Chris Francis Chair (BSc, PGCE, MBA)

Chris became a Trustee in October 2013

Chris is a lecturer in Environmental Conservation and Curriculum Manager (Land-based at East Durham College's Houghall campus. After a spell as a secondary school teacher, Chris became Education Officer at what is now Washington Wetlands Centre in 1989, before becoming Centre Manager in 1991. After a brief return to working in secondary education in 2008, Chris spent two years as a Climate Change Officer with Middlesbrough Council before joining Scotswood Natural Community Garden as Project Director in 2011. Chris left the garden October 2013 to take a post at Houghall College on the outskirts of Durham City.


Stephanie Cole Vice Chair

 Stephanie became a trustee in June 2015 after many years of admiring the garden's work from afar.

She has worked in the voluntary sector for 17 years, including 11 years working for local support organisations: Newcastle CVS and North Tyneside VODA. In May 2014, She set up a social enterprise called Sharing Learning Doing, which helps people and organisations to do good things. Stephanie is also a trustee of Northern Creative Solutions, the charity that runs Broadacre House.

‘My passion is encouraging people to share and be open, to help people recognise their assets and what they can do, and to help people learn how to do things for themselves. I trust and have faith in people and in the power of small actions. I believe that by working together and sharing our assets, we can achieve real, lasting social change.’

Miles Henderson, Treasurer 

Miles became a trustee on 11th December 2019

Miles has worked in the business and banking sector for most of his working life, more recently he is working as a lecturer. 


Chris Warburton Brown 

Chris became a trustee on 26th January 2022

Chris's first involvement with the Garden was from 1999-2003 as a volunteer, working with the original team (Ed Tyler, Ken Bradshaw and Ian Cameron) to plant trees, build ponds and lead international work camps. He returned in 2021 to make a short film and was invited to become a trustee, which he was delighted to accept. Chris has a strong background in both community and environmental work; he did community development in Walker for a decade, holds a PhD in Urban Studies, and for the last 12 years has been working for the Permaculture Association, promoting climate change solutions and sustainable living with a particular interest in forest gardens and scientific research. He lives in Walker with his wonderful wife and two teenage daughters, who love the Garden almost as much as he does.


Emily Clough

Trustee since June 2023

Emily is a Climate Change Professional & University Lecturer, with an long-standing interest in urban permaculture. Emily is also a keen gardener and allotmenteer who applies permaculture principles to her own gardening. 


Gillian Milne 

Trustee since June 2023

Gillian attends the garden as a member of Elderberries, Late Bloomers (older Women's Gardening Group) and through our Growing Together volunteering programme. She can often be seen out and about in the garden, where she especially loves taking care of the hens.

Gillian brings insight to the board through her understanding of so many of our adult programmes of work some of which are also attended by other family members. 


Helen McStravick

Trustee since June 2023

Helen lives locally to the garden. She has a son that attends our Nature Rangers youth group and can often be seen enjoying our community open days with her family. Helen works for the Department of Education in Early Years Policy and is a school governor. She also has experience as a former charity Chair and as a Cabinet Member and Ward Councillor. 


Shahid Rasul 

Trustee since July 2023

Shahid is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Engineering and Environment at Northumbria University. Shahid has a background in environmental engineering, sustainable development and project management.

Shahid strongly believes in the importance of making a meaningful impact on our community by promoting sustainable living practices and educating people about the importance
of environmental conservation. 

Sharon Hall 

Trustee since June 2023

Sharon lives locally to the garden and enjoys attending with her 6 grandchildren. 

Sharon is a Business Support Officer with Emmaus UK and has a wealth of retail experience particularly in the charity sector. She is keen to support the charity to grow and build our trading opportunities through Sticky Business and Canny Plants, as well as to look at other potential trading activities. 


Tony Millan 

 Trustee since June 2023 

 Tony is a highly qualified horticulturalist, who has worked in the land based sector for over 40 years, much of which has been in Education and Training. He worked at the John Marley Centre as Head of Horticulture, and led on various partnership projects with the Garden. He has an in-depth knowledge of Scotswood Garden and the Community we are based in.  

Tony was a trustee (and Chair) of Scotswood Garden for 12 years, before taking a break in 2018. We are thrilled that he has re-joined the board.