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 20 members of staff, including the Director, Counsellors, Volunteer Services Coordinator, Inspire Operational Manager,  Inspire Engagement Support Officers, Fundraising and Communications Coordinator, Service Development Manager, Engagement Support Officer, Administrator and Facilities Coordinator, Toybox 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 9 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.

Rachel Beck

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.

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.

Kirsty Baker

Kirsty has a 30 year career in financial services – she is extremely interested in businesses and Charities that have a strong sense of social purpose.

She has a background of scale leadership experience along with strategic planning and change management skills.

Kirsty has been mentoring women in the workplace for most of her career.  She lives in Sussex and has a strong family connection to Brighton.

Natalie Blunt

Natalie was born and raised in Sussex and has worked within NHS and not-for-profit organisations since 2003; largely within Sussex with stints in Westminter. She is a Director of a Brighton-based social enterprise Here, and is passionate about delivering high quality care, free at the point of delivery, to the people of Sussex.

Having deeply admired the work of BWC for many years, Natalie joined as a Trustee in 2017. Natalie also volunteers as a befriender for Brighton-based charity Time to Talk, and really values this experience to connect on a one to one basis with her local community. In her spare time Natalie enjoys learning Italian, roaming the Sussex countryside and attempting to train her errant rescue dogs.

Moira Nangle

Moira works in the field of Organisation Development and has qualifications in Training, Teaching, Psychotherapy, both one to one and team coaching, and an MSc in Organisation Development.  Moira has worked across all three sectors and her career has primarily been spent in learning and development, in HR, and latterly in one to one and team coaching. Moira has been involved in women’s groups since the early 90s, and in her professional life often coaches women aspiring to more senior roles. Over the years Moira has also volunteered as a helpline counsellor, as a Governor of a self-managed learning college for young people and in the field of mental health. Moira was delighted to be accepted as a Trustee for BWC in 2017.

Linda Beanlands


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