Who’s who at Bede


The Right Rev Christopher Chessun, The Lord Bishop of Southwark

Vice Presidents

Roger Harrison
Andrew Sutton


Councillor Sunil Chopra, former Mayor of Southwark
Sir Simon Hughes, former MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark

Bede Council of Management (February 2019)

Chair: Catherine McGrath

Catherine McGrath was appointed Chair of Trustees in 2016, having joined the board in 2014. Catherine is a civil servant, currently working in the Cabinet Office, and brings expertise in government and communications to the Bede Council.

Before joining the civil service she worked for communications consultancy, Madano, and in Government Relations for Ofcom.

Vice Chair: Julie Cotton

Julie has been a trustee of Bede House for over 10 years with a particular interest in community engagement. She is Head of Housing Programmes at Homes England and prior to this worked for Peabody Trust on Community Regeneration and Employment Initiatives.

Treasurer: Nitu Panesar

Nitu joined Bede in July 2014, and was appointed Treasurer in Nov 2015. She is a senior finance professional with over 10 years’ experience in the NGO and Commercial sector. She has successfully developed and led teams globally and is now working for a large public research university based in London.

Secretary: Charlotte Cook

Charlotte is a solicitor and partner at law firm, Winckworth Sherwood.  She first got to know Bede when they were appointed the firm’s “charity of the year” in April 2011.  Charlotte works mainly with housing associations acquiring land for development, with a particular expertise in supported and sheltered housing providers.

Council Members

Alison Booth

Alison has worked for many years as an editor and editorial director in the travel industry. She got to know Bede through her work at Belmond, where she is also Chair of the company’s corporate social responsibility committee.

Wendy Cookson

Wendy joined Bede in January 2017. She brings over 25 years’ experience as a Nurse, Director and Governor in the NHS, and for the last 8 years, has worked independently as a specialist advisor to hospital and commissioning Boards on corporate and quality governance and leadership.

Martyn Hickson

Martyn joined Bede in May 2016. With a background in management of large commercial projects, he is currently responsible for customer loyalty for a national rail operator. A Southwark resident, he has experience volunteering for a range of local and national charities.

John Kent

John joined Bede in 2016. John brings a wide commercial experience to Bede Council, having focused during his career on corporate development, strategy and operations for large and small businesses, as well as working in central government and the City.

Caroline Knight

Caroline Knight is a freelance editor and editorial tutor who has worked in the book publishing industry for nearly three decades. She has been a trustee of Bede House for 25 years, including a spell as Chair of trustees, and takes a particular interest in the youth project and fundraising.

Jamaria Kong

Jamaria has been a trustee of Bede House since July 2014 and she is the link trustee for Bede’s Learning Disability project. She is an independent management consultant, advising both corporate and private equity clients in Mergers & Acquisitions, business transformations and operational improvements. Jamaria is a local resident and brings governance, financial, project management, digital skills to the council.

Jamaria is also a trustee at the Greenwich Foundation for the Old Royal Naval College.

Paul Lindsay

Paul was educated in Belfast, Northern Ireland until 1981 and then spent a year working with Operation Mobilisation in Sudan.  After completing a degree in Quantity Surveying Paul has worked in the construction industry in London for thirty years and is a partner in a construction consultancy. He is a fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, a trustee for OMUK, a trustee for Bede House in Bermondsey, London and the chair of the board for YFC Central Moscow, Russia.

Katrina Ramsey

Katrina came to Bede in 2004 as a recent graduate of Clare College Cambridge, working in the Learning Disabilities service for six months on volunteering projects. She became a trustee in 2008 and was Chair of Trustees from 2011-2015. Katrina works on environmental programmes at the Greater London Authority, and brings project management skills and experience of managing grant schemes to Bede Council.

Senior Management Team

Director: Nick Dunne 

Joined Bede in 2002 after nearly 13 years with a charitable organisation helping street homeless people. A qualified social worker, he holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Public Services Management and has over 30 years’ senior management experience in the charity sector.

Finance Manager:  Brian Stewart

Is a CIPFA qualified charity accountant with over 40 years’ experience in finance, facilities and IT management. Brian joined Bede in 2013 after 12 years as Director of Finance and IT with a Children’s Hospice.

Learning Disabilities Project Manager:  Carole Brady

Joined Bede in 2014 and has worked in social care for over 30 years, including twelve years in management roles with Southwark and Lambeth Councils, Camden Society and Bede. Carole was born and brought up in Bermondsey and still lives locally.

Youth Adventure Project Manager:  Fokrul Meah

Is a qualified Youth and Community Worker who joined Bede in 2007 after 10 years with Enfield Youth Service.

 Starfish Domestic Violence Project Manager:  Ahlam Laabori

Joined Bede in 2010 after a career in the Forced Marriage Unit of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and social work training with Westminster Social Services.  Ahlam is a qualified Independent Domestic Violence Advocate (IDVA) and trained Freedom Programme leader, and became Project Manager in 2015.

Facilities & IT Manager: John Phipps

John joined Bede in January 2019. A member of British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) he brings many years of professional experience in facilities management to Bede.