Board of Trustees

Our Board of Trustees provides strategic direction for our organisation and ensures our activities comply with current legislation and aligns with the objects of Birmingham Settlement.

Matthew Gregson (Chair)

Matthew is a partner at Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP and heads the firm’s Employment and Pensions Department. With a wealth of knowledge in employment law issues, Matthew advises charities, housing associations, care providers and third sector organisations at a strategic and operational level.

From 2010 to 2018 Matthew served as an Elected Member at Birmingham City Council sitting on committees such as the Governance and Scrutiny Resources Committee and the Trust and Charities Committee which manages charitable funds. From 2014 to 2017 Matthew was the Company Secretary at a global charity providing care for the elderly, The Abbeyfield Society, which contributed to his growing expertise in advising on governance issues and he has also been a trustee of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO).

Zoe Richardson (Vice Chair)

Zoe Richardson is Deputy CEO of a West Midlands Charity which works with individuals across the region who are “in need” by providing housing, support, care and education. Zoe has over 20 years’ management and service delivery experience in the third sector including working within a number of national charities. Zoe has a keen interest and background in charity governance and is an independent investigator of charity related governance issues including safeguarding cases.

Cllr John Cotton

John Cotton was first elected to Birmingham City Council in 1999 and represents the Glebe Farm and Tile Cross Ward in the east of the city. He is the Council’s Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion, Community Safety & Equalities, responsible for leading the city’s efforts to tackle social and economic injustice and building stronger safer communities. John has previously held Cabinet portfolios covering adult social care, public health and housing, which also reflect his passionate interest in tackling the root causes of poverty and disadvantage.

Over the course of a varied career, he has worked in private industry, as assistant to a Labour MP, in the voluntary sector and as a freelance public affairs consultant. John also chairs the national executive committee of Labour Housing Group, a national organisation campaigning for progressive and radical reform to housing policy.

George Sabharwal

George was born in Birmingham, 1963, educated to O levels. In 1979 George started working full-time for the family business, which was later on sold in 1987. George joined Tesco as a shelf filler on nights as a Christmas temp and was offered a permanent role, he worked for Tesco for 31 years. During that time, George was promoted to store manager in 1998 where he managed 15 stores over a 20-year period, mainly in the Midlands including 5 in the inner city of Birmingham.

George took an early retirement in April 2018 and was hoping to put something back into the community that met his values. George was introduced to Birmingham Settlement which he believes to be a forward thinking organisation and hopes he can add value.

Manisha Sharma

Manisha has a BSc in Pharmacy from De Montfort University and a Masters in Public Health from 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 practice forums and working with a range of health commissioners to ensure local and national priorities are attained.

Dr. Peter Brooks 

Peter is Head of Behavioural Science at Barclays and he is a contributor to the UK Financial Wellbeing strategy through the Money and Pensions Service Challenge Groups. Peter is passionate about understanding people’s capability and behaviours in relation to their money and is an advocate for creating confident and informed financial decision makers through intelligent design, increased financial capability, and money advice.

Chris Etheridge

Chris joined is the current Headteacher of Kings Heath Boys, a secondary school in South Birmingham.  Previously, Chris was Head of Tile Cross Academy in Kitts Green and got involved with Birmingham Settlement through community partnerships and the Kitts Green Hub. Chris has a wealth of HR experience and passionately believes that safe spaces to get advice and support around key areas such as personal finance, active lifestyles and personal well-being is where the settlement’s offer is unique.  As the client on a number of large building schemes within the education sector, Chris is particularly keen on the development of the Settlement’s Ladywood and Kingstanding hubs, and can provide experience to support us with these exciting projects.