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Board of Trustees


David Sykes – Chair

David Sykes has a wealth of experience in both the public and private sectors and as a strategic marketing consultant for PWc. After 25 years in the private sector in senior commercial roles and as Managing Director for a £30M manufacturing business David established a consultancy business.

During his 15 years as an independent consultant he has undertaken commercial and commissioning assignments for 25 health and local authority clients including the Dept. of Health, regulators and commissioning organisations. Over the last few years these assignments have focused on health and social care integration.

David is a CEDR accredited mediator skilled in stakeholder management and contract negotiation. An accredited practitioner in managing successful programmes (MSP). A MBA graduate of Warwick University who now acts as a mentor to Executive MBA students.  5 years experience as a trustee & chair of trustees for Coram Life Education West Midlands.


Ben Richards - Vice Chair

Ben Richards is an experienced Director with eighteen years of experience managing complex health services within the National Health Service and in addition to his role as Trustee for both Age UK Birmingham and Age UK Sandwell he sits on the board of North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust as Executive Director of Operations. He is skilled in Performance Improvement, Business Planning, Operations Management, Public Speaking, and Healthcare Information Technology (HIT) and has played a key role in shaping part of the NHS COVID response within Birmingham. 

Ben is a strong business development professional with a Master of Science (MSc) focused in Healthcare Leadership jointly from the University of Birmingham and the University of Manchester coupled with registration as a Chartered Manager (CMgr) and range of professional registrations and fellowships across management, leadership, education and engineering disciplines including Fellowships of the Royal Society of Arts, Royal Society of Medicine and the Royal Society of Public Health. In addition, he is a qualified Executive Coach and Mentor and supports other professionals in their roles across the country.. 


Marcus Jordan

Following gaining his degree, Marcus trained at Grimley & Son in Birmingham & qualified as a Chartered Surveyor in 1985. His experience working both in London & Birmingham has been property investment buying, selling & developing on behalf of clients. However, the bulk of his business activity since 1995 has been building up commercial investment & development companies.

He now runs a number of Property Investment companies which own, directly, multi let industrial estates & shop investments spread over the Midlands, South East and South West. Marcus’ experience has been in all aspects of developing & investing in property both commercial & residential.


Dr. Rashda Tabassum

Dr. Tabassum is an Old Age Consultant Psychiatrist, currently working at Black Country Health Care NHS Foundation Trust. She was inspired to become a doctor after witnessing how much of an advocate doctors can be for their patients. Dr. Tabassum has spent her entire career within the NHS and has been passionate about making a change in people’s lives from the very start.

Dr. Tabassum has significant experiences working with people of all ages suffering from complex mental health issues. For last 15 years she has mainly worked with people above the age of 65 and has gained a deeper understanding of the problems faced by elderly population.

Our elderly population is increasing, according to ONS currently 18% of UK population is above 65 year of age. At the same time the prevalence of dementia, depression and anxiety is increasing and we are not ready to meet the complex needs of this population.

BAME communities face significant barriers and marginalisation when it comes to accessing mental health services and receiving support. Dr. Tabassum has significant expertise in working with and advocating for BAME communities. This includes a employing a broad range of strategies, the development of culturally sensitive services, undertaking advocacy work for BAME communities in service design and designing campaigns and educational tools to raise awareness of mental health issues amongst these communities.

Dr. Tabassum has undertaken extensive work directly in the community including as a school governor, organising mental health awareness events and setting up a community group for isolated elderly Asian females in Sutton Coldfield. Dr. Tabassum also launched a Christmas gift campaign that has since seen coverage by the BBC, aimed at tackling isolation and building social integration in the community for people who have no family around the Christmas.


Tapshum Pattni MBE

Tapshum has worked in Social Care with both adults and children for 40 years. She worked for Birmingham city council as the Social Work Service Director before she recently retired.  She has also worked extensively with the voluntary sector and Health Service, and has been a Trustee Director of a housing association and a small charity.

She has been involved on the National forum Via the work she has done for the Association of Directors of Social Care. Professionally she is a qualified Social Worker, and a Manager having completed her masters in social work and MBA in public sector management at Birmingham University.

Tapshum is passionate about developing services for older people and developing community-based models of service that would meet the needs of the local communities. 


Darrel Harman

Darrel qualified as a Social Worker in 1982 and worked across generic, childcare and Elderly services teams in the West Midlands. He changed direction to become one of the first Commissioning staff in 1992, introducing contracts for all residential and nursing home care in Birmingham and later developing a star rating system to allow homes meeting higher standards to charge higher prices.

Darrel have remained committed to improving quality services and value for money (VfM) ever since. He worked for the Audit Commission as VfM specialist and completed Corporate Performance Assessments of County Councils. Darrel led on performance management implementation in Birmingham and New Homes for Old – replacing ‘old peoples homes’ with Extra Care Sheltered Housing.

Darrel was Head of Commissioning in local Council developed evidence based commissioning and embedded population needs analysis in budget setting to secure substantial additional funding for vulnerable people. He also managed the largest national Education services outsourced contract and demonstrated that in-sourcing would provide better value for money and secured Cabinet approval.

After retirement Darrel chaired the Governing Body of the local community secondary school for several years and spends more time motorcycling.




Key Staff 

Steven Thomson - CEO

Sukie Binning - Head of Operations

Sam Humphray - Finance Manager

Karen Yates - Development and Partnerships Manager

Sven Harvey - Technology and Premises Officer

Cat Costello - PA to the CEO/Executive Admin


The Information and Advice Team - Headed by Sadaf Azim 

The Dementia Services Team - Headed by Gemma Hollyoake

The Wellbeing Team - Headed by Christy Weatherby

The Independence at Home Team - Headed by Chelsea Felstead