THE Birmingham Botanical Gardens has welcomed eight new Trustees as it looks forward to a new chapter in its 189-year history.
The registered charity, which is based in Westbourne Road, Edgbaston, has appointed Trustees with a wide variety of expertise who will help to lead the organisation, which is one of the country’s most important botanical gardens.
James Wheeler, chief executive of the Gardens, said:
“It’s wonderful to welcome these eight new Trustees who will support the Gardens over the next few years as we work to fulfil our obligations of conserving and safeguarding this amazing green space in the city.
“We have exciting plans for the future and it’s wonderful to see so many talented people who want to play a leading role in the work we do.”
The eight Trustees are:
Fiona Taylor – chief executive officer of Garden Organic, a charity that brings together thousands of people who believe organic growing is essential for a healthy and sustainable world. Her background is in communications and campaigning, in particular, championing the UN Sustainable Development Goals covering issues such as fuel poverty, urban greening, deforestation and conservation.
Pamela Smith – a horticulturalist with more than 35 years of experience in public parks, botanic and historic gardens and is a former director of Winterbourne, vice-chair of PlantNetwork and CABE Space scholar. She is the National Trust’s senior advisor on gardens, parklands, horticulture and garden history.
Robyn McAllister – the head of major giving at the national youth charity Street League. She has previously worked for organisations including Girlguiding and Phoenix Futures and specialises in high-value fundraising. A new Birmingham resident, she was previously co-chair of Trustees of a local mental health charity.
Aikta Varma – the group financial controller at West Bromwich Building Society. She is a chartered accountant with 15 years of experience, having qualified at KPMG where she spent 10 years predominantly auditing financial services clients.
Lanre Lawal-Fatukasi – senior legal counsel at HSBC UK Bank plc. A practising solicitor with more than 16 years of experience, her previous roles include sole legal counsel at Wesleyan Assurance Society and managing counsel at Nationwide Building Society. Lanre is also a Governor at Bleakhouse Primary School.
Rob Macpherson – marketing, communications and brand strategy expert, Rob has run the Impakt consultancy, a sister company of web designers Substrakt, since 2019. He formerly led marketing, communications and fundraising for subsidised and commercial touring at the Birmingham Hippodrome and led an extensive community programme. Recent arts, education and charity clients include The Royal Court; Leicester Haymarket; CORE Education Trust; Dance Woking, and Birmingham Ormiston Academy.
Heidi Leung – a senior education advisor for FFT Education Ltd, a leading non-profit organisation. A key part of her advisor role is to ensure she keeps abreast of national education changes and their impact on school improvement strategies. Heidi also serves as a Trustee for a West Midlands-based multi-academy trust.
Diana Wardle – Diana is a chartered accountant with many years of experience running the finance departments of various companies in the private and voluntary sectors. Her role at the Gardens is Company Secretary.
Birmingham Botanical Gardens, which first opened to the public in 1832, is a 15-acre oasis just one mile from the city centre and set within a Conservation Area. It has more than 7,000 formally documented plants and is the largest and most diverse botanic collection in central England.
As well as the gardens, the charity also provides a unique educational resource and welcomes visits from nurseries up to colleges, as well as uniformed groups and adult learners. It receives no regular public funding and relies on public donations, grants and other income it can generate.