About us

Volunteer Uttlesford was established in 1995 to support the community of Uttlesford, which is the largest geographical district in Essex and the most rural

We understand that finding a volunteer is only the start of the process

Volunteer Uttlesford has three main roles:

  • to enable people wanting to volunteer to find suitable opportunities and to support them
  • to help local voluntary and statutory organisations to find volunteers
  • to promote the ethos of volunteering locally, providing a centre of information on all aspects of volunteering



We are a registered charity governed by a board of trustees.   Our current board members include:

Robin Lee

After graduating from Surrey University, Robin worked in the computer industry in roles from programmer, through business analyst to global IT Infrastructure Director for a US pharmaceutical multinational. On retiring he completed his PGCE by retraining as a Computer Science teacher for Secondary schools. He is now Chair of Volunteer Uttlesford and also volunteers with the NSPCC Schools Service for Childline, as a Technology teacher for Essex Libraries, recording technician for Uttlesford Talking Newspaper, Trustee for Citizens Advice Bureau and as a technology co-ordinator for the RNIB. He plays tennis, cycles and skis, enjoys Formula 1, photography, travel and all things technology related

Rowena Gardner

Rowena Gardner is an independent consultant, providing commercially focussed, tailored and pragmatic management solutions to a range of clients. She has particular expertise in operational management, business administration and marketing/communications which she gained from working with organisations of varying sizes and across a range of industry sectors, including life sciences, telecommunications and software.

Rowena holds qualifications in biochemistry and in marketing; she is a Member of the Institute of Directors, the Chartered Institute of Marketing and the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.

Kathy Nixon

Kathy has a background in the public sector, working in senior leadership roles in the Probation Service and local government. Throughout most of her career she has also commissioned services from the voluntary and community sector. Safeguarding has been a theme underpinning many of her professional roles. She has been a volunteer herself in various environments for many years. In addition to being a trustee for Volunteer Uttlesford, she currently volunteers as the Child Protection Coordinator for the Newport Amateur Theatrical Society and is a member of the fundraising committee for the Kyangala Trust.

Robert Wallace

Robert has recently joined the VU Board of Trustees. He has a professional background in volunteer management, with over 10 years’ experience working for a range of different charities. Currently he is working full time as Voluntary Services Manager at St Clare Hospice in Essex.

Robert has a degree in History. He has two young children and in his spare time plays a sport called Korfball. He is a Tottenham Hotspur supporter.

Richard Boyce

Richard has recently retired after a career in management consultancy, where he specialised in operational excellence, advising a wide variety of businesses on their systems, processes and organisation.  Working with boards and senior management he further assisted clients in managing the implementation of the resulting changes. For the last three years Richard was Operations Director for a mid-tier management consultancy, ensuring that the practice of 2,000 consultants located in ten locations throughout Europe was effectively supported with policies, systems, processes and information.

Richard has a degree in Mathematics and Computer Science. He lives in Saffron Walden where he enjoys sport, gardening, the arts, and food and drink.

Karen Barker

Karen has a background in IT and project management, with previous roles in the public sector and more recently an airport. She has a law degree.

Karen currently holds a senior leadership role in IT for an airport group, with responsibility for group-wide IT project delivery and commercial IT offerings. She has also been a volunteer in differing positions over the last 12 years. Karen lives in a village on the outskirts of Saffron Walden, has two dogs and enjoys walking.

Staff Team

Lizzie Petrie
Centre Manager

Lizzie manages a committed team of staff and volunteers. As Manager of Volunteer Uttlesford, she represents the centre on numerous committees. She aims to build mutually supportive relationships with individuals and organisations that facilitate volunteering in Uttlesford. She advises and supports participating charities.

Susan Dennison
Team Administrator

Susan is responsible for administrative support. She manages VU’s financial and administrative systems, and the volunteer databases. It is her role to ensure that policies and procedures are operated and maintained appropriately. She also liaises between volunteers, office staff and trustees.

Tessa Deriziotis
Time Bank Developer

Tessa is responsible for developing Time Bank Uttlesford – taking the Time Bank message out to the rural areas of Uttlesford, making contact with the local communities to promote the huge benefits of Time Bank. Tessa also arranges Time Bank exchanges between the members.


We are grateful for the support of our volunteers – Paul Chinnock, Jan Dodson, Kay Eardley, Patricia Hodges, Ann Holloway, Bruce Milne, Anne McLellan.