Meet The Board

All charities are governed by a Board of Trustees (BOT) and our charity is no different; our Board makes sure we are true to our mission and vision and to our Articles of Association. They lead us by ensuring that we guide and communicate the practical tools to enable many to experience a better way of life and recovery from mental illness.

Our Board members have a passion for what we do as an organisation however some of our trustees have been touched by mental illness, either through a personal experience of mental illness or through that of family members or friends. Our Board also includes people with professional experience in mental health provision, support services and within the nursing and teaching profession.

We also have a working committee which governs the work we do for our Uberheroes programme. We are always interested to hear from individuals who have a heart for our work, a passion for shaping a positive future of recognition and change and offer additional skills and experience – Are you interested to hear more? Would you like to be part of our board or our working committee? If so then please apply through our contact us page.

Please note this is not a paid role as we are governed by the Northern Ireland Charity Commission and in line with charitable law and our articles; no member of our governance committee can be paid.

Laura Dowie

Chair
With over twelve years’ experience, Laura has worked in the private, public and not for profit sectors in a range of marketing, events and management roles. She currently works for The Open University where she manages external affairs events throughout Ireland and is studying towards an MBA.

Having taken up the position of Chair in 2019, Laura has been a member of the Board since 2016 and is also a Board member of the Chartered Management Institute and Kabosh where she helps shape strategy and drive engagement throughout Northern Ireland.

Laura holds a degree in applied languages, as well as postgraduate qualifications in the fields of management, marketing, communications, and coaching and mentoring. Laura also became a Chartered Manager in 2018.

In her spare time, Laura runs a not for profit initiative that aims to develop a range of life assuring skills in young girls throughout Northern Ireland.

Cecil Graham

Cecil has worked within the private, voluntary and public sectors. In the Charitable/Voluntary Sector for – St. John Ambulance Brigade, The Boys’ Brigade and CEO of Action Mental Health.
Within the Public Sector – Northern Ireland Training Authority (Distributive Industry Training Board ) and Northern Ireland Civil Service. He has served on many Statutory Committees, such as Youth Committee of Northern Ireland, DENI; Vice Chair – Board of Governors, Castlereagh College of Further Education, Chair – Eastern Health and Social Service Council. Presently – A member of the Board of Governors for Fane Street Primary School. He was also involved at the start of Princes Trust in Northern Ireland, and served as member and vice chair of Princes Trust National Council; Cecil and has been a member of our board since 2017

Paul Lawther

Paul Lawther has been Director of Onecom NI since they entered the Northern Ireland market in January 2017. He is responsible for leading a team of Business Development, Customer Service and Account Management professionals, driving the acquisition of customers across various enterprise segments to grow the firm’s presence in Northern Ireland.
In the last 3 years Paul has secured significant commercial agreements and partnerships with FinTrU, the Irish Football Association, Concern Worldwide, The Halo Project (Scotland), Visit Belfast and CBRE amongst many others. Paul is a member of the IOD in Northern Ireland in addition to the Northern Ireland Chamber and Belfast City Chamber. Paul was included in the Business First Northern Ireland 40 under 40 in 2018, in addition, to being shortlisted as Young business person of the year at the Belfast Telegraph business awards. We were delighted to welcome Paul as the newest member of our board at hope 4 life in the autumn of 2019

David Nixon

David has worked within the private and public sectors with Short Bros and within the Northern Ireland Civil Service. Most recently he has spent a lot of time helping those who are at risk or marginalised within our society working with organisations such as Housing Association, Extern, Barnardo’s, Pips and ourselves and has been a member of our board since 2018

Astrid McElwaine

Astrid has a degree in Media & Communications with 17 years’ experience working within the Private, Public and Third sectors. She has been a highly successful charity fundraiser for a variety of children’s & youth organisations both in Scotland & Northern Ireland. Her experience is mainly in the field of trusts, foundations & government grants, as well as successfully pitching for corporate partners. For the last 3 years she has moved into PR where she works for a government sector organisation delivering successful, creative campaigns. To date she has been part of a team that has won several awards including Arts & Business, Belfast Business Awards & CIPR. Astrid has been a member of the board since 2019

Stephen Greyston

Stephen is originally from Belfast and has been practising as a solicitor for 14 years, in England, Wales and in Northern Ireland. Stephen specialised in criminal defence litigation and despite the general public’s negative view of the profession, he immediately identified with the people he was representing. Understanding that the majority of people labelled ‘criminal’ suffered from a range of mental health problems, including anxiety, depression and substance abuse problems. If a client suffers from a mental health problem, as the legal adviser and in conjunction with the Appropriate Adult, I’m there to ensure that the individual’s rights were protected. In 2011 I joined the Crown Solicitor’s Office, since then, I’ve mostly dealt with defendant personal injury litigation and advising government bodies. Stephen has been a member of the Hope 4 Life board since 2019

Nathaniel Hamilton

Nathaniel graduated from QUB with a BSc. in Computer Science. He is currently working in retail in Belfast. Growing up in Nigeria he has a breadth of cultural experience beyond Northern Ireland. He has been a fan of comic books since he was about 6 and has had an interest in Uberheroes since day one, reading each of the comics in draft form and giving his input from volume 1. Nathaniel brings an interest in, and understanding of the online world, an understanding of youth culture, in at least some of its many guises, an interest in all things comic oriented and experience of working with children and young people

Supporting the Board

Michael Crooks

Treasurer
Michael is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland. I always strive to give a quality service to all my clients. He endeavours to understand each client’s business and what their motivations are to help in giving them good business advice. He actively helps and assists young people to be the best they can be within the Boys Brigade as Captain and other youth organisational associations. Michael joined our board in 2015 and is highly motivated by what we have achieved and sees this as a way to facilitate positive change for adults and young people within NI.

Lynn McClurg

Secretary
Lynn has worked in both the private & public sectors as well as working in the Third sector too. Lynn is a qualified Management Accountant with over 25 years accounting experience, preparing and reporting company management accounts to year-end. Proven abilities in defining company direction, achieving targets and developing new policies. She has also worked as a local councillor and as a volunteer for Jordanstown Deaf & Blind School, a GB officer for over 25 years and was regional treasurer for Women Together for Peace, Belfast until 1992. Lynn has been acting as our Charity Secretary since the start of 2019.