Director

Catherine Mahony has joined WBAF having worked in the third sector for over 15 years. For the last five years she has been supporting families in crisis as an emergency response manager with humanitarian organisations.

“Westminster is such a vibrant and diverse place, and our befriending and mentoring programmes strengthen our communities to ensure they’re inclusive, a vital part of bringing the best out of the city.  I’m excited to be part of a historic organisation playing such an important role for some of the most vulnerable people,” she said.

Broadening Horizons Services Manager

Monisha Mahajan has been the Programme Manager at Westminster Befriend a Family since November 2020. 

I believe so many young people and families could benefit from having a mentor and I wanted to be able to support the people helping families.  I’ve got  the skills and knowledge to get the programme to grow and develop as I trained as a Social Worker in 2015. I wanted to become a Social Worker because I really enjoy helping and supporting families and young people and making a difference to their lives! Before WBAF I was working for a children’s charity supporting young people in custody. This was an interesting role, especially as I got to meet  and work with young people in difficult situations.

Parent Services Manager

Kayleigh Thornton has been the Parent Services Manager at Westminster Befriend a Family since November 2020. 

Most of my career has been within the charity sector. I have always had a passion for supporting vulnerable people and feel fortunate to be in a position to be able to do this within my work. Most of my experience is with managing charities offering services to children with and without additional needs, and alongside this I have developed services supporting families. My favourite part of the role is the matchings. Being in a position to hear people’s life stories and match them with a volunteer who could potentially bring so much value to their life is unbelievably rewarding. 

Social Work Consultant

Denise Ward, who joined the team in 2019, has been a fully qualified social worker for over 24 years. She helps assess families and other service users referred to us for support, and is responsible for making sure the charity’s family assessment policies and procedures continue to be fit for purpose.


Our Trustees

In addition to their work for the board, our trustees participate in and chair a number of finance, fundraising, volunteer and human resources subcommittees. Our trustees endeavour to remain visible to our volunteers and families, often working with families themselves, or attending monthly supervision sessions.

Noreen Sumra joined the Board as Chair in December 2017. Noreen is a solicitor specialising in employment law, currently on a career break.  She has served as a Chair of a BME Housing Association and also of a charity providing reading mentors to primary schools in Berkshire.

Rob Whitehouse is a chartered management accountant ‎(CGMA) with over eight years post qualification experience. In addition to two years at an audit firm he has over 10 years experience working in various financial reporting and change management roles at Bank of America.

Helen Burrluck is a Chartered Accountant and worked as a tax accountant for many years. She spent the last 15 years of her working life heading up the admin function of law firms. As well as being a trustee at WBAF she volunteers as a money management mentor for a national charity.

Father Owen Higgs is a vicar at St Gabriel’s Church in Pimlico, Westminster. He previously worked as a care worker for Scope, a charity supporting disabled people, and as a Chartered Accountant.

Vicky Kafetzi is a communications and engagement specialist working in the transport sector. She has over 11 years experience of providing strategic advice, to create the best environment for delivery of projects and operations that keep our great city moving. She also mentors and coaches young professionals.

Sabrina Vashisht is a fundraiser and communications officer for the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre, an international legal NGO. She has extensive experience of applying for and managing grants. Sabrina also volunteers for WBAF in her spare time, and as a Russian-English translator for the BEARR Trust. She joined the Board in October 2017.

Kat Lee is a senior manager working in the charitable sector. She has spent the last 15 years working on large scale engagement programmes for families and young people in London and across the UK. Most recently, Kat has been working with a team of 100,000 volunteers to offer girls and young women fun, friendship, challenge and adventure through membership of Girl Guide groups. She joined the board in October 2019.