Oarsome Chance Trustees

Kate Ashman photo

Kate Ashman - Trustee

Kate has lived and worked in the local area for many years. She started work as a teacher in Southampton over 25 years ago and since then has taught in schools in the UK, Australia and the USA. Up until recently she was Deputy Head of a Primary school in Gosport and through her links with Oarsome Chance she worked alongside the Principal to deliver a bespoke programme of rowing and boat building skills to her students.

Throughout her career Kate has seen first hand the benefits of an enriched curriculum; drawing upon outdoor education as a way to engage students in activities that give them an alternative view of their potential. Kate currently works as a Registered Intermediary; a communication specialist who helps vulnerable people to give evidence to the police and to the court in criminal trials. She also works for an educational company and trains teachers to deliver a reading and spelling intervention programme in schools around the country and overseas.

In her spare time Kate enjoys sailing and skiing with her family, visiting other countries and socialising over good food and wine with friends.


Rod Ashman - Trustee

Rod has enjoyed a successful career in the Royal Navy, recently retiring as a Captain to pursue a career as a Programme Director in the NHS. His Naval career included appointments in most classes of ship and most recently as Logistics Commander in HMS ARK ROYAL. He also has experience of working alongside the other Services in operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Prior to leaving the Service he was Deputy Director of Resources for the Royal Navy and so brings financial, programme management and logistics experience to the Charity in his role as Treasurer and Trustee. In his remaining spare time he enjoys sailing, skiing, travelling and is also a Liveryman in the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights. He and his family live and work in the area and have close connections with the local community.

Taniya Profile Photo

Taniya Bandopadhyay - Trustee

I have over 9 years of work experience in human resources, managing diverse workforce and designing strategic people programmes to increase employee engagement and involvement. Over the years, I've developed a strong passion to help people and achieve corporate objectives. I've participated in several CSR activities for various causes. The desire to give back to the society and make a difference in the development of young talent urged me to seek for this role with Oarsome Chance

As a trustee, I am committed to supporting the organization’s values and mission, as well as implementing projects that will benefit people and co-workers.

When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with my family and reading.


Neil Budgen - Trustee

Neil is easily bored and cannot resist a challenge which probably explains why he walked out of school one morning and took the first job he was offered. However, Neil wasn’t wired to work for others, and went on to start, buy, merge, and sell 14 business operations both in the UK and New Zealand.

Neil has been an active member of several business organisations and served several terms as Chair of the Hillingdon branch of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and was branch representative to the FSB London Policy Unit.

Neil’s commitment to recycling his knowledge and experience as a volunteer includes mentoring over 45 business owners and a team of five year 11 students who won first prize in a national Health and Safety competition. Neil also assisted with the ongoing restoration of the world’s oldest working steam driven heavy lift ship, the Hikitia, in Wellington NZ for the duration of his 10 years in NZ.


David de Kretser - Trustee

David is a finance professional with a career spanning 30 years; he retired from the position of Head of Office with Brewin Dolphin Winchester and prior to that was a director of multiple private companies.

David is also a Member at a local, Southampton based school and has a particular focus on the youth education sector and social enterprise. David provides leadership and management support to the charity with the aim of making Oarsome Chance more effective in achieving their mission of supporting young people in Hampshire.

A passionate advocate for helping individuals find and fulfil their potential, David became a Trustee with Oarsome Chance in 2022.

Gil R pic

Gil Robertson - Trustee

Gil is passionate about the power sport has to really make a difference to young people’s lives.  She has been involved in the sport, and more recently sport for development sector for over 20 years and brings experience from different areas across the UK, including Havant, Portsmouth, Dundee, Birmingham and London.

Having worked alongside education and other teams supporting young people Gil has seen first hand how sport can enrich learning in a positive environment.

Having not attended university at a younger age, Gil has recently completed an MA in Sport Development & Management at Solent University.

Graham Whitehead

Graham Whitehead - Trustee

Graham has many years of experience working at a senior level in the charity and education sectors as well as a thorough understanding of the challenges of working with young people with very high needs.

Graham has been a CEO of five charities, and he has worked within the SEND field and now runs his own consultancy

Neill Y website pic

Neill Young - Chair of Trustees

Neill brings a wealth of experience from his work in the voluntary sector to Oarsome Chance. During his career Neill has been in supporting a variety of beneficiaries including, children and young people, the victims of crime, those needing support with debt advice and people affected by cancer. He started his career as a journalist before moving into marketing and fundraising roles in the charity sector. For three years Neill was the Cabinet Member for Education and Children Services at Portsmouth City Council.

He is currently studying a MSc in Voluntary Sector Management at the Centre for Charity Effectiveness at Bayes Business School in London. Neill lives in Portchester with his partner.