Our Trustees

Our team of Trustees at Communigrow plays a crucial role in helping us run our charity in the interests of all the people it has been set up to support. They also ensure we have a clear strategy, that our work and goals are in line with our vision, that all our assets are safeguarded and that we can grow our team and the people we support in a sustainable way.

 

We are extremely grateful to all of our Trustees not only for the time they give us but also for their willingness and generosity in sharing their experience and knowledge.

Alan Piper

Communigrow Trustee

Alan regards his involvement in Communigrow as very important to him, not only because he is able to help others but it also provides him with a sense of well being. 

A former trade union official, Alan has been able to bring to Communigrow his organising ability which is particularly helpful in finding useful resources. He has helped to put health and safety procedures in place.

Anthony Blackman

Communigrow Trustee

My professional background is as an optician, and I worked as a senior lecturer in Canterbury Christ Church University for over five years. I still practice part-time as an optician, and I also run my own training company which I founded in 2017.

As well as being a Trustee of Communigrow, I have held Trustee positions with eight other charitable organisations, so I can bring a lot of experience and knowledge to Communigrow. I currently sit on the board for Kent Association for the Blind, Vision Care for Homeless People, and I’m an elected Council Member for the British Contact Lens Association. I also sit on the Education and Learning Committee for the Chartered Insurance Institute, as a Lay Member.

I became a Trustee in 2021 because I wanted to use my experience to support a local organisation and help a small or young charity develop. When I went to the field and saw all the different projects Communigrow offers I knew it was something I could support and champion. Already I have been involved in its new fundraising strategy and recruitment. Going forward I will also be the Lead Trustee for governance.

My favourite vegetable is kale – we eat a lot of it as its very good for your eyes!

Caroline Pearce - Trustee

Caroline Pearce

Chair of Communigrow Trustees

I was a solicitor and director of training at a city law firm until I retired and I have held a life-long interest in horticulture.  I am fascinated by the way things grow.  It is only since I retired that I have had the time and opportunity to grow vegetables and what a joy it is!  When the opportunity came along to become a trustee at Communigrow, I jumped at it.  Here was a local community orientated charity based on horticulture with a strong teaching and education focus.

I recently took over as chair of the board of trustees.  My experience in legal matters, education and in the not for profit sector and my knowledge of horticulture means that I bring a range of diverse skills and experience to Communigrow.

Broad Beans are my favourite vegetable.

David Field

Communigrow Trustee

I built several consultancy businesses in the City advising global investment banks on their operations and technology infrastructure – a world away from Communigrow!  I was managing director of several enterprises including my own business which I founded and I sold in 2020.  The experience I bring to Communigrow is mainly business strategy, operational management and income generation.  Now retired, I want to give something back by sharing my experience wherever needed.  

I was delighted to become a Communigrow trustee earlier this year to use my skills for the benefit of others.  I am passionate about the natural world and founded a local “Nature Recovery Network”, and we’re converting our field to a wildflower meadow.  I’m also passionate about great food grown locally without chemicals, so Communigrow’s aims are close to my heart.

My focus as a trustee so far has been to develop a 5-year fundraising strategy, and I am now helping to put the strategy into action by hiring a new fundraiser and exploring several new social enterprise initiatives for 2022.

With a bit more time on my hands this year I started my own vegetable in a raised bed – my favourite was the purple mangetout which was delicious straight from the garden – not many made it as far as the kitchen!

Eleanor Nicolas

Communigrow Trustee

I have 14 year’s experience in finance with five years in the charity sector mainly with UNICEF UK and four years in not for profit with a private operating foundation.

I chose Communigrow as I respect the power of nature to heal amongst its many treasures and believe children need to be re-connected with where their food comes from.  Communigrow has huge appeal and potential to grow and become a national charity building communities and providing a safe place for the young and old to partake in the pleasures of horticulture whilst making new friends. My only gripe is that there isn’t one closer to where I live so I could walk there but perhaps that isn’t too far in the making.

Mainly I contribute to the budgets and cashflow forecasts as Treasurer and inevitably buy the vegetables grown on our field whenever I visit the field.

Sweet potatoes are a favourite of mine.

Helen Turner

Communigrow Trustee and Secretary

My background is in teaching (PE), preschool playgroups, training, facilitation and coaching particularly in the caring professions.  I came across Communigrow in 2014 when I was looking for something completely different.  There were just a few of us involved then and at the point of deciding to register as a charity I became secretary and a trustee.  My role of secretary and trustee involves ensuring that we are charity compliant, sustainable both financially and resource wise, operationally sound in the present and for the future.  My journey with Communigrow has been an amazing one growing from a handful of supporters to our increasing number of beneficiaries, staff, volunteers and supporters.

My motivation to support Communigrow is based on the work we do supporting vulnerable young people and adults; developing community involvement; growing fresh vegetables for healthy lifestyle. 

My favourite veg are butternut and autumn squashes and sweet potatoes. 

Outside Communigrow my interests are music, particularly choral singing, and going to concerts, being active outside in nature and spending time with my family watching them as they grow up.

Simon Webley

Communigrow Trustee

I have lived in a 16th  Century house here in Ditton, close to the Communigrow field, for well over half a century. We came to live here when I joined the Reed Paper Group’s new Economics and Market Research Team.

I have a degree in economics and political science and have subsequently helped with policy issues in both business and politics at all levels. Now semi-retired, I assist the Institute of Business Ethics which I helped to set up 25 years ago. 

Assisting children who have practical rather than academic strengths to gain a real interest in growing useful things has always been an interest of mine and Communigrow is helping this to happen. I have a garden, part of which is devoted to growing fruit and vegetables.

My favourites are raspberries and Brussels sprouts.