in Sussex.


David Van de Velde (He/Him)

David Van de Velde is a passionate advocate for inclusivity and equality, leveraging his own lived experiences as a gay, mixed heritage, neurodiverse individual to empathise deeply with the LGBT+ community and its intersectionalities. His professional journey showcases a blend of strategic foresight and compassionate leadership skills, most recently during his tenure at NHS England as the Regional Lead for Mental Health, Learning Disabilities and Autism. Here, David championed transparency and collaboration by being appointed to co-chair the EDI Action Group for NHS England's northwest region workforce of about 500 staff.

Consistently championing LGBT+ rights, David’s roles in the charity and public sectors have fortified his skills in strategic planning, governance, and communication strategies. Education has played a pivotal role in David's development, with significant engagements in programmes like Stonewall Diverse Leaders and Black on Board by Olmec.

Beyond his primary roles, David’s leadership spans across complex healthcare environments, from mental health services at HMP Bronzefield to managing significant psychiatric unit budgets. His voluntary endeavours, such as his tenure as Chairman of the Westminster LGBT Forum, underline his societal commitment. Recognitions like the Stonewall Top Employer awards only reiterate his dedication to fostering inclusivity.

In essence, David Van de Velde is not just a multifaceted professional but a leader deeply committed to creating a more inclusive world, underpinned by advocacy, expertise, and genuine empathy.

Tom Spearman-Black 1

Tom Spearman-Black - He/Him

Tom is senior marketing leader and executive team member with over 20 years of experience with brands in the luxury, premium and fine arts sectors.

A strategic, creative and diverse marketeer alongside being a leader, developer and coach, Tom has led teams focused on brand strategy, creative, omni-channel campaign delivery, media buying, public relations and communication planning. Most recently, he has been working on change management programmes, which aim to rejuvenate and transition brands.

Tom is currently the Marketing Director for global fashion brand Ted Baker.

He lives in Brighton with his partner and is excited by his first trustee role, which enables him to work with and support the Brighton and Hove and Sussex LGBTQ+ community.

Andy Brett

Andy Brett - Company Secretary - He/Him

Andy is an internationally experienced HR Director and Organisational Development professional with years of experience in culture and behaviour change. A qualified therapist and executive coach, Andy is also a Fellow of the Learning and Performance Institute – specialising in leadership, wellbeing and team dynamics, and performance.

Andy has worked with the Boards of several organisations. In addition to his role as a trustee with Switchboard, he is also the Treasurer of Sussex Counselling and Psychotherapy. This is the second time Andy has volunteered with Switchboard. He was previously a volunteer counsellor with our counselling service when it was operational.

Andy moved to Brighton in 2012 with his partner and is currently studying for an MSc in Clinical Nutrition.