Staff team


Andrew White, Chief Executive

Andrew joined Involve North East in 2018 and has responsibility for the management of the organisation. He has many years’ experience of charity leadership and brings with him skills from the education, enterprise and skills sharing sectors, having worked in teaching and publishing before moving to the charitable sector. As well as developing and leading cross-sector partnerships, Andrew co-chaired the Newcastle Voluntary Sector Liaison Group for over two years giving him a great insight into the work of charities across the city and the communities they serve.


Dan Duhrin, Project Coordinator

Dan’s primary role is to create strong relationships with communities and health professionals across the north east, enabling patients, carers and the public to be fully involved in every aspect of our work. He also leads on our contribution to the public health rotation for medical students at Newcastle University, where we open students’ eyes to the communities most adversely affected by social and economic determinants of health.

Dan joined the organisation in 2007, after working on a range of projects aimed at improving health, fitness and quality of life across the community.


Leah Lamb, Research and Communications Coordinator

Leah is Involve North East’s research lead, using her extensive experience of research methodologies to coordinate the design and delivery of all our research projects. She is also responsible for keeping up to date with national, regional and local health and social care policy developments.

Leah joined the organisation in 2007, having worked for the Northern Housing Consortium as project lead for the Rural Housing Needs service and producing a number of publications examining housing policy and its implications.

Leah has a Master’s degree in Information and Library Management.


Mandy Snee, Project Officer

Mandy supports all of Involve North East's projects, undertaking research and public engagement activities. Mandy is also skilled at engaging with disempowered and marginalised groups. She has a passion for supporting the health and wellbeing of others and has 20 years of experience working with people in various social care and social work roles.

Mandy has previously worked in local authority and third sector positions, specialising in adult mental health. She has studied sociology and psychology, later obtaining a Masters in Social Work from Durham University.



Frances Blackburn portrait

Frances Blackburn, Chair

Frances joined the Board of Involve North East in 2013.

She is a registered adult nurse who has worked in the  NHS (predominantly in the Newcastle Hospitals) for the last 33 years, having come to Newcastle as a Student Nurse in 1980.

Having worked for many years within Cardiac teams she held a post in the Senior Nursing Team in the Trust this provided the opportunity to be involved in work related to, Patient Involvement, Equality and Diversity, Public Health with a focus on enhancing the patient experience. Since 2018 Frances has returned to a direct clinical role working in an out-patient setting which has allowed her to have lots of patient and public contact whilst developing some new clinical skills.


Lynda Cox

Lynda joined the Board of Involve North East in 2019.

She has 30 years' public sector experience, first in local government and then in regional and national strategic NHS management roles. She was a senior programme manager, leading programmes across the North East and nationally in large scale change, service improvement, knowledge and information management.

Lynda has a BA in information management and a MSc in knowledge management.  She now spends her time on board work for three health and social care organisations.  As well as a Trustee for INE, she is also a Healthwatch Gateshead committee member and Vice Chair of Tyneside and Northumberland Mind.

Ruth Rogan

Ruth Rogan

Ruth joined the Board of Involve North East in 2016.

Ruth is a registered social worker who has a long career of working in the voluntary and statutory children's services at a senior management level in London, Yorkshire and the North East.

Most recently she worked for Newcastle City Council and since 2014 has worked in safeguarding with the Diocese of Newcastle.

In addition to her social work qualification she has a Diploma in Management Studies from the University of York and a Coaching certificate from Northumbria University.

Neina Sheldon 

Neina Sheldon

Neina joined the Board of Involve North East in 2019.

She has over 14 years’ experience in marketing and communications in brand and agency roles across a variety of sectors. Her work has naturally developed with her interests, taking in offline and digital marketing, communications and customer insights. She works part-time as a digital content journalist and is also director of Lightopia CIC.

Neina holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Leadership and Management Development, a Diploma in Copywriting, a Diploma in Digital Marketing and a BA (Hons) in Business Management.


Niamh Storey

Niamh joined the Board of Involve North East in 2019.

Niamh is a PhD student studying Social Policy. Her research focuses on the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) on children and families in the North East. She is particularly interested in methods which promote young children’s rights to participate in the research process.

Alongside this, Niamh volunteers with Citizens Advice as a researcher and campaigner to investigate local, regional and national policy issues.

Niamh holds a BSc in Psychology and an MSc in Health Psychology.


Stephen Telford

Stephen joined the Board of Involve North East in 2019.

He has over 15 years’ experience of working for local and national charities in the North East with roles focussing on relationship development, programme implementation and employer engagement. Having previously worked primarily on programmes supporting young people, Stephen currently works for The Alnwick Garden managing their Enterprise programmes and supporting the growth of the charity.

Stephen holds a MA Politics from the University of Glasgow and a Diploma in Leadership and Management.