Our Trustees

Gurch Randhawa (Chair of Trustees)

Gurch is Professor of Diversity in Public Health and Director of the Institute for Health Research at the University of Bedfordshire. He brings a unique mix of Public Sector Board Leadership experience, Government public health advisory experience, and extensive Patient and Public Involvement research.

Gurch is a Public Sector Board Governance Expert and has extensive experience as a Board coach, facilitator, consultant and trainer with all levels of leadership in the public and voluntary sectors. He has over 15 years’ experience as a NHS Board member at national and local levels in both Chair and Non-Executive Director roles.

Gurch is also Deputy Lieutenant for Bedfordshire and supports the Lord-Lieutenant in carrying out her functions as Her Majesty The Queen’s representative in the county.

Dr Joan Bailey MBE

Has over 30 years’ experience of working with young people both as a social worker and youth and community worker. She has engaged in community development work at home, in many European countries and on an International level having lived and worked in the USA and Canada.

Experienced in delivering community projects around youth justice, rights and responsibilities in Bangladesh, India, Ghana and Nigeria, which included training Youth and Community Development Officers tackling crime prevention for over 15 years. During this time she has developed partnerships with statutory services and community to tackle issues at a local level.

MBE for Services to Youth Justice 2010
Luton Community Awards 2016 – Lifetime Achievement Award

Grafton Barbour

Grafton has lived in Bedfordshire for over 23 years. He is a director of his own company, Hairoun Business Solutions Ltd, deciding to start his own business after working as a Business Relationship Manager at a high street Bank for the last 13 years. He has 15 years Banking experience and more than 10 years Financial Accounting experience. He is very experienced in assisting businesses to acquire funding to grow and expand.

Grafton had previously been a Director and the Chair of an organisation that was set up to offer support, guidance and to work with businesses that have an African and Caribbean link, with the aim of helping them to expand, grow and secure new markets within and outside the UK. 
Grafton has also been involved in teaching Financial Education to individuals and organisations, helping them to manage their finances and have money work for them rather than they just work for money. 
He has been an active sportsman in the local community with regards to football and has played in coach and managed a number of teams locally over the years. He has now retired from playing and managing but is still involved as a referee.
Grafton is also very active in his local Church and is part of the leadership and planning committee set up by the senior pastors as well as being the department head for the Church Outreach department.

Caroline Cook

Caroline is an independent consultant working in the voluntary sector. She was until recently leading the PQASSO work within the Quality Standards team at the national charity NCVO.

Caroline’s consultancy work with charities and social enterprise organisations includes facilitation and support around strategies, new business models, sustainability, diversifying income streams, governance and mentoring support to Chief Execs.

Caroline has worked with all kinds of organisations, having particular experience with women’s organisations, advice agencies and the health and social care sector. She has been the Chief Executive at two charities and has specialist knowledge around volunteer management. Caroline lives in Bedford, having recently returned to her hometown after many years of working in the South West. She enjoys hill walking and sailing.

Tarak Nath Gorai

Tarak joined MavensWood Investments in 2018 as the Operating Partner and is responsible for managing the firm‚ investment activities in the business & financial services sectors. Tarak is currently a Non-Executive Director of Elakkai Food Science Ltd and has a breadth of experience, specialised digital and operational hands-on transformation of private equity investment portfolio companies.

He takes pride in being a brilliant generalist who works with teams of specialists and portfolio CEOs to drive an increase in valuation and exit strategies. He started his corporate consulting career with Accenture and worked for various large Tech companies. He has been instrumental in transformation projects of portfolio companies of American private equity firm Symphony Teleca Group.

Tarak is an MBA Marketing from Banaras Hindu University and an MBA in Finance and Private Equity from Said Business School, University of Oxford, with distinction in Technology Transformation and Corporate Turnaround. A CFA Foundation, Prince 2 Certified practitioner, and currently perusing Insolvency for managing and turnaround of distressed portfolios. Tarak takes a keen interest in the digital, operational and governance improvement of BLCF.

Mandy Johnson

Mandy Johnson is the Founder of GreatCharitySpeakers.com and SketchnotesUK.com. She was named the 2nd most influential fundraiser by the readers of ‘Fundraising’ Magazine and one of the top 25 #SocialCEOs in the UK in 2018. She has worked for a wide variety of organisations, including the Small Charities Coalition, Cancer Research UK, Marie Curie, Change.org, NCT and Deloitte. She has a Masters in Charity Management (with a specialism in Fundraising and Marketing).

Prior to joining BLCF’s Board, Mandy held Trustee positions at War on Want and Mind in Mid Herts. She also completed a term as Chair of the Chartered Institute of Fundraising’s South East and London Board and is a founding member of the Herts Funding Network.

Steve Leverton

Steve has a banking and finance background and his business provides support for business owners and finance directors who need help with confidential or complex transactions. He is also involved in a London based commercial finance business.

Steve has been active in the business community locally, having been involved as the Chair of an Enterprise Agency and a BusinessLink satellite. He undertakes mentoring for young entrepreneurs at London based Incubator Hubs and a London University Business School. He is also involved in fundraising for a London University.

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Stephen Patch

Stephen is an experienced wealth protection lawyer at major UK law firm, Shoosmiths and specialises in estate planning for primarily high net worth individuals and has been doing so since 2004.

He joined Shoosmiths as a Partner in March 2020 having been the former head of the private client team at Woodfines as well as previously heading up the tax, trusts & estates Cambridge team at international law firm, Taylor Vinters.

He is a full member of the Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners (STEP), an international quality mark for inheritance and succession planning.

Stephen became a trustee of the BLCF in December 2019 and both lives and works locally.

Julia Siegler

Julia was born in London and moved to Bedfordshire in 1979 when her husband took up the position of Consultant Physician at the L&D. Julia was a Director of the family electronics and general import business up to her recent retirement. An active Rotarian, serving as President twice, and she has been involved with the local appeal and fundraising committee of Cancer Research UK for 35 years. Julia is an active serving School Governor and Trustee of two further local Bedfordshire charities.

Pauline Stewart

One of the UK’s strongest and most vocal advocates for the advancement of women. Pauline’s primary goal has been to help women develop to their full potential, and to become confident and competent leaders. Pauline works within organisations delivering visionary leadership programmes, stimulating new thinking that creates energy and vision to do things differently.

Guided by company principles Pauline believes that she makes a meaningful difference to both people and their organisations. Pauline is an experienced training programme writer, a facilitator, presenter and speaker of some years standing. As a past UK Ambassador and certified instructor for the De Bono Foundation Pauline remains instrumental in enabling others in the disciplines of human thinking and the processes of human thought.

In 2010 Pauline was identified as one of 100 most inspirational businesswomen in the UK as a ‘Champion’ for the advancement of girls and young women (Everywoman’s Modern Muse Initiative) a project focusing on inspiring the next generation of women in business.

Pauline holds various Civic responsibilities locally to support change and promote the quality of the Community.

Viviane Vayssieres

Viviane Vayssieres hails from La Rochelle in France but studied retail and visual merchandising at the College of Art and Distributive Trades in London. She came to Luton in 1990 to manage James Egleton Ladies Hat Manufacturer. From 2012 to 2015 Viviane was CEO of Experience Bedfordshire, The Tourism Partnership, where she developed membership packages, corporate partnerships and organised countywide events.

Since 2009, she has been successfully running her Sales & Marketing Consultancy Paule Rochelle and is also Marketing Director at Focus On Events Ltd which she co-founded over 2 years ago with the chairman of A Taste of Anglia. Viviane speaks three languages; she is a member of the Institute of Fundraising and lives in Bedfordshire.