Board of Trustees

Wes Cuell – Chair 

Wes has more than 40 years of experience working in social care, primarily in services for children and young people as a qualified social worker. 
He worked for many years in local authorities including Luton, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire as the head of services and was director of services for children and young people at the NSPCC until 2011.  

He has a special interest in the support of vulnerable children and families and in safeguarding which included chairing a local children’s safeguarding board and being a board member of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Service (CEOP).  

Wes chairs the Hertfordshire Adoption Panel and, having been adopted as a child, has a lifelong interest in and commitment to the role of adoption in transforming the lives of children. 

He lives with his wife in Woburn and has two grown up children and grandchildren who live in the USA. Wes is a keen long distance walker, sailor, trombone player and fly fisherman and loves to travel. 

Philip Lewis – Vice Chair and Lead Trustee for Organisational Development and IT 

Philip is the operations and commercial director of a company that develops resilience in the cyber and cybersecurity market.  He has more than 30 years’ experience leading and motivating teams to maintain and grow businesses that need to adapt quickly to changing requirements.  

Philip lives in Berkshire with his wife and his son, who was adopted through PACT. He has three older children who are now all adults and have ‘flown the nest’ and through which he has his first grand-daughter. Having adopted through PACT, Phil wanted to give something back to the charity that gives so much to others; both through adoption and their work with on community projects. 

Bob Kapp – Lead Trustee for Digital Development

Bob has spent more than 20 years in commodity trading with director experience across multinational and start-up companies in the US and the UK. In 2019, Bob co-founded a film production company based in Los Angeles, creating great stories across film, television, and digital channels. In addition, he is involved in a variety of different projects ranging from sustainable food brands to energy market disruption technologies.

Bob lives in Berkshire with his partner, Lisa, and their two children who were adopted through PACT.

Rene Baron – Lead Trustee for Safeguarding

Rene is an experienced practitioner who has had the privilege of working within a multitude of roles during her 26 years as qualified social worker. Registered with Social Work England, she has worked in front line roles and management as well as holding positions such as Child Protection Chair, Independent Reviewing Officer and Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO).

Rene brings a wealth of knowledge and skills to PACT in the areas of legislation, policies and procedures, and she has an excellent understanding of the different specialised areas in Children Services. She also brings her experience of leading child protection conferences, strategy meetings, allegations meetings, and acting as LADO overseeing investigations, as well as delivering training, coaching and mentoring to staff across various services.

She is passionate about ensuring that the needs of our most vulnerable are kept at the centre of everything we do.

David Villa-Clarke BEM – Lead Trustee for Income Generation

David is the CEO of the Aleto Foundation whose purpose is to empower young people from diverse backgrounds and provide them with the necessary skills and opportunities to progress in their careers by providing mentoring and leadership training.

He is also passionate about giving back to society and runs charitable projects in Botswana and Kenya for Project Volunteer; a charity that he founded in 2006.

David has had a career in Financial Services for over 25 years and is the founder and director of DVC Wealth Management Ltd, based in Leatherhead.

He is an avid sports enthusiast, having played most sports and at weekends is a football referee in the Surrey leagues.

Edgars Smatovs – Treasurer 

Ed is originally from Riga, Latvia and currently lives in London. He has been in the UK for the best part of 10 years and studied at the University of York and the University of Padua in Italy as part of his ERASMUS exchange programme. 

Ed is a CIMA qualified accountant and has spent the last seven years in various finance roles, including financial reporting, business partnering and FP&A. His current role is in the financial services sector, working as an FP&A Manager in the largest private-sector pension scheme in the UK.  

He has been involved with charitable organisations mostly in a fundraising capacity and is looking forward to his role as a trustee at PACT. 

In his free time, Ed enjoys playing football, cycling, running and snowboarding. 

Rev Judith Sumner – Lead Trustee for Communities 

Rev Judith Sumner was ordained in 2016 and is an associate minister at Reading Minster. Before ordination, she was a primary school teacher and has experience in mental health chaplaincy. 

Judith’s faith is deeply rooted in inclusivity and a commitment to each and every person’s value and worth and as part of the Minster team, she has responsibilities for safeguarding and pastoral care. 

She said: “Through my role at the Minster, I have recognised the importance of charities who support the most vulnerable in Reading. I have worked with PACT, particularly Alana House and seen the difference they can make and it is a great privilege to have become a trustee.” 

Judith and her husband Andy have grown up children and a dog and have lived in the Reading area for 30 years. 

Dean Hunter – Lead Trustee for HR

Dean originates from Aberdeen, where he worked as a police officer after completing his university degree in 1997. He was regularly frustrated in that role as he wanted to do more to be supportive to families and children who needed help and the system didn’t seem to have the resources to assist. Dean then spent 15 years in the corporate world as an HR Director working and travelling across 30 countries.

In 2011, Dean established an HR advisory company which he ran until 2021 when he became Chair person. The now employee-owned company supports over 1000 clients and Dean has worked with many global and local charities to help them strategically engage and retain their people. Dean is also a non-executive director in the tech space.

Dean has a 22 year old daughter and he lives in London with his partner Francois and their two spaniels. He has several friends who are single parents and he is proud to be able to be a support for them and to play a big part in their children’s lives.

Dean brings his HR and organisational experience to PACT which he believes “is an essential organisation to give families and children the best chance possible in life” which he is extremely passionate about.

Chris Foote – Lead Trustee for Adoption

Chris qualified as a social worker in 1974 and has specialised in the field of adoption and fostering for most of her social work career. Between 2002 and 2013, she was a member of PACT’s adoption service as a social worker and team manager. Following her retirement, from 2013 to 2021, she continued to work part-time for PACT as a contract social worker and adoption panel member.

For the past eight years, Chris has been Safeguarding Governor and latterly Chair of Governors at a local primary school. The school has a strongly pastoral ethos which has chimed with Chris’s commitment to improving life chances for all children.

Chris strongly supports PACT’s inspirational and innovative work with children and families within both birth and adoptive families. During her time at PACT, she was privileged to undertake the initial steps to expand PACT’s adoption support service, which has now developed into the FACTS therapeutic service, Strengthening Families service and Adopter Champions team. Chris is keen to continue to serve PACT in her role as the lead trustee for adoption.

Since 1986, Chris has been stepmother to her husband’s three children and also has one birth daughter, so has first-hand experience of blended families. She now lives in Oxfordshire with her husband, a retired Anglican clergyman, and has eight grandchildren. In her spare time, Chris enjoys walking, playing in a recorder band and orchestra, folk dancing and travelling with her husband in their caravan.

Sangita Manek – Lead Trustee for Legal

Sangita is a Partner at Irwin Mitchell and has over 26 years of experience in helping people resolve contentious property and probate disputes. She was attracted to her job because she is passionate about helping people who are unable to stand up for themselves.

She believes her strongest skills are organisation, strategy, communication and confidence building and she uses these to help her clients and the team members which she manages. Her experience has taught her to be persuasive and she takes a keen interest in the psychological aspect of human communication. She is a strongly believer that communication happens on the listener’s terms and so it is important to understand the people you deal with if you want to be in a position to influence them.

Sangita has joined PACT so that she can take the opportunity to use her skills above for a worthwhile cause and give back to those that would benefit from her experience. Sangita lives in London and has two opiniated daughters. She considers herself a foodie and has co-authored a vegetarian cookery book which she is very proud of. Outside of work, Sangita enjoys travel and reading.

Grace Roper – Lead Trustee for Business Strategy

Grace is an experienced strategy and transformation business leader within a FTSE 100 retailer. She has 20 years of experience leading teams to solve complex and strategic business challenges and has a successful track record in delivering transformational change. She is passionate about giving back and feels privileged to be taking on the trustee role at PACT where she can truly see how essential their services are in making such a positive difference to the lives of vulnerable children and adults.

She lives in Buckinghamshire with her husband, two children and dog and enjoys walking, cooking and travelling to new places in the UK and beyond.