Governance

inspiring young people
TRAIN is governed by our Board of Trustees, who set the strategic direction of the charity and ensure we comply with our charitable aims and regulatory requirements.

Our Board of Trustees

Tom Smith

Vice Chair

As Vice Chair, Tom deputises for the Chair where required and helps lead Board discussions. He is a civil servant and currently Head of Digital for the UK’s consumer and competition agency, the CMA. Previously, he was External Chair of Oxford Brookes Students’ Union and a trustee for Citizens Advice West Oxfordshire. Before becoming Vice Chair, Tom volunteered with TRAIN for several years, where he played a crucial role in supporting youth work sessions and saw first-hand the difference youth workers make to the lives of young people. 

Sabiene North

Trustee

Sabiene joined the Board in 2024 – bringing a wealth of experience from her unique career trajectory. During her career in investment management, she primarily worked as a Private Banking Manager with Lloyds Private Banking and St James’s Place Wealth Management. After a career change, she joined the charity sector in 2020, gaining experience in fundraising, before taking on the position of CEO for a local charity, Be Free Young Carers. Sabine sits on the Oxfordshire Safeguarding and Children’s Board, representing the Voluntary and Community Sector. She has volunteered as a mentor at Didcot Girls’ School for several years. Sabiene is also a trustee at the national charity Supershoes. Her passion, focus, and main area of expertise is in supporting young people, children, and the youth sector.

Maria Semmonds

Trustee

Maria joined the Board in 2019 and has since played a crucial role in shaping the operational work of the charity. She is a registered social worker with over 11 years experience in supporting young people, their families, and communities. She currently supports women who have had – or are at risk of having – more than one child removed from their care in her role at the national charity, Pause. Maria is also qualified in Dialectical Behavioural Therapy and Compassion Focused Therapy and holds an MA in Social Work from Oxford Brookes University. She is a specialist in social work practice and law and takes a strength based theoretical approach to her role on the Board. As a passionate advocate for young people and firm believer in the transformative power of youth work, Maria ensures that young people are at the heart of what we do at TRAIN. She believes in giving young people opportunities to shape our work to ensure it properly reflects and meets the needs of the young people we support.

Paul Brown

Trustee

Paul is Head of Strategy & Impact at Reading FC Community Trust, shaping the strategic direction of the club’s community programmes, including Premier League Kicks and Reading Alternative Provision, and developing new and existing partnerships with agencies in the public, private, and voluntary sector. He is also the Designated Safeguarding Lead at Reading FC Community Trust, as well as a member of the Environmental Sustainability and EDI Working Groups at the Trust. Paul has over 10 years’ experience of supporting young people that display multiple risk factors and joined the Board in 2023. He is passionate about providing young people the support they need to overcome increasingly complex societal challenges.

Teresa Strike

Treasurer

As Domestic Bursar at Green Templeton College, University of Oxford, Teresa manages a large financial budget and oversees a staff team of 50 people. She joined the Board in 2023, applying her skills and expertise in operational and financial management to her role as Treasurer. She has lived in Didcot for 15 years and values TRAIN’s long-standing work in the local community. She also recognises that the challenges young people face today are vast, which prompted her to join the Board to enable TRAIN to continue to support young people to navigate these challenges. As a mother, she feels strongly that all children and young people should have access to activities and role models that engage and inspire them.  

Our Ambassador

Brian McNamee

Ambassador

Brian has lived in Didcot his entire life despite working across the UK and internationally for National Grid as a Senior Manager in the Gas Distribution and Transmission sector. He is an experienced business and personal coach and mentor, running a successful consultancy business for over 14 years. Brian is passionate about ensuring young people are given the best opportunities, support, and guidance to become the best version of themselves. After being the Chair of the Board of Trustees at TRAIN for over seven years, Brian is now our ambassador, championing the services we provide to young people. He was recently recognised by the High Sheriff of Oxfordshire (2023) for his charitable services to the county. 

Our Patron

Lord Ed Vaizey

Patron

Lord Ed Vaizey has been a patron of TRAIN since 2010 and continues to actively support the work we do with young people in Didcot and Wallingford.