Cord is governed by our Board and dedicated Trustees, together they support the health and well-being of our organisation through deliberation, prayer and decision making. 

Maarten Fontein - Chair

Maarten joined the Board of Cord in 2018 and became the Chair of Trustees in September 2019. An agriculturalist by training, Maarten worked in the UK agriculture industry for eight years before studying for a Masters in water and sanitation at Cranfield University. After graduating, Maarten worked in Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo with Medair before being based at headquarters with responsibility for Medair’s programmes in Afghanistan, Chad and Haiti. Maarten currently works for Tearfund where he heads up the business development unit and focuses on developing and leading consortia and institutional funding for Tearfund’s global programmes in peacebuilding, sexual and gender based violence and other thematic areas. Maarten is excited by Cord’s work and expertise in fostering strong, peaceful and collaborative relationships between communities and power holders and the positive impact of such healthy relationships. He is keen to see this work develop further. Maarten is married to Elodie and they have three energetic children of nursery, pre-school and primary school age. Maarten is a keen outdoorsman and enjoys a number of rural pursuits.

Helen Jackson 

Helen developed her interest in international development through being a volunteer with VSO in Tanzania. She then worked in Central Africa for an organisation supporting people with disabilities.  More recently, she has extensive experience of the voluntary sector in the UK, working for a national charity for over 10 years both as an operational director and business development manager.  At present, she works in the health sector in Manchester. The common thread to this varied career is a commitment to making a difference to the lives of children, young people and families who are marginalised.

Abigail Knowles

Abi is a community fundraiser and volunteer manager at Traidcraft, and joined Cord as a trustee in 2014. She has a passion for people and has worked in a variety of fundraising and supporter development roles, helping the organisation’s supporters and volunteers share their enthusiasm for trade justice and the fair trade movement. Before joining Traidcraft Abi worked for Christian Aid. In her spare time Abi is an active member of her church, enjoys reading and walking and has recently taken up running.

Ravi Gidoomal

Ravi joined the board in 2016 and is a member of the Finance Committee. He currently works for an alternative lender - helping small businesses borrow money through innovative technology and an online peer to peer platform. After several years in investment banking, Ravi worked with Grant Thornton where he undertook a number of operational, financial and strategic assignments including being part of the management team for a £200m Government-backed programme helping UK SMEs to grow. Ravi has a keen interest in social finance and before joining Cord provided part time finance and growth leadership to Cinnamon Network, a UK charity that helps churches to deliver local social action projects. The work of Cord resonates with Ravi's family history - his grandparents were born in British India but forced to leave during the partition, and this was repeated 20 years later when his father's family left Kenya. Ravi is keen to see Cord's peacebuilding work develop in Asia and Africa and is particularly inspired by the combined approach of practical interventions alongside working strategically with communities and stakeholders.

Steve Hucklesby

Steve’s introduction to Africa was with Cord in Eritrea where he served as Country Director with his wife, Ellie from 1993.  He has a decade of experience in the management of relief and development programmes and a passion for supporting people in overcoming violence.  In his current role he works as an advisor to UK churches on international affairs, conflict, security and human rights and is Co Chair of a Christian think tank on defence and disarmament.  He believes in the capacity of every person to make a difference even in the direst circumstances and is delighted to see how Cord has refocused its mission towards peace through partnership in recent years.

Kat Brealey

Kat first encountered Cord while working at Coventry Cathedral in 2012, and joined the board in 2018. Her life has been hugely enriched, both personally and professionally, by time spent learning from groups building peace in different countries and contexts. She currently works for Every Casualty Worldwide, facilitating a network of organisations which record casualties in places affected by violent conflict. Kat is particularly interested in how faith-based organisations can contribute to peace, and is a Visiting Fellow at the University of Winchester’s Centre for Religion, Reconciliation and Peace.