Board of Trustees
Board of Trustees
The Board is responsible for strategic policy development, the conduct of our finances, risk analysis and for monitoring performance. The Board delegates authority to appropriate bodies within Citizens UK such as the Living Wage Advisory Council for the Conduct of the Living Wage Foundation. The Board also appoints the Executive Director.
The Board is partly elected by our members and partly by appointment.
The following members make up the board:
Reverend Canon Karen Rooms, Chair of Trustees
After working in sales and marketing with Procter & Gamble and logistics with the Boots Company, Karen worked with the Anglican Church in northern Tanzania. Here she established a women’s project, The Coffee Shop café in Moshi, the centre of Tanzania’s coffee business. On return to the UK she volunteered with Citizens Advice and trained for ordination in the Church of England. In parish ministry in inner city Nottingham, and Area Dean, she took a local lead on the Sanctuary Pledge and campaigned to end child detention, and was a founding Trustee of the Nottingham Arimathea Trust, housing destitute asylum seekers. She was the founding co-chair of Nottingham Citizens whose wins include Nottinghamshire County Council becoming a Living Wage employer and Nottinghamshire Police making history in 2016 by becoming the first force in the country to recognise misogyny as a hate crime.
She has co-chaired the Citizens Council and New Citizens Leadership Team; been a member of the End Indefinite Detention Working Group, and is on the Sponsoring Committee of Leicester & Leicestershire Citizens. Governance in the Church: Bishop’s Council in the Diocese of Southwell & Nottingham and in the Diocese of Leicester; Leicester Cathedral Chapter, and Chair of Parish PCCs (parish church councils). She is currently the Canon Missioner at Leicester Cathedral with the social justice portfolio and governance responsibility; holds the spiritual leadership of two inner city congregations, and is the Women’s Ministry Enabler for the Diocese of Leicester.
Noeleen Cohen, Vice-Chair of the Board
Noeleen was born in Johannesburg South Africa. After finishing university, she worked in marketing roles for multi-national consumer goods organisations, as well as in Corporate Social Responsibility. Noeleen spent many years lecturing marketing and brand strategy. In the turbulent 1980s and 90s, and as part of a commitment to building a better South Africa, Noeleen helped parents and children in townships develop core skills for school readiness, and taught literacy and life skills to domestic workers.
In 1998, when Noeleen’s husband was offered a job in London, they made the move with their two young sons. The family joined Alyth Synagogue, a life enhancing decision that quickly provided a new outlet for Noeleen to continue her social justice and community work. Noeleen is currently Chair of Alyth, having led on communications and social justice and been at the forefront of the transformation of the youth and education provision.
Noeleen joined the board of Reform Judaism in 2011 where she held the education portfolio. She represented Reform Judaism on the board of Leo Baeck College, and in 2014 became the Chair of the College, a position that she holds today. As part of her ongoing connection to South Africa, Noeleen holds the work of the UK friends of Ikamva Labantu, a South African based charity that delivers social support services to disadvantaged communities in Cape Town. Noeleen sits on the board of PaJeS (Partnership for Jewish Schools) and until recently was a member of the New Israel Fund, Human Rights Award Dinner committee.
Saba Safi, Treasurer and Chair of Finance, Risk and Audit Subcommittee
Saba Shafi is the Commercial Director of The Advocacy Academy, a youth movement working to unleash the power of young people to create a more fair, just, an equal society. In this role, Saba oversees strategy, fundraising, finance, and all other overhead functions. Prior to this, Saba spent over eight years working in management consulting and business advisory across a variety of roles and organisations. She also spent three years developing healthcare initiatives in refugee camps across the Sahara. Saba holds an MBA from Wharton Business School, and a Masters in Mathematics from Imperial College. She is also a Governor of The Belham Primary School, and an organiser with POC Impact.
Meriel Barclay, Interim Safeguarding Lead and Chair of the Personnel and Safeguarding Subcommittee
Meriel joined the Board of Citizens UK recently, bringing with her experience in finance, HR and governance. As a qualified accountant she worked until she retired as Director of Corporate Services for the National Centre for Social Research. Previous positions had been in similar roles for two firms of solicitors. She is on the Board of three further charities, one of which runs a health clinic in rural Bangladesh.
Dave Canham has been with Aviva for 16 years holding a variety of roles in the business before moving to risk in 2002. Dave is currently the Head of Operational Risk – IT and Operations, responsible for supporting, over sighting and embedding the Aviva risk framework and governance of all aspects of IT and non–IT shared service across the Aviva Group. Dave is a qualified Risk Manager and a member of the Institute of Risk Managers (IRM). In addition he is currently the Chair of the IRM’s special interest group in information and “E” systems. Dave has also spoken at a number of external events on the challenges associated to articulating and driving common understanding of IT risks across organisation.
Ranjit Sondhi CBE
Ranjit Sondhi is a Trustee at CNUK; a member of the leadership group of Citizens UK Birmingham; currently Commissioner at the Criminal Cases Review Commission; Vice Chairman at Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG); and a member of the Queen's Counsel Selection Panel. In previous roles he has been Vice Chairman at CRE; a Governor at the BBC; a Trustee at the National Gallery; a Civil Service Commissioner; and Judicial Appointments Commissioner. He has been engaged in community and youth projects for over forty years.
Jimmy is from Oldham, Greater Manchester, and is passionate about combating racism and facilitating improved community cohesion in his local area. He believes that Community Organising brings about tangible change on issues affecting people’s day-to-day lives and is passionate about ensuring that Organising methodology makes a positive and lasting impact on UK communities.
Jimmy is an active member of the Lambeth Citizens leadership team and is involved in campaigns focusing on social mobility in Lambeth and Southwark, the lack of Latinx community inclusion in UK ethnicity monitoring and cutting the unfair Home Office child citizenship fee (a huge barrier to young people without British citizenship looking to access university). He is particularly excited about expanding the work of Citizens UK to new regions and recruiting more member institutions from the higher education sector.
As Widening Participation Manager at King’s College London, Jimmy manages programmes which offer the chance for young people from under-represented groups to exhibit their potential to access university. He is a former school governor at Heald Place Primary School.
Rt Hon John Battle
A founding member of Leeds Citizens, John has been involved with Citizens UK and contributing to our work for many years. In his professional life, John was a British Labour Party politician, serving as an MP for Leeds West for over 20 years. During this time, he also served as Minister of State at the Department of Trade and Industry and then for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In 2002, he became a Member of the Privy Council and was the Prime Minister's envoy to all faith communities until May 2010.
Despite now being in retirement, John is still active in local politics, local community project work as well as working through the Roman Catholic Church Justice and Peace Commission both locally and nationally. He is Pro-Chancellor at Leeds Trinity University, a Fellow of Blackfriars Hall in Oxford and Chair of both Bramley Baths Social Enterprise and Leeds Diocesan Justice and Peace Commission. John is also trustee of several other organisations including St George’s Crypt, a Leeds charity working with the homeless, the vulnerable and those suffering from addiction.
John is based in Leeds West and is a proud father and grandfather to three grown up children and five grandchildren. In his spare time, he enjoys folk music, poetry and supporting local teams Leeds United and Leeds Rhinos.
Lindsay Driscoll qualified as a solicitor in London and spent several years as Assistant Registrar General in Kenya. Since then she has spent over 35 years working in charity law and governance in this country and internationally. She has worked in a number of different roles including Head of Legal and Governance with the National Council of Voluntary Organisations, partner in a charity law firm and Legal Commissioner at the Charity Commission. She is now a charity governance consultant. Lindsay has served on many boards and committees. She is a former chair of theInternational Center for Not-for-Profit Law based in the US and former chair of the steering group for the Charity Governance Code. She is now a trustee of four other charities including an Academy Trust and a multi-faith forum.
Clive brings over 20 years of leadership and organising experience across multiple sectors community, public sector and business.
Clive’s passion is around social justice causes such as racial inequality and is founder of Nottingham Windrush Support Forum. His impressive work as a social entrepreneur as seen him awarded the Upstanding Organisation Award by the No2Hate National Awards in 2018 and the Outstanding Community Volunteer Award by Nottingham Black Achievers.
He has served on the Nottingham branch leadership team of Citizens UK and as a lead commissioner of one the largest piece of research done on hate crime which led to Nottingham being the first city to implement misogyny as a hate crime. Clive also worked as a Hate Crime Project Officer at Nottingham City Council implementing training and a hate crime case management panel.
He is an advisor to the UK government on race disparity issues and supporting communities affected by the Windrush Scandal. He has been featured in many publications and new media outlets for his outstanding work in supporting victims of the Windrush scandal. He has written for both print and digital media publications on issues of race, faith and community.
Clive had the opportunity to spend some time with civil rights icon Rev Jesse Jackson in the UK and USA understanding first-hand the techniques around civil rights and social transformation.
He brings understanding, communication and organisation to his role as the multi-faith manager at Nottingham Trent University working with several faith communities as part his work.
Clive holds a diploma in Theology and a Bachelor’s degree in applied chemistry.
Dr Mahera Ruby
Dr Mahera Ruby is also a trustee for East London mosque and is currently the chair of the women’s committee of the Maryam Centre. She was the Lead Organiser of Muslimaat UK for three terms, which empowers Muslim women to increase their religious, educational, economic, and social capacity. These women then mentor and uplift other Muslim women to improve their quality of life and contribute to creating change in their own communities. She has been known for her initiative to increase Muslim Women’s Leadership as a Founding member of ‘Women100’. Mahera has a PhD and has held teaching and research roles at UCL Institute of Education and Goldsmith, University of London. She is a certified personal growth and family coach and trained hundreds of parents to become more confident in their parenting roles. She has authored many academic papers and two books, both published by the UCL press. Mahera’s background in intergenerational learning finds her supporting a wide interfaith work within diverse communities and she has a good knowledge of how charities and local authorities work. She is a visionary, a trainer and a proud Community organiser who was instrumental in the vision and development of the Maryam Centre, bringing women from the community together.
Sheikh Nuru Mohammed
Sheikh Nuru Mohammed is a religious scholar and resident Imam of the Khoja Shia Ithnasheri Muslim Community of Birmingham. He combines his international role as an Ambassador with the Universal Peace Federation – an NGO of the United Nations, with being a visiting fellow at Cambridge University, a local secondary school Governor and a member of the Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education in Birmingham. A qualified civil and commercial Mediator, Sheikh Nuru is also a Member of West Midlands combine authority faith strategic group, Head of Islamic Cultural affairs at the Council of European Jamaats ( COEJ) and co-chair of Birmingham Citizens Leadership group. From 2020, he has played a significant role in how the Birmingham alliance responded to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic through effective public health messaging and identifying top priority issues for action by politicians and decision makers.