Board of Trustees

The Atkinson Development Trust has Trustees offering diverse skills, knowledge and experience who are appointed in compliance with the guidelines set by the Charity Commission.  The Trustees serve for a term of two years in a voluntary capacity.

Jo Kay, Chair

Jo has been an enthusiastic supporter of The Atkinson since her first visit in 2007, and by 2015 had joined the Board of The Atkinson Development Trust. She is currently Chair of the Trust.

Based in Manchester, she spends as much time as possible in Southport, so she can visit The Atkinson and go walking and foraging along the sea front.

Jo is a consultant in audience development and works all over the North of England with arts and heritage organisations. Her favourite part of working with the Trust is helping The Atkinson’s skilled staff to use the treasures and stories of Sefton to make a positive impact on local people’s lives. 

Ian Bryden, Treasurer

Ian lives in Formby and has been involved in all aspects of amateur theatre in Sefton over many years.

He is an admirer of The Atkinson and all that it offers to the people of Sefton and is keen to help to take the fine examples of art and history that The Atkinson has to offer to an even wider audience throughout Sefton.

Ian brings to The Atkinson Development Trust many years’ experience as a consultant and project manager in various aspects of retail with top UK companies. Ian joined the Trust as Treasurer in October 2018.

Cllr Jan Grace

As a Sefton Councillor in Victoria Ward, Crosby, Jan is proud of the fact that it was a Labour-led Sefton Council that instigated the restoration of The Atkinson and made this state of the art provision possible in Southport.

Jan lives in Crosby and became a Trustee in 2016, her experience of sitting on scrutiny committees contributes to pertinent skills. She is passionate about art and culture as they contribute a great deal to individuals and society in general. Following a thirty-year career as a State Registered Nurse, she fulfilled a lifelong ambition and completed a BA (Hons) followed by an MRes in Art History, then more recently a post-graduate Diploma in Archives and Records Management.

Jan works as a full-time archivist at Liverpool Record Office in the Central Library, working with many wonderful and varied collections. She considers it a privilege to be a Trustee of The Atkinson Development Trust and looks forward to watching it flourish and grow in stature in the coming years.

Emma Harrison

Emma has been Principal Manager for Public Engagement at The Atkinson since 2015. She was recruited from the post of Southport Library Manager. Books have been her life, she worked in the commercial book industry for 20 years before moving to Sefton Library Service in 2008. Emma is passionate about libraries, not just about books and reader development, but also about their greater value to the community.

Emma has lived, studied and worked in the local area all of her life.

Lindsey Holding

Lindsey joined the Trust towards the end of 2019. She believes everybody should have access to the arts and admires the fantastic selection of treasures, spaces and services that The Atkinson has to offer the Sefton community. She values how the staff, Trust and community have worked collaboratively to inspire and nurture projects, such as The Wellbeing Choir which has provided the opportunity for friendship and the chance to support other community groups and charities through their performances.

Lindsey is an Events Programmer for The Old Courts, Wigan and team teaches the School of Rock (Under 18’s) groups. Over the past 20 years she has studied Music at various levels, taught, and performed across the UK.

Stephen Whittle


Stephen has been the Principal Manager of The Atkinson’s museum and gallery service since 2013. Stephen has managed a variety of museum services across the North West over the last 25 years and was appointed as a Trustee in 2018.

His role is to connect the work of The Atkinson with that of the Trust and to help develop projects that inspire and engage communities all over Sefton.

Jenny Cope

Jenny is a Southport local who joined The Atkinson in 2021 as Museum Futures Digital Trainee. Museum Futures is The British Museum’s latest Skills for the Future training programme and is generously supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Open to people age 18-25, trainees earn a diploma in cultural heritage as well as gaining real industry experience.

By joining The Atkinson Development Trust this year, Jenny hopes to gain skills and experience in fundraising as well as bring a different perspective to The Trust. An art, theatre and history enthusiast Jenny is passionate about allowing The Atkinson’s collections and projects to be as accessible and engaging as possible.

If you would like to contact the Board, please email us at:

The Atkinson Development Trust is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation Registered Charity Number 1161020.