Our organisation

Our trustees

Jerry Marwood

Chair
Appointed 2021

Jerry is a senior executive with a career that spans the retail, wholesale and hospitality industries. He is currently Group Managing Director of AF Blakemore & Son, running one of the UK’s top 50 privately held businesses with sales of £1.2billion. He previously ran the convenience store business SPAR in the UK for ten years and is now a member of their Board and Remuneration Committee, and Chair of the Audit Committee.

In addition to this impressive executive career, his non executive posts reflect his wide range of interests, including board roles at the field marketing business eXPD8 and Preston EV who are developing real world applications for autonomous transport. He has also been on the board of the British Retail Consortium and the Association of Convenience Stores.

He is delighted to lead the Board of Trustees of Designability, building on his experience as a trustee of Crisis, the charity for homeless people and as Chair of the local scout group which keeps him active in village life with his wife and son.

Elizabeth White

Appointed 2012
Chair of Designability’s Product and Impact Committee

Elizabeth is a Fellow of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists. Whilst working as an occupational therapist in clinical settings, her interests were in the fields of lower limb amputees, wheelchairs and postural management. Her research interests relate to service development and delivery; she completed a PhD in Social Policy at the University of Kent in 1997 and, in 2012, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Health Sciences by York St John University. Whilst working as Assistant Director – Education and Research at the College of Occupational Therapists, her key remit included a focus on workforce development and building research capacity within the occupational therapy profession. She held a number of strategic roles on behalf of both the occupational therapy profession and the wider Allied Health professions, including acting as Chair of the Council for Allied Health Professions Research Strategy Committee and as a member of the Advisory Board for the National Institute for Health Research School for Social Care Research. She was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists in 2017 in recognition of her influential work in taking forward the vision of an occupational therapy profession is which practice is evidence-based.

Gavin Maggs

Appointed 2016

Gavin is Director of Development and Alumni Relations at the University of Birmingham, leading the £400m Birmingham in Action campaign. He has fundraised for the universities of Bath, Warwick and Oxford, working with donors to maximise their impact and create lasting relationships.His weekends are dedicated to Oldfield RFC, where he coaches the U15s, teaching young men not only how to pass off their left hand, but also the values that rugby embodies.

Paul Olomolaiye

Appointed 2017

Paul is a Professor of Construction Engineering and Management at UWE-Bristol and currently the Pro Vice-Chancellor for Equalities and Civic Engagement. He chairs the Cabot Learning Federation (a multi academy trust of 21 Schools) in and around Bristol and is a Non-Executive Director of the Avon and Wiltshire NHS Mental Health Trust.  He holds a PhD from Loughborough University in Civil Engineering and is widely published with over 200 journal and conference publications and authorship of two major books on Construction Productivity and Stakeholder Management. Paul is passionate about the inclusive experiences of staff and students at UWE regardless of race, sex, disability, gender or religion. Paul is happily married with three grown-up children and is active in the community in various charitable activities and organisations.

Martin Bloomfield

Appointed 2018

Martin is the Engineering Manager for the R&D team for Herman Miller International, a world leading global furniture manufacturer. He has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Nottingham and an MA in Industrial Design Engineering from the Royal College of Art. He is a Chartered Engineer with the Institute of Engineering Designers. Martin’s work experience is broad, including production engineering in the food industry, R&D at Dyson and, for a number of years, at a London based design consultancy with a large portfolio of global clients. Martin is also the Europe Middle East and Africa lead for his organisation’s charitable giving arm, Herman Miller Cares. As well as financial and product donations the role involves creating links with charities located in the communities around all Herman Miller locations, encouraging employees to give their time to support, and share their skills and expertise wherever possible.

Lynda Bowen

Appointed 2020

Lynda had a long career in social care, starting as a medical social worker, and worked in a variety of commissioning, management and social worker roles, including three years as National Contracts Manager for Guide Dogs. Whilst working for this charity, Lynda co-authored Progress in Sight (the National Standards for health and social care for people with a visual impairment), and Steps to Independence – research into a curriculum for children with visual impairment.

Before starting her own consultancy business, her final role was Chief Officer for Support and Enablement at Leeds City Council.

Throughout her career, Lynda worked with occupational therapists, social workers and health staff to set up reablement and support services for both children and adults. In 2004, she won a Nuffield award for memory services work for people with dementia.

Lynda has an MBA in Health and Social Care from the University of Leeds.

In 2016, Lynda retired from social care to develop a holiday accommodation business in Lincolnshire, and to run the family farm.

In addition to her career in social work, for over 20 years Lynda served as a board member for Wolds, Havelok and Longhurst Housing Associations, Lynda chaired Boston Mayflower Housing Association during the period when the organisation expanded through merger to become Lincolnshire Housing Partnership.

Lynda retired from chairing this organisation in September 2019 to move to Portishead, where she now lives with her husband and two dogs.

Paul Fairhurst

Appointed 2020

Paul’s career spans the commercial, professional services and non-profit sectors. Most recently, he was Operations Director, then Strategy, Planning & Policy Director, at the UK charity Jubilee Sailing Trust.

For 18 years, Paul held senior business development and legal roles at global giants Diageo and InterContinental Hotels Group, with most of that time spent living and working in Asia.

Before that, Paul was a corporate lawyer with London-based international law firm, Simmons & Simmons, specialising in mergers, acquisitions and disposals.

Having sustained a life-changing injury in 2011, Paul is passionate about disability-related causes. He is Ambassador and supporter of spinal injury charities Back Up Trust, Spinal Research and Wings for Life.

Oli Foster

Appointed 2020

Oli is Group Finance Director – Accounting, Tax and Treasury at Future plc and is responsible for all tax, treasury, technical accounting and external financial reporting matters.

He is a Chartered Accountant and qualified with PwC, undertaking secondments overseas to New Zealand and the Philippines before leaving as a Senior Manager to join Future.

Oli also has a BA in Management Studies from the University of Nottingham.

Oli has previous charitable experience as a member of the Byte Night South West Board and as an Independent Examiner of local church accounts.

Emma Legg

Appointed 2020

Emma is Director of Adult Care Operations; Access and Reablement at Wiltshire Council. She qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 2006 and also has a BSc (Hons) in Psychology and Philosophy from the University of Hertfordshire. She currently supports the delivery of a wide range of adult care services which focus on maximising independence and choice and control for the most vulnerable people in our society.

Ben Metcalfe

Appointed 2020

Ben obtained a first-class MEng degree in Electronic & Electrical Engineering and a PhD in biomedical engineering from the University of Bath in 2012 and 2016 respectively.

He has held the RB Whorrod scholarship and the prestigious Nicholson doctoral scholarship. He has worked in the medical devices sector for Siemens Healthcare and holds multiple patents in the area of biomedical engineering. He frequently acts as a consultant to the medical device industry and has served as an expert witness in patent dispute cases.

Since 2016, he has been an Assistant Professor at the University of Bath and a co-founder of the Centre for Biosensors, Bioelectronics, and Biodevices – the largest research centre of its type in England.

In that time, he has published over 25 peer reviewed research papers, co-authored two book chapters on neural interfaces, and supervised six doctoral students.

In 2019, he was appointed a Director of Studies and was made a Trustee of the Institute for Physics and Engineering in Medicine. His research interests are in the areas of neural interfaces, neural computing, and signal processing.

Martin Hunt

Appointed 2020

Martin has always had a passion for engineering and design and has long wanted to do more to give back to the community, which the role at Designability fits perfectly.

Currently he holds the position of Chair & Non-Executive Director of Crossness Engines Trust, and commercially provides independent market research for valve actuation manufacturers within the global hydrocarbons and energy sectors.

He started work with Rolls Royce, completing an aerospace engineering apprenticeship and then gained further mechanical engineering qualifications at DeMontfort University.  Later he became a Chartered Quality Professional with the Chartered Quality Institution since its inception.

He has wide international business experience gained with valve actuation leaders Rotork, Festo, Emerson & Crane. He has held positions of Global QA manager, UK Service and Retrofit manager, Managing Director and Sales Director for brand/business units.  His career has covered delivery of retrofit projects for global oil companies in the UK and Middle East, lean management implementation, market research leading to new product delivery, identification of acquisitions and market share increase.  He has also worked as a Non-Executive Director of the British Valve and Actuator Association, and as a member of European CEN & UK /BSi technical committees.

Sam Whatley

Appointed 2020

Sam is a qualified accountant with 15 years’ experience advising on government and third sector projects and programmes, prior to which he held a range of commercial finance roles in and around the IT and telecommunications sector.  He brings experience of business and commercial strategy development, and more latterly experience in governance and compliance.

Sam is a huge advocate of the third sector and believes that it plays a unique and important role in the UK, operating in the space between public and private provision. He now operates as an independent consultant, which allows him to split his time between paid work and supporting charities.

He has previous Board experience with Brandon Trust, and currently sits on the board of Marmalade Trust.