Brighton Women’s Centre is a charitable company limited by guarantee, with our trustees serving as directors of the company.

Our Current Team

The Director of BWC is Lisa Dando, who has worked with women’s organisations in the community and voluntary sector in Brighton and Hove for over 20 years and has a background in mental health service provision.

BWC employs a small team of 21 members of staff, including the Director, Counselling Services Manager, Counsellors, Volunteer Services Coordinator, Service User Involvement Worker, Inspire Operational Manager,  Inspire Liaison Co-ordinator, Inspire Engagement Support Officers, Women’s Accommodation Support Workers, Activities Coordinator, Pre-School Manager, and Deputy Pre-School Manager.

The core staff members are supported by a team of invaluable volunteers who are involved in every level of the organisation and in all services. Volunteers come from all sections of the community and with a commitment to support other women.

The Management Committee

The Brighton Women’s Centre Management Committee consists of the Director and 6 Trustees. Trustees undertake training on specific areas of development, including fundraising, financial responsibilities and strategic planning. Our current trustees are:

Jane Simmons – Chair

Apart from spells running a factory and working in PR, Jane has worked in the public/not for profit sector for 30+ years. Initially as a Social Worker, working in Children and Families, Mental Health and Older People and then in a range of senior management posts within Social Care and the NHS. Much of the work has been in joint planning, commissioning and partnership development across health and social care and with other statutory organisations. Currently Jane is working as an independent consultant working for ADASS (Adult Directors of Social Care) alongside other projects to commission services.

Rachel Beck – Treasurer

Rachel has been a feminist since she was old enough to wear dungarees (in about 1949) and is proud to be part of Brighton Women’s Centre. She has worked in the voluntary sector for Homeless Action – now Eaves Housing for Women – and in the statutory sector for Hackney Council’s Mediation Service. She was one of the founders of Lesbian Line in 1977. She lived in London for many years but has loved Sussex since visiting her grandparents as a child (in about 1949) and she moved here in 2007.

Melissa Drayson

Melissa is a resident of Brighton of 20 years standing and has two daughters who have grown up in the City.  She has enjoyed a varied career in the community and voluntary and public sectors,  with time out to run a sweetshop in Brighton.   She currently works at two Further Education colleges where she specialises in governance and policy.    In her spare time,  Melissa sings in an eight piece all-woman Acapella group and walks her rescued greyhound and lurcher.

Melissa is deeply committed to supporting and promoting equality across the board and to women’s issues in particular.   As a trustee,  she sees her primary role as helping to ensure that Brighton Women’s Centre has a strong and sustainable  future delivering vital services to some of the most vulnerable women and their children.

Caz Philcox

Caz is Brighton born. After working and living in China, Hongkong and London, she returned to her home town of Brighton 20 years ago.  Caz works as a community care solicitor specialising in helping adults at risk.  Her priorities are fairness, community and equality of opportunity. She strives to help those in situations where they need support and back up.

Emma Drew

Emma began her career in the book trade, and found a talent for selling cultural products. She has twenty-five years’ management experience in the creative sector, in commercial, public and voluntary sector environments (sometimes simultaneously). She is currently Director of the Old Reading Room, delivering arts and health projects.

Emma is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and sits on the Brighton & Hove Employer Skills Task Force. She is the author of The Whole Person Recovery Handbook (Sheldon Press, 2015), a guide to supporting people through recovery using cultural and social capital.

Zoe Ballantyne

Zoe is a Brighton-based GP and also works with Freedom From Torture, a Human Rights Organisation caring for victims of torture, where she prepares medico-legal reports. Her experience therefore includes work with women and girls with a wide variety of health concerns, often in the context of complex social settings and/or physical and emotional trauma.

Zoe has higher degrees in Philosophy of Medicine and Global Health, Law and Governance. She is particularly interested in community empowerment and health promotion having spent time at the World Health Organisation Headquarters in Geneva where she studied these processes.

Stellah Kuteesa

Stellah is an advocate for Education and Social Equality. Specialising in Welfare, Child Protection and Behaviour Management, she is in constant pursuit of bridging the gap in society. Working with education most of her career she supports  families and young people over-come barriers to learning and social integration.

Stellah’s academic background is in Sociology. She currently works as an Inclusion Manager at Brighton Aldridge Community Academy, where she liaises with various organisations within Brighton and Hove in order to provide bespoke support for students and families. She is involved in multiple facets of community based integration schemes;  a recent venture of her’s is serving her community through her local church, Holland Baptist Church.

BWC says fond farewell to our long standing patron

Baroness Gould at IWD

Brighton Women’s Centre has been very lucky to have an excellent patron in the form of Baroness Gould of Potternewton, a life peer in the House of Lords, and Deputy Speaker since 2002. We would like to thank Joyce for many years of standing support of BWC.

She has continued to make an outstanding contribution to public life. Previously she has been Chair of the Government’s Independent Advisory Group for Sexual Health and HIV, making her at the time one of the top health policy-makers in the country.

She was also Chair of the Women’s National Commission, at the time the official, independent advisory body which provided the views of women to Government. The WNC represented approximately 500 stakeholders across the UK women’s sector – a sector which in turn represents 8 million women.

Additionally, Baroness Gould is Patron of FORWARD – an organisation that campaigns against female genital mutilation; Chair of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Group. She is a regular speaker on women’s matters both in the House of Lords and nationally.

For International Women’s Day, she has organised and opened full debates in the chamber of the House of Lords to draw public and parliamentary attention to issues affecting women.

In 1997 Baroness Gould was awarded a Doctor of the University by Bradford University, and in February 2009 she received an Honorary Doctorate from Birmingham City University and more recently she received  a third honorary degree from  Greenwich in recognition of her outstanding contribution to public life.

Brighton Women’s Centre would like to once again recognise Joyce’s contribution to women and women’s services and thank her for her longstanding support. We are very sorry to see her step down from her role as Patron.

Lisa Dando

Director, BWC