If you are interested in becoming a Trustee, please see the job description and our Vision and Mission Statement.


You will need to submit a Trustee application form, complete a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) criminal record check, and provide satisfactory references, and you would be invited to observe a Board meeting.





Wendy Back (Chairperson)

I joined the Board of New Directions in 2008 after having worked in Local Government from 1983 until I retired at the end of 2007. I initially worked in the Housing Department of Rugby Borough Council where I gained a professional qualification in housing studies and became a member of the Chartered Institute of Housing. I went on to manage a Housing Section for another Local Authority and later became a Director managing all the Council’s front line services from 1998 until 2005, after which I became the Council’s Chief Executive until I retired in December 2007.

I have a wealth of experience in working with Local Councils, County Councils, Government Offices, Housing Associations and Charitable Trusts and most other front line services. I have previously served on the Boards of Rockingham Forest Housing Association and South Leicestershire College.

Margaret Sedgley (Treasurer)

Margaret Sedgley 100x150I have been involved with New Directions since 1978 becoming Hon. Secretary in 1987, and Company Secretary in 1991 when the Society formed a charitable limited company, Rugby Mencap Hostels.

I retired in April 2009 and was invited to join the Board. In my role as a Trustee, I seek to work hard to uphold the aims and objectives of the Company for the benefit of people with learning disabilities.


Julia Sanders

I became a trustee of New Directions in January 2012.

I have over 30 years experience in the area of special education, working with students with a wide range of learning difficulties. For much of this time I was Deputy Head Teacher of a Special School in Coventry– giving me an extensive understanding and experience in the leadership and management of a complex organisation. I have firsthand experience working with the parents and carers of people with learning difficulties and understand the difficult decisions and anxieties that families face.

I am a governor for the Federation of Coventry Secondary Special Schools, I am involved in wildlife conservation and I am a keen gardener. I enjoy both practical and creative arts and have become actively involved in the Day Opportunities service at New Directions.

Diana Rayner

I first started working with people with learning disabilities in Scotland in 1985. I was a volunteer with a charity offering basic literacy and numeracy and social skills to people from the local day centres. I then became a tutor in the group and went on to set up more groups in the area. I then moved to one of the centres as an instructor and ran the independent living training flat.

When my husband’s job brought us to Warwickshire in 1991 I worked for a year in a local primary school with children with special needs. After that I became an assistant clinical psychologist with the local NHS learning disability team, based at Admiral’s Court and working with children and adults. I then became a psychological therapist which was the post I held when I retired in May 2015.

That involved working with local residents, families, carers and staff, offering advice and support to sort out difficulties and improve their quality of life and I was delighted to be able to extend that support as an adviser to the Board. This gave me an inside view of the dedicated work that goes on in New Directions to make it the innovative and exciting force that it has become so I was thrilled to be asked to become a trustee when I retired.

Being a Trustee means that I can still help to make a difference to people’s lives as well as enjoying the relationships that have built up over many years and I’m proud to be part of a dynamic organisation that is constantly looking ahead to the next challenge which then becomes another stepping stone in the lives of people in Rugby.

Syd Barhey

I joined the Board of New Directions in January 2016 and bring over 30 years of finance experience with me. Having originally qualified as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG in 1990, I have since gained a wealth of finance and commercial experience in a range of well known ‘blue chip’ organisations and am currently Chief Financial Officer at the London based consumer products company JML.

I have lived in Rugby almost all of my life and both of my children were born and went to school here – I therefore owe much of what I have achieved both professionally and personally to this town. I was therefore only too delighted to seize the opportunity of joining the Board of New Directions when it arose at the end of last year, as the possibility of being able to use my skills and experience to contribute to an organisation that has done, and continues to do, such wonderful work for the people of Rugby feels like a great way to offer something back to the town and community to whom I owe so much.

Jan Phillips

I joined New Directions Board of Trustees in May 2016. I have a brother who is a resident with New Directions living in the Gateway Court complex. I believe that my life experiences have given me a good understanding of the issues and concerns that can face individuals and family members with regards to learning disabilities.

I have over thirty years’ experience working within the community development field with both adults and young people. This work has been within a variety of settings including youth services, community development programmes and more recently the addictions field.

I work in an anti-oppressive way with the view to enabling groups and individuals to develop their confidence and skills to become independent. I have total commitment to equality of access which includes people being given the opportunity to make informed choices and influence service delivery.

I am therefore motivated by the innovative plans New Directions has for the future to support more people with learning and physical disabilities and am pleased to be part of a proactive organisation.

Martin Orrill

It has been a real honour to join the New Directions board of Trustees in early 2017. I have always been humbled by the fantastic work the team at New Directions undertake.

Our daughter uses the service and loves the team at Milner House. I retired from British Gas as their Head of Energy Technology and Innovation after 42 years in 2016 and I hope to be able to utilise some of my business experience to help New Directions during their next exciting chapter.

Phil Hughes

I was delighted to join the Board of Trustees for New Directions in 2018.  I have a sister who lives in Supported Living accommodation managed by New Directions, therefore I see at first hand the dedicated support of the staff to the residents.  My family very much appreciates all the care she receives.

I am an accountant by training having qualified with Grant Thornton in Oxford.  I then moved into industry and undertook a variety of roles culminating in being the Global CFO for Castrol, the lubricants company.  Since leaving Castrol I have turned my focus to Not For Profit organisations;  I have recently been the Interim Finance Director for the British Red Cross and have also completed six years as trustee for Young Epilepsy based in Surrey.

Alison Gregory


I joined the Board of New Directions in 2019 and have a broad experience in community projects, regeneration and creating places where people can thrive.

I am committed to the excellent work that New Directions does to make a positive difference for people using their services.  I am proud to be part of an organisation that delivers a wide range of services with excellence and enthusiasm.

I am delighted to bring my skills and experience to my role as Trustee of New Directions.  I am passionate about bringing opportunities to people for a fulfilled life, where they can flourish.

Adrian Canale-Parola

I joined the Board of New Directions in May 2021, having previously worked for over 30 years as a GP Principal in Rugby.  During this time I was appointed as Clinical Assistant for Learning Disability, and spent 20 years or so working as part of a multi-disciplinary team providing a community service locally.  I have also been involved with clinical commissioning for may years, and from 2013 to 2018 was appointed Chair of Coventry and Rugby Clinical Commissioning Group, responsible for the commissioning of health care for the population of Coventry and Rugby.  I am also a long-standing Trustee of Rugby High School, with a responsibility for overseeing Safeguarding and Special Educational Needs and Disability.

I am pleased to be able to bring my skills and wide experience to New Directions, to continue to work locally to support some of the most vulnerable members of our society in maintaining their independence and maximising their potential.

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