Our Resident Ambassadors

The work our Resident Ambassadors do makes a real difference, not only to those living in their local communities, but also to the lives of all  Optivo residents.

By giving up their time to support our resident governance activities, our Ambassadors carry out key duties such as:

  •  Acting as a sounding board for senior staff and residents’ governance members, providing advice and expertise as required
  • Being involved in staff and resident training 
  • Contributing to co-creation groups where they have experience of the issues  
  • Supporting and mentoring other residents involved in the wider resident governance structure 
  • Representing the organisation at conferences or events
  • Promoting the organisation through the great work they do.


Our current ambassadors

Our ambassadors are a trio of women who have volunteered for Optivo for more than 80 years, combined.

image: Monica

Monica Barnes MBE

Monica from London has been volunteering with Optivo for more than 35 years and was honoured by the Queen in December 2020 for her work.

She’s been instrumental in the Resident Strategy Group and was elected to the role of vice-chair and chair.  She represents our BAME communities and older residents to ensure their voices are heard.

image: Helena

Helena Ingham

Helena lives in Sheppey and has worked with residents for nearly 30 years. She has been involved in creating residents’ associations, and was one of the first to be elected by her community to be on the local area  panel and a resident member of the Board in her region.  

She’s also helped to form a Youth Action Group and run a Computer Learning Centre.

image: Melanie

Melanie Johnson

During her years as a volunteer for Optivo, Melanie has chaired the London South East panel.

She also completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) while working as a single mum in a library and has used her expertise to provide recreational and employment support for residents.  

She’s particularly interested in technology, innovation, and sustainability projects.