Chairman of Better Pathways
Simon is a Change Management consultant who works with clients across the public and private sector. Current project include: culture change within Birmingham City Council and Birmingham and Solihull CCG, leadership development within the NHS, and board development at several housing associations. Starting work as a graduate trainee at Coventry City Council, throughout his career Simon has been committed to public service.
He has been a trustee at Better Pathways for 8 years and chair since 2018. His aspiration for the charity is to grow its employment service so as to improve the well-being of more people experiencing mental ill health. He wants every person with mental ill-health in Birmingham and Solihull to know of our service as a pathway into employment or to return to work.
Simon is passionate about improving everyone’s mental health. As he points out - "one in four of us will have a mental health problem at some point in our lives and by becoming a trustee at Better Pathways; was not only a way of offering my time and skills to a charity but one that is having a wider impact on the mental health of people in my local community.” A keen hill (and dog) walker but any fine weather will also see Simon itching to be on his allotment.
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”.
Jordan is an Apprentice Higher Education Manager at Aston University in Birmingham. He is undertaking a four-year programme developing experience across departments and institutions. Jordan is currently on secondment evolving his external experience, undertaking roles in equality and diversity at the University of Birmingham, consulting on professional development in the United States, and academic development at Warwick University in Coventry.
He has a background in charity and third sector organisations having been Vice President and director previously at Aston Students' Union, as well as Finance Officer of Aston Raise and Give Charity. He has led on organising and taking part in charity events such as Cancer Research UK Relay for Life in 2012 and 2013.
Jordan has a passionate interest in diversity and inclusion and has been highly involved in LGBT+ work, kick-starting the LGBT+ Staff Network at Aston University, and serving as Engagement Champion for a new national network of LGBT+ Networks in Higher Education.
"I want to get involved in meaningful work that makes a positive impact in the local Birmingham community, and Better Pathways is an exciting place to be with ample opportunity for growth. Our mission and work will continue to meet the perceived and demonstrable needs of the community, and I want to help that with my interest and knowledge of campaigning and fundraising, policy and governance, as well as diversity and inclusion."
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.
Member of the Service Delivery sub-committee. Ranjit joined the Better Pathways Board in July 2016. She has ten years’ experience of working within mental health services and currently practices as a BABCP accredited Cognitive Behavioral Psychotherapist, Eye Movement and Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapist, a clinical supervisor and as a Team Manager. Ranjit works both in the NHS and the private sector, and has worked in both in-patient wards and within the community.
Ranjit knows from her work with people with mental health problems that people can feel at a disadvantage when it’s time to think about training or employment. So the work that Better Pathways does in supporting people with their wellbeing, training and employment is therefore something that she is keen to support. She is particularly enthused by Better Pathways' social enterprises and says, “I know from clinical experience how important it is for people to gain real life work experience and skills in a supportive and encouraging environment. Our social enterprises provide just that environment and it is great to see how people’s confidence in themselves grows every day they are there.”
Born in Kings Norton in 1958, Miles has been a Birmingham resident ever since, with the exception of time away being educated. After University, Miles started work for Tube Investments, then based in Edgbaston, to enable him to play rugby for Moseley RFC; this being a life long ambition. Mind you, so was playing for Aston Villa and Warwickshire CCC! In his late 20s, Miles joined IBM in Sales and Marketing and worked there for over 30 years before stepping down in 2016. Miles lives in Harborne and has been married to Karrie since 1984, and they have three adult children and a grandson.
Miles is passionate about all things Birmingham, the welfare of its people and adult mental health. Miles believes that self worth is vital to all and wishes to support Sue and her team in providing help and hope to all those involved with Better Pathways. His support for Better Pathways is focused on the long-term development of the charity and building the capacity and future legacy.
DR JAGVIR SINGH PUREWAL
Jagvir has been a Director of Better Pathways since 2016 and says, “I became a Trustee with Better Pathways because of the great work the charity has done and continues to do in supporting those suffering from mental ill health of all kinds. What attracted me to Better Pathways in particular was its history in Birmingham; it has a proud tradition of working with stakeholders across the whole community and is recognised as a leading charity in this sector. The social enterprises do some tremendous work and make the charity unique due to the opportunities it provides.”
Member of the Finance and Business Development sub-committees. Mike is a qualified accountant (ACA) and has been a Director of Better Pathways since 2014. He is currently a Business Assurance Senior Manager at Jaguar Land Rover, where he leads a team that is responsible for ensuring compliance standards are met as well as identifying process improvements and cost savings across the business. He has previously worked at PwC and Wolseley.Mike says; “I am proud to be a Director of Better Pathways and to support this fantastic organisation. I am incredibly passionate about the work that Better Pathways does to support individuals with mental health problems in their pathway back to employment."
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.