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Our team

The Cares Family Trustees

Headshot of Ben Wilson

Ben Wilson

Acting Chair

Ben is a seasoned finance professional with experience across investment banking, industry and professional services. A Partner at an independent corporate finance boutique, Ben is a qualified accountant and holds an MBA from Warwick Business School. Ben has been involved with Cares since 2014 and led the strategic development of financial management before becoming Acting Chair.

Seema Kennedy

Seema Kennedy

Trustee

Seema is a former MP for South Ribble, Under-Secretary of State for Public Health and Primary Care and co-chair of the Jo Cox Loneliness Commission which led on the creation of the UK's first government level loneliness strategy. Before entering Parliament, Seema was a lawyer. She was awarded an OBE in 2019.

Polly Balsom

Polly Balsom

Trustee

Polly is Head of Marketing and Communications at Royal Trinity Hospice. She has previously worked at the charity Missing People where she led on multiple national fundraising and awareness campaigns and partnerships, and at grass-roots HIV charity Body & Soul.

James Lee image

James Lee

Trustee

James has had a long career in local government, where his responsibilities now include leading on safeguarding, monitoring and evaluation at Lewisham Council. He has been a Trustee at The Cares Family since 2013.

Iana Vidal

Iana Vidal

Trustee

Iana is a public affairs and communications professional, with a passion for supporting people to affect positive change at a local and national level. She has experience across a diverse range of sectors including health, justice, education and finance. Iana has been part of The Cares Family for many years as a younger neighbour at South London Cares and East London Cares, and now also as a coach on The Multiplier programme.

Dermot Finch

Dermot Finch

Trustee

Dermot is the Director of Group Operations at The Prince’s Trust, which supports young people into education, training and employment. After leading The Trust’s support in London and the South of England, Dermot is now helping to build an international Prince’s Trust network of support for young people overseas. Previously, Dermot was the founding CEO of the Centre for Cities research organisation; and a civil servant with HM Treasury.

The Cares Family Team

Headshot of Alex Smith

Alex Smith

Founder/CEO

Alex is the Founder and CEO of The Cares Family. In 2018, Alex was appointed one of 20 inaugural Obama Foundation Fellows, selected from 21,000 applicants from around the world, and in 2019 he became an Encore Public Voices Fellow in recognition of his work on generational unity. Alex was formerly an adviser to Ed Miliband when he was Leader of the Labour Party.

Headshot of Jane East

Jane East

Managing Director

Jane is Managing Director of The Cares Family, having joined in 2020. She was formerly at Christian Aid and Amnesty International and practised as a family social worker. Jane leads our policy, processes, systems and culture and also manages our teams across the UK.

Charlie Jamieson

Charlie Jamieson

Director of Programmes

Charlie ensures quality and sustainability across The Cares Family’s five locations. She has been with The Cares Family since 2015, first leading social clubs and then managing corporate partnerships.

Rosa Friend

Rosa Friend

Director of Projects

Rosa leads on new Projects at The Cares Family which bring people together across the UK. She has been at The Cares Family for five years, previously as Head of Programmes at East London Cares, Manchester Cares, Liverpool Cares and South London Cares.

Jo Heldreich

Jo Heldreich

Director of Finance

Jo leads all The Cares Family's financial planning and management and her brilliant team at Beehive Chartered Accountants manage our payroll and bookkeeping. Jo brings experience with various non-profits to our Senior Management Team.

Ellenor Baron

Ellenor Baron

Acting Director of Development

Ellenor drives partnerships, supports our individual donors and coordinates the fundraising strategy. Ellenor previously worked as Head of Major Gifts at The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women.

Laura De Souza

Laura De Souza

Projects Associate

Laura is Projects Associate at The Cares Family, driving new projects that bring people together across divides, and creating stories about the power of relationships. She has been at The Cares Family since 2013 and helped build the organisation from scratch.

Johanna Brooks

Johanna Brooks

Head of Communications

Johanna leads on communications for The Cares Family, creating beautiful stories of the power of relationships across generational and social lines. She was previously in a fundraising role at South London Cares and then The Cares Family during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Headshot of Catrin Thomas

Catrin Thomas

Head of Development

Cat leads on Trusts and Foundations across London, Manchester and Liverpool. Cat has a decade of experience in the charity sector, specialising in Corporate and Trust Fundraising and has previously worked for youth and international development charities including Plan UK, Youth Music, International Medical Corps and Tomorrow’s People.

Victoria Buckle

Victoria Buckle

Head of Community Fundraising

Victoria supporting our local fundraising teams across our five locations and specialising in national corporate partnerships for The Cares Family. She was previously Development Coordinator and Development Manager at North London Cares.

Natalie Alleyne

Natalie Alleyne

Inclusion Lead

Natalie started working with The Cares Family in July 2020 to help deepen our culture of inclusion in programmes, communication and our internal culture.

Emma Higgins

Emma Higgins

Grants Coordinator

Emma helps coordinate Trust and Foundation research and grant applications at The Cares Family. Previously Emma has worked in fundraising and communications at renewable energy and arts charities in both Michigan and California.

Rich headshot

Rich Bell

Campaigns Lead

Rich leads The Cares Family’s work in campaigning for national and local action to boost social connection and tackle loneliness. He has a decade of experience in policy influencing and campaigning, having worked as a political advisor at the British Medical Association and led advocacy and research projects for a range of charities and civil society organisations.

East London Cares Team

Headshot of Roxanne Rustem

Roxanne Rustem

Head of Programmes

Roxi leads the team and programmes in Hackney and Tower Hamlets. She has been with The Cares Family since 2017, previously serving as North London Cares' Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator for three years.

Sasha Khan

Sasha Khan

Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator

Sasha identifies and invites older and younger neighbours to our programmes. Previously Sasha has worked at Age UK, and volunteered North London Cares.

Martha

Martha Lacy Scott

Programme Coordinator (Love Your Neighbour)

Martha creates and supports one-to-one friendships between younger and older neighbours at East London Cares. Martha previously supported outreach at North London Cares, and before that worked abroad as an English Language Assistant.

Rob Paterson

Rob Paterson

Development Coordinator

Rob coordinates fundraising and supports fundraisers, donors and partnerships at East London Cares. Previously, Rob performed the same role at Manchester Cares.

Liverpool Cares Team

Jess Dyson-Houghton

Jess Dyson-Houghton

Head of Programmes

Jess oversees all Liverpool Cares’ programmes and also leads our one-to-one friendship-matching programme Love Your Neighbour and our team. Jess was previously part of the management team at a nursing home and also managed bookshops for a national chain.

Rachael Treacher

Rachael Treacher

Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator

Rachael identifies and invites younger and older neighbours to be part of the community at Liverpool Cares. Rachael was previously a freelance projects manager, delivering community arts, health and wellbeing schemes and events across the Liverpool city region.

Abbie Beckett

Abbie Beckett

Programme Coordinator (Social Clubs)

Abbie leads on designing and delivering social clubs for younger and older neighbours at Liverpool Cares. Abbie previously worked at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

Rachael Forde

Rachael Forde

Development Coordinator

Rachael supports donors, leads local fundraising events and cheers on challenge fundraisers. Previously Rachael led exercise classes for older neighbours and developed falls prevention strategies in Trafford.

Manchester Cares Team

Laura Wilkinson

Laura Wilkinson

Head of Programmes

Laura leads the team and programmes in Manchester. Previously Laura managed the youth and social integration programme National Citizen Service in Manchester.

Amy Saunders

Amy Saunders

Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator

Amy identifyies and invites older and younger neighbours to be part of the programmes at Manchester Cares. Amy previously worked at the mental health charity, Mind, as Fundraising and Marketing Coordinator in Tameside.

Heather Madden

Heather Madden

Programme Coordinator (Social Clubs)

Heather designs and delivers a varied programme of activities for younger and older neighbours at Manchester Cares. Previously Heather worked in engagement and community building roles across the charity and arts’ sector in Manchester.

Vicky Harrold

Vicky Harrold

Programme Coordinator (Love Your Neighbour)

Vicky creates and supports one-to-one friendships between younger and older neighbours at Manchester Cares. Previously Vicky trained as a Wellbeing Practitioner supporting people to overcome anxiety and depression and designed and delivered programmes to connect young people in their communities.

Isabel

Isabel Rivera

Development Coordinator

Isabel supports donors, leads local fundraising events and cheers on challenge fundraisers. Previously she worked as fundraising and organisational development consultant for arts and education organisations in Mexico, Colombia and the UK.

South London Cares Team

Harry Jenkins

Harry Jenkins

Head of Programmes

Harry leads the team and programmes in Southwark and Lambeth. He has been with The Cares Family since 2017, previously serving as North London Cares' Programme Coordinator for Love Your Neighbour.

Enoch Adolfo

Enoch Adolfo

Programme Coordinator (Social Clubs)

Enoch designs and delivers group activities for South London Cares. Previously Enoch worked as a professional drummer, and at a start-up in east London.

Eleanor Younge

Eleanor Younge

Programme Manager (Love Your Neighbour)

Eleanor leads on one-to-one friendships in Southwark for South Lonodn Cares. Previously Eleanor worked for an international development charity in Ireland.

Lauren Barr

Lauren Barr

Programme Coordinator (Love Your Neighbour)

Lauren leads on the Love Your Neighbour programme in Lambeth, connecting younger and older neighbours one-to-one for weekly visits and longterm friendship. Previously Lauren worked for an education charity, and behind the bar at her local pub.

Matt Scaysbrook

Matt Scaysbrook

Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator

Matt identifies and invites older and younger neighbours to be part of the community at South London Cares. Previously Matt worked as a Personal Trainer in various parts of London, and before that was an officer with the Metropolitan Police.

Jodie Goffe

Jodie Goffe

Development Coordinator

Jodie leads South London Cares’ fundraising, supporting individual donors, leading on local fundraising events and cheering on challenge fundraisers. Jodie previously worked in the fundraising team at an International Development charity.

North London Cares Team

John picture

John Litchfield

Head of Programmes

John leads the team and programmes in Camden and Islington. Previously, John worked for the University of West London developing student volunteering opportunities.

Andy Naylor

Andy Naylor

Programme Coordinator (Social Clubs)

Andy designs and delivers group activities across Camden and Islington for North London Cares. Previously Andy worked at Age UK Islington, and with young people at Victim Support.

Headshot of Hannah Boulter

Hannah Boulter

Programme Coordinator (Social Clubs)

Hannah designs and delivers group activities across Camden and Islington for North London Cares. Previously Hannah worked for South London Cares, and before that as a Set Designer on film and photography projects.

Bouchra Aitlkaboud

Bouchra Aitlkaboud

Programme Coordinator (Love Your Neighbour)

Bouchra leads on one-to-one friendships in Camden for North London Cares. Previously Bouchra was a volunteer at North London Cares, and worked in the travel industry.

Rosie

Rosie Britton

Programme Coordinator (Love Your Neighbour)

Rosie looks after the Love Your Neighbour programme in Islington, supporting one-to-one friendships between our younger and older neighbours. Rosie previously worked at AgeUK East London.

Tilly

Tilly Jeune

Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator

Tilly identifies and invites older and younger neighbours to North London Cares' programmes. Previously Tilly worked for her local Covid-19 phone line, helping people access the support they needed during the pandemic.

Sinead

Sinead Wilkinson

Outreach Officer

Sinead supports outreach at North London Cares, ensuring older neighbours feel connected to social activities and their community. Sinead volunteered at Manchester Cares before joining North London Cares.

Imogen Duffin

Imogen Duffin

Development Coordinator

Imogen leads North London Cares’ fundraising, supporting individual donors, leading on local fundraising events and cheering on challenge fundraisers. Imogen previously worked in fundraising at Magic Me, an arts charity that also brings the generations together.

Donate today

Thank you for considering a donation to The Cares Family. Your gift will help to tackle loneliness and build connection and community in a disconnected world. Our work is powered by people – so please chip in if you can.

The Cares Family is a UK registered company (10236615) and registered charity (no. 1180638). North London Cares is a UK registered company (07737818) and registered charity (1153137). South London Cares is a UK registered company (8757344) and registered charity (1157401). Manchester Cares is a UK registered company (10893107) and registered charity (1176902). Liverpool Cares is a UK registered company (11166325) and registered charity (no. 1177749). East London Cares is a UK registered company (11809555) and registered charity (no. 1186012).