Our Trustees


We are a dedicated and experienced group of leaders who use our diverse knowledge, experience and education to guide the Louise Da Cocodia Trust and the development of our programmes

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Paul Williams


I am one of the trustees that is actively involved in the development of the Louise Da-Cocodia Supplementary School. My work with the Trust also includes involvement with the Trust Active Community Elders (ACE) Intergenerational Storytelling Project which is undertaken in partnership with Mission in the City A Byte To Eat Project. I am also one of four directors of Advance-Phoenix Training Enterprise (Advance-PTE) which focuses on training and employment within the construction, utilities and service industries. 


Diane Watt


Volunteering with organisations such as Abasindi Black Women's Co-operative has been fundamental to my political, educational and professional development as in my paid work with Manchester Adult Education Service, City College Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University. My current voluntary work with the Trust is an opportunity to build on the work of the late Louise Da-Cocodia who stated that her reasons for becoming involved with the community was to " ... help young Black people understand that this is their home, this is the society they live in, and that they have a part to play in developing it:' Hence her commitment to Making Education a Priority.


Dr Veronica Henry


I have over 20 years' experience of working within the further educating sector and during that time I have worked across a wide range of curriculum including business, business administration, IT and English. I am a trustee for the Louise Da-Cocodia Education Trust (LDET) and engage in practical community activism by volunteering in the Supplementary School (LDSS) run by the Trust. I volunteer at LDSS because I believe in the power of positive education to transform lives. I also have a deep understanding of the impact of negative education on the academic attainment of African Caribbean heritage children and I have made it my mission to counter this.


Tom Nelson


My mission for the past 34 years has been that of supporting local 'Black led' groups and individuals in Manchester in achieving empowerment, sustainability and the creation of their own history. For me 'equality and diversity embedded' education and achieving economic independence are the main drivers in pursuit of these goals.


Dr Paul Okojie 


I remain very committed to the education of our children to make them rich in their culture and deep in their knowledge of our history and in consequence to give them the confidence to challenge the hate and discrimination which have been the experience of Black people since the seventeenth century if not before. Through membership of L.D.E.T, I am pleased to be working alongside dedicated and very talented Black men and women as a trustee with the commitment to use education as one of the means by which we tackle the bane of our lives, racism and discrimination.


Dr. Lorna Roberts 


BA (Hons) English and a Foreign Language, RSA Diploma  (Teaching Foreign Languages to Adults), MA in Teaching  (by research), PhD. I have over 1O years' experience of working in the further education sector and 17 years' experience in the higher education sector working as a researcher and lecturer. I am a Trustee for the Louise Da-Cocodia Education Trust (LDET) and volunteer at the Louise Da-Cocodia Supplementary School run by the Trust. My parents always stressed the importance of education to enable me to have a better life. I witnessed the power of education to transform lives when I worked at the Black Access Course. I know how negative educational experiences and low expectations can impact the educational outcomes of African Caribbean heritage young people. I volunteer at the Supplementary School to contribute to a more positive education which recognises and enhances the skills and talents the young people bring and builds success.


Valrie Tait Saunders


Valrie has over 30 years experience as a Teacher, therapist and mental health worker. She has taught age groups from 5 to 18, and a comprehensive array of subjects including English and Mathematics both in the UK and internationally.

The first half of her career was in traditional mainstream schools and the second half of her career she worked with children with special needs (MLD, EBSD)  in a therapeutic  community, hospital school provision and special school settings. She has been a Louise Da-Cocodia Trustee for over ten years and has engaged in a range of activities, including the supplementary school and conferences.

Shirley Angela Gordon

Sunrise: 21 May 1962 

Sunset:  10 December 2015

A tribute to our former Trustee.