Board of trustees

The Board of Trustees determines policy and - together with staff - sets the direction for National Voices.

Helen Buckingham

Chair of Trustees

Helen has been Director of Strategy and Operations at the Nuffield Trust since June 2018. She has 25 years’ experience in NHS roles, including senior roles in national bodies, as well as in both commissioner and provider organisations. A finance professional by background, Helen’s past roles include Director of Strategy and Organisational Development in a mental health trust; PCT Chief Executive; Chief of Staff at Monitor; and most recently Director of Corporate Affairs at NHS Improvement.

Helen was appointed as the Chair of National Voices in December 2020, a role that enables her to continue her work supporting organisations to look at policies and practice through a truly person-centred lens, ensuring that people who use services are never seen as less important than those who deliver them.

Akiko Hart

Akiko is the newly appointed Chief Executive of the National Survivor User Network. She currently works at Mind in Camden, where she manages the Hearing Voice project. Akiko is Chair of ISPS UK, which advocates for social and psychological approaches to psychosis, and sits on the HVN England committee.

As part of her work for the English Hearing Voices Network, she co-wrote the Alternative Mental Health Act Review. Akiko is also on the Advisory Board of the Institute for Medical Humanities at Durham University, and has worked as the Director of Mental Health Europe

Ed Holloway

Ed is the Executive Director of Services and Support at MS Society. Much of his career has been in research, organisational strategy and impact and now service provision. Ed is currently responsible for all of MS Society's services to people affected by MS across the UK, including their national services (helpline, information and financial support) as well as the services provided by their network of volunteer-led groups in communities across the country.

Harry Evans

Harry is a senior programme lead in NHS England and Improvement. Prior to that, Harry spent six years as a health and care policy researcher at Ipsos MORI and the King’s Fund. He has published several reports about population health, data and digital health and care. He works closely with NHS and local authority organisations to improve their use of data for population health purposes. Harry is on the Understanding Patient Data steering group, which promotes better communication and engagement on patient data. He also sits on the CLOSER UK advisory group, which advocates for cohort and longitudinal studies in the social sciences.

Noha Al Afifi

Noha is the Director of Marketing & Communications at Arthritis Action. She has 15 years’ experience in marketing, communications, and public relations in a variety of industries, and has focused on the health and charity sectors for the past six years. She previously worked for a former UK health minister as part of the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH), promoting healthcare policies serving both the UK population and the rest of the globe. Noha is passionate about translating complex health messages to the public, and is keen to further National Voices’ agenda of promoting person-centred care nationwide.

Rick Borges


Rick Borges is the Director, Assessment (UK and International) at the Financial Services Culture Board (FSCB, previously the Banking Standards Board) and member of its Executive Committee. He has senior responsibility for the FSCB assessment of culture, behaviour and competence across member banks and building societies and other firms outside membership in the UK and abroad.

Rick previously worked at the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care where he was responsible for a programme to improve standards of behaviour and competence of healthcare practitioners. He also acted as an advisor on professional standards and regulation to other organisations, including the Press Recognition Panel (set up following the Leveson Inquiry), the Department for Education, the Government of Ontario (Canada) and the administration of Hong Kong. He started his career at the Department of Health, in the Private Office of a Minister of State, then worked for the National Information Governance Board for Health and Social Care, and in the Private Office of the Director General for NHS Informatics.

Rick has a master's in law (LLM) and a postgraduate diploma in law in the UK.

Sarah Collis

Sarah has over 30 years’ experience working with and for the third sector. After several years working for the Big Lottery Fund, Sarah turned her passion for supporting communities into direct action as CEO of Self Help UK. Over the last ten years, Sarah has been an active champion of self-care and the power of people to help each other build on their own experience to shape the support they want and need.

Sarah Rae

Sarah is a trustee of Mind's Council of Management. She is an Expert by Experience and trained as a Patient Leader, working to ensure that patients, especially those from diverse backgrounds, are at heart of the decision-making processes. Sarah works with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Foundation Trust as a critical friend to improve services to ensure they are person centred and reflect patients’ needs. She is a Non-Executive Director of the East of England Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care, a member of her local Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STP) Clinical Advisory Group, a member of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough STP Mental Health Strategy group as a patient representative, a member of East of England Citizens’ Senate, and is also a patient representative on the Eastern Academic Health Science Network’s ‘Action on Frailty Patient Safety Collaborative’