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Meet the Board

We know that working in partnership is essential for the success of this programme. We have created a Walsall for All Board that is responsible for driving forward the programme and putting it into action. Our board members have a variety of experience and expertise and a good understanding of our diverse communities’ needs.

They will guide the programme and champion integration within their own organisations, networks and sectors. They will also ensure that the programme is sustained in the long term and generates impact.

Why not form partnerships and create collaborative opportunities by getting in touch with our board members below or email us on


Inclusion has always been important to me. I grew up in Glasgow, worked as a Probation Officer around Bristol, served as a mission partner with heroin addicts in Karachi, was a parish priest around Gloucestershire, and now support church/community engagement in the West Midlands. I have always found opportunities to ensure that all are valued for how they enrich community. Only together can we maximise potential for the common good in Walsall.

British Pakistani Muslim with over 20 years of experience working in the Third Sector delivering needs led services for women, children and young people from diverse and marginalised communities living in Walsall from our venue Aaina Community Hub which is based in Caldmore and through outreach delivery to engage in the wider community. I am passionate about making services accessible that also provide a platform for engagement and integration for existing and newly arrived communities in Walsall. Along with my day job I am also a serving J.P at Walsall Magistrates Court and Ordinary Member of the Charities Tribunal.

Ashvin Patel

Financial Adviser by profession since 1981. Member of board of directors of Peer Developments Ltd., (since 02/06/0205) Mellish Park Management Co Ltd., (23/08/2006 – 24/03/2016) Walsall Financial Services Ltd., (since 15/11/2006) Queen Mary Grammar School, (since 20/04/2011) Kind Edward VI Handsworth Girls School, (since 01/12/2011) and The Crossing at St Paul’s Ltd. (since 10/06/2015)   Married with 3 children and resident of Walsall since 1966.

I am part of Walsall for All because I am encouraged to see high level of Government and Local Authority support in addition to the partners from Private Sector, Academic Institution and various Voluntary, Community and Faith groups. 

Geeta Bhucher

I have worked in the education sector for the last 17 years and it has given me numerous opportunities to engage with people from varied backgrounds. It has also provided me with an insight into the richness of diverse cultures which are prevalent in our society. I strongly believe that practicing tolerance and respect for each other holds the key to bringing communities together. “Walsall for all” project is committed to raising aspirations, enriching minds, winning hearts and achieving harmony in Walsall which, as an educational practitioner, has inspired me immensely.

Gerry Lyng

I have worked for the Department for Work and Pensions in all its forms for over 30 years. Previously working on Industrial Relations, Communications, Partnership and Contract Management at a Regional and District level.

I returned to operational duties managing Jobcentres in Birmingham and Solihull. In April 2015 I moved back to the Black Country District, initially as Sandwell Employer and Partnership Manager; I then managed the Troubled Families and Support for Schools Teams; currently I am the Partnership Manager for Walsall & Wolverhampton and have District leads on Disability and Care Leavers.

DWP’s role in the Walsall for All pilot will be to support integration by helping women from all the communities to access employment, training or educational opportunities.

On a personal note, I live in Walsall and one of my interests is walking, having completed Hadrian’s Wall, Pennine Way and the Coast to Coast route. The next project is to walk the English coastline, so far I have covered 300 miles, with only another 5581 to do.

Ibrahim Sohail

I am part of the Walsall for All Board because I believe community cohesion is a very important part for a functioning society, everybody deserves to feel welcomed, I would like to see a united Walsall where we can learn from each other’s different cultures and backgrounds, building a healthy and diverse community. I represent young people through the Youth of Walsall on this board. Young people play a strong part in building future communities, it is therefore important young people’s voices are acknowledged and acted on, throughout this project.

Jamie Hobday

Jamie is currently leading the Police Partnerships Team, part of West Midlands Polices’ Neighbourhood Policing Unit for Walsall. This is a small team with responsibility for encouraging and maximising the impact of partnership working in improving the safety of everyone in Walsall. This includes seeking to improve the service given to victims of hate crime and reducing the volume and seriousness of hate crime in the borough. The team also deals with alcohol licencing matters, engagement with some community groups, supporting Neighbourhood and Street Watch Schemes, and youth crime/victim prevention work. We are based in the Civic Centre alongside Council colleagues in the Community Cohesion Team, and are keen to support Walsall for All’s objectives in order to help create a safe and secure borough where there is fair treatment of all.

Laurence Lessard-Phillips

Laurence Lessard-Phillips is a Research Fellow at IRiS. A large proportion of her research focuses on integration, especially the way in which it is perceived, discussed, conceptualised, measured, and analysed. Her expertise and her keen interest in pushing an assets, rather than a deficit, approach toward integration are two main reasons for her participation in the Walsall for All Advisory Board.

Margaret Turley

I have lived in the borough of Walsall since I was a teenager, attending Blue Coat Secondary school, then going on to train as a teacher at the, then, West Midlands College (now Wolverhampton University) in Gorway, Walsall. I have worked in various schools in the borough, for 34 years, as a teacher and, for the last 10 years as a head teacher. I am part of Walsall for All, because I am passionate about educating our children and families to live, grow and work together, in an inclusive environment, showing respect for each other and building supportive, sustainable communities.

Marie Smith

My name is Marie Smith, I work as a Housing Manager at Watmos Community Homes. I work with residents and volunteers in Walsall working to improve people’s lives and their communities to empower residents to manage their own neighbourhoods. I am part of the Walsall for All Board because I firmly believe this integration project can make a real difference in Walsall to help people grow together and create flourishing communities.

Maureen Lewis

Maureen Lewis is the Chief Officer of Walsall BSC. She has worked in the voluntary and community sector for over 20 years and have developed projects to meet the needs of disadvantaged communities. My background is community development, I have skills in applying for funds and project management. I am passionate for people and love to see them empowered to take control of their own lives.

I am proud to be on the WFA board as I want to work with our partners and various communities, so we can together bring about greater integration, building a community we can be proud of… Fulfilling our vision of being connected, inclusive, embracing our rich diversity, creating a Walsall where everyone can feel safe, valued, have opportunities to fulfil their potential and contribute to the growth of Walsall.

Board notes

Below are the meeting notes from our previous board meetings. Click on the PDF icon to view the notes.

















































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