Our trustees have an important role in helping to shape the future developments of Acorns


Our board of trustees bring together a wide range of skills and experiences to ensure that Acorns is working towards our aims and objectives and continuing to meet the needs of the community.

Our current board members are:

Fabienne Thompson (Chair)

Fabienne is currently Head of Prevention, Serious Violence Duty and Prevention Lead on the National Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Programme for NHS England. As a previous service user, Fabienne knows first-hand the impact Acorns can have on children and young people in North Tyneside and Northumberland, and is passionate about supporting and developing this service which is very close to her heart. With a history in frontline delivery of domestic and sexual abuse services across the North East and Yorkshire, Fabienne brings with her both operational and strategic experience. With experience in public health management and commissioning who has worked across both the public and voluntary sector, Fabienne is keen to share her knowledge and experience of partnership working, service development and whole-systems working, and give back to an organisation that provided her with so much as a young girl.

Ruth Lewis

Ruth is Associate Professor at Northumbria University. For several decades, Ruth's work (paid and voluntary) and activism has focused on violence against women and girls. As an academic, Ruth has researched and taught about several aspects of gender-based violence, including intimate partner violence, online abuse, perpetrators' programmes and violence and abuse in university contexts. This work is guided by the aim to help us understand and therefore prevent violence and abuse. Ruth has previously been a trustee of other domestic abuse organisations in the North East, as well as being involved in various feminist campaigns, organisations and events, and is Acorns' longest serving trustee.

Deborah Heron

Deborah has worked in the voluntary sector for over 30 years and is now Director of People and Culture at Beamish Museum. She is passionate about the contributions of volunteers to the work of voluntary organisations and making a difference to the lives of others. She is also a counsellor and supervisor. In her spare time, she hikes, runs, and has recently dipped her toe into cold water swimming.

Keith Williamson

Keith Williamson joined us in June 2020, and is a proud Geordie, having lived all his life in the area. After leaving school at 16, he trained as a Chartered Accountant. After working for various firms, he spent a number of years as Finance Director for two different companies before setting up his own practice which he ran either alone or in partnership, for 30 years, until his retirement. During that time he served on the Board of the North East Chamber of Commerce and the Committee of the Northern Society of Chartered Accountants, and has much experience of charity governance and financial management.

Stef Anderson

Stef lives in Northumberland with her young daughter, and has worked in fundraising and communications for almost a decade, both in the UK and overseas. Prior to fundraising, Stef worked in local government policy and research on a range of projects including those focused on children's rights. Stef is one of our most recent trustees, and has already made a huge impact as a key member of the board, involved with financial and governance matters, and our recent re-branding project, and is a Senior Research Consultant at ERS Ltd (part of RSK Group)

Lisa Stephenson

Lisa has over 15 years' experience of business, programme and partnership development, and is currently Principal Consultant - Net Zero at Turner & Townsend. She has experience in leading development, marketing and communications, strategic partnerships that turn new concepts into reality, and mobilising practical community action on poverty and the environment. Lisa is passionate about making a real difference to communities and individuals' lives, taking a person-centred approach to build resilience, supporting personal and family growth.