Our Trustees are volunteers appointed from the membership of the company and have involvement in how the company is managed and developed.
Being a trustee in a small, but developing, social enterprise like Grow Wakefield can be a wonderful personal and professional experience. Many people just don’t get the opportunity to join a board in their regular working life but the truth is that so many people have so many skills and experiences to offer – and, this is what we want to encourage; people who have some time to give and would like to get involved.
If you’d like to become a trustee please get in touch for more information.
Our current trustees and key staff are:
Andy Austerfield – CEO
Though a Johnny come lately food grower, I only started growing in 2009 at the age of 42, I’ve come to love the time I spend on my own gardenshare plot and the opportunity to learn and share what I’ve learnt at Grow Wakefield sessions.
This passion for growing and an awareness that rising fuel prices and climate change may bring a more uncertain future for us all inspired me to start our forerunner, Incredible Edible Wakefield, as a community group in 2010 and to try to take a leading role as the range of community, education, health and business initiatives we have developed has grown and grown.
Our unofficial motto – “If you eat you’re in” says it all for me.
Growing your own food is a pleasure that can be enjoyed by everyone, is amazingly fulfilling and has the potential to bring together communities that far too often find reasons to feel disconnected.
I’m immensely proud of what we have achieved together over the past few years and hope to be a part of the Grow Wakefield future we have ahead of us.
I am not a gardener, I never got the bug to till the soil! However, I was energised by the Incredible Edible ethos and vision so, without getting my hands dirty at any point, I have found myself becoming a Director of Grow Wakefield.
Before I retired and finally escaped, I was a senior manager in local government dealing with disasters and emergencies. As someone with a background in project management, service and business planning I hope that I can bring those skills to bear in the development of what I believe to be an inspirational, incredible organisation.
I have been an organic gardener since my teens, am a member of a number of aligned organisations, from Friends of the Earth to the Soil Association, and from the Landworkers Alliance to Sustain and am also a member of the Green Party so, as you can see, food and food politics is one of my obsessions.
I have considerable experience of governance – as a school governor, as a trustee of the Phoenix Centre in Alverthorpe, and as a professional – I support school governors across North Yorkshire.
Suzanne Mitchell – Office Manager and Company Secretary
I’m a very enthusiastic vegetable grower. I’ve seen the amazing benefits producing our own veg has brought to my own family: in the form of a healthier diet, better quality produce, fitness levels, a greater understanding of what we eat and how it affects us and last but not least happiness levels.
I’d like to see these benefits available to everyone and Grow Wakefield creates amazing opportunities for the residents of Wakefield to take their first steps into the world of growing your own.
I have been actively involved with allotments since 1995. During the past 30 years I have visited a lot of the sites across the district and met some interesting and inspiring folk.
I love working with Grow Wakefield and furthering its aims and objectives and involving more people especially those not able to have their own allotment or grow their own food.
I am passionate about growing food, fruit and flowers and I enjoy helping others grow their own and by doing so, grow with confidence. I am quite political about food and in the past helped set up food co-operatives and raise awareness around food security and waste.
I have worked in the voluntary and community sector over twenty years, from helping set up social enterprises and secure funding to delivering on capacity building programmes to volunteering on many local and regional initiatives such as local exchange trading schemes.
Underpinning all my own work are my values of helping others; acting in a way that I would find supportive myself and listening and learning from others.
Lynda Overend – Associate and Designated Safeguard Lead
I come from a family of keen gardeners, some of my happiest memories are helping in my grandparents greenhouse as a child. As my children are getting older, I wanted to share the joy of growing food with them.
After quite a bit of time on the waiting list I was allocated a long neglected allotment in the Wakefield area. Not knowing where to start I joined Grow Wakefield and received enormous support and help. It gave me the confidence to tackle my own plot and developed and increased the knowledge I already had. It is highly likely that I would have felt too daunted by my over grown plot and given it up without their support.
I love spending time at my plot and growing vegetables, I find it very rewarding, relaxing and enjoyable. I have visited a few of the sites and projects in Wakefield and feel very passionate about the work of Grow Wakefield and the gardening communities they develop.
I have a background in Social work and advocate for the positive and therapeutic benefits of growing your own food, all of which I’m keen to promote and believe Incredible Edible does that very well. I also run a scouting group in Wakefield and love getting young people to think about where our food comes from and sustainability.
I came to know Grow Wakefield by looking to take on an Allotment within the Wakefield area & heard about the organisation from people who had plots.
I loved the concept and it really suited me as I was a newbie to growing my own with no knowledge at all.
I loved the fact the plots were mini so they were manageable, I had my own space and I was solely responsible for what successfully grew/failed in this space although I attended an edible gardening club and other plot owners very kindly help each other out.
The more time I spent seeing all the new GW projects starting up, the more excited I have become about GW – I truly think it’s an amazing organisation doing so much within the community.
I work for Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) as a Dispatcher and, before that I worked as the Office Manager at YAS.
This involved the day to day running of the 2 HQ buildings, ensuring all 500+ staff within the buildings at any one time could carry out their roles successfully & worked daily with people at all levels.
So there we are – no formal qualifications but loads of transferable skills and bags of enthusiasm.
My Dad was the gardener in our family and interested me in growing. He taught me that sometimes simple is best and he grew potatoes in buckets every year – even when he was 85 years old!
When I retired, I wanted an allotment but the waiting lists were long and then I discovered Grow Wakefield. They had no plot for me when I first arrived so I helped out with the community beds where all the produce is shared by the group. I learnt a lot from the plotholders and when a plot came free I took it on.I enjoyed having my own growing space to try out different vegetables. Tools weren’t a problem as we all shared the ones in the shed and there was also a greenhouse to start off our seedlings and for growing tomatoes.
Now I am part of a garden share team in an unloved space that Grow Wakefield found for us. We grow fruit and vegetables and share our produce with the owners as well as ourselves.
I find gardening calming and relaxing – a world away from the job I had working with the media. Now I use the skills I gained to help Grow Wakefield spread the word about the work they do with so many individuals and groups from all walks of life.
Since retiring from a Project Management role with a Multi-National company I have been in the third sector with the successful management of the SCSG Senior Citizens Support Group since 2011.
During my time with this group which is predominantly the over 60’s I have progressed through various roles to become Chair of Trustees for the Group in 2019. Over these 10 years I have seen the membership grow from 20 to the current number of over 450 members, with over 25 activities each month.
Whilst we cater for many activities a recent addition has been to successfully fund and create 4 raised vegetable plots for our members to get involved volunteering in growing their own produce. This is now in its second year and proving very useful.
I am immensely proud of what this Group has achieved and, currently nominated for Queens Award voluntary services and with a vast experience of the third sector , I felt I could help with making Grow Wakefield a continued success.
I have been aware of Grow Wakefield for many years through my involvement in the Community and Voluntary Sector as part of VOX (Wakefield’s Community Empowerment Network) and then as a member of Live Well Wakefield.
I have 34 years combined experience working in local authority, the voluntary and community sector (VCSE) and the NHS and have performed in a variety of different roles, including as a development worker, a service manager, and a health and wellbeing practitioner, all in customer facing settings within local communities.
I have worked as a Live Well Advisor, for Live Well Wakefield, a Social Prescribing service commissioned by Wakefield Metropolitan District Council’s Public Health Directorate and Wakefield District Clinical Commissioning Group.