Who’s Who

Meet some of the people who make Bede happen. To get in touch, please visit our Contact page.


The Right Rev Christopher Chessun, The Lord Bishop of Southwark

Vice Presidents

Roger Harrison
Andrew Sutton


Councillor Sunil Chopra, former Mayor of Southwark
Jane Holbrook, CEO, Wagamama to December 2018
Sir Simon Hughes, Chancellor of London South Bank University

Bede Council of Management (October 2021)

Chair: Wendy Cookson

Wendy joined Bede in January 2017 and was appointed Chair in July 2019. She brings over 25 years’ experience as a nurse, director and governor in the NHS. For the last eight years she has worked independently as a specialist advisor to hospital and commissioning boards. Her areas of specialisation are corporate and quality governance and leadership.

Vice Chair: Julie Cotton

Julie has been a trustee of Bede House for over 10 years. Her focus is community engagement. She currently works as Head of Housing Programmes at Homes England. Prior to this she worked for Peabody Trust on Community Regeneration and Employment Initiatives.

Treasurer: Nitu Panesar

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

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 as Chair of her company’s corporate social responsibility committee. Alison became a Bede trustee in 2018. Her focus is the Bede: Ending Domestic Abuse programme.

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. She has particular expertise in supported and sheltered housing providers.

Martyn Hickson

Martyn joined Bede in May 2016. His career began 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 brings wide commercial experience to Bede Council. During his career he has focused on corporate development, strategy and operations for both large and small businesses. He has also worked in central government and the City. He joined Bede in 2016.

Caroline Knight

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

Jamaria Kong

Jamaria is a local resident and has been a trustee of Bede House since July 2014. She is the link trustee for the Bede Learning Disability project. Jamaria is an independent management consultant, advising both corporate and private equity clients. Her focus is mergers and acquisitions, business transformations and operational improvements. She brings governance, financial, project management and digital skills to the council. She is also a trustee at the Greenwich Foundation for the Old Royal Naval College.

Shane Murphy

Shane is a local resident who joined Bede in 2020. He is an architect who has led mixed-use projects across London. Shane takes an interest in facilities management, and is supporting the charity as they plan ahead for a smooth transition to new purpose-built premises at the base of Maydew House.

Bob Ogilvie

Bob is a director at multi-disciplinary consultancy firm AECOM, where he leads a large team of project managers covering London and the Southeast. His team act for clients in the built environment covering sectors such as residential, commercial, healthcare and education. A chartered civil engineer, he has long experience in the property and construction industry. Bob is currently leading a team of project managers working for British Land to deliver the Canada Water regeneration scheme.  He also serves as a school governor.

Senior Management Team

Director and Council Secretary: Mahua Nandi

Mahua brings many years of senior management experience from a range of sectors, including community transport, mental health, prison-based learning and social enterprise. She started her career as a community organiser providing advocacy, peer support and training for low-wage workers in and around London. She then moved into project and organisational management in the not-for-profit sector, qualifying as an accountant and working as finance director for a range of different organisations. She is a trustee of VoiceAbility, a charity which supports people to be heard in decisions about their health, care and wellbeing, and a board member of Reside Housing Association, which specialises in providing high-quality housing for people with support needs.

Finance Manager: Pam Whyte

Pam is an AAT qualified accountant with over 20 years’ experience in finance. She joined Bede in 2013 as Finance Assistant and was subsequently appointed Finance Manager.

Bede Learning Disabilities Project Manager: Carole Brady

Carole joined Bede in 2014 and has worked in social care for over 30 years. This includes 12 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.

Bede Youth Project Manager: Fokrul Meah

Fokrul is a qualified Youth and Community worker who joined Bede in 2007. He previously worked for 10 years with Enfield Youth Service.

Bede: Ending Domestic Abuse Project Manager: Ahlam Laabori

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