Children’s Quarter is a co-operative with members which are groups and organisations that provide services to children, young people and families; and supporters, who are individuals who support its aims and co-operative principles. The members decide what Children’s Quarter does at General Meetings throughout the year. At the Annual General Meeting in the Spring, members elect a Board of Directors to manage the work of the Co-op between General Meetings. The Board does this with reference to an Executive Committee which involves a wider set of interests including people who work and volunteer for Children’s Quarter.
Board Members elected by the Members are:
Les Lawrence is the Co-Chair of Children’s Quarter. He is a former chair of the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust and past chair of the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust. A former Birmingham city councillor, he served as cabinet member for Children, Young People and Families on Birmingham City Council for 8 years. He also served as the chair of the Children and Young People Board of the Local Government Association. Les has two children.
Liz Garnham MBE
Liz Garnham is the Co-Chair of Children’s Quarter. She has spent 25 years in Birmingham advocating, often case by case, for children and families at risk of social exclusion and supporting specialist education and associated organisations through chairing, governance, development work and fundraising. She is a mother and has supported community youth inclusion groups to help address the gap in services for older children, managed school inclusion outreach projects and been a director of Dens of Equality. She was treasurer of the Birmingham Parent Carer Forum LTD which closed in 2019 after successfully using the Independent Support Grant to take families through the transition from Statements to Education Health Care Plans. Liz is ex-Chair of Governors at Uffculme School the largest Autistic Specific School in Europe and considered Outstanding by OFSTED during her term. She has supported boards at Hamilton and Selly Oak special schools and at Trinity Specialist College. She has chaired the Birmingham Governors Network and sat on Schools Forum.
Julie Gibson is Inclusion Manager at Hamstead Hall Academy in Handsworth Wood, Birmingham. Hamstead Hall is one of the most successful comprehesive schools in the country. With 1100 students from Handsworth and Handsworth Wood, the school has won recognition and awards and aims for ‘Success for ALL through hard work and harmony’. It has a Special Needs Resource Base which caters for 40 students who cognition and learning difficulties. Julie has led the school’s work on developing inclusive practice. She is a mother of four and is a netball player and coach.
Steve Jewell is the Chief Executive at Ackers Adventure, which is Birmingham’s adventure centre and a member of Children’s Quarter. Steve has more than 20 years of experience in the commercial and operational oversight and development of estates and facilities. He is an experienced third sector leader with extensive experience within the Scout Association. He is a member of the Sport Birmingham Disability Forum.
Liz Morgan is Associate Headteacher at Wilson Stuart School, a CQ Member, based in Perry Common. The school includes 270 pupils aged 2-19 years with sensory impairment, learning difficulties, communication difficulties and complex medical conditions. Before joining Wilson Stuart, Liz led the development of a learning centre for disabled 19 to 25-year-olds in Bromsgrove.
Sinead Davies is Headteacher at Fox Hollies Special School in Moseley. Fox Hollies, which is a CQ Member, includes students aged from 11 to 19 with severe and complex learning disabilities, including Autism. Sinead was instrumental in ensuring the success of the collaborative work with special school’s trust resulting in a exceptional art programme and is committed to the participation and visibility of SEND students in the wider community.
Laura Watts moved from London to work with the with the Arts Council in Birmingham 30 years ago where her focus shifted to younger creatives and especially those that did not fit the box. She was co-founder of Dens of Equality Community Inclusion Development Agency, a twenty-year-old organisation which has raised millions in partnership with the twenty parent and practitioner- led groups that it helped develop to deliver inclusive local services. The agency has also offered free programmes of free therapeutic play sessions in over thirty Birmingham schools to help children thrive and gain access to community services. Laura now works part time at Dens of Equality which is focusing on smaller project work, and she supports development at Children’s Quarter. She is also co-founder and chair of Parks for Play, a twenty-year-old charity which deliver multiple inclusive services to local children and young people.
Also attending Board Meetings:
Paul Slatter is Children’s Quarter’s Campaigns Manager. He has 30 years experience in developing community networks and has had research published into community investment and community coproduction.
All Board Meetings are open to Members of the Co-operative on request.