Our Board Members

Naomi Wayne (Chair)

Naomi is an Independent Trustee.

Naomi has background in Ireland and Britain in trade unions and in equal opportunities work and has been involved in the voluntary sector as a volunteer and Trustee all her adult life.

She is Chief Officer of an unusual health charity, the British Association of Performing Arts Medicine, which helps performers with work related health problems. While working part time there, she is also a part time student of ceramics at Westminster University in the 5th year of a BA course.

Naomi wrote the first ever book on Irish Labour Law and co-authored another on bringing peace to Northern Ireland. She is a founder member of Jews for Justice for Palestinians and set up a grant making charity, British Shalom Salam Trust. She recently joined the Board of the Migrants Resource Centre.

Naomi is Chair of the Board which she has been on since 1996. Previously she was a member of the Lewisham CAB Board.

Simin Azimi (Deputy Chair)

Simin is the Members’ Trustee for London.

She has been in the refugee sector for 30 years. She thinks that advice is the most important tool in seeking information and guidance about careers, welfare etc. This advice must be independent and impartial so that it is free from potential political manipulation.

Simin is Director of Refugee Women’s Association based in Hackney, London. She has been in this post for 10 years.

Her organisation joined AdviceUK because of its reputation and credibility and for its services such as its training.

She became a trustee to be more active in shaping the organisation. Her main interest is equal opportunities and she is committed to promoting it at all levels.

Baljit Badesha

Baljit is the Co-opted Trustee for London.

He trained as a civil engineer and volunteered at Woolwich CAB which started his interest in advice and subsequently worked in a law centre. He became politicised at university where he was a member of the Anti-racist Alliance which resulted in a change of career path.

He is the Director of Nucleus Legal Advice Centre where he has been in this post for the past 12 years. The organisation was established 35 years ago to provide advice to the local community. His aim for the organisation is for it to thrive and retain its values and spirit and to retain its community focus within a changing and competitive environment.

When he took up this post he received lots of support from the AdviceUK London Regional Network as the organisation went through a big change process.

He hopes that his involvement as a Board member will help AdviceUK to continue to support its diverse membership.

Hayley Kendall

Hayley is the Co-opted Trustee for Eastern region.

Following her graduation from University 11 years ago, Hayley volunteered at a local charity to gain experience of working with offenders (with the eventual aim of joining the Probation Service). She enjoyed working in the voluntary sector and did not hesitate to apply for the position as a trainee Money Adviser. When her contract ended in 2000 Hayley successfully applied for a Trainee Manager position at Ipswich Housing Action Group, a small independent charity that helps single homeless people.

Hayley has now been managing the Money Advice Service at IHAG for 7 years and continues to expand and develop the service in order to reach as many marginalised, vulnerable people as possible who would find it difficult to access advice elsewhere.

Hayley had been a member of Advice UK from the start of her career in this sector and valued their support.

Becoming a trustee has not only enabled Hayley to meet new people and gain new experiences, but also enables her to represent smaller organisations such as IHAG at a national level.

Bill McCormack

Bill is the Members’ Trustee for Scotland.

He became involved in advice over 20 years ago when he gave up work to look after his severely disabled mother in law. As a result of this he identified serious local difficulties in the availability of benefit advice. He volunteered and worked for a local CAB for 6 years and then left to set up a new independent charity, Dumfries Welfare Rights, in 2000.

He is the Manager of Dumfries Welfare Rights. The organisation provides specialist benefits advice for local residents as well as a national information and consultancy service via their website at www.welfarerights.net. Dumfries Welfare Rights is self financing and Bill spends a great deal of time generating income through training and consultancy services throughout the UK.

He joined the Board of AdviceUK in 2009 to provide greater support for members in Scotland.

Diane Pedder

Diane is the Members’ Trustee for Yorkshire & Humber.

When Diane was at university a friend encouraged her to get involved with the Union Advice Centre as a volunteer – and she loved it. When she graduated she looked for a career in advice and since then has always worked in students’ unions.

Diane manages the Advice Centre and the Volunteering and Community department at Leeds University Student Union where she has worked since 1989 in a variety of roles. She is also currently managing the Campaigns and Democracy department and the Job Centre on an interim basis. She is involved in supporting the Officer team who are trustees of the organisation as well as being student representatives.

She was encouraged by her manager to look for challenges outside the Students’ Union and wanted to be involved in strategic level decision making. Diane says that the work that AdviceUK does is vital and she is committed to playing her part in further developing a sustainable, forward thinking and excellent membership organisation.

Julie Silver

Julie is the Co-opted Trustee for East Midlands.

Julie got into advice as there was an identifiable gap in accessing advice and local help. Around 25 years ago she found time to volunteer at a local welfare rights group, train and eventually become a specialist benefit adviser. She studied for a Law degree then moved to the Community Law Service (CLS) in Northampton. She continued her studies in the area of Social Welfare Law.

Julie is now the Chief Executive of the Community Law Service (CLS).

She joined the Board in 2005, representing the East Midlands area where she also sits on various other voluntary boards.

Graham Smith

Graham is an Independent Trustee.

He attended Nottingham University and has been in the legal profession for 25 years having worked in New York and now in London.

Being from a city banking background, Graham brings a specialism to the board from the City’s business, accountancy and banking law sector. He has done a great deal of work on governance and constitutional issues.

He is married with three children, the eldest of whom has recently gone to Nottingham University 33 years after his father.

He agreed to be co-opted to the Board in 2006 because of his expertise but also because he wanted to give something back to the independent advice sector and to provide pro bono legal advice to the Board of Trustees, senior officers and our member organisations.

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