Caroline Voaden is the Liberal Democrat candidate for Totnes constituency.
She currently works as a charity CEO and was the last leader of the Liberal Democrat party in the European Parliament.
She lives in Totnes with her husband Stuart. Her two grown-up daughters now live in London.
Elected as an MEP for SW England and Gibraltar in May 2019, Caroline was later voted in as leader of the Lib Dem group, until they all left the Parliament because of Brexit in January, 2020. She was a member of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, and was Vice Chair of the EU Delegation for Relations with the Arab Peninsula.
Previous to her election Caroline worked as a Reuters journalist, a freelance editor and ran her own business in Totnes. Her experience of running a small business on a traditional high street, competing against online shopping giants, gave Caroline a gritty understanding of the pressures faced by those running small businesses in a rural community.
Her work as a journalist led her to live in six European countries and she speaks several languages. Caroline worked in both English and French in the European Parliament.
Caroline is the Chief Executive of Devon Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Services (DRCSAS) – Devon’s main provider of support services to anyone aged 13 and over who has experienced sexual violence or abuse. DRCSAS also campaigns against Violence against Women and Girls and, together with colleagues across the country, Caroline is pushing for longer-term, stable funding for support services for victims as well as funding for prevention work throughout the education system.
Caroline was widowed at 34 in 2003, when her first husband Nick died of oesophageal cancer. Their girls were 17 months and 3 years old. She joined and was later elected chair of a national charity that supports young widowed men and women – WAY, Widowed and Young.
Caroline is only too aware of the long-term effects that illness and bereavement have on the wider family, from the impact on mental health, to bereavement support and benefits and the challenges of being a lone parent. Caroline raised her girls alone for nine years following Nick's death. She has first-hand experience of the exemplary care offered by the NHS and the vital support given by charities like MacMillan and Marie Curie.