Signal People


MatMathew Gilbert (Chief Executive)

Mathew returned in 2009 to the UK from New Zealand where he completed a Masters degree in Development Studies at The University of Auckland. His work experience includes managing national programmes, in Indonesia for the World Bank’s private sector arm the International Finance Corporation, as well grassroots development work with Voluntary Service Overseas. Before starting to work in the area of development in 2003 he managed a number of different projects, programmes and operations in the City of London, for organisations including shipping companies and financial institutions. Mathew was the Woodford Foundation’s Chief Executive prior to Signal being created and was the organisation’s first full-time member of staff. Mathew is a hearing aid user and has tinnitus.

Signal Charity PeopleKaren Goodman-Jones (International Programmes Manager)

Karen’s background is in programme management and logistics. Having worked in production in BBC news and current affairs, she changed career and worked as an aid worker in Indonesia, Kenya, Sierra Leone and Liberia, working on both emergency aid programmes and long-term development projects. These included emergency food relief, water and sanitation projects and a variety of medical projects with both refugees and local populations. Karen joined the Woodford Foundation (Signal’s predecessor) in 2007 in a part-time capacity and became full-time in 2009.

Signal Charity PeopleJoanne Rose (Outreach Worker)

Joanne has been employed as an Outreach Worker with Signal since 2009, working to improve communication with the deaf community of which she is a member. She provides support, assistance, signposting and representation for a variety of deaf clients. She is a member of the Disability Independent Advisory Group (DIAG) working with West Mercia Police, which raises awareness of deaf culture, access and communication. Joanne became deaf after contracting meningitis at six months of age. She was educated at the Royal School for the Deaf in Exeter and the Mary Hare Grammar School. She is a committee member of Telford Deaf Club and works alongside other committee members to organise meetings, social occasions and events for the deaf community. She is pleased to be one of the Signal people.

Signal Charity PeoplePaul Coope (Signal: The Hub Manager)

Paul came from an arts background after studying for a degree in Three Dimensional Design. He soon entered the world of environmental conservation after college, though, and worked for the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV) for over 16 years as a trainer, co-ordinating and teaching both practical conservation skills and habitat management courses. He also worked as BTCV Area Manager for Shropshire and Staffordshire. Paul then moved on into charitable fundraising for the World Wide Fund for Nature, before emigrating to Australia where he has worked in both the charity and private sectors. Now returned to the UK, Paul has continued his career in the third sector and has become our first Signal: The Hub Manager.


Frances_SignalFrances Carron (Befriending Co-ordinator)

Frances trained as an Occupational Therapist and worked for many years in hospitals and Social Services in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin. In Social Services she developed particular expertise in home adaptations work to enable people to enjoy independence in their own homes, before taking up management of the Shropshire Council Sensory Impairment Team. She was involved in development work regionally and nationally, writing Shropshire’s first Sensory Impairment Strategy, and organising a national Best Practice conference focussed on Assessment and Case Management with Deaf and Hearing Impaired People. Moving into senior management in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin, Frances managed services for Older People, Disability, Learning Disability and Drug and Alcohol recovery. Having been offered the opportunity of voluntary redundancy, she has now joined Signal to use her experience and skills in a more practical role to set up and run our Befriending Scheme funded by the Big Lottery Fund.

Signal Charity PeopleSusan Barlow (Fundraising Manager)

Susan has worked in fundraising for 15 years after a full-time career with Royal Bank of Scotland. She has worked as a fundraising manager for international development charities Harvest Help and Cord, and with Birmingham Royal Ballet, and has served as a trustee of international development charities Concern Universal and Village Aid.  Susan joined Signal in early 2015.



Signal Charity PeopleSuzanne Freegard (Communications and Coordination Officer)

Suzanne studied foreign languages and literature and social science at Cambridge and Birmingham universities and has worked in the fields of logistics and journalism. She also has a history of and continuing involvement with local environmental, human rights and anti-poverty campaign groups. Suzanne volunteered at Signal before joining the team as a staff member.


Lindy Key

Lindy Key (Finance Officer)

Lindy joined Signal in a part time role in January 2016 after theoretically ‘retiring’ , following twenty years in financial and office management with local property management, industrial machinery and timber companies. She originally studied History of Art at University and then had a varied career in small, start up businesses in food, design and print. After a career break for family, she qualified with the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) and has since worked in all aspects of financial control. A keen gardener and archer, she is devoted to Wally, a springer/retriever cross rescue dog.


We are overseen by a board of trustees. They oversee the working of the charity and make sure that the funding we receive is used in the most effective way.

Signal Charity PeopleMartin James (Chairman)

Martin moved to Shrewsbury in 1981 to become a teacher at Kingsland Grange Preparatory School for Boys. After a 28-year career, of which 20 years were spent as Head Teacher, he left to become the Community Development Manager of Shrewsbury Town Football Club in 2009. This role enabled him to network with organisations and individuals across the community. His work revolved around getting the football club into the community and the community into the football club so that many initiatives were supported that will make a difference to people’s lives. Projects involving health, education, social inclusion and sports participation were implemented in partnership with other organisations within Shropshire. In August 2012 he became the Head of Community Development and Head of Human Resources at the football club. In June 2014 Martin moved to the role of PR and Communications Executive for the Greenhous Group, a motor vehicle fleet and retail dealerships across Shropshire.

Signal Charity PeopleRita Hopper

Rita has over 25 years’ experience of working in the voluntary sector, including supporting parents’ groups to develop and manage community-based childcare services, development and management of a region-wide out of school care network, development of the Scottish Out of School Care Network and initiation and latterly management of a childcare community enterprise. Rita has worked in partnership with a range of voluntary and public sector bodies, including local authorities, colleges, universities and voluntary sector organisations and networks. Rita served on the board of the Scottish Out of School Care Network from its inception in 1991 to October 2010. She currently works as Senior Trusts and Foundations Fundraiser with Sense Scotland.

Signal Charity PeopleTom Memery

Tom, a law graduate with a strong commercial background, initially worked in the Insolvency Service as an Examiner. He spent most of his early career in North West England with a leading international loss adjusting practice where he specialised in the investigation of fraud, commercial property and legal liability. He joined the Third Sector in 2002. He was appointed as Chief Executive of a Welsh children’s charity and was, for many years, involved in the management of a thriving local family centre. He went on to manage a number of successful projects delivered by an award-winning social enterprise, based in Pennine Lancashire, helping members of BME communities to start their own businesses. Since 2008 he has been employed as Development Director of Omega, the National Association for End of Life Care.

Signal Charity PeopleDavid Tudor

David spent his career working in London in the education sector. He has worked in both state and independent schools latterly as Headmaster at Forest School where the pupil numbers doubled under his headship. David returned to Shropshire after he retired and settled back in Shrewsbury, becoming a committed member of the local community including the Shropshire Wildlife Trust, Shrewsbury Drapers Company and St Chad’s Church. David brings a wealth of management experience to Signal’s board. In 2016 he was awarded an MBE for his services to charity and the community in Shrewsbury.

Kath RidgwayIMG_1671

Kath is a proud Salopian whose early working life was spent in Local Government.  For the past twenty years she has worked in education supporting young people with special educational needs.

She has considerable experience of volunteering with Shropshire St. John Ambulance and has held various roles within the youth section of the organisation.  Kath is a committed member of St. Peter and St. Paul’s Church, Wem.  She joined Signal’s Development Committee in 2013 and became a Trustee in 2015.


Alex MorrisAlex Morris

Alex has spent his career in the financial services industry and brings his financial experience to the charity sector. He is currently the CEO and Managing Partner at Financial Partnerships LLP.