Board Of Trustees

Website - Pictures - Our people - Trustees - John.JPG

John Higgins
Chair of the Board of Trustees

My name is John Higgins and I have been a Trustee of Life Path since 2009 and Chair of the Trustees between 2010 and 2015, then again in 2018.

My working life has been spent in providing and managing services for people with a learning disability in both the public and charity sectors. I have also been a Director of H.R. for a national charity and was the Deputy Chair for the “Association for Real Change” for over 10 years.

My links with Life Path go right back to its beginnings when I worked at the Senior Centre in Coventry and I have found great pleasure in renewing friendships with a number of our Citizens from over 50 years ago.

I enjoy most sports, enthusing rather than participating these days, and, in particular, rugby union and skiing. I have four children and nine grandchildren which help to keep me young, if not exhausted!

Trustee - Keith Chapman.jpg

Keith Chapman
Chair of Finance Committee

I recognize the value of the work that LPT does and the need to ensure the very best support for people with learning difficulties; based on personal experience with family members and other people I have known. I have been a Trustee since 2013.

Formerly Head of Construction department at Coventry University, I now have a consultancy practice and I am active in energy efficiency.

I am a competent user of IT and Office software; expertise in presentations; an analytical approach to issues; good written and verbal competence; inter-personal skills; common sense.

Regarding my hobbies, I play badminton (badly), golf (very badly); I am a supporter of Coventry City FC, a Fellow of Chartered Institute of Building, past-President Coventry Rotary Club and I have various church activities.

Trustee - Edward Lamb.jpg

Edward Lamb
Chair of Health & Safety Committee

As a parent of a citizen supported by the Life Path Trust for many years, I could see in practice the quality and value of the person centred approach given by the Trust.  In 2014, I joined the Board of Trustees to contribute on a voluntary basis to the work and expansion of the Trust.

In 2014, I joined the Board of Trustees to contribute on a voluntary basis to the work and expansion of the Trust.
My background is a career as a lawyer coupled with support of many charities and organisations with a charitable intent.

My skill set is in the area of non-contentious legal work.
I am a keen gardener and I like photography, music, walking and sport. As a member of a Rotary Club and a churchwarden of a local church, I am very involved in the locality where I live and where my ancestors have lived for over two hundred years.

Trustee - Judy Ryan.jpg

Judith Ryan
Chair of HR Committee

I was asked if I would be interested in becoming a Trustee and when I read about the charity it interested me as I could see it was a well run, principled charity. I was nominated in December 2016 and was elected in September 2017.

I was a Teacher for 28 years in 6 schools across Coventry and latterly became a Head Teacher in 3 schools within the West Midlands.

As a Teacher and Head teacher you are required to have many skills. Amongst the skills I have are: confidence, communication, a team player, continuous learner, leadership, organisation, imaginative, (possibly too much), and I like to think I am also reflective.

I am retired and am a mother to two daughters and grandmother to Seb. As well as my work with Life Path, I am a member of the Rotary Club of Coventry and am very involved in several projects to raise funds and awareness for various charities.

For fun I enjoy many crafts, walking, swimming, cycling and socialising with close friends and family. 

Jennifer Withey

After being involved with Ellys Road for many years, I wanted to find out more about Life Path Trust and be involved a lot more. I have been a Trustee for nearly 5 years now.

I am mother and full time carer for my son Christopher who uses Ellys Road short stay services.

I worked in an accounts department for a large department store chain. I worked for a large supermarket chain, preparing and handling food.

My skills are food hygiene certificate, dealing with people, accountancy background. I enjoy gardening, cross stitch and knitting. I also enjoying walking.

Trustee - Peter Cooke.png

Peter Cooke

I have only been on the Board of Trustees since October 2018. My main reason for becoming a Life Path Trustee is a rather personal one. Having a niece with Downs Syndrome, I have experienced firsthand many of the challenges she is faced with on a daily basis.

I am fully in support of Life Path’s aim to ensure those with additional needs can live the life they want and I hope that in becoming a Trustee I can help the organisation to grow and succeed in its aim.

I have had various careers and businesses since I left school which has given me a wide range of experiences. My current work enables me to understand the staffing issues in the Care and Support sector and I am a member of the Human Resources Committee of Life Path Trust. 

We have now been running Cooke Reynolds for four years.  We supply care staff to homes in and around the Warwickshire and Oxfordshire area and also supply Nurses into prisons all over the UK.

I am the stereotypical ‘people person’ whose strengths lie in great interpersonal skills and communication. I also consider myself to be skilled at managing budgets and negotiation.

I enjoy countryside pursuits with friends and Sunday lunches with my wife and children.

Trustee - Philip Emsden.jpg

Philip Emsden

I first learnt of Life Path Trust in 2011 when my step daughter Gemma began to use the short stay service at Ellys Road. After I had retired in May 2018, I wanted to find something of interest that I could contribute to. At an Ellys Road coffee evening in July 2018, it was mentioned that Life Path Trust were looking for Trustees and this just felt right for me.

All my working life was spent in finance and data admin departments. From 1975 to 1993, I was a special constable in West Midlands Police. When I left the force, I became a matchday Steward, firstly at Highfield Road and latterly at Ricoh Arena, something I still do to this day.

Stewarding and security work involves people skills. My work in finance and data admin involved me in figure work.

To relax I have an interest in most sports (as a spectator). Through our church, I have recently become involved with foodbank. I am a volunteer helper there one day a week, and am on the Coventry Foodbank steering Committee.

Trustee - Robert Hall.jpg

Robert Hall

I have served as a Director of Newpath Ventures for many years and was co-opted onto the Life Path Board on 15th June 2012.

I am a Coventry Kid, born in Wyken where I have lived all my life. I am the Director of a local building and development firm and am a Chartered Builder and a Chartered Engineer.

I have always had an interest in education and training and am a former College Governor and currently a Governor of schools in both the independent and public sectors. I also chair a local education charity.

I was honoured with the award of MBE in 2007 for services to training. I am also interested in community affairs and am a trustee of a local community trust.

Trustee - Roma Hawthorne.jpg

Roma Hawthorne

I was approached by another Trustee and considered that it was time to 'put something back' in a way that I had not before. My husband was ill for a long period and it made me realise how difficult life could be without help and support from others.

I attended, as an observer, my first meeting in 2018 and hope to be confirmed as a Trustee at the AGM in July 2019.

My background is in admin. I was a director of a small family started business and worked with my husband for 20 years. The business was sold in 1998. Responsibilities here were wide and varied.  For a time, after retirement, I was a Lay Member of an Employment Tribunal.

My skill sets are mostly admin. I had a break from being actively involved in anything for about 10 years. This is when I was caring for my husband who died in 2017.  Since then I have taken a more active role in Coventry Rotary Club as well as my new Trustee role in Life Path.

Philip Rusk

I have been a trustee since 2012.  I am a director of Newpath Ventures which is linked to Life Path Trust and have been since 2005.  I believe I can help make a difference to the lives of the people who are supported by the charity. I spend my free time at Kingshill Nursery as a volunteer aiming to achieve this. 

I am a Civil Servant. I work in Birmingham with this role. I have been volunteering with Life Path since 1984 and I have been awarded the BEM for my services.

I spend time looking for projects and funding that can be used by Life Path with the aim of facilitating as many of the aspects of daily life as possible. I offer to research any topic needed as part of this process. I endeavor to have first hand knowledge of what happens.

I also enjoy cycling, I play the piano (badly) amongst other things.

Dave Lole

I am a CIMA qualified Accountant having held various Financial positions during my career. For the last 20 years I have concentrated on Change both through Process Improvement and changing Company culture working on varied Global projects involving Lean Six Sigma and other methodologies to achieve results.

As a Coventrian when I retired I wanted to give something back to the city of my birth so I am very pleased to be invited to be a trustee for Lifepath where I hope my experience will help the charity to move forward to meet it’s aims.

Jon Baines

I have been involved with Life Path Trust (previously Coventry Homes) through my brother Timothy who is supported by Life Path Trust. I was educated at King Henry VIII grammar school in Coventry and worked for British Telecom for over 20 years ending my Career in Powergen. I have had various roles during my career and I gained an MBA from Sheffield Hallam University.

I was an active union member during my time with BT and E.On, and was the chairman of the Coventry branch of Prospect. I was involved in various HR projects in this period including staff contract terms and conditions re-arrangements and many pay rounds. Outside of work, I was a founder member of Coventry Olympic Cycling Club, being on the committee for almost 20 years in a variety of roles. I believe I bring a wealth of financial, Health and Safety and negotiating experience to a trustee role with Life Path andI am a member of the Health and Safety Committee.

Our Senior Management team

Website - Pictures - Our people - Staff - Diane.jpg

Diane Perry
Chief Executive

I joined Life Path Trust in April 2018. I am from Willenhall in the Black Country where they are famous for making locks (the other Willenhall not the Coventry one) and it’s great to be working In the Midlands again.

I started my working life in Housing and worked in Birmingham Housing and Bristol City Council Housing Department. I have worked in the Social Care Charity sector since 2000 and have held a number of roles including training and development, change management and operations across different national and regional charities working with citizens with physical and learning disabilities and sensory impairment.

I am proud to have inherited the significant legacy and contribution that Life Path has made in Coventry and Oxfordshire to Citizens with learning disabilities. I am very excited to be leading the organisation through the next phase of its journey.

Despite a busy working life I have a few interests which include Art History, reading, design and gardening (which is very useful for Kingshill Nursery). I am a hobby jeweller/silversmith. I love walking in the countryside and the city and like to do landscape and cityscape photography. I love food so I run to keep fit!


Kay Sumner
Director of Finance and Development

I trained with KPMG in Cardiff and I have worked with charities for over 20 years. I was the Director of Finance with a charity in South West London providing sheltered accommodation for 5 years and then moved to Warwickshire in 2002. I then worked with a grant giving charity in Stratford for 6 years before setting up my own small business.

I joined Life Path Trust in September 2012 as the Director of Finance and Development and I now have responsibility for Finance and HR. I am a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.

In my spare time I sing in two choirs, enjoy hill walking and working locks with my narrow boat.

I am a great believer in living life to the full!

Elaine Skillern
Director of Operations

Over my career I have worked in a variety of capacities within the public sector, starting my career in children’s services abroad, then going into work in elderly residential services in Coventry. I have had the pleasure of working for Life Path Trust since 1997.

I was appointed to be the Operations Director in 2013 and I have gained valuable experience in setting up new Supported Living Service across Coventry and Oxford for adults with learning disabilities.

I currently hold the nominated and registered managers role with CQC for Life Path Trust. Within my current job role I direct the Managers within Supported Living, Day Opportunities and our Short Break service.

I have a passion for working for a company that is innovative and Person-centred for the people it supports and ensures that they maintain quality services that are an integral part of their community.


Michael Warner
Chair of Citizen’s Board

My name is Michael, I am 71 years old and I live in Coventry. I have been supported by Life Path since 1989.

I am a polite, positive and very kind person with impeccable manners, I am intelligent and approachable and I have a very good memory. I have been on many holidays abroad and lots of cruises but my dream is to visit more places closer to home in the UK.

I volunteer at the church and play the organ, piano and keyboard. I attend arts and drama sessions too. I enjoy playing a wide range of instruments including piano, violin and bass. I also enjoy attending the choir, reading the bible and doing general knowledge quizzes.

I attend the Citizens Board because I like to get involved, be a spokesperson and I want to help.  I am also the Chair of the Citizens Board to which I have been elected jointly with Jamie Aspley Jones in 2019.  

Citizen - Jamie Apsley Jones.JPG

Jamie Aspley jones
Chair of Citizen’s Board

I am Jamie, I am 27 years old and I am from Coventry. I have been supported by Life Path Trust since 2008. I enjoy working and keeping busy, socialising and learning new things.

I have lots of activities: I work at Four Seasons twice a week, I attend Life Path day services on a Friday as I do the yearly panto and I also help in Ricoh Arena car park. I joint chair of the Citizens Board.

I chair the Citizens Board to feel important as I like helping and contributing. I also want to help our citizen’s voice be heard. I am also a very bubbly, friendly and happy person.

My future goals are going back to college, start a cooking course to learn new dishes, music lessons and going on more holidays.

I dislike being lonely and not being listening too. I also do not like peas and broccoli.