Our leadership team is responsible for setting Gingerbread’s strategic direction and making sure we do the best work possible to support single parent families.

Senior Management Team

Victoria Benson

Chief Executive Officer

Victoria joined Gingerbread in February 2019, having served on the Board for four years before that. As a single mum to six children and the daughter of a single parent, Victoria is passionate about supporting single parent families and driving forward our ambitious strategy.

Prior to working at Gingerbread, Victoria was Director of Governance at Macmillan Cancer Support for 12 years and practised as a solicitor before that. Victoria has a PG Dip in Voluntary Sector Management from Cass Business School.

Email: victoria.benson(@)gingerbread.org.uk

Jo Hardy

Head of Services

Jo is responsible for Gingerbread’s advice services, including the helpline and peer support activities, covering our network of single parent friendship groups across England and Wales. She is also the charity's safeguarding lead.

Jo has spent almost three decades working in the charity sector, in organisations providing a range of information, advice and family support services, including Contact, Mencap and YoungMinds. She also spent five years on the London region grant-making committee at BBC Children in Need.

As a single parent with two grown-up sons, and having been raised in a single parent household, Jo is passionate about supporting single parent families, in particular challenging disadvantage, empowering parents and carers to thrive and getting the best outcomes for children, and innovation in the charity sector.

Email: jo.hardy(@)gingerbread.org.uk

Doug Ridley

Head of Finance and Resources

Joining the Gingerbread team in June 2020, Doug has oversight of Finance, IT, Facilities Management – all the vital back office work that supports the organisation in being the best it can be.

Prior to Gingerbread, Doug spent three years as Finance Director of a property services company in Mayfair, 10 years as Regional Corporate Services Manager for the Australian Government and eight years at the London Borough of Lewisham.

A 'Ginger Kid', Doug’s relationship with Gingerbread dates back to the mid 1970s when his local group provided a vital support network to him, his mum and baby sister. He is delighted to have found a practical way of saying thank you.

Email: doug.ridley(@)gingerbread.org.uk

Steve Hawe

Head of Fundraising

Steve joined Gingerbread in August 2020 and leads on raising the funds we need to support our work.

Before joining Gingerbread, he led fundraising and communications teams at the children’s literacy charity Coram Beanstalk and the disability charity the Disabled Living Foundation. He started his career as a fundraiser at the Big Issue Foundation, after moving into the voluntary sector following thirteen years working in marketing and communications in the online information/academic publishing sector.

He is a member of the Institute of Fundraising and CharityComms.

Email: steve.hawe(@)gingerbread.org.uk

Ceri Smith

Head of Policy and Campaigns

Ceri joined Gingerbread in January 2021 and leads the charity’s policy, campaigning and research activities. Her team also oversees evaluation and supports the charity with strategy and measuring our impact.

Before joining Gingerbread, Ceri has more than a decade’s experience working in charity campaigns and advocacy, predominantly for age and disability equality with charities including Scope, Age UK and Macmillan Cancer Support.

Email: ceri.smith(@)gingerbread.org.uk

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