READ THE SMART CJS IMPACT REPORT 2019: Evolving in Difficult Times and Proving our Worth

Meet our Board

SMART CJS Board of Trustees are a group of volunteers responsible for making sure the charity is running well and is doing what it was set up to do. They meet regularly with the CEO and other members of staff.

Dave Rawcliffe (Chair)

After taking early retirement from his position as a senior IT Manager with a large insurance company, Dave has a strong desire to continue making a contribution to the community. He has been the Church Warden of a church that support people who are homeless and those suffering with drug and alcohol addictions, which has given him appreciation of both how important and how challenging SMARTs work is. Dave brings extensive experience in IT and people management and is committed to helping SMART achieve its goals. In his spare time he enjoys playing tennis and bridge, as well as developing apps for iPhones.

Shahin Bekhradnia

A graduate in Modern Languages, and post graduate in Anthropology (both from Oxford University), Shahin founded a well reputed school in Oxford in 1981.  She has also been an interpreter for the Immigration Appellate, a legal advisor to a travel company, and is currently a teacher of Ancient History, Latin, Russian and French. As a magistrate on the Oxfordshire bench and the Thames Valley Family Panel, this work directly reflects her interest in the aims of SMART.

Fergus Crombie

Following a successful career as a Building Engineer, Fergus joined Bedfordshire County Council. Whilst working in waste regulation he was subsumed into the Environment Agency when it was formed in 1996. He has continued to work in waste regulation roles and is currently mainly involved in waste data and its interpretation. Fergus has been supporting the homeless in Bedford for many years, first as a volunteer with the Hebron Soup Run, which he now co-ordinates with the help of his family. Shortly after it opened he became a weekend volunteer at The Prebend Day Centre, helping the homeless in Bedford. Fergus was soon invited to become a Trustee for BeChar, the charity who established the Centre in 1993. When SMART and Bechar merged he was Deputy Chairman of the BeChar Board of Trustees. Fergus was delighted to be invited to join the SMART Board as a Trustee and brings a wealth of understanding and experience in supporting vulnerable people.

Ralph Dennison

Ralph has been a Trustee since 2017 and has had a long and successful career as a teacher and manager in state and independent education sectors.  A graduate of Sussex University, and trained as a teacher of English, he subsequently had experience of setting up and running independent sixth-form colleges in Oxford, having been instrumental in the success of three such schools. His school management career involved staff and student mentoring, financial and promotional oversight and liaison with external bodies.  He now runs a small schools promotional business, primarily focused on students from the US studying in independent schools in Oxford.

He has a venue in the Lake District, ‘Layapoint’, which has offered short courses in Yoga, Permaculture, Wood & Stone Carving, Drum Making, amongst other activities.  Charity work includes membership of Oxford Rotary Club, and involvement in fundraising and hands-on participation in local community projects.  His interests include theatre-going, film, music concerts, hill walking and spending time with his family.

Richard Thomas

In his role as Regional Agricultural Manager for Barclays Bank Richard manages a team of Agricultural Managers and Directors serving the rural community across the North of Wales and the North of the Midlands. Richard holds over a decade of experience in Barclays Business and Corporate banking and is passionate about helping people to survive and thrive, believing that the bank has a great responsibility to help the communities in which we serve. He holds several banking qualifications in addition to a higher diploma in computing and is an enthusiastic advocate of people both in and outside of work in terms of development and support.

Chantal Thomas

Chantal joined the Board of Trustees in 2018 and brings with her deep experience of Property Law and is currently a Legal Counsel at Belron International, which trades in the UK as Autoglass®, where she specialises in commercial property and employment matters. Chantal is also a Non-Executive Director at Sharnbrook Academy Federation MAT. With this and her role at SMART, she is very committed to supporting the community in which she lives and works, and relishes the variety that this brings her.

Dr Fatima Sogiawalla

With 27 years’ experience in the medical profession, Fatima has been fortunate to practice in three different continents; Asia , Middle East and the UK. This has given her experience of various acute illnesses, enhanced her medical knowledge and enriched her, both professionally and personally. She has been a consultant at Bedford Hospital for over 9 years in the medical department and, in the acute and ambulatory services, since 2018. She also takes part in the teaching and mentoring of other doctors, which she enjoys greatly.

Charity work includes volunteering and organising events for DKMS charity (which finds donors for patients with blood cancer) in Bedford, Addenbrookes and the Luton and Dunstable Hospitals. Fatima has also worked with the Bedford Larder to deliver goods from supermarkets and cooked meals for the homeless, and has participated in SHOE BOX Christmas appeals at work. Fatima feels very strongly about the situation with homelessness in UK and elsewhere; she is glad to be able to use her background in medicine, to help SMART CJS to tackle issues related to homeless people including mental health, alcohol and drug abuse.

Jono Poon

Jono is a British-Born-Chinese inspired entrepreneur, experienced in high-level inner performance and leadership, and a consultant for digital marketing strategies, design processes and business growth.  He specialises in helping businesses save time, money and scaling online to increase profit, brand recognition and social visibility. Jono’s big mission is to create influential leaders and entrepreneurs, who inspire the lives of young people and impact the next generation of leaders.

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