Sarah Johnston-Ellis
Chair of the Board

Sarah joined the Brighton YMCA Board in November 2013, and was elected as Chair in November 2020.

For almost 20 years Sarah has been involved in the governance of several nonprofit organisations in both the United Kingdom and New Zealand.

Sarah is passionate about the pivotal role of strategic governance in creating and developing organisations that enable individuals and communities to feel empowered and supported to realise their personal ambitions.

You can get in touch with Sarah on

Watch Sarah’s introduction to National Inclusion Week here, or read the introduction here.

David Hancock
Vice Chair of the Board

David joined the Board in 1995 after moving to Brighton. Before retiring, David worked at a senior management level in an Inner London housing department. He has also been involved in the governance of a number of housing organisations including Brighton Housing Trust and Hyde Housing. He is a chartered member of the Institute of Housing.

Dr Michael Rosenberg

Dr Michael Rosenberg born 1949. He was born, brought up and educated in Sussex. He is a retired consultant psychiatrist who worked in Brighton and Hove from 1981 until retirement. During his clinical years he was closely associated with the Brighton YMCA and rapidly came to be in awe of the work they do with their client group.

He went on to hold senior Executive roles in what was then South Downs NHS Health Trust ending up as Chief Executive. He is married with three very successful adult children who are now providing he and his wife with the joy of grandchildren.

Nigel Pollard

Nigel has lived in East Sussex for 20 years and shares the YMCA’s mission to support individuals to live their lives in the fullest way possible. Addressing the basic need for housing in the community is something that I care about and the YMCA in Brighton has been providing these services for many years. He is delighted to join in supporting this work. He has worked across both commercial and not for profit sectors in leadership roles. This includes a wide range of experience in developing and implementing strategic plans for businesses as well as UK charities, management of operations, leading projects for IT, HR, property developments and governance. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership & Management (FinstLM) and enjoys working to help businesses and people grow and develop. Away from work He enjoys travel and family time.

Keith Hollis

Keith Hollis has lived in Sussex for much of his life and was for some years a judge working in the civil courts across the whole County. Formerly a solicitor, he had previously established his own solicitor’s practice in South London specialising in housing and environmental issues. He has been a trustee for the Sussex Community Foundation, which for some years he chaired, and for other Sussex based charities.As well as his professional interest in housing and environmental law he has developed an interest in charitable governance and strategy development. During his time a Chair of the trustees of the Sussex Community Foundation he oversaw the development of a new strategy and was closely involved in the Foundation’s work in addressing the challenges faced by small charities during the Covid emergency.

Hugh McShane MRICS

A qualified Chartered Surveyor for more than 30 years, Hugh lives in Hurstpierpoint with his wife, Sarah and when he’s not playing ‘Dads’ football at Hurstpierpoint School to raise money for an orphanage charity in Malawi, he is a keen golfer and is more than happy to spend a day on the golf course.

Our Ordinary Members

Alexis Howsam
Lex was born in Brighton in 1981 and returned back to live here with her son 14 years ago. She has worked in senior health leadership roles for the past 15 years supporting the transformation of primary care (GP Surgeries) and integrating NHS services with local charities and social care. Currently she is working on digital transformation in the NHS. She is passionate about improving access to care for patients and coproduction with communities. Having worked at Marie Curie for 9 years, she is also an advocate for better end of life care for patients in England. Lex has a son and a blue-eyed cockapoo who joins her on runs in the south downs.
Annabel Fenton
Originally from South Africa, Annabel now leads research communications for the Care Policy and Evaluation Centre (CPEC), based at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), where she works on knowledge exchange and impact for a range of social care, mental health and other related research projects. Prior to this, she was a Communications Coordinator at the Institute of Development Studies, based at the University of Sussex. Annabel has made Brighton her home since November 2021, and is deeply committed to fostering inclusivity and wellbeing for all residents.
Prior to moving to the UK to work in research, Annabel had a career in policy engagement, management consulting and grassroots charity work focusing on strategy and impact. She studied economics and geography and completed her Master’s in Urban Geography, exploring experiences of discrimination against domestic workers in Johannesburg, and maintains an interest in this area. She is excited to be part of the YMCA Brighton community, and hopes that her range of experience will help bolster the organisation's reach and impact, especially in this precarious time of increasing homelessness and tightening budgets - when supported accommodation is so critical.