Neal Heard Joined Abigail Housing in March 2018 as our Refugee Project Housing Manager based in Leeds. Neal has over 25 years experience working in the voluntary and community sector. Having previously worked in housing, homelessness, advice and community development projects.
Amanda Church Michael Joined Abigail Housing in November 2017. She is based in Bradford as our Destitution Project Co-ordinator
Ian Summerskill Ian is our Housing Support Worker working 4 days a week in Leeds and 1 in Bradford.
St.Clair Brown is the newest member of our team joining us in July 2018. He is our new part-time volunteer coordinator and will be working across both our Leeds and Bradford projects to increase our volunteer work.
We also have a range of volunteers and social work students on placements from Leeds and Bradford Universities who are a great asset to our team.
Dan Howitt (Treasurer) Joined the board in April 2017 and is a Chartered Accountant. He works for Northern Gas Networks and has previously worked as an external and internal auditor. Dan is a keen sports fan and enjoys playing football, cycling and golf.
Tom Hall (Acting Chair) has been a Director of Abigail Housing since April 2015 and Chair of the Refugee subgroup since July 2016. He works as a Business Analyst for NHS Digital, but has a keen interest and experience in housing from previous roles as a Housing Needs Officer at Barnet Homes and working for Foundation in Leeds. Away from work, Tom is actively involved with St Georges Church in Leeds, plays in a brass band and enjoys badminton and running
Will Sutcliffe Joined our board in 2009. He also chairs Bradford City of Sanctuary’s board and runs a hosting project for BEACON. His background is as a HCPC Social Worker. He has a lovely wife and daughter.
Jasmine Wooley works as a Social Worker in West Yorkshire and is registered with the HCPC. She works in a community based team for a local government Social Work department. She joined Abigail Housing on their destitution subgroup in January 2016, having supported the charity for many years, and is now also on the Board of Directors. She is passionate about the work of Abigail Housing and advocates for a fair deal for people who seek asylum or come to the UK fleeing persecution or oppression. She firmly believes in anti-oppressive social work practice and tried to bring this perspective to her role with the subgroup.
Jo Gibson has over 20 years experience working specifically in the supported housing and housing management at a senior level. She has an interest in community development and citizen involvement and has developed this in an active paid role with the CQC as an Expert by Experience. She has worked with local authority drug and alcohol commissioners on their service user involvement activities. More recently she joined the Leeds Involving People team and works closely with people with lived experience of using mental health services to ensure their voice is central to the decision making and service design and development processes
Fiona Mernagh (Secretary) has spent 25 years working as a Chartered Surveyor both in the public and private sector providing a wide range of advice in property matters, valuations and repair issues. Fiona joined the sub-group of Abigail Housing in 2017 with a view to bringing some of her expertise in relation to the properties provided to Abigail Housing services users. She became a Director at Abigail Housing in 2018.
In addition to her work Fiona is a volunteer befriended at St George’s Crypt in Leeds which offers assistance to the homeless of Leeds, a local Parish Counsellor, and also volunteers with young children helping with their reading and communication skills
Michael Skelton retired in 2006 after 37 years teaching French at secondary level. He felt moved at an ecumenical church service about “welcoming strangers” to get involved with supporting refugees and asylum seekers and joined Abigail’s Destitution Project Sub-Group in 2009. For 3½ years he has been delivering English lessons once a week in Leeds for male asylum seekers through the British Red Cross (“Sunlight”). He is also involved in a Thursday evening group (BIASAN) that meets at the Resource Centre in Bradford; providing hot meals and a social space for refugees and asylum seekers.
Adam Clark currently works supporting voluntary and community groups to develop infrastructure to involve volunteers and he also manages projects and volunteers for the organisation he works for. He has previously worked as Chief Executive of a homeless charity in Bradford for a number of years where he created several homeless services and sat in a variety of strategic forums. He specifically set up and managed services for destitute people and was involved in conducting research into destitution amongst asylum seekers in Bradford. He was also a member of a local trust fund for seven years and helped to distribute grants to charities working to bring transformation in Bradford.