Board of Trustees

Christine Doolan (Chair)

Since gaining a BSc degree in Pharmacy from the University of Aston in Birmingham in 1981, Christine has worked as a community pharmacist throughout the West Midlands region both in an employed and a self-employed capacity. Between 2001 and 2007 she was the Managing Director of a chain of retail pharmacies based in Birmingham. In 2009 she completed an MSc degree in Human Resource Management and Business at the Aston Business School. She currently works as a manager for a small pharmacy chain based in Solihull

Christine has sat as a Justice of the Peace on the Birmingham Bench for 20 years, is a member of the General Pharmaceutical Council and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and an associate of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Birmingham born, she has been married to Ed, a broadcaster and journalist, for nearly 30 years.

Cllr John Cotton

Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood, Management and Homes. John Cotton was first elected to Birmingham City Council in 1999 and is a Labour Councillor for the Shard End Ward, in the east of the city. He was appointed as the City Council’s first ever Cabinet Member for Social Cohesion and Equalities following the May 2012 local elections and is now the Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood, Management and Homes.

John has been active in Birmingham’s political and civic life for over 20 years. Over the course of a varied career, he has worked in private industry, as assistant to a Labour MP and also in the voluntary sector. John is also a member of the Cooperative Party, the Fabian Society and Progress.

In his spare time, he is an enthusiastic if somewhat amateur rhythm guitarist, a passionate fan of live music and a voracious reader of history, sci-fi and thrillers.

As the Council’s Cabinet Member for Social Cohesion and Equalities, he is tasked with assuring that the City Council adopts a focused approach to “closing the gap” and ensure that we tackle the root causes of social and economic exclusion. In order to achieve these aims, he has been working with fellow Cabinet Members, City Council officers and partners from the public, private and voluntary sectors to develop a social cohesion strategy to make Birmingham a fairer and more cohesive city.

Prof Ken Spencer OBE

Emeritus Professor Ken Spencer OBE, FRGS, worked at Birmingham University for 38 years specialising in Public Policy. He has extensive experience of research, publication, learning, teaching and management in university and in public sector work environments. Staffing and budget responsibilities went with a range of his roles, including Head of Department, Head of School and Dean. Most of his teaching has been at Post-Graduate and Post-Experience levels. He has worked on many projects overseas including, more recently, Turkey, Japan (role of voluntary sector), Australia and USA (public service contracting), the European Union (as the UK member of grant allocation and review committees of the Regional Policy and Cohesion Directorate). In 2008 he was awarded the OBE for services to Education and to the Community in Birmingham. In relation to the latter he served as trustee of various Housing Associations over a 35 year period, including Chairs of Resources, Audit, Policy, Sandwell and Birmingham. He also was invited to serve on Black Led Housing Associations operating in north Birmingham. John was also Birmingham Settlement Chair from 2006 to 2009.

Dr Mervyn Jayakody

Dr Mervyn Jayakody has an extensive academic background having completed a PhD at the University of Birmingham, an MA in Industrial Development from the University of East Anglia, and a degree in Geography and Post Graduate Diploma in Economic Development from universities in Sri Lanka. Dr Jayakody is currently a Socio Economic Community Researcher for Bostock Marketing Group through which he is responsible for managing and conducting surveys across the UK on business opportunities, housing, education, health, environment and local authority services. During his PhD Dr Jayakody also worked for the University of Birmingham as a Teaching Assistant and Research Assistant. Prior to this he was working for the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka as a Manager for Foreign Investment Promotion.

Dr Mervyn is currently a Co-researcher of the evaluation team of ‘Brightlife-Ageing Better’ project in Cheshire West and Chester. It is a Big Lottery funded five-year project to explore the ways of preventing and reducing loneliness and social isolation among the adults over 5os. The Faculty of Health and Social Care, University of Chester carries out the evaluation for ‘Brightlife’.

Manisha Sharma

Manisha has a BSc in Pharmacy from Demontfort University and is currently studying a Masters in Public Health at the University of Birmingham. Manisha works within the health and social care sector and is currently a Local Practice Forum (LPF) member acting as Communications lead for the LPF. Manisha has a wealth of experience of leading local practise forums and working with a range of health commissioners to ensure local and national priorities are attained.

Bruce Thomson

Bruce is the Founder and CEO of Baker Goodchild Direct Marketing Ltd a local company based just around the corner from our Head Office in Aston. Bruce brings with him a wealth of knowledge around business management, sales and marketing.

Peter Brooks

Peter is Head of Behavioural Finance at Barclays Wealth and represents Barclays on the Money Advice Service Financial Capability Working Groups. Peter has a wealth of experience around people’s understanding people’s financial capability and behaviours in relation to finances and is an advocate for creating confident and informed financial decision makers through intelligent design and increased financial capability.


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