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Our People


Photo of Stuart Dexter

Stuart Dexter - Chair

I joined the board of GVOC in 2011, becoming vice-chair in 2012 and finally took up the role of chair in June 2014.

After spending 8 years working in the Music Industry straight from school I decided that music was much better as a hobby and studied for a degree in Informal & Community Education, a professional Youth & Community Work qualification, achieving a first class degree. I have held many posts in the Voluntary Sector and Youth & Community Work including Youth Work, Adult Education, Community Development and Environmental Regeneration. Since January 2010 I have been Chief Executive of Tyneside Mind (formally Mind in Gateshead). I am also one of two VCS representatives on the Council of Governors of NTW NHS Mental Health Foundation Trust.

Alison Dunn - Vice-chair

I joined GVOC’s Trustee Board in March 2012. I became the Vice Chair in March 2014

I am the Chief Executive Officer of Gateshead Advice Centre. Prior to my appointment as CEO in September 2012, I worked as a solicitor in private practice.

The Advice Centre provides advice, information, guidance, advocacy and representation on a range of social welfare issues to include housing, debt, welfare benefits and employment law. The purpose of my role is to support the Trustee Board, to provide leadership and strategic direction, to manage the human and financial resources of the business. To ensure the policies and procedures are delivered within an equal opportunites framework and our services are accessible to all.

Councillor Martin Gannon

Photo of Martin Gannon
Councillor Martin Gannon came onto the Board in 2010.

Joan Moon

I was co-opted as a Trustee in July 2013, my experience and knowledge of communities in Gateshead and my background in Community Education and Adult Education being the reason for this co-option.

I became a member of the Finance & Staffing sub-group in November 2013. I also chair the panel for the GVOC Grants for Groups which was established in June 2014

I took early retirement from teaching in 2002, having worked in Gateshead primary schools since 1970 with a break from 1974-1980. From 1990 until I retired I held the role of Community Teacher managing a Community Education Centre which was an integral part of Bede Community Primary school.

I have been involved in volunteering both as a volunteer and as a manager of volunteers for all of my adult life. Even as a child I was involved! First as a member of the Brownies and then the Junior Red Cross. The roles I have held include being a leader of uniformed organisations, running a playgroup, activist in an asylum seekers campaign group, trustee of a small charitable Family Centre to name but a few.

I was an independent member of Northumbria Police Authority from April 2007 until it ceased to exist in November 2012.

I first became involved with Gateshead Community Network in 2006 as a representative of a Family Centre that I was a trustee of – it was threatened with closure due to funding – we turned to GCN for support. Unfortunately the Family Centre did eventually close (in July 2007) but by then I was hooked – the role of GCN as “a voice for the community” was to me a critical one in ensuring local people are heard at all levels in the decision making that affects their lives. I became Chair of the Network’ Steering Group in 2009.

Peter Craig

Peter is a ward Councillor for Whickham and works in the IT industry. He has extensive experience of community work as a founder, trustee, volunteer and organiser including 15 years as a volunteer leader within the Scout Association. Peter has also been a school governor and Chair of Governors for 16 years. In his role as a ward Councillor, Peter set up the Friends of Chase Park who have recently been successful with a £1 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant. Peter is also active with two community groups in Whickham and is event organiser of the Whickham Community Festival and Coordinator of the Whickham Remembrance Day Parade since 2005. In his spare time Peter and his wife fund raise for national charities including Marie Curie Cancer Care and Help for Heroes.

Vikas Kumar

My current role on GVOCs board is that of a trustee and I joined in April 2013

I have a business and accounting background. I have over 14 years’ experience of working in the cultural sector and I am Director of GemArts, a National Portfolio Organisation funded by the Arts Council England, and is a nationally recognised leader in the diversity arts sector. GemArts produces and programmes innovative and exciting culturally diverse arts; we create and develop high quality concerts, events, festivals, and commissions with regional, national and international artists across all art forms. GemArts is committed to excellence in its participatory arts practice, particularly supporting artists working in the diversity sector, and specialises in delivering high quality arts based projects with schools and community groups across all age ranges, to provide creative, educational and enjoyable learning experiences and to promote a greater understanding of people and their respective cultures.

I am from Gateshead and have lived here all my life. GemArts is part of the charity Gateshead Visible Ethnic Minorities Support Group and prior to being employed as Director I worked for them in voluntary capacity since the organisation was formed in 1992. I am absolutely committed to equality and diversity and have worked with and supported BME, asylum seeker and refugee communities who face barriers on many levels, including personal, family, community and wider social and institutional contexts, and are at risk of isolation and exclusion . As a board member of GVOC I will work alongside trustees, staff and volunteers to ensure that all sections of the community are represented, have a voice and have equal access to services and opportunities. Furthermore I am passionate about community development, community empowerment and advocacy, in particular strengthening the BME voluntary infrastructure through high quality activity, training and development, and capacity building. I also believe that organisational leaders need to reflect and mirror the diverse nature of society, thus truly embedding diversity into the sector. There is a need for full and equal access to aspire, train and work in the voluntary, statutory, public and private sector whether BME including new migrant communities, disabled, deaf or other diversity areas.

My current non-executive roles include

  • Trustee/Board of Directors of the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art from 2007 to 2013. I am now Chair of Baltic’s Equality and Diversity Group
  • Trustee/Board of Directors of Sound Sense, a UK-wide development agency developing and supporting community music, including the specialist National Music and Disability Information Service.

I sit on Gateshead Diversity Forum and represent the Diversity Forum at Gateshead Strategic Partnership.