Meet the team

Meet the people who work at the Foundation and help make a difference every day!

Jabeer Butt OBE

Chief Executive

Jabeer Butt OBE

Jabeer is Chief Executive of the Race Equality Foundation. He has an international reputation for the use of evidence in developing interventions that help overcome discrimination and disadvantage. His studies have been used to inform government thinking, including interventions such as Sure Start, as well as the NSPCC’s Grove House Family Centre.

Jabeer provides leadership on the Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities parent education initiative at the Race Equality Foundation. A key part of his work is the Foundation’s role in the Health and Wellbeing Alliance, which has seen the Foundation facilitate better conversations between the black and minority ethnic-led voluntary sector and Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and Public Health England and saw him secure £485,000 grant from DHSC to support older people living with dementia as part of the emergency response to COVID.

Jabeer was on the Marmot Advisory Group, supporting Sir Michael Marmot in the production of his recent report on the social determinants of health inequalities. Jabeer sits on a number of other boards and committees, which currently include the Dementia Programme Board, chaired by the Minister for Care, as well as PHE’s Health Ageing Advisory Board.

Jabeer is currently co-investigator on a £1.5 million NIHR-funded randomised control trial of the Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities programme, being led by Professor Richard Watt at University College London.  He is also co-investigator on the £1.3 million NIHR funded extension of the VirusWatch study focusing in COVID-19 and the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic and migrant communities, led by Professor Robert Aldridge of University College London.

Jabeer was awarded an OBE in the 2013 Queen’s New Year Honours List.

Leandra Box

Programme Manager

Leandra Box

Leandra is the SFSC Programme Manager at the Race Equality Foundation and manages the Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities Team. She worked jointly with Jabeer Butt in the development of the SFSC model for use with black and minority ethnic communities in the UK, and has taken forward its establishment as a widely used parenting intervention. She has led the team in developing SFSC materials for work around gang and knife crime, learning disabilities, and sexual and reproductive health; and oversees the monitoring of quality assurance and programme fidelity.

Leandra’s publications include Supportive services, effective strategies (1997, co-authored with Jabeer Butt); Family centred: A study of the use of family centres by black families (1998, co-authored with Jabeer Butt); Respect: Learning materials for social care staff working with black and minority ethnic older people (1999, co-authored with Jabeer Butt and Suzanne Lyn-Cook); and a series of policy papers on the needs of black and minority ethnic families.

Shiryn Sayani

Communications & Campaigns Manager

Shiryn Sayani

Shiryn is the Race Equality Foundation’s Communications and Campaigns Manager, leading all communications, campaigns and wider external relations activity for the Foundation. She joined in August 2021 from the Bar Council, where she worked across policy and comms and led award-winning communications and campaigns relating to social mobility, justice and gender equality in the barristers’ profession. Shiryn was named one of PRWeek’s ’30 under 30′ comms professionals.

Prior to this, Shiryn studied Law at the University of Exeter and then travelled to the US, where she interned at the District Attorney’s office in Athens, GA. She has also interned for Amicus ALJ and the BBC. She has volunteered at Gloucester Law Centre and at Liberty, providing the public with advice on their legal rights. Shiryn also currently sits on the Policy & Campaigns Advisory Group of the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Tracey Bignall

Senior Policy and Practice Officer

Tracey Bignall

Tracey is currently the Senior Policy and Practice Officer with the Race Equality Foundation. She has undertaken research within the social care field, primarily on disability issues, and is co-author of several reports, including Between ambition and achievement: The views of young black disabled people on independent living and Something to do. Other research has explored the implementation of family group conferences and the career development of senior black managers in social services.

She is currently working on the Engage London project which provides a range of activities to support sustainability in the children, young people and families sector. In addition, she is working on a Department of Health funded programme to assist clinical commissioning groups in the commissioning of communication services for seldom heard and marginalised groups.

Tracey is also currently a member of the Risks, Trusts and Relationships, the Neighbourhood Approaches to Loneliness advisory group, National BAME Transplant Association (NBTA) and National Institute for Health Research Satisfaction with Social Care Services amongst BME populations.

Bernadette Rhoden

Senior Parent Programme and Training Officer

Bernadette Rhoden

Bernadette is a Senior Parent Programme and Training Officer for the Strengthening Families Strengthening Communities programme and is based in the Race Equality Foundation’s London office.

Bernadette is an experienced SFSC facilitator who has delivered the programme across a range of settings to universal and targeted groups of parents. She delivers the Foundation’s five day SFSC facilitator training to practitioners throughout UK and has been instrumental in devising and delivering a number of our Advanced Skills courses. She is further responsible for fulfilling QA contracts to a number of local authorities and provides ongoing support to SFSC facilitators.

Bernadette has worked in the voluntary sector for over 25 years and has developed various community projects including a support network for fathers in Croydon and the development and management of the Family Nurturing Project.

Jes Phillips

Policy and Practice Officer

Jes Phillips

Jes is a Policy and Practice Officer at the Race Equality Foundation. Jes has a BSc in Health Promotion and an MSc in Global Inequality and Comparative Social Policy. In a previous role with the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health Jes completed research on the effectiveness of participatory arts among people with learning disabilities, people with COPD and on community wellbeing. Her research interests focus on social justice particularly racial justice in areas of health, criminal justice and migration.

She is working on a range of projects which include the Race Equity Collaboratives and the Health and Wellbeing Alliance, a partnership between voluntary sectors and the health and care system.  Jes is also working alongside colleagues on the LeDeR project which aims to identify key changes that are needed to improve the experiences and outcomes for black, Asian and minority ethnic people with learning disabilities and their carers.

Esther Ayoola

Policy and Practice Officer

Esther Ayoola

Esther is a Policy and Practice Officer at the Race Equality Foundation. Her previous research has included work on the educational attainment of children and young people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds and the influence of race, ethnicity and intersectionality on inequalities in health and social care.

She has a Master of Science degree in Research Methods in Child and Adolescent Psychology and is currently completing a fully-funded PhD in Social Policy based at the University of Brighton. Her thesis is focused on journeys of migration from Africa to London and how the mental health experiences of adolescents are impacted by socio-cultural, political and psychological factors.

Esther has previously worked within education as an Early Intervention Practitioner, as a Family Support Worker for Looked After Children and as a Consultant in Educational Policy and Development.

Jade Briant

Parent Programme Officer

Jade Briant

Joy Ohen

Parent Programme Officer

Joy Ohen

Joy Ohen is a Parent Programme Officer at the Race Equality Foundation leading on SFSC delivery across Lambeth Lewisham and Southwark as part of the RiSE consortium to provide preventative sexual health services to Black African and Caribbean communities.

Joy is a qualified NNEB and Montessori teacher and worked in this role for many years before moving into the field of Family Support. She is an Accredited Facilitator for the following groups Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities, Domestic Violence group for Women and Children, Speakeasy and Triple P.

She has worked with children, young people and their families for many years, offering support and advice with a solution focused approach; supporting families within the community and helping them to build on their strengths. She is a firm believer in multi-disciplinary working and early intervention.

Joy has been an SFSC facilitator for a number of years and has provided freelance facilitation for the Foundation before becoming a member of the team.

Christie Garner

Policy and Practice Officer

Christie Garner

Christie is a Policy and Practice Officer at the Race Equality Foundation. After completing her psychology degree Christie worked as a senior assistant psychologist in NHS mental health services, in the south of England and the Midlands. She supported people experiencing various mental health difficulties including psychosis, anxiety and depression. Within the NHS, Christie also held roles in service improvement and conducted research resulting in several publications.

Christie is currently completing her PhD research; this is a collaborative student-ship award with the Race Equality Foundation. The project is interdisciplinary, drawing on theory and methods from youth studies, social policy, sociology, psychology and public health. Christie is using participatory action research approaches with children and young people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, to explore their experiences of the Strengthening Families Strengthening Communities (SFSC) parenting programme. The aim is to develop an evaluation framework to give children and young people a voice in this field.

Angela Azubuike

Admin and Finance Manager

Angela Azubuike

Angela is the Administrator and Finance officer based at the Head Office in London. Angela operates and maintains the Foundation’s financial system and ensures the smooth running of the office. Angela also supports the Strengthening Families Strengthening Communities and Policy and Practice Teams teams by organising training, answering the order line, and ensuring that programmes are registered and receive the resources they need.

Farah Mgaieth

Research Assistant

Farah Mgaieth

Farah is a Research Assistant at the Race Equality Foundation and is involved in the NIHR-funded Together study, evaluating the SFSC parenting programme. She has an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Japan and an MSc in Clinical Neurodevelopmental Sciences. She has worked as a Research Assistant in Hong Kong and at King’s College London on a project investigating the effect of a medication on social anxiety in Autism Spectrum Disorders. She continued working with children and young people with neurodevelopmental conditions at Croydon CAMHS where, together with her team, she assessed autism and ADHD, and conducted quality improvement projects.

Farah has a strong commitment to learning about different cultures and languages to apply this knowledge in her research and clinical practice. Her research interests focus on autism and approaches to reduce stigma around neurodevelopmental conditions.

Consultants and freelancers

Meet the people who support the work of the Foundation, in particular the delivery of the Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities parenting programme.

Ahmed Abd-Elighany

SFSC Facilitator

Ahmed Abd-Elighany

Eleni Bloy

Consultant (Parent Programme)

Eleni Bloy

Eleni is an accredited SFSC parenting programme facilitator who has worked for and with the Race Equality Foundation since 2013, delivering the programme to parents across Kent and London.

Eleni previously worked as a specialist family law solicitor in Greenwich and Lewisham, as a partner in her own firm and, subsequently creating a department for a new practice; she was one of the first solicitors in the UK to achieve accreditation by Resolution, the association of family solicitors. Following that, Eleni joined the national charity, Family Action, in 2012 with the intention of supporting families in conflict through delivery of the Separated Parents Information Programme.

She has also led on a Race Equality Foundation project for Public Health England, to create a toolkit for public health nurses to reduce the harm to children of non violent ‘frequent, intense and poorly resolved conflict’, and continues to champion a better understanding of cultural influences on conflict between co-parents.

Simone Brown

SFSC Facilitator

Simone Brown

Sarah Layne

SFSC Facilitator

Sarah Layne

Hasabseeda Badri

SFSC Facilitator

Hasabseeda Badri

Debi Roberts

SFSC Facilitator

Debi Roberts

Maryan Cabdi

SFSC Facilitator

Maryan Cabdi

Nicholas Wedderburn

SFSC Facilitator

Nicholas Wedderburn

Abdi Ismail

SFSC Facilitator

Abdi Ismail

Taquira Wilson

SFSC Facilitator

Taquira Wilson

Taquira Wilson is an experienced freelance SFSC facilitator working across both the SFSC parent programme and the SFSC children and Young People’s programme.

Taquira was most recently employed as a Programme Officer at the Race Equality Foundation, leading on SFSC delivery across Waltham Forest and on the delivery of the Young People’s Programme in a Youth Prison.

Prior to that, she worked for the largest YMCA in Europe, providing support to children and families, with a focus on supporting young people to thrive and communities to flourish. She has also worked closely with young people in supporting their transition from further to higher education, as well as working with ASD children and their wider family. She is a Women’s Aid ‘Ask Me’ Ambassador.

Chalice Richardson

SFSC Facilitator

Chalice Richardson

Chalice Richardson has been an SFSC facilitator for a number of years and has provided freelance facilitation for the Foundation on a number of projects including working to support SFSC delivery in areas affected by gangs and knife crime and by radicalisation and extremism.

He was previously a Parent Programme Officer at the Race Equality Foundation leading on SFSC delivery across Lambeth Lewisham and Southwark as part of the RiSE consortium to provide preventative sexual health services to Black African and Caribbean communities.

Prior to that he worked extensively in community settings, providing services which directly support families with vulnerable school-aged and post 16 children. Chalice’s practice is underpinned by a multi-disciplinary approach, which sees work in social care and youth services as well as the wider community.

Adila Bedri

SFSC Facilitator

Adila Bedri

Intisar Hassan

SFSC Facilitator

Intisar Hassan

Maurice Kennedy

SFSC Trainer and Facilitator

Maurice Kennedy

Our achievements

We have been around for thirty years and have achieved much in that time, find out about our history and proudest moments here.
Over the years

More about us

Find out more about who we are, what we do and where, and why we do it.
Read about us

The trustees

Find out about the trustees at the Race Equality Foundation.
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