Our Board

Garth Hodgkinson – Chair

Born and bred in Blackburn and a Blackburn resident. Experience of working across Pennine Lancashire for 26 years within the voluntary sector, local government and further education. Currently CEO at the Community CVS with 16 years’ management experience at a senior level. Chair of Lancashire Association of Councils for Voluntary Service and trustee/director of several local charities and social enterprises. Graduate of the University of York and Open University Business School.

Anika Leslie-Walker

An experienced academic who possesses relevant professional experience within the fields of sport, education and public health. Anika is currently undertaking her PhD, exploring female participation in sport and physical activity as they transition within education environments.

Anika has a passion to increase equality, diversity and inclusion across all forms of sport, by steering strategy and providing opportunities for all. Anika has previously worked and volunteered internationally within sports coaching, sport for development and peace and on educational projects. Anika has an aptitude to produce and deliver strategy in accordance with organisational goals whilst managing and mitigating risks and issues.

Emma Garner

Emma has lived in Blackburn all her life and joined BWDHL in 2018 after attending an inpirational AGM. Her experience is in the field of oscial welfare, housing and debt law for 20 years. Emma is currently a Hub Manager at the homeless charity Shelter. She is a keen interest in health and wellbeing, and supporting communities live a healthier life.

Linda Jean Whalley

Originally from Wigan, Linda has lived in Blackburn for over 30 years, joining BWDHL in June 2020. She has worked in local government and in the NHS, in information and technology roles. For the last 2 years she has been working as a freelancer in Greater Manchester and in London. Prior to that, she was the Director of Strategy at NHS Digital, the national agency providing technology and data services to health and care organisations. Linda is also a trustee of Alternative Futures Group, a large charity providing mental health and social care services in the north west

Elizabeth Anne Williams

Elizabeth (Liz) work as a Project Manager for NHS Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System, she works with older people’s support services and NHS/Local Authorities/education providers to build partnerships across health and social care organisations and develop initiatives to improve the numbers of staff interested in joining the social care sector.

Liz first became interested in supporting the community in Blackburn with Darwen 5 years ago when she worked for Blackburn with Darwen Council in the adult social care commissioning department where she worked with colleagues supporting older people, and also people in need of homelessness services.

Liz lives near Preston with her family including 2 teenagers and dog and she looks forward to continuing to support Healthy Living as we move into the future.

Paula Louise Spence

Paula has worked in health and social care for over 18 years, in Blackburn and across the North West. She believes in the best possible outcomes for people and advocates communities having equal power on designing where they live and work. She has been on the Healthy Living board for 3 years. Paula is also Chair of Governors at her local Primary School.