Home | News | Bedford-Based Chair Appointed to Board at SMART CJS

Bedford-Based Chair Appointed to Board at SMART CJS

There are big changes at the top of SMART CJS, as current Chair of the board of trustees, Dave Rawcliffe, steps down after five years, handing over to Bedford-based property lawyer Chantal Thomas. Keara O’Connor, a Milton Keynes-based Project Manager also joins the board as a new trustee.

Chantal Thomas, who works full time at Belron (trading as Autoglass) remarked:

“I am looking forward to chairing the organisation which is much-loved by many people in Bedford. I know it will be a worthwhile and hugely satisfying role.”

Pointing to recent developments that have involved SMART she picks out in particular the new 20-bed accommodation for the homeless at Rogers Court in Bedford, the continuing success of the drugs-recovery programme at Howard House in Oxford and the homelessness services at Norman Russell House in Milton Keynes. “None of this would have been possible without our fabulous team at SMART working with colleagues from a wide variety of local agencies and local authorities: the teamwork is quite wonderful to see as is the quality of service we can now offer to people who need our support.”

Welcoming Ms O’Connor, Chantal Thomas said: “We are delighted that Keara has accepted our invitation to join the board of SMART CJS. She will bring valuable strengths to a board that is working hard to fulfil its mission of helping homeless people to help themselves to a better life.”

Pictured below Anita McCallum and SMART CJS Senior Managers say a fond farewell to Dave Rawcliffe and congratulate Chantal Thomas as she steps up to the Chair.

  • Front centre – Anita McCallum SMART CJS CEO
  • Second row – Jodie McMinn SMART CJS Business Development and Transformation Manager (left) & Jen Robus SMART CJS Bedford and Milton Keynes Area Manager
  • Back row from left to right SMART Trustees Ralph Dennison, Dave Rawcliffe, Chantal Thomas and Jono Poon.

Volunteers account for more than half of the workforce at SMART CJS, with the charity putting their skills to work across a wide range of activities, as CEO Anita McCallum acknowledges:

“With our army of unpaid helpers – among them, trustees like Chantal Thomas and Keara O’Connor – and our many contacts in other agencies – we are able to deliver high quality care and support to all who need our services. Working with many other bodies, SMART CJS’s aim of helping people to help themselves translates into practical help with accommodation, health, clothing, employability and much else besides, to help them work towards a better future.”

Meet the Board of Trustees


WANT TO KEEP UPDATED WITH NEWS AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION?

Please complete the form below and we’ll keep you in the loop. We will never share your details and you will only receive relevant information.

Please keep me updated on the following (tick all that apply)
Please contact me by (tick all that apply):






  • JOIN US FOR A SLEEP OUT FUNDRAISER – CAN YOU ROUGH IT FOR ONE NIGHT?
    On Saturday 24th September 2022, from 7pm to 7am, we will be holding our first fundraising event since Covid struck - the SMART Sleepout 2022! Please join us and help us to raise funds and awareness for the SMART Prebend Homeless Day Centre. Experience a little of what it’s like to be homeless and sleep rough. Read more...
  • WE ARE LOOKING FOR PASSIONATE PEOPLE TO BECOME SMART CJS TRUSTEES
    In a recent survey it was reported that over eight in ten of those performing Trustee roles said that it made them happier and over one in five said that they got a promotion as a result of their service. ​We are looking for enthusiastic volunteers to bring their experience and knowledge to our board of trustees. The board is our governing body, providing strategy and direction and ensuring we're run according to the rules.​ Read more...
  • SMART CJS NEWS BULLETIN ISSUE 12
    News from SMART CJS’s projects in Bedford, Milton Keynes and Oxford - Awards, random acts of kindness, glorious gardening, mental health awareness week and celebrating 11 years of Howard House! Read more...
  • SMART CJS IMPACT REPORT 2021: Surviving and Thriving
    The Impact Report is finally here! Inspirational individuals, heart-warming stories and some of the key facts and figures from SMART CJS during 2021. Read more...
  • EXCITING NEW VOLUNTEERING ROLE IN MILTON KEYNES!
    We have an exciting new opportunity for an enthusiastic person/s to join the team at Norman Russell House (SMART’s supported accommodation in Milton Keynes for former rough sleepers) as the Activities Volunteer. Read more...
  • CELEBRATING 11 YEARS OF HOWARD HOUSE – PLEASE JOIN US!
    So far, we have welcomed around 14 people a day into the centre for a chat, a warm drink, and a hot takeaway meal. We have spoken to several people who are struggling to afford food because of the rise of living costs and the reduction of Universal Credit. People without a home have been able to talk about their situation, get food, collect their post (the building is a registered address for many) and use the phone to make essential calls. Read more...
  • THE SMART PREBEND HOMELESS CENTRE IS OPEN AGAIN – THANK YOU!
    So far, we have welcomed around 14 people a day into the centre for a chat, a warm drink, and a hot takeaway meal. We have spoken to several people who are struggling to afford food because of the rise of living costs and the reduction of Universal Credit. People without a home have been able to talk about their situation, get food, collect their post (the building is a registered address for many) and use the phone to make essential calls. Read more...
Quick exit — hide this page now!