Memory boxes for familiarisation and orientation in corridors are placed outside individuals’ rooms
Music Therapist Sharon giving Jo a helping hand


It is the Board’s responsibility to ensure that the Home carries out its work with skill and kindness, that it fulfils its declared purposes, meets all relevant external standards and remains financially sound, so that the continued care of its residents can be assured.

Vale House is inspected monthly by each of the Trustees (Directors) in turn. They may arrive unannounced, at any time of day or night. They speak to staff, residents and any relatives who are there; they check written records, observe the general mood of the home and the fabric of the building and write a report for the Board. Any recommendations are then carried out by Tricia O’Leary and her staff.

Catherine Oppenheimer
Chairman of Trustees

Catherine was appointed as Consultant Psychiatrist for Old Age for Oxfordshire in 1984 and her area of responsibility came to include Vale House, which was then located in Botley. She used to visit the home regularly to review residents’ needs and she developed a great admiration for the compassionate skill with which the staff responded to the difficult problems which can occur in the course of dementia.

Catherine joined the Board of Trustees of Vale House in 2006 and became its Chairman in 2012.

John Barneby

John Barneby joined London based commodity brokers Czarnikow, from Oxford in 1971 and retired as Chairman in 2014. During that time he gained a wide experience of all aspects of an international business operating from offices in a wide range of countries from Brazil to China. In 1991 he reorganised the business, concentrating on sugar, and built the business into the leading sugar services company in the world.

In 2011 John was asked to assist Vale House in their fund raising activities and subsequently became a Trustee in 2013 bringing his business and financial skills to the Board.

Jane Cranston

Jane first became involved with Vale House in 2011 when asked to help with the fundraising for the new building in Sandford. She was so impressed with all that she saw at Vale House that she was happy to become a Trustee in 2014.

Having recently retired after 40 years in the Wine Trade Jane is involved in many ‘extra curricular’ activities, the leading one of which is her role as Chairman of Governors at the School of St Helen & St Katharine in Abingdon. Jane brings to the role of Trustee her experience of running the business in which she was a shareholder. We are looking forward to her becoming High Sheriff of Oxfordshire in 2017.

Alison Rooke

Born and brought up in Oxford, and moving to Abingdon 35 years ago, Alison Rooke has been a Director/Trustee of Vale House since 2011 and is currently a member of the Care and Quality Committee at Vale House. She is a past Mayor of Abingdon and Chairman of the Vale of White Horse District Council, and is currently Oxfordshire County councillor for Abingdon East Division. Having nursed her father who suffered with dementia, Alison is passionate about the provision of excellent dementia care along with support to the families of those suffering with the disease.

Olga Senior

Olga brings a wealth of experience to the Board, which she joined in 2014. After holding a variety of nursing positions Olga’s career has been in clinical and managerial leadership within the NHS most recently as a Director of the South Central Strategic Health Authority. Olga has now chosen to work in a predominantly voluntary capacity and her current roles include being a member of Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner Complaints, Integrity and Ethics panel and an Associate Hospital Manager for the Mental Health Act, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Helen Carter

Helen is a Registered Nurse with a background in community, community hospitals and offender health. She has worked with Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP), as a healthcare inspector, and the Nursing and Midwifery Council, as a registrant panellist on the Fitness to Practise panels. Helen runs her own business undertaking service reviews, audits and investigations to improve clinical practice in healthcare settings. She teaches as an associate lecturer and supports clinical staff as a mentor and clinical supervisor.

Dr Rupert McShane

I am a consultant old age psychiatrist based at the Warneford hospital and an Associate Professor at the department of psychiatry in the University of Oxford. I have been involved in research looking at drug treatments, non-drug treatments, Lewy body dementia, use of technology and the problem of getting lost. I was attracted into this area first when I worked with a team of wonderful nurses whose care for the person with dementia was driven by a strong ethical perspective. I then became interested in the science, and initially was worried that dementia would all be sorted out by the time I was 40; sadly, I was very wrong about that. I also liked the idea that as I grew older, the concerns of my patients would seem more familiar. I was right about this, but it turns out to be a scarier prospect than I had imagined.

Robert Foster

Robert lives in Botley and is a lawyer. He is currently the Company Secretary of the Royal College of General Practitioners and has previously worked for law firms in London, Reading and Oxford. For the last 15 years his focus has been on advising charities and third sector organisations on governance and commercial activities.

Sarah Wright

Sarah joined the Board of Trustees at Vale House in 2019 as part of the Oxford Hub Young Trustees Programme. Originally from Lancashire, she moved to Oxford in 2014 to study Modern Languages, before joining the University in 2018 as the Communications & Events Officer for TORCH (The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities). She works with a number of mental health charities in a voluntary capacity and looks forward to supporting Vale House with her communications and events experience.