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Our Trustees

Citizens Advice East End trustees are responsible for the organisation’s governance. They ensure the charity is carrying out its work. They guide strategy, support the Senior Management Team and ensure the objectives of Citizens Advice East End are realised. All Citizens Advice East End trustees are volunteers.

Head and shoulders portrait of Muddassar Ahmed.

Muddassar Ahmed, Chair

Muddassar Ahmed became chair of the Trustee Board in December 2023. He is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and former Independent Advisor to the UK government on Muslim communities.  He founded and is the president of The Concordia Forum, a global network of cross-sector Muslim leaders, dedicated to building bridges between communities and across cultures. He leads Unitas Communications, a reputation management consultancy specialising in the communications interface between the Islamic and Western worlds. More recently, Muddassar founded ImamConnect, the world’s first online platform and marketplace for Muslim services. 

Muddassar has been listed as amongst the 500 most influential Muslims globally and amongst the 1000 most influential Londoners. 

Jennifer Chung, Vice-chair

Jennifer comes from a technology and consulting background, working in executive roles in Silicon Valley start-/scale-ups and at large enterprise companies. She has an affinity and passion for the mission of Citizens Advice East End. Her strategy consulting expertise is brought to bear in her engagement across various sub-committees.

A head and shoulders portrait of Jennifer Chung
Head and shoulders photograph of Matthew Downer

Matthew Downer, Vice-chair

Matthew brings more than a decade of experience in research, policy and evaluation to Citizens Advice East End. His current work focuses on digital connectivity in global humanitarian crises, and he has previously worked on UK issues such as welfare, housing, pensions and loneliness. Matthew supports the organisation’s research, engagement and fundraising work. He is also a trustee of another charity, Clowns Without Borders UK. 

Paul Everitt

Paul lives in Hackney and his family has its roots in Bethnal Green. He is currently chair of the Aerospace Technology Institute and has spent most of career in the aerospace and automotive industries. 

A head and shoulder picture of Paul Everitt
Head and shoulders portrait of Lucy Freeman Parker

Lucy Freeman Parker 

Lucy is a strategy and growth consultant, working to support human rights and social justice organisations. Prior to that, she was the CEO of Media Defence, an international grant making and litigating charity that defended press freedom around the world. She also worked for many years at Amnesty International, undertaking and managing research and campaigning on human rights issues globally, including as the Director of Gender, Sexuality and Identity. 

Denise Halton 

Denise worked in Human Resources and Training for over 35 years, mainly in the not-for-profit, charities, education and universities sectors. She is now retired from paid work and ‘gives back’ to her local community by volunteering at various charities.

A head and shoulders portrait of Denise Halton
A head and shoulders portrait of Steph Kleynhans

Steph Kleynhans 

Currently, Steph works in Policy and Campaigns for The Brain Tumour Charity – a charity that helps people going through a brain tumour diagnosis themselves, or their family and friends. Before that, she worked at the housing charity Shelter in the policy team, so has a good background in homelessness, housing and welfare benefits. 

James Peters

James is a lawyer and a civil servant, working for Ofgem (Great Britain’s energy regulator).  He grew up on the South Coast (in Bognor Regis, to be exact), but has lived in Hackney since 2012 and was a local councillor, elected to represent the ward of De Beauvoir, from 2014 until 2022. 

A head and shoulders portrait of James Peters
A head and shoulders portrait of David Ross

David Ross JP

Long term resident of Tower Hamlets, retired solicitor and East London magistrate.  David was Chair of the Trustee Board of Citizens Advice East End for 6 years to December 2023, and has been a trustee for 13.  In a previous life he was a volunteer legal advisor at Terrence Higgins Trust and partner in firm of solicitors specialising is trade union cases.

Nick Smith 

Nick has been a trustee at Citizens Advice East End since March 2023. He grew up in South London but has lived in Hackney for the past few years. Outside of East End CAB Nick works for the Clean Air Fund, an international charity focused on reducing air pollution. Nick also volunteers as an Economics tutor with The Access Project. 

A head and shoulders portrait of Nick Smith
A head and shoulders portrait of Sharmin Takin

Sharmin Takin

Sharmin is the Head of Legal at the UK Debt Management Office at HM Treasury. She previously worked at law firms and multinational companies and has first-hand experience as a volunteer adviser at law centres in London and New York. She has served as a trustee since 2016. 

Zoë Wilkins 

Zoë first got to know the East End through her work in community engagement, social action, and policy research. Currently, she works at People Powered to build capacity between civil society and government to design plans for climate action. Previously, Zoë was a senior researcher at the Centre for Deliberation at the National Centre for Social Research. 

Head and shoulders portrait of Zoë Wilkins
A silhouette of a woman with medium-long hair

Penny Wrout

Penny is a Labour councillor who was elected to represent Victoria Ward in Hackney in a by-election in 2018.