Photograph of Spencer Blackwell

Spencer Blackwell

Partnership Development Officer

Spencer previously worked for two NHS Trusts in Bristol, and currently volunteers as the Chair of Trans Pride South West, a local community-based pride festival.

Spencer has a degree in Music and in his spare time he enjoys singing and learning instruments. He also has a rapidly growing collection of house plants to care for. 

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Photograph of Dionne Draper

Dionne Draper 

Skills Project Manager 

Dionne joined Voscur in July 2022 as Skills Project Manager. Dionne previously worked at Islington Council coordinating employability training and job brokerage for residents and employers. Dionne gained a PG Cert in Public Service Management and moved to Bristol delivering training at Julian House, and later running Bristol Old Vic Theatre School’s music department. 

Dionne set-up Sing With Soul in 2015 and in 2019 produced and toured her one-woman musical, DAWTA. In 2021 Dionne completed an MA in Music Production at BIMM, with a focus on composition as a cultural practice. Dionne loves 1970’s vintage household items. 

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Photograph of Laurence Gingell

Laurence Gingell

Business Administrator

Laurence joined in February 2023 and provides administrative support, responds to enquires and ensures the smooth running of day-to-day operations. Laurence came to Voscur after volunteering for the National Trust at Avebury, Wiltshire, helping with image management, customer research and GDPR procedure.

In his spare time, Laurence enjoys tennis, the gym, music and reading early modern and soviet history.

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Photograph of Sarah Hickie

Sarah Hickie

VCSE Development Advisor

Sarah joined Voscur in 2022 and has a background spanning higher education, youth services, arts and heritage, as an employee and consultant – with most of her roles to date having had a volunteer management component. Before joining VOSCUR she worked for a youth homelessness charity managing mentoring projects, contributing to funding bids and sharing learning, and service user voice, beyond the organisation.

Outside of work Sarah enjoys gardening, yoga, wild swimming in all weathers and taking care of a naughty border terrier.

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Photograph of Ian Hudson-Murt

Ian Hudson-Murt

Policy, Research and Communications Manager

Ian joined Voscur in February 2023. He has a range of experience in the VCSE sector, from volunteering as an IT tutor to working in communications, compliance, and events. More recently Ian has been delivering services within the sector - in his last role starting up a social care service, but he has also managed community health projects, befriending, and advice services.

Ian is responsible for Voscur's policy development, research, and communications.

In his spare time, Ian enjoys cycling, films and caring for his two cats.

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Photograph of Sheika Johnston

Sheika Johnston

Partnerships Manager

Sheika is an advocate for the importance of travelling and grew up across several African countries (Senegal, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Tanzania).

Sheika has a background in Construction Project Management and has worked for several multi-disciplinary construction/engineering consultancies before joining Soundwell’s administrative team, a Bristol-based voluntary organisation 10 months ago.

This was her introduction to the non-for-profit sector, which inspired Sheika to resume her Project Management career in this sector.

Sheika is passionate about running projects and seeing them through their lifespan (from inception through to completion) while managing the key stakeholders and assisting them to achieve their vision on time and within the available budget.

Outside of work, Sheika enjoys cooking and baking with her 2 daughters, loves gardening (new-found hobby during lockdown) and joins a local spin class very Wednesday evening!

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Kate La Tour

Innovation and Development Director

Kate joined Voscur in January 2024 to lead on pioneering initiatives, programmes and partnerships for the wider VCSE sector, and to drive business development for the organisation.   Her career spans over 25 years in strategic development, stakeholder engagement and communications for businesses, including The Guardian's digital education business, and social justice organisations, including Business in the Community’s back-to-work homeless programme; Key4Life, an innovative young offender rehabilitation charity; and more recently, Babbasa, Bristol's youth empowerment social enterprise, as Head of Development.   Outside of work, Kate loves plays, visiting her daughters and walking the Mendips with her two errant dogs. 

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Photograph of Sarah Martin

Sarah Martin

Enterprise Project Manager

Sarah is Voscur’s Enterprise Project Manager and is involved in social enterprise development through the Bristol Local Access Programme.  Sarah has worked in the community and social enterprise sector in the West of England for the past ten years and enjoys creating connections and supporting organisations to thrive.  Outside work Sarah plays in a community steel band and loves the natural world, trail running and hiking.

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Photograph of Rebecca Mear

Rebecca Mear

Chief Executive Officer

Rebecca joined the Voscur team in September 2022, having spent the past seven years managing a school within the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Bristol, where she also led on equality, diversity and inclusion. Rebecca has run two voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations during her career: the first of these delivered frontline services for refugees and asylum seekers, the second provided support and development for the VCSE sector. 

As a volunteer, Rebecca has spent time in Tanzania and Ghana, and more recently as a school governor and a community interest group board member. 

In her spare time, Rebecca enjoys making use of Bristol’s green spaces with her two small children. Her favourite hobby is walking – ideally around Bristol harbourside – while listening to a good audio book. 

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Photograph of Dani Oliver

Dani Oliver

Resources Coordinator (Interim)

Dani joined Voscur in 2022. Her role is to provide support to the Chief Executive Officer, and to support Voscur's governance and internal processes. 

Dani has worked in the VCSE sector since 2019, with previous experience in volunteer management and mental health support.

Outside of work, she enjoys running (slowly), walking (preferably with a dog), and developing a near-encyclopaedic knowledge of Bristol's many independent restaurants and cafes. 

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Ellie Oriel

Strategic Programme Manager

Ellie started in January 2024 as the Strategic Programme Manager for the VCSE Alliance across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire which is hosted by Voscur. 
Ellie has worked in the field of public health for the last 12 years and enjoys testing out creative ways to improve health outcomes. She worked as a Public Health Specialist and Improvement Lead for the Association of Directors of Public Health for London, running London wide health improvement programmes and most recently spent five years at running a public health programme at the responsible investment charity, ShareAction. 
Outside of work, Ellie spends most of her time chasing after her two young children. In any other spare moments she likes running, cooking and walking her dog. 

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Project Support Coordinator

Megan joined Voscur in October 2023 as Project Support Coordinator, working with the VCSE Alliance and the Pathfinder project, as well as assisting with various other things across the charity; including triaging consultancy requests and supporting business development. 

Previously Megan spent 6 years working in community investment and development, then tenant involvement and co-design for social housing providers across West Oxfordshire and Wiltshire. During this time she also obtained a Level 4 in Social Housing Management with the Chartered Institute of Housing. 

In her spare time Megan enjoys a myriad of crafty hobbies from crochet to quilling and everything in between. She also regularly plays tabletop role playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons as part of the Explorers of Elsewhere community based in Bristol, and is an avid consumer of fiction and stories whether they be written, spoken, acted or otherwise!

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Photograph of Alice S

Alice S

Operations Manager

Alice is responsible for the development and management of systems and processes to ensure the smooth running of Voscur’s core operations and internal support services. 

She has worked at several local charities both as an employee and as a volunteer, and joined the Voscur team in 2022. 

In her spare time, Alice enjoys music, spoiling her cats, and trying to keep her house plants alive. 

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Photograph of Janine Starr

Janine Starr

Development Manager

Janine spent over 12 years working in Adult and Community Learning for Essex, North Somerset and Bristol City Councils followed by 10 years in the VCSE sector managing volunteering for several different community organisations. She is currently a volunteer Director at Weston Artspace CIC, helping to develop a new community art and cultural space in Weston-super-Mare.

Outside of work, Janine enjoys strength training at the gym, creating her own digital art and travelling around the UK in her campervan.

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Photograph of Namiko Taguchi

Namiko Taguchi

Finance Coordinator

Namiko joined Voscur in December 2020. Namiko has volunteered and worked in the charity sector for a few years as treasurer, finance administrator and account support.

Namiko enjoys working in the allotment on weekends especially weeding and watering. Namiko also likes going anywhere she can see nice views. 

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Photograph of Rachel Varley

Rachel Varley

VCSE Development Advisor - Outreach

Rachel has a background in education, having trained as a teacher before spending four years coordinating a community learning project in Lockleaze. She has worked with several small charities and community organisations in Bristol, combining a passion for community development, operations, communication, and creativity. She has experience of planning large events and managing volunteers, having coordinated a city-wide social action weekend for up to 1000 volunteers for five years.

Rachel loves to connect with different people and regularly shares her time and skills within her local community.

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Photograph of Jenny Wildblood

Jenny Wildblood

VCSE Development Advisor - Funding and Governance

Jenny supports Bristol organisations with their income generation and development by providing one-to-one help, training and events on fundraising strategy, skills and information.

She’s also a professional fundraiser, consultant and trainer, working with a wide variety of clients to raise funds and increase their capacity to fundraise.

In a previous life, Jenny managed grant funds for several local and national Trusts, so she’s experienced the grant funding world from both sides. She’s Treasurer of two small charities, and a volunteer book seller at a local Social Enterprise, Clevedon Community Bookshop, a role that combines several of her favourite things: reading, writing and chatting to interesting people.

Contact Jenny