Who We Are

B&BF’s mission is to inspire change and create opportunities to enable people with bladder and bowel control problems to have a voice and equal choice. As part of this the charity will raise awareness of bladder and bowel control problems amongst the general public and healthcare professionals, and provide access to information and support regarding treatments, products and services.

Structure, Governance and Management

The charity’s governing document is its Memorandum and Articles of Association and the Trustees are the Company Directors. Under the Memorandum and Articles of Association, the charity has the power to make any investment which the Trustees see fit.

All Trustees of the Bladder and Bowel Foundation are elected at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) on a rotation system, where one third of the membership retire and are re-elected each year based on the longest in office. Trustees may come from the general public, healthcare or other sector. Trustees are offered a structured induction including presentations by staff, background material, business plans and information on Bladder and Bowel Foundation’s priority activities. The Trustees are all unpaid volunteers, and may claim reasonable out of pocket expenses. Any Trustee providing professional services beyond their normal work as a Trustee may receive reasonable and proper remuneration for those services.

At each meeting of the Board, Trustees are required to declare any potential conflict of interest, financial or otherwise, and may be required to withdraw from any relevant proceedings.

The Board of Trustees is responsible for the legal governance of the Bladder and Bowel Foundation. They set the strategic direction for the charity and its major programmes, and help resolve competing demands, which may be placed on the organisation. The Board holds 4 meetings each year.

A Board of Trustees of between five and fifteen members administers and governs the charity.

A Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is appointed by Trustees to manage the day-to-day operations of the charity including financial control.

The Board appoints a Chairman, Vice-Chair and Treasurer and they are re-elected annually. These Officers work together to support the CEO and the Bladder and Bowel Foundation, and they have delegated powers to take any necessary decisions between scheduled Board meetings. The Chairman of the Bladder and Bowel Foundation is responsible for appraising the performance of the CEO on behalf of the Board.

Board of Trustees


Prof Alan Cottenden, Professor of Incontinence


Jane Dixon, Clinical Specialist Physiotherapists & ESP


Prof Christopher Reginald Chapple, Consultant Urological Surgeon

Jacqueline Emkes

Julia Herbert, Specialist Continence Physiotherapist

Rory Smith

Wendy Colley OBE

B&BF Staff

Robert Dixon – CEO

Robert Dixon is Chief Executive Officer (part-time) of the Bladder and Bowel Foundation (B&BF).  His remit includes the development and direction of forward strategy; working with the Board of Trustees (and Executive Officers) to ensure proper charity governance; and to manage the operations activity of the charity.

B&BF is a nationwide charity helping people (and their families, carers and healthcare professionals) with bladder and bowel dysfunction problems, and provides a range of support services including a confidential Helpline offering professional clinical advice; a comprehensive website; a range of printed and electronic information documents; a growing database of people in contact with the charity; the delivery of training programmes; and research activity involvement.

In addition to his B&BF role, Robert currently holds a portfolio of business interests that include;

  • Sole proprietor of a consultancy practice specialising in strategic marketing and business development advice/interim management services to medical/healthcare related sectors.
  • Chairman of an early stage medical technology enterprise involved in novel intellectual property and product development.
  • Non-Executive Director of a NHS Foundation Trust that is a major provider of mental health and social care services.  Chair of the Quality and Performance Committee, member of the Audit and Assurance Committee.

o    This role also incorporates a collective Board/ Trustee accountability for a Mental Health and Primary Care Trusts Charitable Fund.

o    This role also incorporates the role of Chairman of a Strategic Partnership Board involving a diverse group of NHS and Local Government organisations in the East of England and a major (plc) provider of facility and other support services.

Over the course of his career, Robert has held a number of executive management roles in marketing and business development of increasing seniority within the global medical device industry.  This included project and product management for Johnson & Johnson before moving to Coloplast A/S as UK Marketing Manager and later as European Marketing Manager.  He then became Marketing Director (Europe) for Hollister Inc.  and was a member of its’ European Management Committee and the global Product and Process Development Committee.  His career has involved holding responsibility for strategic and annual business planning, accountability for marketing and product development strategy and implementation, and managing the transition from technical research and development through to successful commercialisation.

Robert has past voluntary and charity sector experience as a parent-elect, and later LEA appointed school governor (Chairman of Governing Body); working with groups representing people with physical disabilities and with advocacy groups dealing with long-term medical conditions; and as a Trustee of an employer sponsored charitable trust.

Robert is married (to a physiotherapist specialising in pelvic floor dysfunction) with two children, a daughter-in-law, and three grandchildren.  His interests include sport, good wine, gardening and ‘walking the dog’.

Heather Ellison – Support Services Manager

Heather Ellison is the Bladder and Bowel Foundation’s Support Services and Administration Manager. Previously, Heather was a civil servant, has worked in retail and more recently for a professional membership organisation. As a mature student she achieved a combined degree in Business Administration, Psychology and Sociology. Heather provides essential administrative support, manages the specialist helpline, handles subscriptions and donations, and management of the charity’s database and makes sure callers get access to the right information.

Michelle Tysoe – Part Time Communications Officer – Currently on Maternity Leave

Michelle joined B&BF in February 2011 as a website administrator, initially 2 days a week. Michelle now works Monday to Friday as the charity’s Communication Officer. Previously Michelle worked in mortgages for a building society and in insurance for a main lettings company. Michelle now manages the charity’s social media presence in particular the B&BF Twitter account and Facebook pages, and also designs and collates the information for the quarterly newsletter Vista. Michelle also creates new and updates existing B&BF information sheets and the content on the B&BF website. Advertising on the website and Vista also falls into Michelle’s remit as do research project call outs and survey’s.

Diane Jeffs – Part Time Administration Officer

Diane joined B&BF in December 2012 on a part time basis and will provide essential support for the office.

Becky Rice – Part Time Administration Officer

Becky joined B&BF in March 2015 on a part time basis and will provide essential support for the office and cover social media whilst Michelle is on maternity leave.

Kate Charlesworth – Helpline Advisor

 I am a Specialist Physiotherapist in Women’s Health and Continence and have worked in this area for 12 years. I run a women’s and men’s clinic at Circle Bath Hospital and also run their hydrotherapy service. I am training to be a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist. My special area of interest is helping both women and men to understand how their bodies work and to learn how to exercise and behave in a way that will promote healing and well-being. I also work with the nurses on the wards in training patients to use clean intermittent self-catheterisation.


Kath Forshaw – Helpline Advisor

I’m a Registered General Nurse who worked for many years in District Nursing before becoming a Continence Specialist Nurse in Manchester 15 years ago. I’m passionate about helping people with bladder and bowel problems and worked hard to improve access to Continence Clinics in my area, improving links with hospital services and teaching healthcare staff how to promote bladder and bowel health.

Sheila Boswell – Helpline Advisor

I trained in Scotland In 1967 prior to moving to South Devon where I worked in our local cottage hospital for 8 years. My interested in continence management developed during my 13yrs in district nursing.  I was then appointed as continence nurse specialist within our trust providing nurse led clinics, assessing clients in residential homes and teaching carers and nurses about catheter care and continence management. We also did flow clinics and taught clients how to perform intermittent self-catheterisation.

In Dec 2010, after 15yrs, I retired from this post. I am at present also doing a few hours project work for the NHS looking at continence issues in care homes.


Kate Klys – Helpline Advisor

I became involved in Continence Care in 1986 when I joined Central Birmingham Health Authority as Continence Co-ordinator and was involved in setting up the Community Continence Service.  Some years were then spent nursing abroad before I returned to the UK taking up the role of Continence Nurse Specialist in Somerset.  I initially supported Residents within Nursing Homes but as the role developed I became responsible for delivering a service to half the County, running Clinics, supporting District Nursing Teams along with Home Visits, and delivering education within Primary Care.

Further relocation brought my family to the north of England.  At this point I retired from the NHS and joined the Bladder and Bowel Foundation Helpline Team.