Who we are


The team at Talbot Village Trust are a group of passionate men and women, from a variety of backgrounds, who are focussed on maximising public benefit for current and future generations of beneficiaries, especially the young, older people and those in need.   


The Trust has a board of seven Trustees who meet twice a year to review progress against a strategic plan and to consider grant applications for funding. They are accountable for ensuring that there are funds and resources available to manage the estate well, including its land and properties, and to support local causes in meaningful ways.


United by their goal of transforming lives for the better, every Trustee gives their time free of charge and without any financial benefit. 


With social equity at the core of every decision made, the board is dedicated to widening the Trust’s impact. The Trustees have a diverse range of skills and interests, which is reflected in the broad remit of projects supported – not to mention the huge number of people who the Trust has been able to help, from all walks of life - from the urgent needs of the most vulnerable, to the future prosperity of the next generation.

Our Trustees

Nick Ashley Cooper


  12th Earl of Shaftesbury

Oversaw the restoration of St Giles, the Grade 1 listed ancestral family home. Now operating an events business at the house hosting weddings, concerts and festivals. Ambassador for spinal injuries charity Wings for Life following an accident in which he broke his back in 2009. Ambassador of Doctors in Distress, Vice-Patron of Livability and a trustee of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

Cecilia Bufton


Extensive business experience in multinationals and SMEs, mostly in health and social care. Chair of Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership and Non-Executive Director of Dorset NHS Integrated Care Board. Charity governance, including as Chair of Board of Trustees for the eye health charity, Macular Society, and the conservation charity, Plant Heritage, both of which rely on volunteers to achieve their goals. 

James Gibson


Over 40 years of Property asset management, charitable and voluntary organisation experience. Pivotal in the development of Cancer Care Dorset.  Operates a telecoms business focused on improving services to rural communities and addressing digital exclusion enabling more people to be connected and for business and home-working to be more effective.  

Christopher Lees


Extensive background and understanding of social services and education as a member of the former Dorset County Council. Chair of a Community Association to build a community centre and church. Extensive estate management experience including heathlands and other ecologies.

George Meyrick


Professional background in real estate law and Chairman of the Meyrick family group which owns and manages land and property assets in south-east Dorset. Founded a number of businesses active in environmental markets. Chancellor of Bangor University. 

Mary Riall



Extensive experience in education, initially as a teacher; founding and running a charity to raise the aspiration and achievement of disadvantaged children, with a focus on engaging with the natural world and the huge benefits this can bring. 

Richard Cutler



Bournemouth born, bred and educated, now living back in the conurbation.  Chartered Surveyor and Chartered Town Planner with an MBA from the University of Cambridge, running a property business since 2009. Experienced a serious spinal injury in 2011 reinforcing his ethos to make a difference and never be defeated. 

Our Staff

Caroline Cooban

Head of Philanthropy

Extensive experience in people-focused charities running front-line services and in grant-giving, and also partnership development in higher education.  Prior to joining the Talbot Village Trust in March 2022, was CEO of a social care and social housing charity for older people.  

Philip Rymer

Grant Administrator

Philip spent over 40 years in large scale farm and rural estate management in Dorset. During this time, he managed teams delivering a wide range of interesting projects. He joined the Talbot Village Trust in 2021 which has provided a complete career change.