Leadership & Governance
Alternatives is a registered charity, governed by a board of trustees. Our trustees are all volunteers who give their time and expertise freely to the cause.
The Trustees have appointed a CEO to lead and manage the day-to-day operation of Alternatives. In turn, the CEO is supported by four part-time members of staff and around 15 dedicated volunteers.
Brief biographies of our CEO and Trustees are as follows:
CEO: Angela Such DipHE MBACP
Angela was appointed in January 2013 to lead and manage the charity. She is a qualified counsellor and leads the Alternatives counselling team, as well having active involvement within it. In addition, Angela has been responsible for the growth and the many fundraising successes and other initiatives that Alternatives has seen in recent years – including the opening and running of the mother and baby shop in Clarendon Road, Watford and the launch of the Baby Box project.
When asked about her motivation for the cause, Angela said: “Sadly, pregnancy and motherhood is not a time of joy and excitement for everyone. It is a tremendously painful time for some. The recognition of this fact – combined with the lack of dedicated services for those needing compassionate pregnancy-related care – gives me great passion for this charity and it is a pleasure to lead it.”
CHAIR: Brett Gunning BCom, MSC, DipHE, MBACP, (ACCRED)
Brett returned to the Alternatives board of trustees in 2018, having served previously between 2008 and 2015. He is an accredited counsellor and organisational health practitioner and brings a broad range of experience in individual and organisational health and wellbeing, as well as two decades of experience in business management and marketing.
Of being involved with Alternatives Brett says: "I have been a supporter of Alternatives and its work since its envisioning in 2002. I believe in its importance within an evolving society where pregnancy and pregnancy-related issues affect every area. An investment into health and wellbeing at this level has a lasting impact on generations to follow, hence when asked if I would become a trustee back in 2008, the response required no second thought."
TREASURER: Chris Strevens
Chris became a trustee of Alternatives in 2012, bringing a wealth of financial and business expertise to the Board. Chris has two decades of experience as a commercial banker, holding various senior roles and is credited with establishing a major bank’s move into funding for the healthcare sector. In 2000, Chris and a colleague purchased a UK dental services company. Various acquisitions and developments have followed and Chris is now at the centre a group of companies specialising in legal, sales and recruitment support for the dental and pharmaceutical industries.
About joining Alternatives, Chris says “My wife, Gill, has been a dedicated Alternatives volunteer for many years and I’ve found the work of this charity particularly moving and inspiring. When I heard that Alternatives was looking for a Board member with experience in finance and business, I was delighted to have been able to offer myself”.
TRUSTEE: Elaine Hawkings MBACP
Elaine became a trustee of Alternatives in November 2014, having volunteered for the charity since 2006. Elaine is a retired physiotherapist and she is also a qualified and popular counsellor. She brings a decade of counselling experience to the Board, from both voluntary and private practices. In addition to volunteering as a Board member, Elaine continues to volunteer as a specialist post-abortion counsellor for Alternatives.
In her own words, Elaine says “It has been a privilege to have been involved with Alternatives for so many years. From volunteering at school lunch clubs, to bereavement and post-abortion counselling, I have seen the huge value of the work of Alternatives and the life-changing impact it brings to so many people.”
TRUSTEE: Wil Berdinner BA (Hons), MCIM, MInstF (Cert)
Wil became a trustee of Alternatives in July 2015. He brings more than a decade of charity sector expertise to the Board. Wil is a Certificated Member of the Institute of Fundraising and has worked for local, national and international charitable causes, including four years as Director of Fundraising and Communications for Watford-based homelessness charity New Hope. Today, Wil is a charity consultant and a member of the Wootton George national fundraising consultancy team.
In his own words, Wil says “I have known of the work of Alternatives since it began. However, my appreciation for the cause has become so much greater since having children and recognising the many struggles that parents face along the way. It's a privilege to be involved with this important cause.”
TRUSTEE: Dr Helena Fetto MA (Cantab), MRCOG, MBBS
Helena became a trustee of Alternatives in September 2016, bringing exceptional clinical expertise to the Board. Helena studied medicine at the University of Cambridge and GKT School of Medial Education and she is Member of the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. She has worked for the NHS since 2002, most recently as Senior Registrar in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Because of her work in this field, Helena is a strong advocate for better mental health provision for those suffering pregnancy-related challenges.
Helena joined the Board of Alternatives having experienced the work of the charity first-hand. In her own words: “I referred a close relative to Alternatives a few years ago, and the impact of the counselling sessions was profoundly important. I am thrilled to be a part of this much-needed charity”.
TRUSTEE: Barbie Pocklington BA (Hons), BTECH NAT DIP
Barbie became a trustee in 2018, bringing more than 13 years of retail experience and creativity to the charity. She has worked for large retail companies including Wallis, TJX Europe and Ralph Lauren and holds a qualifications in Design and Display and Spatial Design. In her spare time Barbie leads pastoral work at a local church and has a passion for connecting, equipping and empowering women. In her own words:
“I feel very honoured to be able to be a part of the care and support Alternatives offers to the women of Watford and the surrounding areas. I needed to use the services of Girl About [a former part of Alternative’s work] many years ago and the care and love I received left a resounding mark on me. Now, later in life, having had pregnancy struggles and a child myself I can’t think of a better charity for supporting women in need in such an amazingly accessible way. No women should struggle alone and the work of Alternatives means this doesn’t need to ever be the case.”