Our Trustees

Our dedicated Board of Trustees have overall responsibility for the management of the charity. They have wide-ranging professional experience in a number of relevant areas including finance, strategy, social work, health and the voluntary sector.

Alex MacNeil, Chair

Alex is Company Director at MacNeil Stone Ltd, where she provides training and consultancy to voluntary sector organisations and adult social care teams. She has 15 years' experience in the voluntary sector as a frontline member of staff, scheme manager and then in a national role. As a consultant, she supports voluntary sector organisations ranging from small local groups to large national charities, and has most recently worked within the statutory sector. Alex currently volunteers with a local refugee resettlement programme, and helps campaign to improve disability access in her home town. Officially too old for clubbing (her words, not ours!), Alex still enjoys blasting out old school dance classics and embarrassing her family with her experimental dancing in the kitchen!

Tim Ayre, Treasurer

Since qualifying as Chartered Surveyor, Tim has held a variety of roles in commercial property development, investment and management, and spent 15 years as Investment Director of a large property company. He subsequently set up his own consultancy company and also established, with colleagues, a specialist retail property company. Tim has held non-executive Board roles with Housing Associations (Hyde in London and Magna in Dorset) and, most recently was trustee and treasurer of Citizens Advice South Somerset. He is also treasurer for Street Bridge Club and Long Sutton Gardening Club, and volunteers as a gardener for the National Trust.

Andrew Ridgwell

Andy lives in Yeovil and has a background in fundraising and grant making. He currently works as a Programmes Manager for Somerset Community Foundation, which distributes over £500,000 of grants to groups across Somerset each year. He also works part-time for Future Roots, a social enterprise based in Dorset.

Stephen Woollett

Steve is a Director of Clarity CIC which provides consultancy, advice and support for social purpose organisations across the South West. Steve has worked with and in the voluntary sector throughout his career at national, regional and local levels, including seventeen years as Chief Executive of the South West Forum. Drawing on his experience, Steve hopes he can help Spark with its strategic planning and demonstrating the impact of its work and its value to the people and communities of Somerset.

Kristy Blackwell

Kristy has worked in the public sector for the last 15 years, with a focus on supporting and developing stronger, safer communities. Most recently Kristy has led on the One Team approach in Sedgemoor, bringing together a range of multi-agency partners to tackle deprivation and identify opportunities for early intervention. In her spare time Kristy has a floristry business and a small holding where she keeps chickens.

Melanie Merrill

Mel is the Senior Volunteering Operations and Support Manager Cancer Support, where her role is to help provide a supportive infrastructure that empowers its people to deliver a first class experience for its thousands of volunteers. She brings a wealth of experience having worked with and supported a wide range of voluntary sector organisations at a local, regional and national level to design and improve volunteering practice. She is passionate about volunteering and helping others to create an environment where people are welcomed, inspired and supported to make a positive difference in the communities they support.

Jeremy Martin