Investing in today, for the foundations of tomorrow

Meet the Team

Edward Rowberry FCA, MBA, MCIOH, FRSA
Chief Executive

“Investment is a powerful tool for social change and positive social impact.”

Originally trained as a Chartered Accountant at KPMG, Ed has over fifteen years combined experience in the commercial property, financial services and affordable housing sectors including the management of FCA regulated commercial property funds. As Chief Executive, he now focuses on strategy and delivery, working with each of the committee chairs as well as seeking to develop and deliver commercially viable solutions to social, environmental and economic problems.

Abby Scarborough

Sue Cooper
Head of Credit

“Charities and social enterprises can make a difference both in local communities and in society as a whole.”

Sue’s business skills and knowledge come from a career in banking. For the past 18 years she has worked with charities and social enterprises for Triodos Bank UK and as CEO of a similar regulated finance organisation in New Zealand. Returning to the UK she set up a new social investment programme for an endowed charitable foundation. Sue is based in Bristol and works as a consultant and non-executive director.

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Colin Barns
Housing Specialist

“I am dedicated to helping communities come together to create new homes that meet local needs and act as a platform for resilience and sustainable growth.”

Colin is a housing professional with over 10 years experience in new build, regeneration and refurbishment projects for local authorities and housing associations. Most recently, Colin was a development manager for the 2,500 home Merton estate regeneration programme, after several years working with local communities in Camden to identify, plan and deliver new affordable and private housing to fund improvements to existing estates and community facilities. Colin has a passion for community led housing initiatives and is keen to ensure projects are financially viable, whilst at the same time maximising social value to the community.

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Stephen Le Fanu
Housing Associate

“BBRC is helping to create an economy that works for everyone in the South West of England and I am pleased to be a part of it”

Stephen studied Biology at the University of Bristol where his main interests lay in sustainability and ecology – interests that he has carried into his housing work and that he believes are essential aspects of housing, alongside wellbeing and community.  After graduating Stephen was elected ‘Student Living Officer’ for Bristol Students’ Union, where he represented the student body on housing and community issues to the university and externally.  Here, he initiated the set-up of a number of mixed use, affordable housing projects which he continues to be involved with.  He is passionate about using housing to tackle inequality and homelessness by creating genuinely fair and affordable places for people to live.  Within housing, his interests include cooperative models of housing, giving people power over their own communities and unlocking the potential of communities with investment.  In this role Stephen’s time is split between BBRC and the Bristol Housing Festival.

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Ryan Munn
Business Development Manager

“Good business is good business. Entrepreneurs that can create social and environmental value that benefits the community will be the business leaders of tomorrow.”

Ryan is committed to people-centred business. With 20 years’ experience in developing purpose-driven relationships, Ryan helps social entrepreneurs in the West of England find the finance they need to grow and succeed. Having worked for multi-billion pound ethical banks in Canada and Europe, Ryan knows that finance can be a powerful tool that benefits people and communities, and creating the conditions for a healthy local economy.

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Seanique Reuben
Operations Executive

“I believe that when we build houses, we must also build communities.”

As a recent graduate, Seanique has dedicated the last three years to analysing data surrounding homelessness, housing and personal finance. More recently, she has spent her time volunteering with St Mungo’s and working in communications. Since moving to BBRC, she has taken the lead on communications, with the aim to bring together ethical-minded investors with community-led projects.

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Nick Houghton-Brown
Head of Project Development

“I am keen to raise finance for great social value projects, making the Bristol and Bath region the best place to work and live in the UK.”

Nick is a qualified chartered accountant (ICAEW), with a successful career in management consultancy and other service industries. His consulting experience includes several years as a partner at E&Y before setting up his own consulting business, focusing on advising the UK banking sector. He has experience of setting up and raising finance for two start-up service companies, as well as advising clients on business disposal programmes. He has also worked in interim Finance and Sales Director roles. Nick’s skills include business strategy, sales strategy, operational improvement, cost efficiency and business/IT change, as well as working with the credit functions of Tier 1 and Tier 2 banks.

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Ruth Foreman
Head of Finance & Governance

“One of the key dynamics in improving the well-being of all who live in our community is the building of sustainable social enterprises and community infrastructure; BBRC is fundamental to delivering this and I am delighted to be involved through its evolution.”

Until recently, Ruth was an Advisory Partner at Baker Tilly. She now continues to use her skills working with SMEs to support the owners and directors in achieving their aspirations over both the short and long term. This role requires sufficient knowledge of taxation and accounting to ensure that any implications arising from the planning work are anticipated and addressed. Ruth was also a member of Baker Tilly’s Social Impact Services team, who work with a variety of social enterprises across all sectors: health, education, leisure, property, justice and youth – assessing, monitoring and reporting on the social value being delivered from their activities.

Other current roles include Member of Council, Chair of Audit Committee and Member of School of Management Advisory Board for Bath University, Trustee of the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and voluntary work for Children’s Hospice South West.

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Simon Cooper
Head of Communications

“BBRC is a key new component in the structures which bring investment to the communities that need it.”

Managing Director at Quidem Productions and a partner at research and consulting firm Change Agency, Simon combines working with sustainability initiatives with independent film and radio production. Quidem has broadcast four commissions on BBC Radio 2, most recently on mental health. Quidem also co-produces stage-to-cinema-screen transfers, including Maxine Peake’s Hamlet from the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester, and The Railway Children from the National Railway Museum in York.

Simon spent 25 years as a broadcaster and senior radio executive, including periods as HR Director and Communications Director at Classic FM and GWR Group, now Global Radio.

For nine years he was chair of the Encounters Film Festival in Bristol. He now sits on the board of We the Curious, the hands-on science centre; is a board member of Bristol Chamber of Commerce and Initiative; and a Trustee of MusicSpace, the music therapy charity. Simon was a founder of The Hub, a social enterprise workspace in Bristol. He also serves as a Governor at Oldfield Park Junior School in Bath and at Venturers’ Academy in Bristol.

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Ted Fowler
Vice-Chair for Strategy & Innovation Committee

“We provide the unique facility of engaging local people, businesses and institutions, as productive investors, to achieve the long-term changes needed for our city region.”

Ted Fowler is a place-based practitioner in social and civic enterprise, playing a significant role in setting up Bristol & Bath Regional Capital, and continuing to support its strategic development in the regional, national commercial and civic contexts. He developed and led Bristol City Council’s social and small business development programmes: developing partnerships to improve the range, depth and quality of performance. Ted has also played a leading role in developing the Bristol Regeneration Partnership, VOSCUR, Bristol Community Transport and various economic, community development and education initiatives: all of which aim to maximise productive local engagement in making our city a better place to live and work.

Ted has made substantial professional contributions to national and EU policy and best practice on business support and investment, economic inclusion, procurement, social value, incubation and asset transfer. He is Chair of the Regional Fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts and an Academician of the Academy of Urbanism.

Supervisory Board Directors

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Dr Richard Pendlebury MBE DL
Chair, Independent Director

“My motivation for being involved in BBRC is to make a difference to people who are most disadvantaged in our region, particularly those who are struggling with housing issues and unemployment.”

Richard has been involved in the charitable / social enterprise sector at trustee and senior management level for over 25 years. As a social entrepreneur he has been instrumental in the creation and establishment of a number of charities and social enterprises that make a difference to people who find themselves marginalised and disadvantaged. Richard is Chief Executive of The Anchor Society, Chair of Voscur and patron of a number of charities in the Bristol area. In 2010, Richard was appointed Deputy Lieutenant of the County and City of Bristol.

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Tim Ross
Vice-Chair, Director on behalf of The Society of Merchant Venturers

“I firmly believe that applying business skills to social needs is an efficient and cost-effective means of achieving positive outcomes.”

Tim Ross qualified as a solicitor working in the City of London and as a company legal adviser before attending London Business School and moving into general management. He has considerable experience of the construction, building materials, mining and related sectors. Previously a Main Board Director of George Wimpey and other public companies, he recently retired as Chairman of Hargreaves Services plc but remains involved with a number of private and venture capital-backed companies. He is a past Governor of Bristol University, President of the Dolphin Society and Trustee of Quartet Community Foundation and he was Chairman of Council at Clifton College until 2014. Tim is a Past Master (2015-2016) of the Society of Merchant Venturers.

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Rob Brown
Independent Director

“My focus is on supporting social enterprises, public sector mutuals and overseas development projects.”

Rob’s experience is in the leadership and delivery of public service reform, with a career that spans social enterprise and local government as well as latterly 13 years as a senior partner in the Government practice of PA Consulting Group. Rob has taken early retirement from PA to develop a portfolio of interests around innovative approaches to creating better public outcomes, and has helped to develop the BBRC model of local resilience and cooperation from the outset.

Other projects Rob is pursuing include part-time doctoral research into the nature of trust between the citizen and state, and working as a Director of the Near East Foundation (UK), a long established charity which specialises in empowering the vulnerable through practical economic development projects. Rob also continues to work as a part-time independent consultant (and associate of PA).

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Kalpna Woolf
Independent Director

“My mission and objectives align with BBRC, and my energy and involvement with BBRC can catalyse a real and long-term shift in our city bringing greater equality through commercial and financial investment.”

Kalpna is a business leader with senior board experience, as well as running her own media business, operating a social enterprise with a track-record of driving real change in the heart of communities. She is a major influencer for change in our city, both at board level and at grassroots level.

Following an award-winning career in the BBC, leaving as Head of Production overseeing a £100m global business including the BBC’s jewel-in the-crown, the Natural History Unit, she works extensively with the creative sector and is currently Head of Production at HungryGap TV Productions. Alongside this, she is CEO of BeOnBoard – supporting businesses to deliver diversity on their boards and governance structures.

She has held positions on business and charity boards including Chair of Trustees for Frank Water, trustee for Knowle West Media Centre and business advisor and Chair of the Skills Group to the West of England LEP Board. She is a Visiting Professor for the University of the West Of England – Faculty of Business and Law.

In 2015, she founded 91 Ways to Build A Global City – an initiative which reaches out to all the 91 language communities in Bristol to bring greater understanding, break down barriers and build a more cohesive city. Three years on, they have connected over 10,000 people, run 102 events and won four national awards (including BBC’s Food and Farming award, Guild of Food Writers and MTM Woman of the Year award).

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Professor Martin Boddy
Director on behalf of The University of the West of England & Head of Strategy & Innovation Committee

“I am an active member of the West of England initiative, and place focus on economic, social and environmental issues in the region.”

Martin graduated from Cambridge with a first class degree and a PhD in economic geography. He worked for many years at the University of Bristol, with shorter periods of time in Australia and Canada, before joining UWE, Bristol in 2002. At UWE, previous roles have included Executive Dean of the Faculty of Environment and Technology and prior to that, Dean of the Faculty of the Built Environment – in both, he also led on Research and Consultancy. Martin is an economic advisor to the South West Regional Development Agency, Chair of the South West Observatory. He has a national and international reputation for his research and extensive published work on regional economics, skills and labour markets and regional development – which has included a focus on Bristol and the South West.

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James Durie
Director on behalf of Business West

“My role is to raise the profile of the Chamber and Initiative, retain and recruit new members and through a range of business support and services offered by the Chamber, help local businesses to prosper and grow.”

James is the Director of Chamber of Commerce and Initiative activity at Business West. As one of the most influential business leadership organisations in the UK, Business West is the leading provider of business and export solutions in the South West of England. Targeted to launch and grow successful world-class businesses, it provides advice and support in starting a business, growing a business, developing skills and in trading internationally; representing, connecting and working with around 18,000 diverse businesses across the region.

Mick Axtell

Mick Axtell
Director on behalf of The University of Bristol

“Always be involved in programmes that aim to improve the local economy and environment.”

In May 2018, Mick joined The University of Bristol as Corporate Finance Director, an executive role that includes management of parts of the University’s ambitious new campus development at Temple Quarter. Mick joined the University from Bristol Water plc where he was Chief Financial Officer, a Board member from January 2014 and also acted as interim Chief Executive Officer in early 2017. Prior to joining Bristol Water, he held a number of senior finance roles at RWE, one of Europe’s leading electricity and gas companies.

Counciller Craig Cheney

Counciller Craig Cheney
Director on behalf of Bristol City Council

“My background is in the financial sector and I have enjoyed being a councillor since 2015.”

Craig is the Deputy Mayor of Bristol, councillor for Hillfields and is a member of the Mayor’s cabinet with executive responsibility for Finance, Governance and Performance at Bristol City Council. He has responsibility for Bristol’s property assets, current project deliveries totalling over £100m, a capital program of over £900m and sits as the shareholder of Bristol City Council’s companies.

Craig is a director of the Bristol Museums Development Trust, a trustee of Hillfields Community Trust, a trustee of Barton Fields Trust and a founder of Hillfields Community Network.

Counciller Craig Cheney

Gary Sangster
Director on behalf of Bath Spa University

“The Bath and Bristol nexus is the capital of the South West and should serve as a model for regional development through strategic investments in services, infrastructure, health, education, the environment, and culture to build economic opportunities and make this region an exciting, ambitious place to be part of the community”.

Gary was originally trained in art history and philosopher, and has worked in Australia, New Zealand, the USA, and now the UK.  His career commenced in teaching and academia, and evolved toward the public sector as a curator of contemporary art and as the executive director of leading contemporary art institutions in Sydney, Baltimore, Cleveland, and San Francisco. He also trained and worked as a business and management consultant in North America, before returning to academia in Boston and again in Sydney. His career has been characterized by a commitment to melding cultural and social experience to create new knowledge and understanding, and to make it accessible and relevant for a wide range of the public. He has curated ground-breaking indigenous exhibitions in Australia, the first multicultural, multi-museum, national survey exhibition in New York City, and community-embedded exhibitions while director of the experimental, nomadic Contemporary Museum in Baltimore. He was also invited to curate official US exhibitions for the Istanbul and Cairo Biennales, the latter awarded the Grand Prize for Best Pavilion.

Most recently he served as the Interim Director of Arts Catalyst – Centre for Art, Science and Technology in London, a project-driven institution that organizes collaborations amongst artists and scientists, and he currently serves as the Enterprise Officer at Bath Spa University.  He is a Trustee of Arnolfini, Bristol, and Consulting Director of Drawing Projects UK, in Wiltshire.
Counciller Craig Cheney

Geoff Gollop OBE
Independent Director

Geoff Gollop, deputy Mayor of Bristol 2012-2016, was inspired to enter local politics by the issue of secondary education and by his father, a former Councillor for the Henbury ward. Following this, Geoff became a Chartered Accountant working in various accounting firms, and then went on to set up his own business ‘Geoff Gollop & Co’.  This later merged with accounting firm Milsted Langdon in 2013, and Geoff went on to join as a director.