Our Trustees


Aspire Oxford is a registered charity and private, not-for-profit company limited by Directors' guarantee. Under this company structure, Aspire has a Board of Trustees responsible for the overall control and governance of the charity, who are responsible for making sure we're doing what we've been set up to do. Our Trustees use their skills and experience to support Aspire and help us to achieve our aims. They make sure Aspire has the money it needs, spends its money sensibly, follows the law and doesn't break the rules in our governing documents.

Our Trustees therefore play a crucial role for Aspire and make decisions that have a big impact on our employees' and trainees' lives.

Aspire's Trustees are:

Dr Carol Sweetenham (Chair)

Dr Sweetenham is a founder member of Aspire, and has been Chair of Trustees since 2014. She is a senior civil servant with a long track record in government and experience in local government, the voluntary sector and the European Commission.

Mr Paul Mabbutt (Secretary)

Paul has a background in the Public, Private and Voluntary Sectors and has been supporting small businesses and charities across Oxfordshire for over 20 years. He is currently MD of Jennings, plus helps run both the Monument Community Trust and the ROBIN network, providing a range of help to the voluntary sector. Paul joined the Board of Aspire back in 2008, offering a large range of cross sector connections and providing mentoring support.

Mrs Lesley Pollock

Lesley has been a solicitor in private practice since 1980, and working in Oxford since 2008.  She is a director of Freeths LLP which is a national law firm.  In her current role, she is head of charity property and head of residential property in the Oxford office, but also has over 30 years previous experience as a commercial property solicitor.  She is a member of the Charity Law Association. Lesley has previously been a charity trustee for various charities, including a Housing Association, and has been a member of Aspire’s board since 2010.

Mrs Rose Rolle-Rowan

Rose has worked in local government for 9 years and prior to that worked in the voluntary and not-for-profit sectors. Her background is in economic development, working with disadvantaged communities to support them into employment. Rose currently works as a manager for Oxfordshire County Council in the Organisational Development team in Human Resources. For Aspire, Rose leads on HR matters on behalf of the board for example supporting senior staff recruitment, encouraging a performance management culture, and acting as a sounding board for senior managers on HR issues. Rose also liaises with our external HR service provider on behalf of the board as required. Rose has been a member of the board since 2011.

Mr David Green

David has been a trustee of Aspire since 2011.  With key strengths in financial and commercial strategy development and delivery, he is currently Head of Food Commercial for Midcounties Co-operative, as the UK’s largest independent Co-operative, they share many of the core values of Aspire.

Mr David Whittingham

David joined the Aspire board in January 2016. David is the Chief Executive of the Oxford Brookes Students' Union and also brings experience from across the luxury hospitality, higher education and not for profit sectors.

Ms Emily Smith

Emily has worked in the public and voluntary youth sector for 14 years, primarily supporting vulnerable 16-18 year olds in to employment and training. She has experience of commissioning services for local authorities, working with schools and colleges to provide better careers guidance and bringing public, independent and voluntary organisations together to provide better employment support for young people. 

Mr Angelo Fernandes

Angelo is Director of Service Delivery and Deputy CEO for Response, a mental health charity in Oxfordshire which is part of the Oxfordshire Mental Health Partnership.

He managed various residential mental health projects including setting up an award winning forensic mental health project in South London for a charity in partnership with Oxleas NHS Trust.

Angelo worked as a senior manager for Connection Support then became a commissioning officer for Oxfordshire County Council and Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group. In this role, Angelo led a co-design initiative between the Third Sector and Statutory Sector mental health services, before then going on to work for Response.

Ms Helen Fowweather

Helen is a qualified accountant and has over 15 years’ experience as a Finance Director for a variety of commercial and not-for- profit organisations. She now works as a professional interim FD, currently at the University of Reading. She brings in-depth knowledge of financial and charity regulations and compliance to Aspire, along with experience in devising financial and commercial strategy across a range of businesses and charities.


Mr Tom Birch Reynardson

Tom is a commercial lawyer specialising in international arbitration. He has practiced for most of his life in the City of London and has been a partner of Herbert Smith and DLA Piper.

Tom was High Sheriff of Oxfordshire in 2015/2016 and particularly focused on the need to educate young people about the role of the Courts in our society and the dangers of stepping the wrong side of the line. With this in mind he set up Getting Court Oxfordshire which arranges for groups of students in Years 9 and 10 to visit the Crown Court in Oxford and see for themselves what happens in a criminal court. 

Tom became involved with Aspire when he was High Sheriff through his visits to the local prisons in Oxfordshire. He found that most young people leaving prison slipped back into re-offending within a short time and he discovered that Aspire provided a brilliant support base for those leaving prison. In order to upgrade the service which Aspire was able to provide Tom raised some money through inviting Jonathan Aitken and Leroy Skete to speak at the Said Business School about their experiences in prison. This venture and the fantastic generosity of many local donors enabled Aspire to start its Through the Gate Project, providing a pick up service through the gate of the local prisons in Oxfordshire.

Mr Nigel Johnson (on behalf of Burford Garden Company)

Click here to find out more about the roles and responsibilities of a charity trustee.