About Swanage & Purbeck Development Trust


Swanage is a very attractive seaside town, located at the end of the A351, on the south east coast of Dorset. The town, originally a fishing village, flourished in the Victorian era when it became a significant quarrying port and later a seaside resort for the rich of the day. Today the town remains a very popular tourist resort with its old world charm, blue flag beach, Victorian pier, Heritage Railway and stunning landscapes included in the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. In addition to its attractions for tourists it is also attractive as a retirement destination and for second homes. However, its popularity, location and historic nature bring with them a range of issues and challenges.

These include:

  • Providing for the needs of an aging population;
  • Creating opportunities for young people;
  • Meeting the town’s affordable housing need;
  • Providing facilities that meet the needs of both residents and visitors;
  • Attracting new employment and creating business opportunities;
  • Conservation and accessibility to the town’s heritage;
  • Climate change, flood risk and coastal change management;
  • Protecting and enhancing the natural environment.

The Trust

The mission of Swanage and Purbeck Development Trust is to be a delivery organisation, advisor and catalyst for projects designed to meet local needs and support the long-term revitalisation of Swanage and the surrounding areas. Its plans and activities include the establishment and development of income generating asset bases to ensure future viability and sustainability. It also provides pooled charity resources, advice and support to other organisations sharing the same objectives, thereby offering economies of scale and reduced operating costs.

The Trust manages a range of projects to meet the needs of the community and in particular relief from poverty, ill health and disadvantage, encouragement of increased employment opportunities and improved access to arts, culture and fitness activities. It also works collaboratively with other key stakeholders, including local and statutory authorities, to provide the community with key projects which are essential to meet local needs and address social and economic deprivation.

In all its activities the Trustees have due regard to the Charity Commission’s guidance on public benefit.

The Trustees

Robert (Bob) Foster FRICS – Trustee and Chair
I am a retired Chartered Surveyor and moved to Swanage in 2010. I have devoted much of my time, since my move, to volunteering in the local community. My background in advising major companies and government departments on commercial, occupational, property management and strategic planning, has helped in my local roles as a school governor, in a local Primary school, and a member of the Steering Group for the Swanage Local Plan. I see my membership of the Trust as an ideal way to contribute my skills to assisting local community organisations meet the needs of the people of Swanage. I still find time to spend with my family and my own personal retirement pursuits. I thoroughly enjoy living in this lovely town with its strong community feel.

James Sinclair Taylor – Trustee and Vice Chair
I work advising charities, social enterprises, public bodies and other not for profits as a Partner at Russell Cooke Solicitors where I head the Charity and Social Enterprise Team. I also work as a Management Consultant advising charities on a range of issues from strategy to governance. I have been involved in helping with both advice and training a range of charities in Dorset Swanage is facing challenges in the years ahead and I think the Development Trust can play a useful role in meeting these. I am a keen member of the sailing club and also act as a Trustee of Shelterbox an international aid charity, I was appointed Protector of NESTA (formerly National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts) by the Secretary of State and I am a Trustee of a grant making trust.

Kim Gallagher Exec MBA – Trustee and Secretary
I am a retired corporate local government manager, with a home in Swanage since 2000 and settling permanently in 2007. I got involved in volunteering by joining the Swanage Town and Community Partnership and Swanage Lions. I have recently retired from working part time as a Teaching Assistant in Swanage for the last 8 years. In Local Government I primarily worked with Council’s Management Teams and Members to improve; performance, efficiency, community & strategic planning, HR and organisational development. I have drawn on these skills for my current roles as Chair of the Swanage Town and Community Partnership and as a member of the Steering Group for the Swanage Local Plan. I joined the Trust as I strongly believe that the Development Trust will make an important contribution to the vitality and vibrancy of Swanage, a very special seaside town. In any spare time I enjoy spending time with my family, exploring the local area, especially as National Trust Members, crafting and entertaining my two dogs.

Mel Norris – Trustee
My career was mostly in the printing industry, serving both as a works manager and then managing director. I moved to Swanage in 1983 and then after retiring in 2006 I volunteered my services to local good causes. My periods as a director gave me experience in personnel and financial management which I have used to assist with my voluntary work. I have always believed in the advantages of a strong community and have worked tirelessly to maintain and improve services and facilities for the general public, whether they be provided by statutory or voluntary organisations. I believe in bringing people from different backgrounds and organisations together to agree and deliver projects to mutual and community advantage. Swanage is a special place to live and the quality of life to be had has to be protected and enhanced for future generations.

Robin Sutcliffe – Trustee
After Architectural and Management training, my life has been spent setting up and running different organisations in the Charitable, Public and Private Sectors. First in 1970 a Housing Association in London, then in 1975 an experimental design build section of Direct Labour in Haringey and finally since 1980 a private family business designing and manufacturing playground equipment, which was sold to its employees in 2008 and of which I remain as Chairman. In 1989 I was involved in buying a derelict chapel in Halifax and turning it into a Performing Arts Centre, where I remain as a trustee. In addition I currently Chair two National voluntary organisations in the field of play. Now retired in Swanage I look forward to bringing my skills and experience to contribute to the community of Swanage. My wife who is a conservation Architect is the daughter of the Swanage Photographer Helen Dunman.

David Williams – Trustee and Honorary Treasurer
I am a retired banker and moved permanently to Swanage in 2009, having had strong family links with the town for the previous thirty years. Following retirement from the banking industry I undertook several roles in the charitable and not for profit sectors. These included acting as trustee and treasurer of an organisation providing domiciliary support services to people caring for the disabled and elderly, and participation in various committees planning the future organisation and delivery of domiciliary care. My main leisure activity is music making, serving as a trustee and performing with Purbeck Strings, which stages an annual string festival and other events with a strong local focus. I am also an organist and active member at All Saints’ Church. I am a member of the Probus 2 Club of Purbeck where I currently serve as treasurer. Fully supportive of the services that the Development Trust can offer to local groups, I am pleased to have the opportunity to offer my financial and wider business experience to further its objectives.