Learn more about the Inspire Hounslow team

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Howard Simmons, Chair

Howard has lived in Hounslow for over 25 years and worked in and for the Borough for more than 18 of those so has a working knowledge
of its diverse communities.

Howard has had varying roles in the public, private and community sectors ranging from welfare rights and legal advice as a grass roots community worker; as a Corporate Director in Local Government leading on regeneration projects, cultural services, and seeking to tackle inequalities and deprivation.

At a national level Howard has served as a senior manager at the Audit Commission, as an Assistant Commissioner for the Boundary Commission for England reviewing parliamentary constituencies and as a Commissioner for Civil Aviation concerned with addressing both economic and environmental impacts of airport expansion.

Howard has considerable experience of the charitable and community sector at a local, regional and national level. He has contributed to a review of the national Charity Commission as well as undertaking reviews of individual charities and has himself served as a Trustee/Board member and Chair – most recently of the Gunnersbury Museum and Park Development Trust,.

He believes strongly in the vital role of the community and voluntary sector and in the mission of Inspire Hounslow to contribute to building community capacity and resilience.

Linda Leaney, Vice Chair

Linda Leaney has lived in the Borough of Hounslow for over 10 years, and has worked in Financial Services in London for 25+ years.

She has joined Inspire Hounslow to bring fresh youth opportunities to those who need it most, and help relevant projects succeed. Linda is involved in several other voluntary positions all with a community focus, and brings a background of voluntary and professional business experience to Inspire Hounslow.

In her spare time, Linda enjoys exploring her local area with her family, and has a particular interest in the Arts.

Ceylin Kolsal Sarper

Born in New York City, Ceylin lived in Istanbul, Karachi and the USA as a young girl. She then continued to live internationally with her own family and worked as an English teacher in Singapore and Istanbul for many years. Ceylin moved to Chiswick, London with her family in 2018. One of the main reasons for her joining Inspire Hounslow as a trustee is the fact that she found this platform as a great one where she can incorporate her experiences and skills towards contributing to the lives of the young people of Hounslow through the many projects that Inspire Hounslow is currently funding and will in the future.

Her interests include travelling, cooking and hiking.

Charles Rees

Born 1946 in Cardiff. Graduated from Cardiff University with an honours degree in law. Charles passed his Bar Finals with honour and was called to the Bar in November 1974. Barrister of the Middle Temple. Served in Various London Magistrates’ Courts from 1975 to 2007 as clerk and legal adviser to magistrates and serving as Deputy Justices’ Clerk from 1987 to 2007. Lecturer in Law at former South West London College, Tooting from 1971 to 1973 ; part-time lecturer in law to the Central London Polytechnic 1974 to 1984; examiner in law to various Accountancy Book-Keeping bodies from 1974 to 1994; guest lecturer to Institute of Public Administration in 2008. Interests: rugby football, hockey, cricket, tennis, squash, badminton, theatre, cinema, opera, ballet, cycling canal towpaths with friends, travelling Eastern Europe.

Gill Chapman

Gill is a relative newcomer to Hounslow, having lived in many different places in the UK including, for several years, in Ealing. Now retired, her main career was as a lecturer in Design, followed by several years working in the charitable and not-for-profit sector. Her last paid role was managing a mentoring scheme in HMS Wormwood Scrubs which gave her a good understanding of the enormous challenges which many of our less privileged fellow-citizens face. These are a major factor in some of them turning to crime and make rehabilitation extremely difficult for those who wish to take a different direction. She was for some years a Trustee of Vision Housing, a charity focused on finding and supporting housing for ex-offenders, now part of the Forward Trust.

Jacquie Foster

Jacquie spent over 30 years working in the NHS in a variety of roles including workforce planning, organisational development, corporate and clinical governance. Before this Jacquie worked in the buying departments at Marks and Spencer. Jacquie brings a broad range of skills to Inspire Hounslow, especially planning and project management. Jacquie lives in Brentford and enjoys walking in the borough’s parks and by the Thames.

Heather Smith

Heather Smith is the Head of UK Programmes at Plan International UK, leading the strategic development and delivery of Plan International UK’s domestic work to eradicate gender inequality by connecting girls to their rights. Ensuring the excellent delivery of existing programmes and working with the team to develop new programmes and relationships, with a focus on the long-term sustainability of the charity’s work through fundraising.

She graduated from the University of Birmingham in 2007 with a degree in Sport Science and before joining Plan International UK, Heather was the Head of Partnerships, Programmes and Public Affairs for Women in Sport, following a career in community sport via British University and Colleges Sport (BUCS), the Rugby Football Union and Rugby Football League.

Utilising her leadership skills Heather has previously held voluntary roles for British American Football Association as a non-executive director for the board and member of the inclusion and diversity committee, and the Sport for Development Coalition again as a member of the board.

Heather was part of the Sport Industry Group’s NextGen Leaders in 2017. In 2016, she launched Half Backs, a fun and engaging rugby-themed activity business for young children ages two to six. She has since sold Half Backs but is still a keen supporter of rugby union having retired from a 20-year playing career and chair of Teddington Womens RFC.

A current Hounslow resident and new mum who is excited to get more connected to the community.

Edward Locke, President Of Inspire Hounslow

Ed served as a Trustee of IH from 2000 and in 2023 took on the role as President. Ed has spent most of his working life in the recreation department of a neighbouring local authority, finally managing a wide portfolio of leisure facilities. He is currently working as a landscape gardener. He is a member of The Institute of Horticulture, and secretary of The Temple Trust. He is particularly interested in how horticultural training and the management of parks and open spaces may contribute to building strong and inclusive communities. He has lived in the borough for almost fifty years and is a governor of Lampton School. He is married with a grown-up daughter.

Vipan Bij

Born in Mombasa, Kenya, Vipan graduated from Kingston University with a B.Sc. (Hons) in Computer Science and an Executive MBA from the London Business School (University of London). He has lived in Greece, Spain and Bermuda. Furthermore, he has worked in many countries/regions (Europe, Noth America, Caribbean, Asia, Middle East and most of East and Southern Africa). He has over 25 years of experience working with the Big 4 consulting firms with a focus on advising boards in the financial sector.

Having moved to the UK over 20 years ago, he has always lived in the Borough of Hounslow.

Currently, he owns businesses in the water and smart farming sectors in India, Kenya, Tanzania and Jordan. He is also an advisor on Smart Farming to some charities and commercial organisations. His particular interest is in supporting disadvantaged youth (and young offenders) to re-engage and integrate into the community.

Rachit Sharma

Rachit has over two decades of experience across all aspects of investment and wealth management, living and working across India, United States, U.A.E., Bahrain, and in London (since 2010). He has lived in Ealing for several years and has an interest in serving the wider community he engages with across West London.

Rachit has a deep appreciation for Vipassana/ mindfulness meditation and yoga having experienced the benefits of these tools for enhancing inner wellbeing and human potential. He enjoys staying active playing squash, table tennis, cycling, and hiking. He also enjoys cooking and adventure travel.

Rachit has a Bachelor’s degree in Production Engineering from the University of Mumbai and an M.S. in Financial Engineering from Columbia University, New York.