As a qualified teacher, Toni has taught in prisons, further and adult education, as well as schools. Before joining IfL in 2008, Toni was a senior civil servant with policy responsibilities for further education, was national director in quality and standards in the Learning and Skills Council, and for seven years was an inspector in the Further Education Funding Council (FEFC) specialising in literacy, numeracy, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and humanities across further and adult education. Toni also was an adult education adviser and officer in Leicestershire local education authority and a development officer with NIACE. Toni writes in the educational press and has an honorary doctorate from the University of Wolverhampton.
Board of Trustees
Chair of Trustees
Brian Wilson joined the Board of L4A in 2014. He is a qualified accountant and company secretary with extensive experience in industry and commerce as a Finance director.
Brian has had experience in the Charity and Not for Profit sectors as a Board member of the NHS Primary Care Trust for Leicester and Leicestershire; a division of the Riverside Housing Association specialising in sheltered housing for older tenants; Leicester’s Clockwise Credit Union providing financial services for those excluded from mainstream banking and the Monday Club, a social club allowing people on the Autistic Spectrum to meet in a safe environment.
Brian recently spent a year studying ageing and older people as part of his Graduate Certificate in Gerontology at the University of Georgia in the USA and hopes to be able to use this experience to contribute to the continuing success of L4A.
Rob Hunter joined L4A as a volunteer learning mentor in 2008 and as a board member in 2010. He has had a career in community education: management, training and organisational development consultancy.
What attracts him to L4A in addition to its lively, intergenerational culture of social enterprise and is the focus on ‘ageing well’, which British society and local communities are only gradually starting to address, and which complements his experience of youth work, adult learning, informal education and emotional literacy.
Karin Koller joined L4A as a volunteer in 2013, and as a board member in late 2014. She studied pharmacology and had a career in clinical trial management. While bringing up a family she worked as a freelance book indexer for a number of publishing companies. She is a volunteer assessor for the Alternatives to Violence Project’s distance-learning course for prisoners. Karin lives in Leicester where she helps run a small independent poetry press (Soundswrite Press) and coordinates Soundswrite, an open network for women enthusiastic about poetry. She recently started her own imprint (Quirky Press) to publish exceptional and unusual books and pamphlets which would not be picked up by the big publishers. She has a long-standing interest in oral history and promoting individual voices.
Joyce was a registered dietician working at Leicester Royal Infirmary who then owned a very successful care home called Egerton Lodge in Melton Mowbray, as well as a home care agency delivering over 9,000 hours of care each and every week. Now retired, Joyce is kept very busy still keeping an eye on her 17 grandchildren, cooking at a drop in centre for vulnerable adults and serving on the board of trustees at Learning for the Fourth Age.
Melissa co-founded L4A in 2008 and has worked for the organisation as our Chief Executive ever since. She has been successful in attracting funding to deliver a wide range of projects and partnerships, including to pilot IT and technologies work with older people in care homes and to deliver innovative work for older people with dementia. She also delivered projects from inception to completion and she has worked directly with older people throughout her time with L4A. She has a degree in history and a PGCE in Adult Education. She passionate about older people’s well being, the huge impact we can create and improving quality of life through learning.
Formerly marketing manager of a retail bakery company, after taking a childcare break Fiona was leading a voluntary organisation for physically disabled adults in Market Harborough before she joined L4A in 2013.
Fiona is our Community Links Manager and has managed various grant funded projects in her time with L4A, most recently the Power of Stories and Tactile Textiles.
She has a deep appreciation for the value of community connections and the immense benefits they can bring to all concerned, particularly the wide variety of opportunities they provide for enhancing quality of life for all older people in care settings.
Inspired by her work, in her spare moments Fiona is also learning – about what she could do (if only she had the time) with her ever-growing stash of haberdashery and craft materials!
Social Prescribing Coordinator
Anita is our Social Prescribing Coordinator and joins L4A after many years working as a freelance community workshop leader and arts practitioner. Anita has studied art, design, textiles and ceramics and is a skilled artist herself. Anita will lead on our work aiming to support GPs in prescribing more than just medication but also learning, volunteering and community activities in her post at L4A.
Domiciliary Project Coordinator
Femi Varudi is our Domiciliary Project Manager and joined L4A in July 2017. She has 10 years experience of working in health and social care in the private and public sectors. She has worked with people from different backgrounds, cultures and communities to combat health inequalities and promote healthier lifestyles. She will work closely with care agencies, housing associations, local authorities and other third sector organisations to promote learning for older people living at home. Femi will also recruit passionate and ambitious volunteers to deliver weekly sessions and support them to make a difference to older people’s lives through learning.