Meet our team
Pleased to meet you
BCM’s core team and trustees have many interests and areas of experience. We share a love of Birmingham and a passion to help people feel inspired and confident about making things happen in our wonderful city.
“I have worked in the not-for-profit sector since 2001. As Birmingham Community Matters’ Chief Executive, my role is to further our charity’s work in supporting micro and emerging community groups across the city.”
“I’ve worked in the voluntary sector since 2004 and have a particularly strong interest in grassroots groups and their sustainability. I enjoy seeing the wonderful work community groups are delivering across Birmingham and how they engage communities at a local level.
My role with BCM is to set up peer support networks, one-to-one sessions and events in the east and north of the city.”
Operations Support Officer
“I have lots of experience in customer services, which helps me in my role at BCM. I enjoy hearing why people set up their group or charity, exploring together the questions they need answering, then finding the best ways for us to support them. No two enquiries are ever the same!”
“I am the Project Officer for west and south Birmingham and also BCM’s link for Selly Oak NNS and Northfield NNS. I provide one-to-one support to community groups as well as helping to build peer support networks. I really enjoy meeting people who are doing amazing things within their local community – we are lucky to have so many hidden gems in Birmingham.”
Mansukh Kaur Dhillon
Delivery Support Administrator
“I am a recent Master’s graduate and during my studies I found my passion for human rights and marketing. I also volunteer across Birmingham where I enjoy meeting people from different backgrounds and hearing their stories. My role at BCM channels my passions, as I get to meet, help and see the progression of grassroot movements helping their communities flourish with BCM’s support.”
“I’m a writer, supporting Birmingham Community Matters one day a week with marketing and communications. One of my favourite tasks is editing BCM’s monthly newsletter: finding useful events and opportunities to share. We often get lovely replies.”
Meet our trustees
Emma Woolf MBE
“I’m a veteran volunteer with 35+ years’ experience of running and setting up community groups. Alongside BCM, I’m a volunteer and trustee for the Friends of Cotteridge Park and Birmingham Open Spaces Forum. What I like most about BCM is that it celebrates and uses the vast experience of Birmingham’s volunteers for the benefit of the people of Birmingham.”
Helga Edström OBE
“Now retired from life as a civil servant working in social and economic regeneration, I am a trustee at Saathi House in Aston and here at BCM. I am also a director at Upcycle, a social enterprise in Castle Vale; a resident partner with Birchfield Big Local; and I chair my Neighbourhood Forum. It’s refreshing and energising to experience community action bottom up rather than top down.”
“After initially qualifying as a chartered accountant, I worked in various commercial and operational roles, mainly within the renewable energy sector. My voluntary work over the years includes mentoring ex-prisoners, and supporting a charity focused on improving the lives of women and girls around the world. I’m glad to bring my finance background and experience to my role as BCM treasurer.”
“Having worked in the community and voluntary sector for over 20 years, I am currently a freelance consultant who runs West Midlands Funders Network, and undertakes funding assessments, monitoring, organisational reviews, research, strategy and business development for the third sector.”
“I have been on the committee of Stirchley Neighbourhood Forum for many years. I am also the Forum Planning Officer. My interest in local history led to me being a founder member of Stirchley History Group, of which I am now chair. My involvement with the voluntary sector highlighted to me the need for support for small community organisations to help them grow and flourish, which is why I am delighted to be a trustee of BCM.”
Catherine De Soyza
“I have several years’ experience in HR, working in a range of industries in the private sector. I was a corporate liaison with a couple of charities in a previous firm, and have been part of a voluntary organisation in Paris as well as being a fundraiser for a social enterprise. I believe community groups play an important role in our society in bringing people together, and so I am delighted to be able to use my experience in HR in my role as a trustee in BCM.”
“I have worked in the charity sector for nearly 30 years, originally in the arts as an orchestra manager and freelance project administrator. Currently working for a small sheltered housing charitable trust in Birmingham, I have over a decade’s experience in the housing sector. I’m a fervent advocate of local charities and organisations with extensive experience of serving as a trustee in the arts, education, housing and community sectors.”
Meet our partners
Grant fundraising consultancy
Get Grants is a Birmingham-based grant fundraising consultancy which gives practical support (training, information and advice) to groups and charities who are seeking and applying for grants. We enjoy working with Get Grants to deliver workshops that help people feel more inspired, confident and ready to secure funding for their Birmingham community group.
Birmingham City Council
We’re grateful for our working relationship with the Neighbourhood Development and Support Unit (NDSU) team at Birmingham City Council, which supports the aspirations and activities of community organisations and active citizens in Birmingham’s 69 wards. We’re especially thankful to Head of NDSU Karen Cheney, who did so much for BCM when we first started up – and continues to help us now.
We worked with NDSU to deliver grant support for Birmingham City Council’s Celebrating Communities fund (see Locality section on the right). We have been awarded small grants from Selly Oak NNS, managed by NDSU, to provide capacity-building support to groups working with adults aged 50+ in the Selly Oak constituency. We’ve also been working with NDSU and Locality on a Neighbourhood Planning Toolkit for Birmingham, funded by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
National network for community organisations
Birmingham Community Matters is pleased to be a member of Locality, the national network providing advice and connection to independent community organisations.
We worked in partnership with Locality when delivering support to groups applying for Birmingham City Council’s Celebrating Communities grants, set up to help local people celebrate the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. It was a joy to combine our knowledge and resources with Locality’s, to host workshops and create information sheets and videos for applicants.
We are proud to maintain this close working relationship with the Locality team, for mutual benefit and indeed for the good of all the community groups we support.