Meet our staff
Nick Caplin CB
Chief Executive Officer
Nick joined Blind Veterans UK as CEO in 2014. As a Major General, he has over 33 years’ experience of command, leadership and management of military and civilian personnel in all three Defence Services. In addition to his CEO responsibilities, Nick is also a Director of Cobseo, Director of Action Against AMD and Director of Foresight Research. Married to Isobel, their home is in the Outer Hebrides: windy, wet and far from the madding crowd!Nick Caplin CB on LinkedIn
Chief of Staff
Andy joined us in 2017. He is responsible for ensuring cross-departmental coherence in the development and implementation of strategy, plans, performance, risk and governance. He provides support to the Chief Executive and Trustees. Andy is married and they live in the South West, with their two dogs and ‘collective’ of rescue hens, escaping as often as they can in their small camper van to places of natural beauty for trekking and new experiences.Andy Cash on LinkedIn
Dr Renata Gomes
Chief Scientific Officer
Renata joined Blind Veterans UK in 2017. Her undergraduate degree in Forensic Medicine was followed by a series of research posts in the UK and Internationally. Her PhD and post-doctoral research was on regenerative medicine and biochemistry and she is the author of many papers and patents. Winner of the Mending Broken Hearts Award in 2011, Renata’s non-executive experience includes expert witness testimony and being a government advisor on science, technology and veterans affairs. Renata lives in London, enjoys reading, foil and épée fencing and is a dog lover.
Director of Engagement
Jackie joined us in 2018. Prior to this she held a variety of senior global commercial positions specialising in product development, sales leadership and marketing strategy within the media sector. She is a member of the Institute of Fundraising and is an active and passionate volunteer and campaigner. Jackie lives with her husband and 11 year old daughter in Berkshire. To relax she walks her dog, plays the flute and practices yoga.Jackie Harbor on LinkedIn
Director of Resources
Simon joined us in 2019 after holding a variety of roles in the third sector, including a spell as CEO for Turn2us and finance director at BHF. Simon started his career in finance and subsequently held a series of senior financial positions in commerce, specialising in financial strategy, commercial finance and contract compliance as well as related areas, such as business development and service management. Simon publishes and speaks regularly on financial sustainability, leadership and governance and lives with his family in Surrey.
Director of Operations
Nicky joined us in 2015, building on a career within the voluntary sector where she led in operational delivery, change management, and business expansion programmes. Nicky has a background in Social Care and nationwide outcome based programme delivery, and is a fellow of the Chartered Management Institute. Within Blind Veterans UK, Nicky is responsible for the strategic development of a national regionalised model of service delivery, consisting of community and residential centre based services.Nicky Shaw on LinkedIn
Assistant Director, Operations
Fran joined us in 2014 bringing with her 25 years’ of charity sector experience, including 14 years as a senior manager at RNIB. She worked with us first as a Regional Manager, developing Community Services in the South East of England and moved into the Assistant Director post in April 2020 where she has UK wide responsibility. Fran loves the mission and ethos of Blind Veterans UK, particularly the focus on living life to the full and achieving potential.
Director of Organisational Development
Mark joined us in 2011 as a Centre Manager. He is now the Director of Operations (East), and is responsible for delivering a range of welfare, training and rehabilitation services to beneficiaries. Mark is a keen skier, cyclist and yoga enthusiast, who also spends his spare time gardening and studying for his MSc in People and Organisation Development. He lives with his wife and grown up children in Newark.Mark Lovatt on LinkedIn
Rehabilitation & Training Liaison Officer
Billy is part of our National Training Centre team in Llandudno and has been a member of Blind Veterans UK for over 12 years, after losing his sight to a rare virus. He served just shy of 21 years with the Royal Horse Artillery. Billy is in a unique position to support members, providing practical and emotional support helping them to learn there is life after sight loss.
PR and Communications Manager
Mark has been at the charity since 2014 and he and the rest of the Brand and Marketing team are responsible for ensuring that as many people know about the life-changing work of Blind Veterans UK as possible. Luckily, there are hundreds of stories of our blind veterans achieving amazing things every day which makes his job an easy and enjoyable one. Mark also plays in the staff band “The White Stix” as well as in the charity softball team.
Martha Romero Zambrano
Community Support Worker
Martha joined us in 2017. Her role involves supporting our blind veterans, including actioning the individualised support they require and providing emotional and social support. Martha also organises recreational activities, including lunch clubs or coffee mornings, which encourage our blind veterans to maintain healthy and socially active lifestyles while also developing closer friendships with other veterans and charity members. Outside of work Martha enjoys drawing and painting, salsa dancing, walking and spending time with family and friends.
Receptionist, Brighton Centre
Anita joined us in 2012. She works in the Reception and Security Team at our Brighton Centre. Anita's role is central to engaging with visitors, members and staff coming to the Centre and handling our extremely busy switchboard, fronting a large number of calls and enquiries. Anita is very active and outdoorsy, when she's not dealing with the switchboard at work you'll usually find her on either a paddle-board, surfboard or snowboard.
Rehabilitation Officer for the Visually Impaired (ROVI)
Isobel has been with the charity since 2017. In her role she works across 32 boroughs to support our veterans in their communities, helping them regain and maintain their independence. No day is the same, with travel, planning member activities, home visits, and assessing veteran’s needs, including teaching new skills or finding the right sight loss equipment. Isobel also provides sighted guiding training to staff. Outside of work Isobel enjoys singing in choirs and a bit of baking too.
Wood Work Instructor
Filip joined us in 2011 at our Llandudno Centre. Working firstly as a Health Care Assistant and then as a Wood Work Instructor in the busy workshop. His role involves engaging with blind veterans and supporting their rehabilitation. Filip is also involved in a number of centre activities, such as kayaking and sea fishing. Filip is a football and history fan and enjoys spending time outdoors with his family doing craft projects.
Housekeeper, Llandudno Centre
Julia joined us in 2015 as a member of the Housekeeping Department at our Llandudno Centre. The department manages the Centres household requirements for members and guests. A key part of Julia’s role is ensuring members feel well supported and happy during their stay at the Centre. Outside of her role, Julia enjoys keeping active, as a keen Zumba and swimming enthusiast, and loves travelling to new places.