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Peter Gruen
Peter GruenChair

Peter joined Advonet as Chair in 2018. He has served as a Board Director, Governor and Trustee in many settings, including schools, The Leeds Playhouse, Northern School of Contemporary Dance and Partnership Boards. Peter was a very longstanding Leeds City Councillor representing the Cross Gates and Whinmoor Ward in East Leeds for 25 years.

Peter says:’ I think the work Advonet does is hugely important and I am very proud to be involved with colleagues, who are so passionate and dedicated to making a positive difference in peoples’ lives’.

Away from his charity roles Peter enjoys travelling, reading, the performing arts and keeping up with exercise.

Emma Williams
Emma WilliamsTrustee

Emma is the finance director of the Avalon Group. The Avalon Group is an award-winning charity providing flexible person-centred care, support and companionship for everyday life, housing, learning and employment who provide support to a wide range of individuals across the North of England. Customers include older adults, people with dementia, physical, sensory or learning disabilities, mental health difficulties, acquired brain injuries, young people in transition and adults on the autistic spectrum.

Prior to joining the Board, Emma was the Advonet Group’s Finance Director (2016-18). Emma came to Advonet from KPMG where she was a manager, having started as a graduate trainee in 2003.

Since training as an accountant, Emma developed a keen interest in the Charity sector, and gained valuable insight into the financial and regulatory operations of not-for-profit organisations, having led audits and reviews within the sector while working at KPMG.

Ralph Porter
Ralph PorterTrustee

I moved to Leeds in 1978 to take up a post with Leeds City Council and the City is now very much home. I worked for the City Council in Venue management, until taking early retirement in 2009. Many years ago I became a Citizen Advocate and eventually chair of Leeds Advocacy which specialised in learning disability issues and of course merged eventually with other organisations to form Advonet.

I maintain a keen interest in learning disability through The Advonet’s involvement in Leep1, and volunteer with them. I enjoy contributing to Advonet governance at a strategic level on the board and feel very proud of the organisation’s record in delivering high quality services to some of the most vulnerable people in society.

Reinhard Beck (Combined BA)
Reinhard Beck (Combined BA)Trustee

Born 1957 in Germany near Munich.

Came to the UK in 1964.

Attended various schools in this country and abroad. Studied History & Politics at Lancaster University.

Lived in Munchen after leaving University to study German at the Goethe Institute.
Lengthy period of unemployment after returning to UK in 1981.

With two other set up a Worker’s Photography Co-operative called “Photogenics”.

Studied Tourism in Manchester Polytechnic in 1987/88 and IT Technology at Thomas Danby college in 1994.

Did various jobs until settled on full time work at an insurance broker and then for an insurance company working in motor claims.

In 1990 I offered myself as a citizen advocate for Leeds Advocacy and have been involved in this field ever since and took part in the discussions to what eventually became known as the Advonet Group and have been a Trustee on the board since 2014.

William Case CF’
William Case CF’Trustee

I am a disabled person with experience of being supported to have my voice heard by a community advocate back in 2009. Prior to this, I was isolated in my community and wasn’t understood. After working with my community advocate, I then embarked on an internationally recognised leadership course called ‘Partners in Policy Making’, which gave me the confidence to advocate for myself and support other people through the challenging system of social care.

In 2011, I was the first person in the UK with cerebral palsy to be awarded with the Winston Churchill Fellowship. This allowed me to travel to North America and Canada for 4 weeks to study best practise of disability. When I returned home, I was privileged to advise the coalition government on the Children and Families Act.

In 2016, I joined the board of CHANGE as a Trustee Director. I am now the co-chair of the CHANGE committee within the Advonet group.

I am also the founder and CEO of Your Support Matters CIC, which is an organisation I set up to support people to find PAs and navigate the social care system on a peer to peer model. We offer support for both the Individual Employer and the Personal Assistant which makes us unique.

I believe everybody has the right to have their voice heard. I am looking forward to working with the rest of the Advonet board and its staff and sharing my knowledge and experience.

Ivan Nip
Ivan NipTrustee

I’ve worked in the Local Authority and Higher Education sector for over 20 years, and I am currently working for Kirklees Council as a Structural Engineer. I joined Advocacy Support (one of the organisations which previously co-managed Advonet) as a board member in 2003 and took up the Vice Chairperson role from 2006.

I believe in social cohesion, inclusion, equality and harmony. I fully embrace the values of The Advonet Group in removing language, cultural, economic and social barriers to ethnic minority groups in the UK; in empowering minority groups in scrutiny of institutional inequality, disproportional social exclusion and in promotion of equal access to public services.

Kirti Tandel
Kirti TandelTrustee

I have been involved since 2015 at Advonet in my role as a trustee (and formerly at Advocacy 4 Mental Health and Dementia) and have truly embraced the values of the organisation, working with the team to take it to the next level.

Professionally, I have been all over the place (!) with IT & consulting background with a blend of strategic & operational experience in various industry sectors.

Joined civil service in 2018, initially with PHE and now moved from the ONS on loan to the Cabinet Office PM C-19 Task Force since Nov 2020, serving in the directorate that provides the Prime Minister and Cabinet with the best evidence and analysis of policy options to defeat C-19. In the ONS I have served as a Senior Data Architect.

Prior to that, I have worked in private healthcare consulting in Leeds; also worked in various roles in multi-national corporations, managing complex IT projects, across several industry verticals.

Besides work, I am very passionate about sports and have been playing for East Leeds Cricket Club in first division leagues for many years.

Sue Gill
Sue GillTrustee

Sue joined our Board of Trustees at the start of 2023. She is Deaf herself and has years of experience of working with the Deaf community. In her current role, she manages a residential project for Deaf people who have mental health issues or other support needs.

She also manages an Outreach team who support Deaf people with additional support needs to live independently in the community. In addition to that, she manages the Leeds Housing Support Service for Deaf, Deaf Blind and Blind people.

Since joining the Board, Sue has been providing our staff team with Deaf awareness training and is working to help make our services more accessible.

Mau Yip
Mau YipTrustee

I am an open-minded, friendly and loyal person who has developed a mature and responsible approach to any task that I undertake. I am working for Leeds City Council currently with the role of enforcement on housing standard issues.

I am a graduate with over 20 years’ of experience in Environmental Health and the expertise in areas such as food hygiene, disabled facilities and acoustics.