Community Links

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Our Board of Trustees

We are  proud to have an excellent Board of Trustees, bringing a diversity of skills and experience to benefit Community Links.

Michael Smyth CBE, QC (Hon) (Chairman)
Michael Smyth is an independent consultant and was for more than twenty years a partner in Clifford Chance, the leading city law firm that has been a major supporter of Community Links.  He is author of "Business and the Human Rights Act", chair of Law for Life: the Foundation for Public Legal Education, and a visiting Professor at Queen Mary College, University of London. 

Althea Baker
With over 20 years experience as a Civil Servant, Althea has worked in the Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Department of Health. Althea lives in Newham and is also an experienced and active school governor.

Radhika Bynon
Radhika is a Community Worker currently working for the Young Foundation as Director of "The U" a citizens university. Radhika worked with Community Links in 2008, supporting the last Government’s Council for Social Action. Radhika is involved in a number of local community activities including Forest Gate Festival and Newham Make Poverty History and is a founder trustee for the Asha Trust (Sri Lanka).

Jeff Jacobs
Born and bred in East London, Jeff is Head of Paid Service at the Greater London Authority and is also responsible for overseeing policy and implementation on a range of Mayoral strategies which include economic and business policy, community safety, health, culture, sport, and social policy. Previously, Jeff worked in central government in roles at the DCMS and DETR, was Principal Private Secretary to John Prescott, and led the government team which helped win London the 2012 Olympic bid.

Peter Kane
Peter has a senior policy, operational and financial track record in both central and local government. Currently Chamberlain at the City of London Corporation, his former roles include Finance Director at the Home Office, Head of Public Services Reform at the Cabinet Office, overseeing HM Treasury relationships with local government and leading Economic Development in Inner London boroughs both as a senior officer and an elected member.

Maria King
Maria is a Director of HR and Development at Unite the Union. As a highly experienced HR professional, Maria was previously the Director of Human Resources at Islington Council, where she worked for eight years and before that she worked at Newham Council as acting Head of Strategic HR where she was involved in the Plaistow Community Forum. She first came across Community Links through a Common Purpose course.

Fiona Rawes MBE
Fiona is the Director of Community Impact at Teach First. She started her career as a Solicitor in the City before moving into the not-for-profit sector. Fiona has been a long term supporter of Community Links work and a Trustee since 2008 bringing to the board her expertise from her former roles as Chief Executive at Heart of the City and Director of Education Campaigns at Business in the Community.

Fiona Riley
An accredited business coach, facilitator, consultant and a fully qualified psychotherapist, Fiona has extensive experience working in public relations for businesses both in the UK and internationally. She has a strong track record in delivering both strategic and practical HR consultancy solutions with clients from many differing sectors.

Lianne Smith
Lianne is Senior Legal Advisor, in the Treasury Solicitors office where she advises Ministers, Project Boards and other policy stakeholders on legal and governance issues, including the identification and management of risk. Her extensive experience in advising on procurement and commercial matters has been gained both in the public and private sectors and includes experience within UK local authorities outside London.

David Walter
David's career has been in Finance. He cut his commerical teeth as a Financial Controller at British Gas/Centrica during the introduction of both gas and electricity competition. Since 1999, David has specialised in financial management in the public and voluntary sector, with Finance Director roles at a University, Housing Associations, NCVO, and both grant-giving and service-delivery charities. David came to Community Links as interim Finance Director, and has stayed on as a member of the Board of Trustees.

Steve Wyler
Steve was Chief Executive of the Development Trusts Association. He led this through a merger with Bassac to form Locality - the national umbrella organisation enabling, championing and representing organisations like Community Links. Steve is an expert on social enterprise and social investment, and is currently an independent advisor and writer in the field of social change and innovation.

Lucy de Groot
Lucy’s background is in public services with ten years as a community worker followed by senior positions in the public sector as Chief Executive of Bristol City Council, the Treasury and leading the national improvement agency for local government. As Chief Executive of Community Service Volunteers she recently led the charity through major changes. Now an independent NHS and charity trustee she is a recognised expert on good governance and organisational change.

David Thomlinson
David was a member of Accenture’s Global Management Board – the culmination of a thirty year career with the well-known global consultancy firm. David’s portfolio of interests now includes a role on the Global Advisory Council for Teach For All. David is a long standing corporate and personal supporter and also leads our Development Group.

Gill Budd
Gill is a Director of Governance and Compliance at Teach First and brings high level skills in risk, contracting & legal issues. Gill’s background is in law with corporate firm Slaughter and May followed by Cadbury Schweppes. She moved into the charity sector in 2008 with roles at Save the Children and Plan International. She is also a Trustee of Blenheim CDP.

Our Board of Trustees provide governance  for the organisation and support our Senior Management Team; they also work with our Development Group who extend our network of supporters and givers.