David is a non-executive director, providing strategic advice and support. He qualified as an accountant in 1991 and worked overseas in the late 1990s before returning to the UK to set-up his own advisory business in 2002. He is an active investor in a number of businesses. David has also undertaken a number of voluntary roles including chair of governors, charity work and chairman of a private members club and joined the board of Better Pathways in 2020.
DR MARTIN COMMANDER
Martin has worked as a Consultant Psychiatrist in Birmingham for the last 25 years, specialising in psychiatric rehabilitation. Martin has also occupied senior research positions in both Birmingham and Warwick Universities, undertaking service evaluations into mental health and homelessness, ethnic inequalities, and in-patient and community rehabilitation. He is presently employed as a Clinical Advisor to Birmingham and Solihull CCG developing residential rehabilitation provision for local residents.
Aside from family, Martin's time outside of work is largely consumed by football (he is a long supporter of Aston Villa!), music (both listening and performing), and gardening (including his efforts at his allotment).
Martin says, "I became a Trustee of Better Pathways as I am strongly convinced of the benefits that meaningful and rewarding activity, including work, have in promoting good mental health and in facilitating personal recovery. Levels of employment for those experiencing mental health problems are sadly very low and this is an area that deserves more attention. Better Pathways, with its long history in the city, is a key organisation assiting people with significant mental health problems to get into work. I am keen to support Better Pathways in continuing their work."
Ben joined the board in early 2018. Currently he works in Public Policy, researching and analysing a variety of policy challenges from sustainable energy to housing. Previously he worked in Mental Health within psychology across medium secure forensic units and early intervention.
With a keen interest in service development, Ben has a wide range of board experience from other charities and local education. He is passionate about achieving real results for those that interact with the charity. He says, “The strategic vision we set on the board has a real impact on the daily interactions of those that use our services. This is what motivates us to work hard in getting things right, so that the work Better Pathways does always reaches excellence and helps people on their recovery journey.”
Chaitali is a solicitor at Weightmans LLP in the Local Government team in Birmingham and is keen to support Birmingham charities, and also sit as a trustee for Birmingham Citizens Advice Bureau.
"I have spent the last 6 years dealing primarily with claims arising from child abuse, human rights and care home assaults against care workers. Although I defend these claims, it is has always been apparent to me that mental health concerns in some form or another lie at the root of many problems that escalate and manifest in a negative way. The importance of the work Better Pathways does in helping people with mental health conditions on their pathway to recovery resonates with me, as someone that witnesses what happens when people with such conditions do not get the help and support the need. Better Pathways actively contributes to improve the health and well-being of some our community’s most vulnerable people and I am proud to be part of such an organisation."
Member of the Finance, Business Development, and Fundraising sub-committees, Janine become a Director in 2018.
Janine works in the Facilities Management Consultancy team at Arcadis; who are a global design & consultancy firm for natural and built assets, working across all phases of the asset lifecycle, and by background, professionally qualified as a Chartered Surveyor. Janine leads the asset lifecycle service line, for the UK region and globally; providing business and technical advisory services to enable clients to make informed decisions for the efficient running and operation of their building, portfolio or estate - such as maintenance, compliance and asset lifecycle replacement.
"I am actively involved in the charitable sector and I passionately believe in giving something back and supporting my community where I can; and I also volunteer for a young peoples’ charity providing mentoring support for young girls. In my spare time I play hockey, enjoy fitness & running, travel and live music. I have embarked on numerous charitable fundraising events in recent years such as running The Great North run and Race for Life on multiple occasions and participating in the London Moon Walk marathon.
When I became aware of Better Pathways, and of the tremendous work it does, I wanted to be able to help in some way. I was thrilled to be able to join the board and to support this fantastic organisation, which makes a real difference to local people and their mental health”.
Les currently runs a care home for adults recovering from mental illness and is a 7407 certificated trainer. He chairs the Birmingham Care Consortium which supports care providers in the city and also the Registered Managers Network, aimed specifically at Registered Care Managers. He owns and runs several other businesses.Les says "I am proud to be associated with Better Pathways and have been involved with the organisation for over 35 years. I have worked with adults recovering from mental illnesses all my life, and it is great to be giving back to the sector through the dynamic and successful mental health charity; Better Pathways. I have seen the benefits of the services on offer at first hand and am proud to be associated witgh the great work they do.