Meet the team
On this page you will find details of the staff at Healthwatch East Sussex, as well as the Board of Directors of East Sussex Community Voice.
Veronica Kirwan, Executive Director
Telephone: 07794 100 291
Veronica has extensive experience of working at a senior level across public, private and voluntary sectors. With a focus on establishing cross sector partnerships to deliver maximum impact for local communities.
Most recently, Veronica was Managing Director at Peabody a large London Housing association where she spent 23 years working on a range of community, regeneration and economic inclusion programmes. In her time at Peabody she was responsible for setting up the Peabody Community Foundation.
Simon Kiley, Evidence and Insight Manager
Telephone: 07794 100335
Simon joined the team at ESCV in January 2020 and has worked in the voluntary sector in East Sussex since 2006. He has managed and participated in a wide range of research, evidence and engagement activities working in conjunction with central government, local government and voluntary sector organisations.
Riona Doidge, Volunteer and Engagement Manager
Telephone: 07794 097719
Riona joined ESCV in February 2023, she has over 15 years’ experience working within the voluntary and community sector.
She began her career working at an independent volunteer centre and is passionate about including volunteers in all aspects of ESCV's work. Riona is a strong believer in co-production and empowering local people to have a voice.
Greta Anderson, Project Development Officer
Telephone: 07495 444007
Greta worked for 23 years in local government, for both London Borough of Southwark and London Borough of Sutton, in Libraries and information services. After relocating from London to East Sussex in 2011. She worked for a short time for East Sussex County Council again for the Library and Information Services, before joining the National Trust as a Volunteer Manager – this was an enjoyable and wonderfully chaotic role working in a beautiful setting.
Jessica Gee, Volunteer and Community Engagement Officer
Telephone: 07949 812 027
Jessica (she/her) joined the ESCV staff team in June 2021 as the Engagement and Volunteer Support Officer.
Jessica has been working in the voluntary sector, both in the UK and internationally, for the last 8 years. She obtained her BSc degree in International Development Studies in 2010 from the Open University.
Alex Hawkins, Communications Officer
Telephone: 07794 100409
Alex joined the team at ESCV in March 2022 having previously worked with Sussex Police.
Alex has previously worked in various communication roles including in the voluntary sector and has obtained her Master’s Degree in Marketing, Branding and Communication from the University of Brighton.
Information and Signposting Advisor
Telephone: 07494 960532
Kate joined ESCV following 13 years of working in Commissioning for the NHS in East Sussex and Brighton and Hove.
Kate previously worked in Project Management for several voluntary and community sector organisations in East Sussex.
Kate has a broad knowledge of the local health and social care system, which she hopes will enable her to help members of the public to access the right health or social care service for their needs.
Information and Signposting Advisor
Telephone: 07506 925166
Zoe joined ESCV in June 2022 as an Information and Signposting advisor. She has extensive experience working in a variety of social care settings and is passionate about supporting people and community engagement.
Zoe also has a background in social care research, having completed her PhD in Social Work and Social Care at the University of Sussex.
Trainee Engagement Officer
Telephone: 07432 570521
Kira joined ESCV in May 2023 as a Trainee Engagement Officer.
Kira is passionate about creating positive change in the community and championing young people to ensure that their voices are heard. She obtained her BSc degree in Counselling Psychology from the University of Chichester in 2022
Telephone: 07903 246308
Yasmine joined ESCV in June 2023 as a Programme Officer.
Yasmine has previously carried out voluntary work for a number of non-profit organisations and charities such as Terrence Higgins Trust where she volunteered as an outreach worker.
Yasmine obtained her BSc in Public Health from the University of Brighton and is currently completing her MSc in Health Promotion.
Volunteer Programme Officer
Telephone: 07932 065695
Sharon joined ESCV in July 2023. She has been managing and developing teams of volunteers for the last 10 years in the voluntary and public sector.
Prior to that Sharon was a training and development professional (CIPD) working in the Home Office, Cabinet Office and the NHS. Sharon is passionate about the benefits of volunteering – both for the individual and the organisation.
Grants Programme Officer
Telephone: 07932 065696
Anna joined ESCV in August 2023. She previously spent ten years working for the charity National Numeracy, managing a variety of projects including resource development and support programmes for schools, employers and the general public.
She also has experience working in communications, alumni development, and managing a small online retail business.
Keith Stevens, Chair
Keith retired from Coutts & Co. in 2001 after 32 service. He carried out a variety of roles in the Bank but most of his time was spent specialising in taxation and medical finance.
In 1991 he became a non-executive director of the RNTNE hospital in the first wave of trust hospitals until it merged with the Royal Free. After retiring Keith worked for the Royal Household for a short time and he became a Parish Councillor.
He is currently Chairman of East Sussex Association of Local Councils (ESALC) and of East Sussex Strategic Partnership (ESSP). Keith is also the Treasurer for a number of voluntary organisations.
Roger Sweetman, Non-Executive Director
Now retired, Roger was an active trade union member, and had experience of different officer roles within his branch throughout his 35 year career in the Civil Service, which was almost entirely spent in East Sussex.
He has been involved in the voluntary sector for many years as a member of numerous groups including the Hastings & Rother Health & Social Care Forum, and was the chairman of a Hastings charity the Friends of St Mary-in-the-Castle for 10 years, and he is proud that with the secretary and the other trustees he obtained one of the firsts grants in excess of £1m from the National Lottery.
Roger is a member of his surgery’s PPG; and also a patient representative for Hastings & Rother on both the NHS’s ESHT End of Life Care Improvement Group and East Sussex End of Life Care Evaluation & Development Clinical Reference Group.
Roger lives in Hastings with Paul, his civil partner and Monte, their two year old Blenheim Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
Baldev Soni, Non-Executive Director
Baldev moved to the UK from Kenya at the age of 16 and his first job was working at Tesco for 50 pence a day! Over the next few years he worked hard and qualified as an accountant by the age 22. He has now retired after working for 37 years in local government and as a Pensions Officer at Sussex University. He speaks four languages.
Baldev now spends his time using his vast knowledge and experience to undertake charity work and his list of voluntary jobs is extensive to say the least. He was Chair of Governors while the new secondary school in Peacehaven was being built and was also responsible for finance as Treasurer on the Board of Governors of Varndean School, Brighton. As a Board member, Treasurer, Company Secretary and later Chair of Mosaic, a charity in Brighton, he was responsible for raising funds and preparing / implementing financial regulations and policies. He was Secretary of the Sussex Branch of the Royal Institute of Public Administration and acted as Treasurer on the Board of Brighton’s Branch of Marriage Guidance Council – now renamed Relate. Baldev jointly managed the Parosi Group in Brighton to teach English to ethnic women, represented Peacehaven minorities on Meridian Older Peoples Forum and was on the Executive Committee of Sompriti based in Lewes. For many years he was an examiner for the Chartered Institute of Public Finance Accountants.
At present, alongside Baldev’s role on the Board of East Sussex Community Voice, he is organiser of events for the Sussex Indian Punjabi Society.
Vanessa Taylor, Non-Executive Director
Vanessa attended University and qualified as a pharmacist. Initially she worked for Boots and left when she had her children (three who are all grown up). Until they were older she worked part time in both hospital and retail.
Vanessa then went back to work for Boots where she progressed through the organisation – ending as Regional Professional Development Manager working across the whole of the South East and liaising closely with head office in Nottingham.
In 2004 the Company was sold to a private equity company (KKR) at this time she was offered the opportunity to take early retirement and redundancy.
Vanessa was very fortunate as there were notmany opportunities for pharmacists and set up as a consultant. She worked as the chief officer for the Local Pharmaceutical Committee, provided consultant services to a number of Pharmaceutical Companies both in the UK and abroad.
Vanessa also worked to provide training on medicines to Care Homes across the South East.
In 2018 she retired from work as a pharmacist and applied for my name to be removed from the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) register.
Vanessa now volunteers for the Foodbank in Eastbourne and also acts as chair of the Digital First IT programme for the East Sussex wide NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
Vanessa joined our Board on In January 2020.
Beth Simmons, Non-Executive Director
Originally a teacher in Newcastle and London, Beth worked in East London where she set up a housing advice service that also provided a mobile debt bus. Later she was Regional Director for three major housing associations based in London and the south East. She was responsible for building new homes, as well as ensuring tenants lived in decent homes within a good community.
She was a local councillor in London for seven years and as well as concentrating on education and the provision of decent housing she very much enjoyed working for people in her constituency in Tottenham.
Since moving to Sussex, she has been chair of Heathfield PPG and then chair of the High Weald Patients’ Group. She has tried to spread good practice around the surgeries in the area to ensure that they respond to patient needs.
She is committed to helping patients have a strong voice in their health service.