We would like to thanks our volunteer trustees for doing an amazing job and keeping us focussed on our vision to
Unlock potential with young people and their communities
Melanie WalkerChair of Trustees
Melanie was appointed Chief Executive in 2014. A nurse by background, Melanie has worked at all levels and in all settings in the NHS. She has a long history of working in mental health services and has also been a commissioner. Melanie was formerly Chief Executive of Newham Primary Care Trust and came to us from her role as Chief Executive of The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust in Harlow, Essex.
Melanie is a trustee and board member for NHS Providers, representing mental health trusts across the country.
Melanie received an MBE in 2019 for services to the NHS.
John joined the Board of Space* as a trustee as it was formed and has enjoyed learning and contributing to the development of the Board during the initial contract period. John has worked in the NHS in Devon since 1997 having previously worked and trained in the newspaper industry. He is currently the Chief Operating Officer of Torbay and South Devon NHS FT. An accountant by background, John has worked across most sectors within the NHS; Acute, Community, Adult Social Care and across both Commissioning and Providing sectors. John enjoys the outdoors, cycling and walking and values precious time with family and friends.
I have sat on the Board of Space*, as an Independent Trustee, since October 2017. Following my retirement from the legal profession in the previous year, I wanted to use my commercial experience in a different direction, and in the voluntary sector. I felt that Space* offered me the opportunity to do so, having been inspired by the organisation and its ideals in improving the life and experience of young people. A family history in the teaching profession, coupled with time spent over many years as a Parent Governor of my local primary school, gave me an interest in a broad range of educational issues. My personal interests include travelling ; the natural environment ; literature ; and supporting Exeter Chiefs, both home and away. I also work as a volunteer with Shelterbox, the west country based disaster relief charity.
I have had a varied career since graduating from the University of Nottingham and these include lecturing at Bicton College and teaching at Tiverton High School before qualifying as a chartered accountant. More recently I have been running my own accountancy practice based in Tiverton.
Claire RichardsonStaff Trustee
I first started doing voluntary youth work one evening a week when I was just a teenager myself… Little did I think then that I would ultimately take it up as a profession and still be running evening open access sessions over 20 years later! Following a career in youth work in numerous different contexts has had its highs and lows, huge rewards and massive frustrations – but overall I would still say it is the best job ever. It is such a privilege to walk alongside young people as they battle through adolescence. Even in their darkest moments, very few of them lose that spark of hope, which is a huge lesson to us all! Being a staff trustee has given me the opportunity to place my professional experience into a bigger strategic picture and hopefully help the voice of young people and those who stand by them to stay at the forefront of all that we do as Space*
Sue retired in 2016 from her post as Head of Education for Devon
County Council and has had many roles and posts during her career
including Head Teacher, inspector and primary phase adviser. She has a
MSc in Educational Research from Exeter University and was awarded an
OBE in 2011 for Services to Education. Sue is a governor at Exeter
College, sits on the board of trustees for a new primary school in
Kingsteignton and Member for a MAT in South Devon.
Mia DendyStaff Trustee
Hi! My name is Mia, I am a staff trustee for Space*. I am currently working for Space* as a youth work apprentice, and have been involved with this organisation since I was 15. I started as a young volunteer in my local centre, got a job as a peer educator, then a job as a youth support worker and now an apprentice! I am so incredibly passionate about young people, making sure they are seen, heard, and given every opportunity possible.
One of my main roles as a trustee is to facilitate our Young People’s Progress Group, which is a group where young people from all our youth centres come together to look at organisation-wide topics and issues, and have a direct influence on decisions that affect the whole organisation.
I joined the Board of Space* as an independent trustee in June 2019. I am a consultant to
board level executives specialising in leadership development, strategic communications,
governance, board effectiveness and organisational change. I am delighted to contribute my
experience to Space* as we plan for a future committed to ensure that youth services
continue to grow and develop to meet the needs of Devon’s young people. My previous
experience includes corporate communications, public relations and journalism. My home
has been in Devon (Exeter and Plymouth) for the last 20 years.
Kev HenmanStaff Trustee
Young people are often mis-understood, labelled or judged unnecessarily. That’s why we do youth work and provide other services to help make sense of their worlds. I’ve worked with young people for over 30 years in many settings. Lives don’t get any simpler for young people or for those working with them. However, our organisational values ensure that what we do, we do with integrity, respect and determination. By being collaborative, accountable to all stakeholders and being dynamic we strive to get the best possible deal for young people and their communities. Sometimes by stealth – sometimes by standing tall and shouting loud!