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:

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.

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.

Charlotte Turner
Charlotte is a researcher, working in corporate responsibility, sustainability and social value assessment for over 25 years. Prior to founding Bean Research in 2012, she held directorships with both The Prince of Wales’ Business in the Community and Ipsos MORI.
She is also an Associate and Doctoral Researcher at Cranfield University School of Management, an Accredited Practitioner of Social Value UK, a Fellow of the Institute for Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability, a Life Fellow of the RSA, a mother of two teenage children and a proud Uttlesford resident!
Dr Gareth Oakland

Gareth is a Charted Accountant who led the government and public sector forensic investigations practice at PwC until his retirement in 2015. Since then he has returned to university to study 19th Century French history, taking an MA in 2017 and completing his PhD in December 2020. He has previously been the Treasurer and Chairman of several small not-for-profit organisations and took up the role of Treasurer of Volunteer Uttlesford in July 2020.  He is President of Bearsted Cricket Club where he still enjoys opening the batting.  He is a keen road cyclist and spends many happy hours in the villages, cafes and pubs of rural Essex.    

Robert Wallace

Robert 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.

Hilary Oakley

Hilary is a senior organisation development and HR professional with experience in a variety of organisations, helping to create environments where people can flourish. She has worked in the charity sector for nearly 20 years. She currently leads people transformation activity for an international charity and non-governmental organisation.

She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development and has an MSc in People & Organisation Development. She is married with one (grown-up) son. She enjoys her allotment and sewing.

Staff Team

Lizzie Petrie
Chief Executive Officer

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
Finance and Administrative Officer

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
Project Coordinator

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.