The Sustainable Communities network includes the following:

Amina Khalid is the Project Manager, Sustainable Communities Programme, IofC-UK. She is a Trustee of SIDD, the Somali Initiative for Dialogue and Democracy. Amina is also Founder of Peace Begins at Home, which focuses on intergenerational and conflict resolution dialogue, particularly between African diaspora communities.

Dr Muna Ismail She is a scientist and environmentalist, with a passion for community action and sustainable development. She was a public health researcher at in East London and the City Health Authority (ELCHA). For over 12 years, she worked as a senior mental health advocate with MIND UK, where she helped mental health patients from many communities. She did a brief stint in the US as a technical consultant for a natural products company. Dr Ismail completed her post doctoral research at King’s College London. She is a visiting postdoc research analyst at the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew. Since, 2012, she has worked as a volunteer with IofC-UK, particularly with trust-building and reconciliation programmes.

Ian Monteague is Chair of Family Action in Rogerfied and Easterhouse (FARE), based in Glasgow. Ian is serial social entrepreneur. He firmly believes that there is always “money in the room” to be implement positive ideas for action. FARE is a registered charity and was established in 1989 by local people in response to the lack of support and opportunities in the community. FARE improves life in neighbourhoods by offering activities that improve people’s aspirations, enhance standards of living, and tackle territorialism and related violence. The organisation uses clubs, sport and art activities, family support groups, holidays and adult mentors to engage with children, young people and adults. FARE has grown considerably during the past years. As geographical boundaries have expanded, so has the reach of FARE’s services; over fifty staff and volunteers help with their delivery.

Greg Davis is the CEO of United Estates of Wythenshawe, located in Benchill, Manchester, one of the worst deprived areas in England.  Greg worked as a bouncer in Manchester night-clubs and later became a Methodist lay preacher. Established in 1990, UEW is located in a renovated church. The complex includes a gym, a second-hand clothes shop, a community centre, a recording studio, and a church. UEW works to deal with gang warfare, guns, drugs and knife crime in the community. When funds are available, UEW distributes food to the community. UEW has helped many young people in the area. Some have established their own enterprises.

John Macaulay is the CEO of the Alchemy Agency, based in Manchester. He organises the Greater Manchester Film Festival.  In 2011, John founded the Alchemy Agency to provide a consultancy that matches people with remarkable experiences with those with the desire to achieve the extraordinary. The agency has built up a list of thought leaders, also known as alchemists, including sports and media professionals, a veteran warship commander, a shaman and spiritual healer and a multi-millionaire entrepreneur! His took the rock band Puressence on an unprecedented and successful tour of China with Mani from The Stone Roses. John and Greg organize the Music for Cities event, an annual rock concert, which raised funds for charities working with inner-city children.

Roddy Edwards is a bookkeeper for a small business in Wenhaston, Suffolk village. He and his wife Ann, a parish councillor, are engaged in a range of community initiatives, including a multi-purpose sports club, a carbon reduction group, and most recently the launch of a group to create a community woodland in partnership with the Suffolk based Greenlight Trust.

Roddy is a Methodist and was born in Jamaica in the village of Walkerswood, where his passion for rural development was ignited. He describes how he felt as though he was a little white boy, the only one in the village and completely out of his depths. He felt he had to do something to positive for communities in response to years of exploitation of blacks during the slave trade. He and others from the village set up an initiative where everyone in the community, who wanted to, could find reasonably paid work. He co-founded Walkerswood Caribbean Foods in the 1970s which grew to employ 140 people with a $US 6 million turnover and worked with them until 2009. 

Maxine Cockett was born in St Ann’s, Nottingham in the 1960s and recalls the tragic days where public houses had signs sayings like “No blacks, No Irish, No dogs”. At the age of 17, when she became homeless, she started helping others on the streets, especially women, to keep safe. At twenty-one, she started a mothers and toddlers group to help mothers, who were on benefits or who had low paid jobs. This group offered free advice to women on what they were entitled to whilst on benefits and or low income. Maxine worked for the Children's Society, based in Nottingham, running a mentoring initiative. She also engages in youth work, street work, lobbying for campaigns, and works with old people. She was part of the Bridging the Gap allotment project and has worked with asylum seekers and refugees. She is a member of the Nottingham-based “Bringing People Together” project. Maxine is currently engaged in project entitled “My Story”, which is reaching out 50 young people in inner city areas and provides a safe place for young people, from all walks of life, to share their experiences, through multi-media, and make life choices.

Alan Dean has a background in the construction industry. He saw the power in using building construction as a means for education Alan’s passion is to empower young people, particularly in disadvantaged areas. He is the CEO of London-based Burning2Learn (B2L), which offers an innovative range of learning skills and projects for schools and groups of young people. B2L implements ‘education by stealth’. For example, It “hides Maths and English”, through teaching media, using journalism, photography and interviewing techniques. It teaches young people the Three R’s: respect, responsibility, reward. B2L “aims to empower young people by enhancing their life opportunities.”

Maria Peters, 19, is the youngest member of the network. She works with B2L and is organising a Hub Programme that will take on the role of an incubation centre within the heart of Sevenoaks District Community. The Hub is to be the birth place of six sister
start-up companies, each providing a service or product that the surrounding community needs. These needs have been identified by young people, after having gone into their own community and finding out what will help sustain their local area. The six companies will each work alongside each other as partners and indeed competitors. Each of the start-ups will be youth-led and their purpose will be to ignite the spirit of IofC, which builds trust and integrity within their community.

Lul Seyoum is an activist and facilitator promoting the human rights of women. She is particularly focused on the Horn of Africa where she was born and spent her formative years. After witnessing first-hand the issues that are experienced by women in the poverty stricken, patriarchal-dominated societies in the Horn of Africa, she endeavours to give a voice to women, who are subjected to practices, such as female genital mutilation.

In 2006, she set up the International Centre for Eritrean Refugees and Asylum Seekers (ICERAS) in order to confront these issues and assist the refugees in assimilating into their new environments. She is also regularly consulted by the BBC and ITN for research, resource and coverage of matters pertaining to the Horn of Africa. Lul hosted numerous trade related conferences, symposium and seminars. She has developed and trained organizations on emotional intelligence and leadership for women, advocacy and capacity building-project and programme management.

Charlie Ryder works as an Outreach Worker at HMP Wormwood Scrubs which provides a mentoring scheme for prisoners. He is a director, producer, writer, dancer, songwriter, and puppeteer. Charlie experienced anger and frustration, which came out of years of living with his father’s alcoholism. He also suffered from dyslexia as a child, which went undetected by authorities. He served eight months in prison in 1995 for his part in a protest against the BNP headquarters in 1993. Charlie found forgiveness and healing. Charlie holds puppet workshops in prisons and gatherings to share his story of change. In May 2012, Charlie was featured on on Channel 4, speaking on forgiveness. Charlie is currently developing a documentary called ‘Stories of Healing’. He is working with people who have suffered traumatic events and are using arts to facilitate healing.

Amjad Saleem is Head of Communications for The Cordoba Foundation, an independent policy, research and public relations think tank based in London. The Foundation promotes positive coexistence among civilisations, ideas and people, and advocates dialogue and action to promote understanding and acceptance of inter-communal and inter-religious issues in Britain, Europe, US and beyond. It specially facilitates dialogue between Muslim and Christian communities. Amjad is a part-time lecturer at the University of East London on ‘Introduction to NGO Management’ and ‘Islam and the Modern World’.

Carlotta Allum, founding director of STRETCH, an organisation whose aim is to re-engage marginalised groups and increase life choices through cultural activity. Carlotta has an MA in Museums and Galleries in Education from the London Institute of Education. In 2006, she was awarded a fellowship from the Griffins society and LSE and completed a research paper looking at the arts in the rehabilitation of female offenders. Carlotta is also a Trustee of the charity Unlock. According to Carlotta: “Stretch wants to give female offenders a platform and a voice, a chance to express themselves creatively. Working with prison art has helped me come to terms with my own experience. I had found it hard to align my new life with my time in prison, but it obviously drives me.”’