Our Trustees

Joe Irvin OBE (Chair)
Joe has lived in Islington for over 30 years. He became a trustee of Voluntary Action Islington in 2014. He has served as chief executive of national charities NAVCA and Living Streets. Joe has worked in senior posts in Government, including as special adviser to the Deputy Prime Minister 1997-2001 and in No 10 Downing Street 2006-2010, as well as at the TGWU, the TUC, and at the RSPB. Joe’s voluntary roles include being a governor at Tufnell Park primary school in Islington, setting up a centre for unemployed people, combating child poverty, protecting the environment, mental health and aiding ex-offenders into work. He was also an elected trustee of ACEVO for 6 years, latterly as Chair.

Jo Langdale (Vice-Chair)
Jo Langdale, Chartered Fellow of CIPD, is an independent Human Resources and Business Development Consultant, Coach, Mentor and Facilitator. She is an experienced board chair and member who has led successful partnership working and community engagement at senior strategic level, including in Central and Local Government as Home Office UK lead setting up Europol and for the introduction of Neighbourhood and Community Policing. She spent a year on secondment to the Metropolitan Police Service Senior Command Team in London Borough of Haringey leading on Partnership, Community Engagement and Communication. Jo was a Director and CSR Ambassador for Islington Chamber of Commerce prior to becoming a Trustee of VAI in 2013 and is a member of the Working Group of Islington Employability Network. She is a Champion for Women on Boards UK and Recruit with Conviction. Her special interests include governance, strategy, performance, inclusion, youth, justice, education, community safety and engagement. 

Emma Hutchins (Vice-Chair)
Emma currently works for national charity Art Fund as Policy Manager and has previously worked for the Association of Charitable Foundations and a small international peacebuilding charity, with experience in policy, advocacy, communications, external affairs, and fundraising. Emma holds an MA in International Relations (Gender) and a BSc in International Relations and Spanish. Emma has lived in Islington for five years and volunteers with local charity North London Cares, connecting older and younger neighbours in the borough, as well as the InfoLatinos network supporting those who have recently moved to the UK from Latin America.

Colin Adams MBE (Board member) 
‎Colin is the director at Hanley Crouch Community Association and is the Chair of the Octopus Community Hubs network which is a collective of 15 community centres across Islington and has been the chair for many years. He is also the chair of the Hate Crime Forum which was set up in 2020 and works with approx. 20 community groups/networks across Islington ranging from faith groups to LGBT organisations. The aim is to increase the reporting of hate crime and more importantly, detection and sanction rates. He was awarded an MBE for services to equality and diversity and young people in the New Years Honours list in 2007. Colin’s previous work can be found here.

Hussain Ahmed (Board member) 
‎Hussain grew up in Islington where his mum, extended family and friends still live. He grew up in a humble background where thanks to charitable organisations at the time, he experienced the significant and positive impact of their work. He has significant experience in IT, larger-scale projects and logistic delivery – working with start-ups through to global enterprises. He volunteered and worked in a number of charitable institutions when he was younger and has a significant understanding of the importance of volunteering. Some of the charities he has volunteered for include Crisis ( managing their IT infrastructure), Playgroup Leader at a local school – Gillespie/ Ambler as well as running a number of Societies at work.

Jorge Llorens (Treasurer)
Jorge Llorens joined Voluntary Action Islington as Treasurer and Trustee in December 2019. He has worked for more than 20 years in the finance sector, in London and Madrid. Throughout his career in investment and corporate banking, he has held senior management roles in international organisations including Goldman Sachs, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and BBVA, in areas such as Mergers & Acquisitions advisory, Financing and Client Coverage. Jorge is passionate about contributing his experience in finance to benefit the broader community, working with organisations that help people achieve better outcomes. He is currently an Investment Director at Social and Sustainable Capital, one of the UK’s first fund managers specialising in social impact investing. Jorge is also a Treasurer and Trustee at the Poetry Translation Centre.

Ken Hettiarchi (Board Member) 
Ken the founding director of Freedom Works UK, a coaching and mentoring organisation based in Islington since January 2012. Ken has been working in Islington recently providing leadership coaching for local residents affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Ken has lived in Islington since 1984 (apart from 3 weeks in Stoke Newington in autumn 1984).

Santa Gascoigne (Board member) 
Santa is a Strategic Account Director, working for RSA Insurance. She has been with RSA for over ten years in various strategy, account management and data analytics roles. Prior to that Santa was a Strategy Consultant working for OC&C. She has been involved in various pro bono projects supporting international development and local community charities, as well as mentoring teenagers in North London schools. Santa has always been passionate about gender equality in the workplace and was on the Board of the City Women’s Network. She joined Voluntary Action Islington as a Trustee in September 2020. Santa lives in Islington with her husband and two young children.

Phil Kelly (Board member)
Phil is a former Islington Councillor, school governor, charity trustee, Sec. London Labour Mayors Assoc and, formerly, the Chair of Voluntary Action Islington.