Who we are

Staff, volunteers and trustees at a reception hosted by Mayor of Merton David Chung in the Mayor's Parlour in February 2016

Staff, volunteers and trustees at a reception hosted by Mayor of Merton David Chung in the Mayor’s Parlour in February 2016

Faith in Action Merton Homelessness Project grew from collaboration between local faith groups. We welcome the aid of volunteers and supporters of any and no faith. Our loyal and committed team of about 50 volunteers enable us to run the Homeless Drop-In Centre.

Staff

The Homeless Drop-in’s work is led by the Manager and a small team of part-time support workers. These staff members play a key role in providing advice and support to service users, recruiting and supporting the volunteers, and working hard to maintain and develop constructive links with other local services which complement FiA’s work.

Ashdon is Project Manager and joined Faith in Action in March 2022.

Vicky is Senior Support Worker and joined Faith in Action in 2019.

Other team members:

Angela is a Support Worker who has been working at the Drop-In for many years. She gained her NVQ in Health and Social Care whilst with us. Angela was previously a volunteer at Merton MIND’s Women’s Group. Angela is an active member of her local church.

Maria, Sara, Krysia (all Polish-speaking Support Workers) and Viv, our New Opportunities Worker.

Volunteers

Currently about 50 amazing volunteers work at the Drop-In. Some volunteers work in the kitchen and cook the meals. Others have a range of roles including greeting service users, helping with online form-filling, supervising the shower and laundry service, distributing clothing, offering companionship to service users, and joining them in activities such as bingo, chess or table tennis.

Trustees and Management Committee

The charity is governed by volunteer Trustees from a range of faiths and professional backgrounds. Trustees are also members of the Management Committee.

Grenville Williams (Chair of Trustees) spent his working life in management consultancy and television programme production. He is pleased to be able to assist FiA by using the skills and experience gained during his business career. He became a trustee in 2014 to enable him to contribute to the practical support of some of the most disadvantaged people in society. Grenville is a member of St Mary’s Church Merton.

Bernie McAlister (Vice-Chair) is a Chartered Accountant who works for a major firm of accountants in London. Like the other Trustees, Bernie hopes to use his training and experience to benefit FIA. He became a Trustee in 2020, having been a supporter of FIA for several years, admiring the essential work it does and wishing to contribute more. For Bernie, the name of the charity says it all – he says it is great to see the wonderful spirit of co-operation among all the faith groups that support FIA.

David Reeves started his career in HR, before moving into Internal Communications via a spell in business management, which included helping to develop the BBC’s online services. After 25 years at the BBC, he became a freelance communications consultant in 2007, and has since worked with a variety of public and private sector organisations including HMRC, IPSA and Arup.  David is a member of St Mary’s Church Merton, singing in the robed choir and, since 2020, Churchwarden.

Pauline Southgate spent the early years of her professional career in IT with IBM, then changed tack to combine work and family as a management and finance accountant for several small businesses importing from the Far East. She has fewer business clients now, and plays an active role as a Governor of Poplar Primary School. Pauline’s experience as Deputy Mayoress of Merton in 2005/6 brought her into contact with a wide cross-section of the voluntary sector, and convinced her of the need for organisations like FiA which reach out to the most vulnerable in our society.

Annette Wicks is the Corps officer of Morden Salvation Army Church. Annette was previously a nurse for 20 years, mainly in the NHS but also in a Salvation Army Hospital in Zambia, before training to become a Salvation Army Officer (minister). Wimbledon Salvation Army Church, which hosts the Drop-in, was Captain Annette Wicks’s first appointment.

Clive Douglas is a retired commercial solicitor with over 35 years’ legal experience, most gained in senior in-house legal roles, specialising in commercial and corporate law.  He is also a qualified civil & commercial mediator specialising in commercial and property disputes, an Independent Person for the London Borough of Merton (which involves considering complaints made against elected Members), an unpaid director for a residential estate management company helping to run and maintain a residential estate of 45 flats in Wimbledon, and a governor of a primary school in Kingston.

Robin Goodchild is a retired chartered surveyor who has lived in SW19 for more than 30 years. He is a long standing supporter of FiA, which he regards as one of Merton’s most important local charities. He became a trustee so that the Merton Winter Night Shelter can operate effectively under FiA’s umbrella, as well as integrating the distinct services they offer to the homeless, so increasing their effectiveness. He is Treasurer of Trinity United Reformed Church, a member of Merton Citizens and Chair of the Friends of Haydons Road Recreation Ground.

Richard Rawes is a retired local government officer, including roles as Head of Planning at Camden and 12 years as Director of Environment and Regeneration at Merton, as well as interim Chief Executive. He subsequently worked as Executive Director of Regeneration at Southwark, leading their planning and property services, together with programmes for the regeneration of major housing estates. He also chaired the Webb Memorial Trust, a charity which examined causes and solutions to poverty in the UK, and was a Governor at Brooklands College, a further education college in Weybridge.