board members

Board Members

Alan BeswickI am currently a co-opted member of the HDT Board.

As a resident of Headingley since 1980 I have shared the delight of many other Headingley residents in the success of HEART and other HDT initiatives – HEART having a particular emotional pull because of the memories from both of my children having had such a happy time at Headingley Primary. The role that HDT has played since then in beginning to rebalance the community, providing a sense of optimism, and supporting the development of the underpinning facilities that make it such a great place to live, has been a real success story. The recent HIF funding now provides a platform to push on with further initiatives.

Having worked in the transport planning sector for over 30 years I have provided pro-bono advice to groups such as the Headingley Network Transport Group and the Ash Road Area Residents Association, designing the traffic management schemes now in place in Chapel Street/Place and surrounding Headingley Mount. I am a firm believer in the importance of developing sustainable local communities in our ‘inner suburban areas if we are to achieve attractive, liveable cities designed for people and not for cars. Having recently taken early retirement I have had the opportunity to get more involved with HDT and have authored a report on HGV traffic in Headingley, taken the lead on a graffiti tackling initiative and have taken on various social media functions.

womanHazel Dimsdale (Treasurer) – brought up her family in the Headingley area. Since taking early retirement from her career in HMRC she has been a HEART volunteer and has now joined HDT board as Treasurer. She was Treasurer of the After-School club as well as the PTA when her son went to Headingley Primary school in the 1990s. She also attended the school in the 1960s (when it was known as Bennett Road school) and has fond memories of the building and is pleased that it has been put to good use within the community.

124Mattthew Hill has lived in the Hyde Park and Headingley area since first coming to Leeds University in 1968 and has been involved in various community groups over that time. Matthew is a director of LEDA (Leeds Environmental Design Associates) and provided the environmental and renewable energy designs for the refurbishment of the former primary school that is now HEART.

Matthew joined the HTD board in 2017 and is keen to promote greater environmental sustainability in Headingley. As well as working part-time as an energy consultant and design engineer at LEDA Matthew is a keen gardener and a member of two of the numerous local choirs that have sprung up


sarah_johalSarah Johal has lived in Headingley for 23 years and joined the Board recently in March 2014. Sarah’s children went to Headingely Primary School and Sarah was heavily involved in the school as a parent governor. Sarah has really enjoyed seeing the development of HEART and other projects that HDT has supported and Sarah is keen to get involved and contribute in developing the future of Headingley with local residents and local businesses. Sarah is a social worker by profession and has developed adoption and fostering services for Looked After children in Leeds for a number of years. As a local resident Sarah has been involved in the campaign against the trolley bus as she feels strongly that this is the wrong transport solution for Headingley. Sarah enjoys playing badminton and gardening (although is not very good at the latter!)

Isobel Mills – Most of my career as a Civil Servant was spent delivering economic regeneration programmes at European, national and local level, which included trying to convince Whitehall policies made in SW1 did not always (if ever) fit neatly with the needs of Yorkshire neighbourhoods.  In retirement I am, amongst other things, the Chair of the Leeds Credit Union, Chair of the Leeds Citizens Advice Bureau and a Director of the Key Fund.  As a long term Headingley resident it has given me great pleasure and pride to watch HDT and HEART blossom, and I look forward to playing a far more active part in future developments.


richard_nRichard Norton (Society Secretary) – I have lived in Headingley since 2001; I was one of the founding directors of HDT and its first Chair from 2006 to 2013, and played a leading role in the development of HEART. I chair the HEART Board and rejoined the HDT Board in March 2014. Now retired, I worked in the third/voluntary sector throughout my career, most recently at Voluntary Action Leeds as Commissioning Support Manager; before that I was Director of Young People and Employment for re’new, where I developed a number of projects and services including Archway and The Beck. From all of this I gained extensive
experience of community engagement, project management and organisational governance and finance within the sector, and I’m really pleased to be able to put this to good use in Headingley.

Helen PickeringHelen Pickering I have always had a great attachment to Headingley as I have spent so much of my life round here. I lived in West Park, attended Lawnswood High School, and my early years were spent indulging myself in Headingley’s many delights. I worked in the city for over twenty years before moving to the north east. It was nostalgia that brought me back here to retire. As Headingley evolves and changes, it needs a growing, flexible and innovative local economy combined with a high quality, sustainable, green environment. As a member of HDT’s Board, I am committed to helping foster local partnerships and deliver local projects to this end. We urgently need to secure a diverse and vibrant retail offer in our high streets. We need to retain local graduates who will stay and make their lives here. We also need to ensure there is the variety of housing available to meet the needs of a long term, stable and diverse Headingley community. These are all ambitions for the area which I hope to help meet as a member of HDT.

mike-sellsMike Sells (Membership Secretary) – I joined HDT as I’m very keen that we should do all we can to ensure that Headingley works for all of the community – especially for younger people with families. I think that the look and feel of the town centre is important and we need to work with many others to try and do something useful there. I have lived in Headingley on and off since 1971, my children grew up here and the two eldest went to Bennett Road School. I began work in engineering but I’ve worked in Leeds in teaching, social care and marketing. I’m now retired from full time work (although I’m trying to see if I can earn my keep as an artist !) I’m constantly impressed and humbled by the hard work of all the ordinary people working in so many roles for HEART and HDT. Join us if you can !

Alan Slomson has lived near Hyde Park Corner for over fifty years.  He taught mathematics at the University of Leeds until his retirement in 2008. He is still actively involved in the work of United Kingdom Mathematics Trust, a charity which provides mathematical enrichment activities for school pupils, and which he helped to set up in 1996. He has been active locally in his trade union (AUT), the Labour Party, the Thoresby Society and the North Hyde Park Neighbourhood Association. He became a member of HDT when it was set up in 2008, and is the proud holder of share certificate no 1.

helen_seymourHelen Seymour (Chair) – has lived in Headingley for over ten years. She was one of the founder directors of HDT, is part of the Headingley Farmers’ Market organising group and in the group that organisies Apple Day. She was a founder director of the Natural Food Store and is much involved with the store. She is a trustee of the Plunkett Foundation which works for co-operatives and social enterprises mainly in rural areas. She is retired and was formerly head of projects and development at Co-operativesUK, the trade association for co-operatives of all kinds. She believes that collective enterprise of all kinds makes a real difference. It should also be life enhancing and fun.

what's on

  • Projects, Events and Reports

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