Our board of trustees
Their role is to oversee the programme and govern Near Neighbours by establishing its policies and objectives, ensuring the legal duties of the charity, its finances and operations, are carried out properly.
Baroness Margaret Eaton, Chairman
Baroness Eaton DBE became a Dame Commander of the order of the British Empire in 2010 and is a Conservative Life Peer in the House of Lords. From 1986 until 2016 she was an elected Councillor on the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, and Leader of the Council from 2000 to 2006. She has extensive experience working in the political sphere and also in environments that are diverse in both faith and ethnicity.
Rt Revd Richard Atkinson OBE
Richard is Bishop of Bedford and has a track record of community focused ministry. He was founder Chair of the St Philip’s Centre in Leicester and is Co-Chair of the Inter faith Network (UK).
Mr Brian Carroll
Brian is a Trustee of the Church Urban Fund, appointed when a Church Commissioner. He was formerly a senior Treasury civil servant and then Finance Director of Waitrose. He has experience of urban regeneration as a previous Board Member of the London & Quadrant Housing Association.
Rt Revd Mark Davies
Mark Davies is the Suffragan Bishop of Middleton in the Church of England Diocese of Manchester. Mark has the Episcopal brief for issues concerning church and society including urban and interfaith matters.
Mr Francis Davis
Francis is Professor of Communities and Public Policy at the University of Birmingham and non - executive director and Chair of Finance of an NHS Trust. He previously taught at Cambridge and held a Fellowship at Oxford University and has held ministerial and departmental advisory roles at DCLG, DH, Cabinet Office and DWP as well as directing and co-chairing major community initiatives of the Mayor of the West Midlands and and the Mayor of London. He is a regular contributor to news and think tank publications most recently a pamphlet on inclusive enterprise and disability for Localis.
Mr Matthew Girt
Matthew is the Director of Strategy and Implementation in the Diocese of Rochester. He was previously the Director of the Strategic Development at London Diocese where he founded the strategic approach to development and regeneration as well as being the initiator of the Diocese’s new partnership with CUF, Capital Mass. Matthew is a Director of a private sector Planning and Property information company, and previous trustee of Churches Conservation Trust where he established the successful Regeneration Task Force. He has long term experience in urban regeneration both from private practice and the public sector. He worked closely with the Mayor of London and his champion for Tottenham to produce the ‘It Took Another Riot’ report. Matthew is a Fellow of the RSA where his interest in entrepreneurship and community building come together.
Rt Revd Toby Howarth
Toby is Bishop of Bradford, and was previously the National Adviser for Inter Religious Affairs and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Secretary for Inter Religious Affairs. He has long experience of inter religious relations and previously served as Inter Faith Adviser to the Bishop of Birmingham. Toby was Vice Principal at Crowther Hall in Selly Oak where he also taught Islamic studies having previously spent five years in India where he carried out research on the subject of Islamic preaching.
Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave
Michael Ipgrave is Bishop of Lichfield and former Bishop of Woolwich. He has a particular interest and involvement in inter faith and ecumenical relations, both in the UK and internationally.
Revd Canon Eve Pitts
Eve Pitts is Vicar of Holy Trinity, Birchfield in Birmingham, an extremely diverse community. She was the first black female vicar in England.
Revd Canon Denise Poole
Denise Poole is a priest living and working in inner city Bradford, West Yorkshire. She has experience of working with people of different faiths in community development, in inter faith work and in education. She is a consultant to Faithful Neighbours, Leeds Diocese and a member of SACRE.
Revd Canon Mark Poulson
Mark Poulson is the Inter Faith Advisor to the Archbishop of Canterbury, chair of Near Neighbours' Faiths Advisory Panel, chair of the Southall Faith Forum and Member of the Church’s National Presence & Engagement Task Group. Mark has been instrumental in setting up and supporting a range of church projects in multicultural, multi-faith areas, addressing poverty, community fragmentation and exclusion.