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 of working 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!

Pip Tucker

Pip has been a Public Health Specialist at Somerset County Council for the last four years, with responsibility for assembling and communicating the health and social evidence to help set priorities in health and social care in the county. He previously worked in a similar local authority role in Devon County Council, and as Director of the South West Observatory, again working in evidence to support policy-making. He has also worked as an academic geographer, with research interests in Romania and the Sudan.

Andrew Ridgwell

Andy lives in Yeovil and has a background in fundraising and grantmaking. He currently works as a Programmes Manager for Somerset Community Foundation, which distributes over £500,000 of grants to local 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 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.

Rachel Cooper

Since qualifying as a chartered accountant, Rachel has spent 12 years in senior roles in national voluntary organisations; ranging from small specialised charities such as the British Tinnitus Association, through to the Institute of Cancer Research, a major UK academic research institute. Rachel set up and now runs Welbeck, an affordable accountancy, training and consultancy service for VCSE organisations. Outside of work, Rachel is a Governor at her daughter’s school and enjoys getting involved in community activities, crime fiction, running and family life.

Melanie Merrill

Mel is the Volunteering Programme Manager for Quality at Macmillan Cancer Support where her role is to help provide a supportive infrastructure that empowers its people to deliver a first class and exceptional volunteer 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.