Meet the team

Our team of Associates have many years of experience advising people and organisations on how to set up and manage their community projects 

Trisha Bennett

Trisha has been a qualified Community Worker for over 30 years having undertaken full time training in Community Education in Dundee in the 1970’s, resulting in a Diploma In Community Education and a post qualifying BA in Professional Development in 2006. Trisha is also an accredited Community Education Fieldwork Supervisor. She has worked in both the voluntary and statutory sectors and was a local authority community development officer for 14 years. Trisha has been a freelance Consultant and Trainer since September 2004 and has undertaken a wide range of Consultancy and training contracts across the country. These include running very successful “Introduction to Community Work Skills” courses for a wide range of participants and consultancy and training for Community Matters on management of community buildings and complex governance issues. Other work has included tenant participation, team building and organisational development for a range of organisations in the statutory, voluntary and community sectors. Trisha has over the last 3 years supported, as a volunteer, a Big Local project in her own community. This has included developing a community cafe and advising on policy and procedure development for the new Board of Trustees. 

Sarah Bishton

Sarah’s background is firmly rooted in the public and charitable sector. Sarah was previously a case officer for the Charity Commission, undertaking case work in the field of charity law, governance and risk management. Sarah also managed the Charity Commission’s contact centre and provided training and technical support. Sarah was previously an Associate Consultant for Community Matters providing cover on their advice line service for over 10years. Sarah’s areas of expertise include Charity Law, governance, choosing and adopting an appropriate legal structure, organisational development, Incorporation & Community Asset Transfer.   

Ann Hindley

Ann has more than thirty years’ experience in community development for the voluntary, community and faith sectors.  She has worked independently for over twenty years providing practical support and advice from the initial research stage to testing the feasibility of a project through to management of the project as it becomes a reality.  Ann has substantial experience organising events for voluntary and third sector participants, carrying out community consultations and project evaluation.  She specialises in work around community buildings, faith matters and rural issues.  Ann worked as Regional Co-ordinator for Community Matters across Yorkshire and the Humber for three years, supporting organisations involved in managing community centres and continued working for them as an associate on Community Asset Transfer contracts.  Ann has a long training background and can deliver training in community development and voluntary sector management.  She is a member of the Endorsement and Quality Standards Board for Community Development Learning.

Stephenie Linham

Stephenie has worked for national and local charities, local authorities and housing associations for 27 years focusing on governance, lease negotiations, HR, development of policies, procedures and business plans.

She has front line experience as a Manager and Chief Officer for community associations.
Stephenie previously worked for Community Matters on the following projects:
Senior Assessor for the VISIBLE Quality Standards

  • Main author of PreVISIBLE ensuring legal compliance.
  • Regional Coordinator for 5 years.
  • Member of the initial Asset Transfer Unit Core Team,
  • Community Assets Matters 2 day training course

Grace Smith

Grace has wide experience in governance, compliance, organisational management and development, and all aspects of managing community buildings - including asset transfer.

1n 1996, she co-founded a charity providing employability support. Under her leadership, the organisation grew to become a major training provider in the East London, attracting significant funding and winning major contracts. Her training consultancy clients include local authorities, housing associations, national umbrella organisations, and the CVS network, as well as individual charities and community organisations.  She has international experience having set up and managed a charity operating in Africa.


Norman Powell

Norman has worked as a consultant and trainer in community development and criminal justice since 2005. He is a qualified teacher, social worker and probation officer and has worked in criminal justice and social care for the past 32 years, including as an Assistant Chief Probation Officer in London until 2005. He works on the Advising Communities advice line, he is a national assessor for the VISIBLE quality standard and a trainer for the Advising Communities range of training programmes. As well as charity governance and project management, his consultancy and training expertise includes business planning, incorporation, policy development, asset transfer, employment, volunteering, change management, safeguarding, equalities, youth work and community consultation and engagement.