We wouldn’t be who we are, or achieve the wonderful things we do, without the invaluable work of our dedicated staff, volunteers, patrons and trustees. Here are the people who make The Feast what it is.
Canon Dr Andrew Smith Chair and Founder
Andrew is the Director of Interfaith Relations for the Bishop of Birmingham. He previously worked for Scripture Union, and it is here where he developed the work that led to the founding of The Feast. He believes passionately that young people have an important role to play in building relationships between people of different faiths, and that whenever people of different faiths come together it should include laughter, good food and possibly a canal boat.
Sue Proctor Vice Chair
Martin Bull Treasurer
Rev John Self
John is Vicar of St John’s Church in Sparkhill. He is also the Chair of Trustees of Narthex, a Sparkhill-based community project which works to meet the culturally diverse needs of the local community, providing quality and welcoming facilities for education, social action, families, and children’s and young people’s work.
Local Leadership Groups
The Feast’s Head Office is in Birmingham, where our Trustees are based, but we also work in Bradford and Keighley, Tower Hamlets and Luton. These locations are managed by Local Leadership Groups (LLGs). LLGs are groups of local Christian volunteers who are committed to developing the work of The Feast in their region, and to promoting cohesion between young people of different faiths and cultures in their communities. They work with and under the guidance and authority of our Trustees. We are really grateful for their support. If you would like more information on the Local Leadership Group in your area, please contact The Feast’s Office in Sparkhill. If you are interested in exploring the idea of establishing The Feast’s work in your community, please contact us too.
Carolyn Merry CEO
Following in the footsteps of Tim Fawssett, I am also from Australia (Melbourne), although born in London. My Christian faith has led me to living and working with people of many different cultures and faiths around the world over the last 20 years, through the humanitarian, international development and peace building sectors, often in places of violent conflict, extreme poverty, repressive discrimination and exclusion of those most vulnerable. It is a privilege, having witnessed so much suffering, to now come and lead The Feast in this new phase for the organisation. I believe the work of The Feast is absolutely vital and a much-needed expression for young people of all faiths in how to truly love their neighbour in our world at this time.
Nahim Khan Associate, Birmingham
Hi I’m Nahim and I joined The Feast in January 2012 as their first Muslim employee, and have enjoyed being a part of a very interesting and unusual charity. I have done a lot of youth work in the past with Birmingham City Council and various projects, and so it is good to use my experience with young people, combined with my faith, to help them get on better. The Feast is like a diverse and crazy family, and we hope lots more people can join in and see how much fun we have. I’m no longer on staff but am still very involved as an Associate.
Dumaeza Nhlapo Youth Worker, Tower Hamlets
I’m a South African who was born and raised in Soweto. I first came to England in 2003 to do a Youth Work diploma in North Devon. While there, I met an amazing lady named Janet-Marie, who is now my wife. We moved to London in 2008. I love being a husband and father more than anything; and I think a meal doesn’t count as a real meal unless it contains meat (fish doesn’t count). I started working for The Feast, Tower Hamlets in February 2014, and work 3 days a week. I’m excited to see the impact that our work will have in Tower Hamlets, as we help young people of different faiths grapple with their own faith, and show them how they can better love their neighbours (of different faiths, nationalities and ethnicities).
Jill Appleton Development Worker, Birmingham & Schools Consultant
Hi, I'm Jill and I joined the team in January 2016. I've spent the last thirty years teaching in secondary schools but now I'm loving my new role leading the Birmingham staff and volunteer team, and supporting our work in schools nationally. It's great to be part of a wonderful organisation. When I'm not at work, I'm usually found eating chocolate - a habit I seem to share with other members of The Feast team!
Sandra Langston Administrator, National Office
I joined The Feast in July 2016 to continue my career in admin and following my training to be a Reader in the Church of England Birmingham. Born and raised in Birmingham I worship at Immanuel, Highters Heath, and serve there as a Reader and a Guider with Girlguiding UK. This is a fabulous opportunity to provide support to The Feast team through my skills and experience in work and faith.
Mica Elliott Youth Worker, Birmingham
Over the last eight years God has given me a growing compassion for young people, especially as I looked at issues in the media shaping the mindset of youth today, and so I've wondered how I could make a difference. Since leaving university I have been looking for a position with a purpose. The Feast has given me a platform where I can invest in and equip the next generation by sowing seeds of faith into the lives of young people on a daily basis. I commenced in September 2016 and will be focusing on the Lozells and Aston area of Birmingham.
As a small charity we are hugely reliant on our volunteers. In June 2014 we were awarded the Queens Award for Volunteer Service which is the highest award that a volunteer group in the UK can receive, recognising the outstanding work that our volunteers do to support and impact their communities. In the past year we have enjoyed well over 500 hours of volunteer work, and here are some of the ways they have contributed to our success.
- Youth Events
- IT Support
- Photography and Promotion
- Office support
If The Feast is something you would like to support by donating your skills, energy and time to, then we would love to hear from you. As a small team there is much we would like to do but are unable to without volunteers like you. You can contact us here.
The Feast is very pleased to announce the support of its Patrons. Our Patrons are of remarkable standing in their faith communities, as well as in the field of building better relations between people of different faiths.
Professor Mona Siddiqui OBE University of Edinburgh
A British Muslim academic, Prof Siddiqui is Professor of Islamic and Inter-religious Studies at the University of Edinburgh, and was previously at the University of Glasgow where she was also the Director of its Centre for the Study of Islam. Prof Siddiqui is also a regular contributor to ‘Thought for the Day’ and ‘Sunday’ on BBC Radio 4, and several national newspapers. Siddiqui was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2011 Birthday Honours for services to inter-faith relations. Mona Siddiqui has served as a Patron of The Feast since 2010.
The Rt. Rev'd David Urquhart Bishop of Birmingham
The Feast was founded in Birmingham 6 years ago, and as one of the UK’s most culturally diverse cities, Bishop David is acutely aware of the need for young people and our future leaders to engage in healthy discussion and dialogue across all groups, be it on the basis of religion, culture or nationality. As a Bishop in the Church of England, in the largest UK city outside London, he is actively involved with education, industry and commerce. Chair of the Birmingham Social Inclusion Process and the University of Birmingham’s Wealth Distribution Commission, he is passionate about social and economic justice. David promotes inter-faith ‘presence and engagement’ in one of the UK’s most ethnically diverse regions, and is an enthusiastic practitioner of ecumenical Christian mission. Bishop David has served as a Patron of The Feast since 2014.
Shakyh Ibrahim Mogra Imam, Scholar and Community Activist
Ibrahim is passionate about young people across all religious, cultural and racial groups, being able to engage in healthy dialogue and discussions. Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra was born in Malawi into a family of Indian origin and emigrated to the UK at the age of 18 to study and settle. Ibrahim is a local community activist in Leicester and Assistant Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, and has been at the forefront in deepening interfaith relations in the Midlands, across the UK and around the world. Ibrahim continues to serve as a specialist adviser on Muslim affairs to the print and broadcast media. Ibrahim has served as a Patron of The Feast since 2014.
Previous Patrons include the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, who served as patron from 2010 until he retired from his role as Archbishop in December 2012.