Revd Dr Tom Wilson – Director
Prior to his appointment as Director of St Philip’s Centre, Tom served in two Church of England parishes in the poorest and most diverse communities in Gloucester and acted as the Diocesan Interfaith Advisor. He served his curacy in Toxteth, Liverpool having trained for ordination at Wycliffe College, Oxford. He has been involved with schools, his local Credit Union and he has particular expertise in Islam. His doctoral studies examined Christian leadership in a church school set within a multi-faith area. He writes popular bible study notes, scholarly articles and is reviews editor of the theological journal Anvil.
Riaz Ravat BEM DL – Deputy Director
Riaz joined the Centre in 2008 and his responsibilities include heading up religious and belief literacy training courses, community relations engagement, financial administration, media communications, quality assurance, crisis management caused by national and global incidents and business and partnership development. His work brings him into contact with many organisations including local and central government, other agencies and overseas partners.
Riaz has contributed to many national initiatives including the Commission on Religion & Belief in Public Life, the establishment of national Inter Faith Week, the Prime Minister’s Extremism Task Force and pioneered Catalyst – a young adults leadership programme. In 2014, he was invited to Oman to present the work of the Centre to an international audience including the UN and Omani Ministry of Religious Affairs.
In 2013, Riaz was conferred a British Empire Medal by HM the Queen for services to interfaith understanding and later in the same year was named Alumnus of the Year by De Montfort University for ‘uniting different cultures, races and religions’. In 2010 he was the first recipient of the Leicestershire First Citizenship Award. Riaz has been instrumental in leading St Philip’s Centre to receive many significant commendations for its work including the European Diversity Award, National Diversity Award, Award for Bridging Cultures, Sewa Day Pioneers Award, Mitzvah Day and Learning Outside the Classroom.
Riaz serves as a member of the Crown Prosecution Service’s East Midlands Hate Crime Panel, the ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers) Prevent Challenge Panel, Leicester Cathedral Council, Bishop of Leicester’s Faith Leaders Forum, Leicester College Multi Faith Chaplaincy Service and Advisor to MBCOL – a death and bereavement service. He has completed terms of office for many other bodies including as Governor of Leicester College, member of the DCLG’s National Community Forum and Public Relations Officer for the Burton upon Trent Inter Faith Network.
In 2015, Riaz was commissioned as a Deputy Lieutenant of Leicestershire.
William Baldet – Prevent Co-ordinator
Formerly Northampton’s Prevent Engagement Officer, Will joined St Philip’s Centre to become the first non local authority employed Prevent Co-ordinator in the country. Will brings to the post,a wealth of experience to assist him in this sensitive area. St Philips has worked closely with other faith and public body partners to facilitate this Home Office funded post.
Barbara Cairns is the Centre’s Finance Manager. She is a Chartered Accountant and has worked in the accountancy profession for over 25 years. Barbara enjoys racket sports and socialising with family and friends.
Colin is a Reader Minister and has joined St Philip’s Centre as a Consultant helping to deliver training programmes. He originally trained as a Merchant Navy Radio Officer and served for four years with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary before seeking shore-based employment in electronics and telecommunications. Colin worked for 26 years with Vodafone and Ericsson as a Field Engineer maintaining mobile telephone networks so the move to schools based work with St. Philip’s has presented some rather different challenges!
He completed a Certificate in Higher Education in Theology as part of his Reader training and plays a full part in the life of his local church (unsurprisingly, specialising in the various bits of technology which are deployed there).
Hobbies include keeping fit which these days takes the form of long distance walks.
Maureen Hebblewhite – Company Secretary & Centre Support Services Manager
Maureen is the Company Secretary and Centre Support Services Manager. She
previously worked as a Medical Secretary in the NHS, and later as a Church Administrator. She completed the Diocesan Certificate in Christian Discipleship/Certificate of Higher Education and would like to continue her theological studies at some time in the future. She is very involved with her local church helping with fundraising, outreach & social activities and as a member of the Messy Church core team.
Ros Henwood – Near Neighbours Project Support Officer
After nine years in Nepal, Ros and her family moved to Leicester in 2005. She has been active as a member of Hope Hamilton Church, in various voluntary roles, building community on a multi-cultural estate. She enjoys getting to know her neighbours from many diverse faiths and backgrounds, particularly through walking, talking and eating together. More recently she set up a Welcome Boxes project in Hamilton, to help asylum seekers settle and begin to thrive in a new community. She joined St Philip’s Centre in February 2017 as Near Neighbours Project Support Officer to cover John McCallum’s sick leave.
Laura is the Churches Training Officer for the St Philip’s Centre, encouraging interfaith engagement amongst Christians of all denominations – be that a visit to a Mosque, one of our Taste of Faith sessions or bespoke training for Christian leaders and communities.
Laura’s background is as an academic with a passion for Hindu-Christian dialogue – her PhD research focused on Christian inculturation in India and double religious identity. Until recently she lived in a small village in Herefordshire, where she was the Young Vocations Adviser for Hereford Diocese and worked alongside the Interfaith Officer there to encourage interreligious learning in a largely rural setting. She enjoys living in Leicester and all the culinary delights it has to offer!
Gail Kenney – Programmes Officer
Gail Kenney officially joined St Philip’s in January 2017 as the new Programmes Officer, to oversee the co-ordination of courses, training and school visits for the Centre, while supporting both the Prevent Coordinator and the Deputy Director. Gail has a background in Government funded training programmes, dating back to the YTS days in the early 90’s through to Modern Apprenticeships and bespoke training programmes into the 2000’s. She has recently returned to Leicester after 10 years living in County Cork, Southern Ireland.
John McCallum – Near Neighbours Manager, St Philips Centre Projects & Training Officer
John has spent the past 28 years working widely across the UK’s voluntary sector and in international development. He is a specialist in helping faith-based organisations deliver social action and make better use of their people and buildings. A qualified fundraising advisor and author of toolkits on neighbourhood activity, his work ensures that multi faith communities throughout the UK can benefit from the funding and support of the Near Neighbours programme. John has an MA postgraduate degree in Inter Religious Relations from the De Montfort University.
Kanta Prajapat – Administrative Assistant
Kanta was born in Uganda and came to Britain in 1970 for further studies. Her parents joined her in 1972 when then President Idi Amin expelled all Asians from Uganda. She joined St Philip’s Centre in 2007 and works part-time, providing invaluable support to colleagues in course preparation and general admin.
St Philip’s Centre has a suite of several multi faith and community practitioners and volunteers who assist with key aspects of our work. They have a wealth of expertise in many vital fields including Christian-Hindu relations, Muslim community issues, contextual theology and Sikh history. This group provide us with real insights and an authenticity to our work which we value greatly.