Trustees

Tony Milan (Chair)

Tony is our current chair and has been a member of the board for 11 years. He has worked in the Land Based sector for 43 years, 33 years of that within education and training. Tony has managed departments in Learning Development; Work Based Apprenticeships; Horticulture; Countryside Management and Veterinary Nursing. Dealing with curriculum planning, resource management, plant collection management, curriculum delivery and quality assurance. He also teaches Horticulture, Ecology and related topics.

Malcolm Green (Secretary)

Malcolm Green (BSc, CertEd) joined the board of trustees because of his experience in environmental education, he has been a trustee for around 13 years. Malcolm is an environmental educator, photographer and storyteller. After work as a headmaster in rural Cameroon, Malcolm managed the Rising Sun Country Park (a 400-acre reclaimed coal mine) in Newcastle upon Tyne where he instigated the use of storytelling as an educational tool. A professional storyteller since 1982, Malcolm performs widely, works in education and teaches courses on the role of storytelling in environmental education, heritage and countryside interpretation at Newcastle University and elsewhere. His storytelling performances and exhibitions include Where Curlews Call (with Nick Hennessey), Shearwater (with Tim Dalling).

Keith Robertson (Treasurer) 

Keith Robertson (BEng, MSc) is a Sustainability Consultant with engineering consultancy Arup, and has been a Trustee for around 2 years. Keith has wide ranging interests in environmental management and sustainable development- and particularly around how engineering projects can provide social and environmental benefits through working closely, and understanding, the needs of the communities where they are located. His interests in this area are broad- but focus especially on risks to communities from flooding, and the use of sustainable drainage techniques to reduce these risks while also provide environmental and amenity benefits to the communities they serve. Keith has been acting as treasurer for the Garden since 2014.

Rob Higgins 

 Rob has been involved in SNCG since it was set up 20 years ago serving as Chair and trustee throughout that time. Rob is a serving councillor for Scotswood and Benwell ward. 

Chris Francis (BSc, PGCE, MBA)

Chris is a lecturer in Environmental Conservation and Curriculum Manager (Land-based at East Durham College's Houghall campus. After a spell as a secondary school teacher, Chris became Education Officer at what is now Washington Wetlands Centre in 1989, before becoming Centre Manager in 1991. After a brief return to working in secondary education in 2008, Chris spent two years as a Climate Change Officer with Middlesbrough Council before joining Scotswood Natural Community Garden as Project Director in 2011. Having left this post in August 2013, Chris became a trustee in October of the same year.

Vanessa Cutter

Vanessa

 Vanessa has been a trustee for around 2 years, Vanessa lives in Fenham and has enjoyed visiting SNCG with her children for over 7 years. Vanessa is involved in running the, parent led, Nature Tots preschool group which runs every Wednesday. She work as a lecturer in psychology and enjoys running in her spare time.

‘I really admire the aims of the charity and was glad to be invited as a trustee in order that I can support the charity to flourish in the future.’

Stephanie Cole

 Stephanie became a trustee in June 2015 after many years of admiring the garden's work from afar.

She has worked in the voluntary sector for 17 years, including 11 years working for local support organisations: Newcastle CVS and North Tyneside VODA. In May 2014, She set up a social enterprise called Sharing Learning Doing, which helps people and organisations to do good things. Stephanie is also a trustee of Northern Creative Solutions, the charity that runs Broadacre House.

‘My passion is encouraging people to share and be open, to help people recognise their assets and what they can do, and to help people learn how to do things for themselves. I trust and have faith in people and in the power of small actions. I believe that by working together and sharing our assets, we can achieve real, lasting social change.’

Dave Gibb

Dave has been a trustee for just over a year, having attended the garden as a volunteer for 8 years he is well placed to act as the spokesperson for our volunteer team. Dave currently works as a garden supervisor for the Hextol Foundation.  

‘I came here on a placement through A4E in 2008 and became a volunteer. I was interested to learn more about the bees and have completed a bee keeping course and maintain them as a resident bee keeper. I really enjoy extracting the honey and working with the other volunteers. ‘