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


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