Lee Bennett Chair of Trustees
Lee has been working in the charity sector for 12 years and gained much experience whilst working with people with long-term neurological conditions at Headway Surrey. He is now CEO of The Brigitte Trust, a charity that provides emotional and practical support to people suffering life threatening illnesses.
He is passionate about empowering disadvantaged groups, alleviating social isolation and providing people with a voice and on a personal note has friends and family who have experienced mental and emotional health distress.
‘I am committed to providing my strong charity management skills to this wonderful organisation and highly skilled team of staff and volunteers.’
Peter Lilley MA (Oxon.) FCA (Treasurer)
Peter had a an international career as a Finance Director and CEO (Kenya, Hong Kong and India), and subsequently became a management consultant specialising in the regulation of electricity and water utilities.
After the Orissa Cyclone in 1999 he was instrumental in raising funds for, and organising the rebuilding of, a local school which had been destroyed.
‘I am committed to developing services which enhance the lives of people in mental distress’
I have become a Trustee with Mary Frances having retired as a Senior Lecturer in social work, specialising in mental health, social policy and practice education. Prior to this, I held a variety of strategic management and service development roles in voluntary organisations and housing associations developing supported housing, court diversion and day services for people with mental health needs.
Apart from a commitment to improving wellbeing, I enjoy pottery, photography and glassmaking.
Rita has a life-long commitment to improving support across health and social care. At the heart of her work is the perspective and knowledge of individuals and their families, integrated with the views of professionals.
Her approach is to encourage developments which focus on the whole person in their social context, working with people’s strengths and skills as well as addressing health or social care needs. She was therefore particularly pleased to have been invited to be a Trustee with Mary Frances Trust.
Rita is a co-founder of peopleub personal health budget network, which is a Community Interest Company led by people who have their own personal health budget.
Rita has worked independently for many years and in Local Authority, Voluntary Sector and Health Service settings; including as a Director of Mental Health Commissioning, Senior Service Development Consultant: Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health and as an Approved Social Worker.
While I was a local Councillor representing Leatherhead North on Mole Valley District Council, I met one of my constituents, who told me he was suffering depression. I visited him in hospital and as a result became determined to improve services in our area. I joined a small group, which of course included Mary and Frances, and we set up the Leatherhead Clubhouse.
It was very exciting to see how the Clubhouse members grew and flourished with the support they received from staff and from each other. Some of them were able to move back into employment and all of them found new opportunities to exercise their talents.
Since then, the services people receive and the way they are treated by the statutory services have changed, mostly for the better, and, in turn, we have changed the services we offer, as you can see from this website, but we have retained the quality of what we do. For me, the priority is always that we treat the people we work with, with respect, and we enable them to make their own choices and decisions.
I am enormously proud of the Mary Frances Trust. Our staff have adapted to new circumstances with resourcefulness and skill. Our Board members have had to reinvent the Trust in a challenging financial climate, while never failing to be good humoured and positive at our regular meetings and in-between times. Long may the MFT flourish!