The Trustees

Alan Cole


My name is Alan Cole and I have been involved with the Community since I came into Simon House in Edinburgh in 1965. I am also a PTV and have been since 1999. I have helped with many services over the years. I particularly like helping with things like the School Talks and the Christmas Dinner. I hope that I can continue to give back some of the help and support that the Simon Community has given me. 

Chris Hunton


Growing up in North London, I was a near neighbour of The Simon Community in Malden Rd at the end of the 1980s when I was a teacher. Since then I have built a career in marketing and advertising, having been both CEO and Managing Director of a couple of agencies in London.

For the last 15 years, I have been part of the senior team at WPP, the world's largest marketing services company, as well as the longest serving member on the industry council, the IPA.

I have tried to find time outside of work for positive causes and have provided consultancy to the Guide Dogs for the Blind and been a supporter of the Royal British Legion for over 10 years. I have enjoyed being Chair of the Simon Community since 2021 and look forward to contributing in future. 

Alex Pickering


I have been part of the The Simon Community since January 2019 as Treasurer, looking after the finances and funding requirements as well as providing advice on best practice to the Board. I am extremely grateful to our loyal donor base who provide us with the funds to deliver our services.

Outside of the Community I am a Chartered Accountant and work within the leisure sector, based just north of London.

Dagnija O’Connell

I worked as a Mental Health Nurse for over 30 years.

In the last 20 years, before retiring from Nursing, I was with a Team set up to access and engage people who were sleeping out on the street that were thought to be experiencing mental health problems.

Our Team worked alongside many different agencies and organisations that were offering services to support people experiencing homelessness.

Reflection on Practice was very much a part of my ongoing professional development.

When I volunteered with the Quakers Open Christmas I was taken with the quiet reflection before each shift and also after each shift before giving feedback on how it had gone.

I am hoping that as a New Trustee I will be able to get to know more of the history of the Simon Community and help to support the volunteers and the workers in the work that they do.

Gesa Bukowski

As a solicitor, I bring a keen eye for detail which will help me to ensure that the Simon Community stays on top of any legal requirements applicable to it. Building on several years of experience of volunteering with different homelessness organisations, I am excited to get involved in the running of the Simon Community. As a European citizen I also hope to bring a different perspective to the Board.

Outside of work and volunteering, I enjoy reading, cycling and cooking new dishes.

Mark Pritchard

As a senior manager overseeing NHS community mental health services in a North London Borough, I'm responsible for both day to day oversight and strategic planning. As part of my work, I see the impacts of homelessness on a daily basis, including on people's mental health.

I previously worked in The Simon Community as a live-in volunteer in the 1990's, and value the unique approach taken by the Community. After moving on from The Simon Community, I trained as a Registered Mental Health Nurse and have worked in a variety of mental health settings.

Outside of work, I often play tennis and am trying to improve my game, particularly now my son has started to regularly win our matches.

Peter Stuart McKay B.C.A.

I have been volunteering with the Simon Community for about 14 years now, at the night shelter, street café and evening centre. I also volunteer with Showerbox and the Quaker Mobile Library. The Simon Community were there for me when I was on the streets and this is my way of giving back. I joined the Board in 2023 and I am looking forward to the year ahead.