John Machin, Chair

John recently retired from his international career in the chemical industry, having worked and lived in many countries over nearly 40 years. He relocated back to the UK when he retired in 2015, but still holds non-executive director positions abroad. He’s now based in Middleton Tyas, North Yorkshire. John first got involved with Emmaus North East due to the “different and unique approach” taken by the charity, and the substantial scope of the South Tyneside project. With extensive experience in industry, he was keen to bring his knowledge to the third sector, and contribute to our exciting cause.

Gemma Trainor

Gemma is a communications professional with substantial experience in both internal and external communications for a €14bn global paints and coatings organisation. Currently working for a multinational telecommunications company in an internally focused role, Gemma will bring a sound knowledge of reputation management, branding and crisis communications to Emmaus, alongside the understanding of ‘being on the other side of the fence’ for companies who are looking to improve their corporate social responsibility agenda. The vision to enable homeless people to rebuild their lives through a social enterprise that enriches and involves the local community really appealed to Gemma. As a mother to two small children she has a desire to show her children that if something is wrong with the world you can try and do something to fix it rather than walking by.

Jessica Cook

Jess has over ten years’ experience in regulated industries, across finance and energy. Currently leading a substantial programme of work for a national poverty charity, she has a passion for supporting people in vulnerable circumstances, demonstrated throughout her career both in direct customer delivery roles, and in strategic and policy-focused positions. Having lived in South Shields all her life, Jess has been aware of the work of Emmaus North East since they first developed the Stanhope Road property in 2017, and is drawn to the ‘people first’ approach ENE offers. She hopes to be able to use her skills in stakeholder engagement and customer experience to raise the profile of ENE, enhance the experience of companions, and influence positive change for the Emmaus community.

Shelley Armstrong

Shelley is an award-winning, senior communications specialist with a track-record of delivering often complex multi-stakeholder campaigns working for non-profit, public-private organisations. In her current role, she leads the marketing team for a specialist business support organisation who help regional companies achieve sustainable growth through innovation. Her interest in Emmaus stems from her strong beliefs that society has a responsibility to support its most vulnerable members, dignity and equality are a human right, and that everyone should feel safe. She hopes to bring her experience of building and maximising strategic partnerships to help Emmaus NE achieve its ambition to support more individuals through its community and network of social enterprises.

Debbie Hamilton

Debbie has over 30 years senior experience of strategic leadership, start-up and change management, operations management, generating new business and client/supporter development. Combining a background of commercial awareness, business acumen, marketing and project management Debbie has a solid track record of success in the third sector at both Director and Trustee level and in Healthcare at both Managing Partner and Business Manager level.

An accident which left Debbie with life changing injuries as a teenager, dramatically shaped her career and personal outlook, from the way in which she thrives on working in ambitious organisations that see obstacles as challenges and adversity as diversity to her drive and enthusiasm to always strive for what others dismiss and to encourage contribution from all. When asked about her interest in Emmaus North East, Debbie responded “It’s quite simple, another person’s belief in someone else is life changing, the Emmaus philosophy is life changing, this is my interest.”

Jake Hanmore

Jake has a background as a logistics & supply chain professional in the private sector, working for a major retailer in various management roles before relocating to the North East for postgraduate study at Newcastle University. Rather than return immediately to the private sector Jake decided to bring his skills to the charity sector, taking a leadership role at FareShare North East and guiding it through a significant period of growth & change. Jake first heard of Emmaus North East through their work setting up Lucie’s Pantry, an exciting project that helps bring dignity to food provision through a community based pantry model. As a trustee Jake now hopes that his experience both in the private sector and as a charity leader will help Emmaus North East to continue to grow and expand its impact across the region.