Our Trustees

Rob Frier (Chair of People Committee)

Rob is Head of Operations South & Central at Riverside, prior to this he held the same role at 999 Club in Deptford. He has over 15 years’ experience of working in homelessness and a special interest in the use of coproduction and inclusion as a means for people to move away from the streets permanently. His experience of being homeless as a young teenager is what motivated him to volunteer for The Passage at the beginning of his journey in the charity sector.
Previously he was an area manager for Evolve Housing overseeing services for adults, young people, and mental health pathways in Croydon. Prior to this he has managed and developed supported accommodation services for entrenched rough sleepers in Westminster, Croydon, and Bromley.

Louisa McDonald (Peer Representative Trustee)

Louisa has over 20 years’ experience working in the voluntary, private and public sectors, focusing on health, homelessness, anti-social behaviour, bullying, counselling, families and young people. Louisa also has experience in event management, has been a foster parent (and is a parent) and a counsellor.

Louisa joined Groundswell in 2017 as a Homeless Health Peer Advocate, working on the ground with service users and service staff. In early 2019 she was involved in securing the contract to deliver HHPA in Islington. Louisa has also volunteered in the research team on projects with Kings College London, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University College London and the Royal College of Nursing. Louisa is co-author on the published article “Management of plaque in people experiencing homelessness using ‘peer education’: a pilot study” available in the British Dental Journal.

Gina Rowlands (Chair of Trustees)

Gina qualified as a nurse 40 years ago and since has held a range of senior clinical and strategic roles in the NHS. She has a proven track record in the successful development, management and delivery of inclusion health strategies and services. Gina was the founding member and recently retired Managing Director of Bevan Healthcare CIC, an award winning and CQC ‘Outstanding’ primary care social enterprise operating across Leeds, Bradford. Under Gina’s leadership Bevan achieved substantial growth and became nationally recognised for sector-leading integrated health, social care and wellbeing for people experiencing homelessness, asylum seekers, refugees, and other multiply disadvantaged groups.

Dr. Al Story

Al is the founder and clinical lead of the pan-London Find & Treat Service based out of University College Hospitals. His core expertise is in tackling communicable diseases among homeless people, drug and alcohol users, prisoners and destitute migrants. His research interests include outreach, integrating point of care diagnostics on the street, case management, the inclusion of service users within multidisciplinary teams and the use of internet technologies to promote engagement with health services and treatment continuity. He is an original member of the Faculty for Homeless and Inclusion Health and the Pathway Team and a senior lecturer with the Farr Institute at University College London.

Jenny Travassos​​​​ (Treasurer)

Jenny is the Director of Services and New Developments at the Passage, a homelessness charity in London. She started working in the sector in 2004 as a volunteer for homelessness charity Broadway, going on to hold various frontline and management roles. In 2014 Jenny joined Westminster City Council where she became Head of Rough Sleeping. During her time with the council, Jenny made substantial changes to enable more specialist accommodation services, developed high level partnerships with health colleagues and introduced two strategies. Jenny’s experience with the Passage and Westminster Council brings valuable experience to the Groundswell board.

Steve Wyler OBE

Steve is an independent advisor and writer in the social sector. He is an associate of the Carnegie UK Trust, and a board member of Community Links and Access (the Foundation for Social Investment). Previous roles have included CEO of Locality, the Development Trusts Association, and Homeless Network. He has worked as a consultant for grant-making trusts, helped set up Social Enterprise UK, and has been a member of various Government advisory groups on localism, social enterprise, and the third sector. He was made OBE in 2011 for services to the Voluntary Sector.