Pete Bradbury

Building Heroes – Chairman of Trustees

Pete is the District Councillor for Cuckfield and County Councillor for Cuckfield and Lucastes having first been elected in 2007. Pete is current Chairman of Standards at Mid Sussex District Council, Vice-Chairman of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the former Chairman of Ansty & Staplefield Parish Council and also Staplefield Cricket Club. Originally from Lancashire, Pete has lived in Sussex since 1977. He previously lead a successful business career having worked for several major corporations including Toshiba, GE and Ericsson. His father served in REME during the second world war, where he was part of the North Africa campaign.

The Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Soames MP

Building Heroes President

Sir Arthur Nicholas Winston Soames, sometimes known as Nick Soames, is a British Conservative Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament for Mid Sussex since 1997. He is a grandson of Winston Churchill.

Andrew Foster

Building Heroes Trustee

Joining the Army in 1974 -as a recruit at the then Guards Depot at Pirbright, Surrey. Having completed Officer Training at The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst – I was commissioned in the Scots Guards -in March 1976 and spent the first year as a platoon commander – with the 1st Battalion in London – on mainly Ceremonial Duties and a short Emergency Tour to West Belfast – to cover the Jubilee visit of the Queen in 1977.

My final appointment – as a serving officer – was as Head of the MOD’s Foreign Liaison Staff in London – charged with a small team for assisting the 250 or more Foreign Service Attaches accredited to the UK.

After retirement- I was appointed the Regimental Adjutant of the Scots Guards – a civil service role – essentially acting as the Chief Executive for the Regiment – based at our Regimental Headquarters in Wellington Barracks, London – responsible for the overall recruiting and the day to day running of the Regiment, delivery of all Regimental led events, and Fund raising for the Scots Guards Charitable Fund reporting to the Colonel of the Regiment – HRH the Duke of Kent – through the Regimental Lieutenant Colonel a serving Brigadier. I fully retired in October 2015.

Debbie Porter

Building Heroes Trustee

Debbie Porter was a troop leader at Bristol Officer Training Corps whilst at University and from there joined the Army as a Movement Control Officer in the Royal Corps of Transport. During her Army career she served in UK, Germany, Falklands and Cyprus. Since leaving she has worked with Nissan and then PricewaterhouseCoopers for 22 years. This year she decided to take early retirement.

Brendan Williams

Chief Executive

After 25 years working at leading Global Investment Banks working in Operations and Technology and ending up as a Chief Operating Officer it was time to give something else a go. Born into a long line of specialist master bricklayers the opportunity to help start Building Heroes was too difficult to pass up. Being Chief Executive draws on all my cross disciplinary experience and brings more rewards than banking ever could. You only have to be told once that you have changed a life for the better to know all the hard work is worthwhile.

Karen Jefford

Chief Operations Officer

Karen is a registered career development practitioner offering a unique combination of experience acquired in her early career in events, media & marketing, before transitioning into education.
For 12 years Karen has worked in education managing the operations of a range of contracts as well as a volunteer secretary for a fundraising team. Alongside her job she studied and achieved her degree in Careers Education, Information, Advice & Guidance and went on to provide mentoring support, further education and apprenticeship placements as well developing employer partnerships.

Anna Williams

Office Administrator

Anna Williams is a former local government officer who worked in the Social Services department of Westminster City Council. After bringing up her family Anna has returned to the workplace to help support the good work of Building Heroes.

Glynis Argue

Recruitment, Welfare and Progression Officer

Prior to working for Building Heroes, I worked at Essex County Council for 27 years.
I began my time as a Divisional Administrator where I assisted with the management of the County’s first Essex Enterprise Centre. During my last seven years with Essex County Council I project managed and developed various Apprenticeship programmes. While working for Essex County Council I was an active partner in a Construction company which has given me transferable skills to work with Building Heroes.

Darren Welsh

Darren grew up in a small pit village in County Durham in the Northeast of England. He joined the Royal Air Force as a Regiment Gunner in 1990 where he had various roles and operational tours over a 23 year exemplary career, reaching the rank of Flight Sergeant.

Since leaving the Royal Air Force he has been working in further education with Learning Curve Group where he has been a Tutor & Academies Manager (Pre-Uniform Services), Regional Academies Manager (Construction), Business Development Manager in the area of Armed Forces, Service leavers/Veterans, Prisons and Probation and a National Employability Delivery Manager. Darren also held the role as Deputy Safeguarding Lead & Designated Safeguarding Officer and Mental Health First Aider.

He is passionate about “giving back”, ensuring those who served along with the wider Armed Forces family can up-skill and have access to sustainable employment opportunities.

Phil Ascott

Recruitment, Welfare and Progression Officer

Phil is an education postgraduate with experience in supporting learning for those from disadvantaged and challenging backgrounds. Having spent his early career working in publishing, with experience of editing national magazines, Phil studied counselling before moving in to the education sector. Alongside his experience teaching both children and adults, he has worked in Adult Community Learning to build relationships with key local partners, to promote courses and to progress learners through the education system.

Finlay Burchett

Business Administration Apprentice

Before joining Building Heroes, Finlay worked as a Catering Assistant for Christs’ Hospital School. He has a quiet, thoughtful personality and focuses on making sure that any task he is put to work on is completed quickly but to a high standard. The time he spent as a catering assistant also furthered his skills in verbal communication and teamworking in order to ensure that the tasks he was given were completed quickly and effectively. Currently he is working as a Business Administration Assistant to improve his office skills and assist the charity in maintaining their standards of service delivery.

Simone Halliwell

Employer Engagement Officer

Simone is an articulate professional lady, with a confident outgoing personality.
Originally from a sales background, Simone worked for Jaeger in London as Public Relations Supervisor.
Qualified as a Natural Health practitioner and counsellor since 1997 Simone has managed a successful clinic for many years. She has also worked within schools in Sussex, as Mentor, Counsellor and in Pastoral care.
Simone has worked extensively with the homeless and vulnerable adults, whilst working for a charity in Brighton, and also held the position of Housing Officer for a Community Interest Company there.
Simone is a Military Mum with her son is serving in the Armed forces and she herself comes from a Military background.

Maria Mitchell

Recruitment, Welfare and Progression Officer

Before starting with Building Heroes Maria began her career working as a Mental Health Support Worker in a hospital. This allowed her to build some practical experience from her degree in Psychology, which also provides her with transferable skills for her current role as a Recruitment, Welfare and Progression Officer with Building Heroes. She then went on to work for the Home Office as an Immigration Officer, which allowed her to develop new skills, especially helping her to grow in confidence when speaking to large groups of people and leading a team. After having her first child, she decided that working shifts was no longer feasible, therefore wanted to start looking for a job which would not only suit her huge change in circumstances, but also provide her with a career that she could be proud of.

“Building heroes is a charity that I am so honoured to be a part of and something quite close to my heart. My father was in the Army and had such a difficult time with very little support when leaving the military, he had no job and nowhere to live. He ended up building his life all over again and has inspired me to try and help those most in need, those who have risked their lives for our country and for me to try and give something back”.

Maria is our RWPO for Aldershot College

Danielle Neal

Recruitment, Welfare and Progression Officer

Danielle has a vast array of experience within recruitment and progression in sectors such as manufacturing, care and voluntary services. She is fueled by her passion for helping others and is well versed in supporting learners and aiding them in finding suitable employment opportunities. She has previously led projects which have enabled learners to achieve their career goals whilst maintaining that all-important work-life balance.

Danielle told us: “I am thrilled that I am able to utilise my skills within the role of RWPO for Building Heroes. It is a fantastic opportunity and I cannot wait to support learners and help them achieve the best possible outcomes for their future careers.“

Danielle manages our Wandsworth Centre at the South Thames College in London

Stacey Saye

Recruitment, Welfare and Progression Officer

Stacey is a well presented, extremely capable and resourceful professional with good all round experience. Having served 10 years in the Royal Air Force on various UK and Worldwide Military establishments her understanding of the Military and the Resettlement process is a very valuable asset to her job role as RWPO. Stacey has a passion for guiding and assisting personnel throughout their journey and transition period from the Military as well as supporting those who require extra help after leaving the Military. Stacey has several close relatives still serving within the Armed Forces and has a good background knowledge within Construction in the UK. Stacey lives with her family in the North East of England and is the RWPO for Middlesbrough.

John Simpson

Recruitment, Welfare and Progression Officer

Following a career of over 35 years in both Military and Home Office, John offers an approach which reflects the candidates needs. Having experienced the transition from the Forces to Civilian employment he understands both the opportunities and challenges this presents. Passionate and respectful about those who have represented their country within all the Forces, John offers support, signposting and progression to those who come through Building Heroes charity.

John has experience in working with vulnerable adults, young people and those who just need that extra bit of support to positively progress in life. Building Heroes offers that opportunity and is a vehicle to regaining structure and pride as well as self esteem when readjusting to non military routines. John believes those who have served the country and their family members have earned that right to the extra support he will offer and is committed to assisting them throughout the course offered and identified needs.

John aims to assist, support and secure a place on a construction course which provides skills training to Military Veterans and supports them into employment. I am proud to be in a position which offers me the opportunity to tackle unemployment amongst those who have kept us safe by offering them a seamless transition to a new career in construction by doing the right thing.

John is our RWPO for Reaseheath College

Claire Smith

Recruitment, Welfare and Progression Officer & Office Manager

Claire is an enthusiastic, motivated and caring individual, with a passion for supporting others to succeed, and achieve their goals.

Prior to joining Building Heroes, Claire worked for Brinsbury College for over 18 years, as the Animal Centre Manager. This involved Claire coordinating a team of Instructors, overseeing the care and welfare of a variety of animals and facilitating an outstanding teaching and learning environment for a wide range of learners, including students with disadvantaged and challenging backgrounds, special needs, school leavers and adults. During Claire’s employment she played a key role in the design and construction processes involved in building the new Animal Centre facility.

This role has enabled Claire to develop various transferrable skills and a wealth of knowledge, which she brings to our charity, to further benefit a new audience of learners. Skills including; recruitment, networking, learner support and pastoral care, employer engagement, career/progression advice, presenting to groups and an understanding of the education sector.

“I feel so proud and honoured to be a part of Building Heroes; a wonderful charity, with their learners at the heart of all they do, making such a difference to deserving service leavers and veterans, who have made great sacrifices for others. I am humbled to be a part of their onward journey and to be able to use my skills, attributes, knowledge and experience in such a worthwhile way.”

Lin Stockwell

Building Heroes Ambassador

Lin is a Councillor in Mid Sussex District Council representing High Weald Ward. She is currently a member of the scrutiny committees for Audit, Leader & Service Delivery and Planning & Economic Development. She also represents the District Council as Champion for the Armed Forces Covenant. Additionally, she has recently become a Governor at Handcross Primary School. Before retiring in 2012 Lin worked for Lloyds banking Group, initially as a Customer Service Manager, then in Credit Risk Finance as an analyst and business support manager.