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Mencap appoints four new trustees

by Lisa Carr

Mencap, the UK’s leading learning disability charity, has appointed four new Trustees to help the charity make a life-changing impact on the lives of people with a learning disability. Sohail Qadri, Phil Hughes, Kathryn Rees and Catherine McDermott have all joined the board of Mencap, making it a 12 strong team of Trustees in addition to the Chair.

Sohail Qadri has undertaken a number of senior executive, advisory and board roles in major telecommunications and technology companies across the world such as BT, O2 and Telefonica Group. In these roles he has played a part in making major strategic change and in his new role, will be supporting Mencap with organisational transformation.

Commenting on his appointment, Sohail says: “I am very pleased to be joining the Board of Trustees for Mencap to contribute to their work in supporting people with a learning disability.”

Phil Hughes is an accountant by training and has worked in a variety of roles culminating in being the Global Chief Financial Officer for Castrol, the lubricants company.  Since leaving Castrol he has undertaken various Executive and Non Executive roles in Not for Profit organisations; including acting as Interim Finance Director for the British Red Cross and has also completed six years as trustee for Young Epilepsy based in Surrey.

Speaking about what it means to be joining the board, Phil says: “I am very excited to be appointed as a Trustee to the Mencap Board: the sector faces some very real challenges and I look forward to supporting the organisation in delivering its goals.”

Despite the progress that has been made, people with a learning disability continue to face inequalities in many aspects of life, and the Covid-19 pandemic has not helped this. As part of Mencap’s Big Plan, the charity’s vision is for the UK to be the best place in the world for people with a learning disability to live happy and healthy lives. The new Trustees, together with the rest of the Board will guide the charity to achieve this.

Kathryn Rees, the third new Trustee has experience of leadership in Local Government through several roles in Stockport and Wigan Council and is passionate about improving the lives of people and communities. Kathryn joined Stockport Council as the Director for Strategy and Commissioning in 2020 where she has responsibility for policy, partnerships, community development and workforce.  She previously worked for eight years in Wigan Council, where she played an integral in the design and delivery of the Wigan Deal, which transformed the way the council worked with communities. 

Commenting on her appointment, Kathryn says: “It’s fantastic to be appointed as a Trustee for Mencap and be part of the ambition to make the UK the best place in the world for people with a learning disability to live happy and healthy lives.  The Big Plan is ambitious and exciting and puts listening, learning and empowerment front and centre.  I am honoured to be part of the board that is driving such an important agenda.”

And finally, Catherine is a Board level business leader who has worked in healthcare and technology for the last ten years and is currently Chief Executive of Reframe which supports people who have been diagnosed with cancer. Prior to that she was on the board of McKesson UK and previously ran UK operations for Amazon.

Speaking about what it means to be joining the board, Catherine comments: “I am delighted to be joining Mencap as a Trustee at such an exciting time as the organisation seeks to realise the vision of the UK as the best place in the world for people with learning disability to live happy and healthy lives. I look forward to working with the board and the team at Mencap on such an inspiring mission.”

Edel Harris, Chief Executive of the learning disability charity Mencap, said: “We are pleased to have four new Trustees join our board and are grateful for the expertise and knowledge that they will bring.  We’re proud to have people on our Board that share our determination to bring our Big Plan to life. I’m looking forward to working with them and thank them for coming on board.”

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