Trustees' Week 2023

Many voices. Working together. With purpose.

Trustees’ Week is held every year to celebrate the role played by Trustees’ of charities across the country. Without Trustees, charities would not be able to carry out the vital work they do with individuals and communities.

Giving their time on a voluntary basis, Trustees’ and the charities they work on behalf of make a huge and positive impact on society and are dedicated to an enormous variety of good causes.

This year Trustees’ Week celebrates the individual talents, viewpoints and experiences each trustee brings to their board and their collective decision making and how diversity can help make a charity stronger.

As part of the week we will be putting the spotlight on Wildside’s Trustees’, telling you who they are and a little bit about them and the fantastic work they do in ensuring Wildside can continue to work supporting the people and communities of Wolverhampton.

The first of our Trustees we want to introduce you to is a familiar face to many in Wolverhampton as he is someone who has served the city diligently for over four decades…

Rob Marris is a retired Wolverhampton MP, solicitor, and proud Wulfrunian.  Born, raised and part-educated in the city, he has lived in the same house for almost 40 years.  Rob’s background and connections in the city enable him to help to raise the organisation’s profile. Serving on several other charity boards enhances his experience.

Rob is a longstanding supporter of the Wildside Activity Centre, because of the work it does in improving awareness of, and care for, the natural world; and how this awareness and care can boost people’s sense of wellbeing.

Steve Downs: Having taught for 20 years Steve developed a love for Environmental Education. During this time he jointly ran the ‘Watch Group‘ – a groups for young adults interested in nature and ecology at Wildside. Steve then worked as a Project Officer at the centre, working on a number of local initiatives. He is active locally, volunteering in Smestow Valley. Steve is keen to share his knowledge and experience of Wildside and ensure we remain connected to the local environment.


Brian Fereday took on the role as a Trustee Member for Wildside in October 2016 after working as system administrator – keeping the business website up to date with ongoing events at the Centre.
Since becoming a Trustee he has worked with the other Board members assisting with important decision making to help overcome the challenges of everyday life at Wildside, especially through the very difficult Covid period, which was a particularly challenging period for the Centre.
Passionate about the wildlife around him, this interest certainly went hand in hand with Wildside’s philosophy.
Sadly, due to failing health Brian has had to take a back seat in the underlying passion which he has always had, and now find it more difficult to continue with my outside lifestyle/pursuit.
The Wildside rationale still attracts Brian to the centre, even though – as he says himself, he is now ‘unable to attend as many events as I did in yesteryear’.


(Pictured: Brian, seated, presenting a certificate to one of our conservation volunteers)


Kevin Sankey grew up in the Black Country and learned to love the local landscape and industrial heritage on long weekend walks with his father. Having moved away for university and then for work, he returned to the area 20 years ago and still works locally as a programme manager. In 2016, Kevin began visiting Wildside as a charity mentor, supporting the then general manager. He joined the Board of Trustees in 2019 and became chair last year.
Kevin spends as much of his spare time as he can walking in the Smestow Valley and further afield with his two dogs. He believes Wildside is wonderful community resource and a great way for visitors to connect with the local environment and its history.

We would also like to thank our other Trustees Sukhminder Chahal, Ellen Potts, Len Kruczek and Richard Westwood. The help and support offered by all of our Board members (all given on a purely voluntary basis) is very much appreciated by all the staff and volunteers here and everyone who comes and benefits from what we offer here at Wildside Activity Centre.