Our board of trustees is vital to the success of Gingerbread. Our trustees are experts from a range of fields who give up their time freely to help us successfully support single parents. Many also have experience of being a single parent or growing up in a single parent family.

The board is responsible for helping us set our long-term strategy and ensuring that Gingerbread’s operations and governance comply with our charitable aims and regulatory requirements.

Simon Bentley

Chair

Simon is an exceptional operator and Chairman with an inspirational career to date and a proven track record of delivering success in demanding environments.

A dynamic and flexible leader who places his team at the heart of his approach, his current and past positions as Chairman, Chief Executive and Independent Non-Executive Director include Blacks Leisure Group Plc, Frasers plc (formerly Sports Direct International plc), Premier Foods Plc and Umberto Giannini.

Alongside his commercial activities, he has been consistently involved with charitable and educational organisations, including The Leadership Trust, Kisharon, Yad Vashem UK Foundation, Saving Faces and many others.

Simon feels privileged to join as Chairman of Gingerbread, the organisation representing and supporting single parents in England and Wales, and to have the opportunity to share his relevant knowledge and experience.

Evangelos Raptis

Treasurer

I am a finance professional with over 25 years' experience in the private sector. I have worked as an investment banker in the City of London, a venture capitalist in California and a Finance Director in various technology companies across Europe.

I am passionate about all things around parenting and parenthood. I am the proud father of an adopted son and I work as a family counsellor, registered with UKCP and the CNHC, supporting parents in my private practice and various not-for-profit settings.

Dr Jo Casebourne

Trustee

I was brought up in a single parent family in the 1980s and 1990s, which led me to do my PhD on the impact of welfare reform in the US and the UK on work and poverty for lone-parent families. I have subsequently spent the last 20 years conducting research on public services, social innovation, disadvantaged groups in the labour market, welfare-to-work, employment and skills, work-life balance and childcare. I became Chief Executive of the Early Intervention Foundation in August 2017.

The biggest challenge facing single parents over the last 18 months has been the impact of Covid - from juggling work and home-schooling, to making ends meet for those who lost their jobs or couldn't find work, whilst also supporting their children finding time to look after their own mental health. The work of Gingerbread is more important than ever and I am pleased to be a part of helping Gingerbread support lone parents.

I enjoy walking with my dog and am currently nearing completion of the 630 mile South West Coastal Path - being up on the cliffs is a great way to get perspective and to relax. I also love reading and I blog on the books I enjoy.

Jake Dyer

Trustee

I have extensive business, integrated marketing and digital experience across the B2B and B2C spectrum in various commercial and strategy leadership roles. This spans large networks such as Omnicom and LBi, the micro B2B network gyro and MD of independent boutique service design consultancy, WEA.

I am also a guest marketing lecturer, business and personal development mentor for various universities, charities and bodies including the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

Lynette Eastman

Trustee

I am a board level transformation advisor and coach with experience gained across a range of sectors including financial services, technology, telecoms, energy, professional services, public sector, and healthcare. I have specific expertise in leading culture and business transformational change as a result of turnaround, organisational change and M&A.

My commitment to single parent families has in part been influenced by the experiences of my own family. My dad was fostered at six weeks old until adulthood with a loving single parent family, giving him the opportunity to live a secure, happy, and fulfilled life which he treasured and engendered in his own family.

I have worked globally across a wide range of corporates; my most recent executive HR Director role was as Director HR Transformation and Operations with HMRC. In my consulting practice, I am recognised for delivering commercial interventions that support business leaders translate their plans into customer orientated solutions.

Lynette is on the boards of the University of Nottingham, where she chairs the Remuneration Committee, and the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology where she chairs the Remuneration and Appointments Committee. She is also a trustee of Humanity and Inclusion UK, an international charity that works alongside disabled and vulnerable people to help meet their basic needs, improve their living conditions, and promote respect for their dignity and fundamental rights.

Diane Gault

Trustee

I have worked in the charitable sector for more years than I cares to admit to. A fundraiser by background, over the last 17 years I have held senior leadership roles working across fundraising, membership, digital, external communications, marketing and campaigns.

I have a passion for supporting children and young people to overcome obstacles and challenges in their lives and to fulfil their potential. I'm also focuses on social justice and making the world a better place.

I hold a BA (Joint Honours) in History and Sociology from Goldsmiths College, University of London. I have a strong understanding of the issues facing single parent families as both my mum and sister were single parents.

Henry Gregg

Trustee

As someone who grew up in a single parent family, I am aware of the day-to-day challenges they face, for example financial stability or finding safe, secure housing, and I really want to help Gingerbread get support for the people who need it the most - especially post-pandemic when the pressures on single parent families have become immense.

There is still stigma around single parent families but hopefully, the highlighting of inequalities during the pandemic has increased understanding of these challenges and the public desire for action to address and help to solve these issues.

I went to comprehensive school and Oxford University before a career working in politics and housing. I recently started a new role as Assistant Director of Comms at the Health Foundation, a charity which lobbies government and funds programmes for better health and health care.

I have a long standing tradition of inventing stories for my children, aged five and seven, before they go to bed which has forced me to be very creative and imaginative as I have to come up with a new one every night - but is reflective of the fact that I really liked being read to as a child and I'm looking forward to reading them some great books in the future!

Mariam Kemple Hardy

Trustee

I've joined Gingerbread as a trustee to support the organisation in its mission to support single parents and their families to thrive because, as a feminist and a parent, I know this critical to achieving a more equal society. Furthermore, there has never been a more important time to support single parents after the impact of Covid-19 laid bare the stark inequalities suffered by those households, particularly the financial instability experienced by so many single parents.

I have almost 15 years' experience working as a charity campaigner and since 2016 I have been Head of Campaigns at Refugee Action. I studied English Literature at Cambridge University followed by Human Rights Law at the School for Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). I've previously been a Trustee for the Woman's Trust.

I have two boys, a five-year-old and two-year-old, who keep me very busy. We enjoy splashing in muddy puddles, warming up by baking brownies and then eating them while watching Disney as part of our "Family Film Club". If I do find any time outside of that, you'll find me in a yoga position, at a climate protest or chatting with friends.

Tom Madders

Trustee

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