Trustess masks Photo: Jason Bryant

We are very lucky to have a dedicated team of Trustees who support SWEDA and who have a wide range of skills and experience that they can bring to the charity.  Our trustees ensure that SWEDA has a clear strategy, and that our work and goals are in line with our vision.

They meet once every 6 weeks with our Chief Executive.

Here is a little bit about each of them:

Sarah Hall JPG

Sarah Hall (Chair) likes to be busy - successfully combining her role as a Trustee of SWEDA with a full-time job in Marketing and home life as a mother of 3 young children. Sarah enjoys the variety of issues that Trustees need to consider and is never afraid to stand up for clients of SWEDA or what she believes to be right.  Although now fully recovered, Sarah suffered from both Anorexia and Bulimia in her 20’s. This very personal experience of Eating Disorders brings a unique point of view to the Board of Trustees and ensures that decisions are made with the users’ best interests in mind.

Brian RobertsWrayJPG

Brian Roberts-Wray became a trustee and Chairman of SWEDA in 2004. In taking this step he was motivated by a history of both Anorexia and Bulimia in his own family. Before retirement in 2003 his career included 20 years senior management in marketing (with Unilever and J.Walter Thompson) before moving to the voluntary sector in 1989 as Director of Fundraising with Marie Curie.  There he presided over an increase in voluntary income from £15 million to £35 million over six years. He ended his professional career as a voluntary sector consultant, where he advised some 30 charities, large and small, national and regional on forward strategy. He served on the board of the Institute of Fundraising for six years, including two years as Chairman from 1996 – 1998

Richard Cussell JPG

Richard Cussell is a local solicitor.  He has been a director at Chubb Bulleid Solicitors for over 25 years.  He is a family man with 5 children.  He has been a member of Wells Rotary Club for over 20 years and was its president in 2008 and 2017.  He believes in giving service to the community where he can and, through the Rotary, has contributed significantly to fundraising and service activities for the community; its youth and internationally including a trek to build a health centre in Nepal in 2010.  Privileged to be asked to become a trustee of SWEDA and is anxious to learn fast!

Nicholas Banner

Nicholas Hooper spent his working life as a local general practitioner. He has lifelong interest in psychiatry and has had many patients with eating disorders. Having moved to Wells in 2012 he was happy to be involved in an important local charity which reflects his professional concerns. He continues to work in medicine, while at the same time being able to exploit his enthusiasm for playing the piano (badly) and keeping his pre-war car on the road with marginally greater result. Joined SWEDA as a Trustee in December 2015.


Penny Underwood retired in 2019 after running a software development company in Shepton Mallet for over 30 years where her role focused on managing finances and developing a sound financial strategy to grow a successful business.  A member of Rotary since 2006, Penny has volunteered for overseas Rotary projects, and has held various roles in her club and at Rotary District level and is currently part of the District leadership team. Whilst also managing the finances of a major charity fund raising event in Sherborne, Dorset she still finds time for her four children, many grandchildren, and a camper van.  Life is still an adventure!  

Barbara Clift

Barbara Clift had a long career working for the global technology company IBM, where she gained considerable experience working in business development at a senior level both in the UK and overseas.  After early retirement in 2005 Barbara worked briefly as a consultant for a not for profit sector skills organisation developing computer clubs for girls in schools with a longer-term aim of encouraging girls into the IT industry.  Barbara has used her skills to support the voluntary sector, particularly helping them to develop business and marketing strategies with a view to sustainability. Her voluntary sector work includes, preventative health measures and wellbeing, cancer care bereavement services, supporting adults with learning difficulties and a listening ear service for parents who have lost a child.

Barbara was appointed as a Non-Executive Director (NED) for Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust in 2014 and was recently invited to serve a second three-year term of office. She sits on all committees and is the lead NED for Safeguarding. In this capacity she has developed a keen interest in Mental Health services and eating disorders in particular.  Barbara is passionate about the services SWEDA offers and is keen to use the skills developed both in the commercial sector, & the NHS to support SWEDA.


Emily Matheson

Emily is a research psychologist, with experience working in both research and therapeutic settings. Emily was awarded her PhD in Clinical Psychology from Flinders University in 2019, where she developed online interventions for people at risk of developing an eating disorder. In September 2018, Emily moved from Adelaide, Australia to Bristol, where she commenced her role as a researcher at the Centre for Appearance Research. As a Senior Research Fellow, Emily leads a team of researchers working on international randomised controlled trials that evaluate the effectiveness of body image interventions for children and adolescents. In addition to her research, she gained registration as a psychologist with the Australian Health Practitioner Registration Agency. Emily has experience working therapeutically with anxiety, depression, eating disorders and high-risk youth.

 Sarah B Banner

Sarah Brennan

Sarah has over 30 years experience championing young people’s causes, most recently their mental health and wellbeing as CEO of YoungMinds.  Her experience has spanned youth homelessness, youth offending and education - always in the third sector but working closely with government and the NHS. Interested in what makes effective organisations she gained an MSc in Voluntary Sector Organisation at LSE in 1990 and is a qualified Coach. She was awarded an OBE for Children’s Mental health in 2017 and continues to pursue her interest in mental health through her voluntary and consultancy work.

Sarah recently moved to Somerset and is delighted to be supporting such an important service as SWEDA. She looks after her own wellbeing by being outdoors as much as possible - with her 2 effervescent springer spaniel and hiking up mountains at the first opportunity.

“During the time I accessed the SWEDA Services I used both the Support Group and one to one counselling sessions. Both services used together offer the life raft that is so desperately needed to bring balance, stability and empowered choice."

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