Our Trustees

Viviane Vayssieres  (Chair of Trustees)

Viviane Vayssieres hails from La Rochelle in France. For thirteen years she was Display Mgr. for Dickins & Jones Harrods Ltd, but it was as the Sales and Marketing Director for James Egleton Ladies Hat Manufacturer that she came to Luton in 1990. She marketed Philip Treacy Accessories Collection worldwide and was an active Board Member of the British Hat Guild for 10 years. Viv was CEO of Experience Bedfordshire, The Tourism Partnership CIC and 
Rett UK Head of Fundraising and Corporate Partnership, she launched Paule Rochelle Sales and Marketing Consultancy in 2009.
Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and a Liveryman of the City of London, she lives in Central Bedfordshire.
Viv joined BLCF in 2017, she was instrumental to the launch of EVOLVE in 2018, a philanthropic initiative for and about Women, derived from the Mark West Fund. She was elected Chair in December 2020. 


Chair of Fund Development Committee
Member of the Finance & Development Committee 



Dr Joan Bailey MBE (Vice Chair of Trustees)

Has over 30 years’ experience of working with young people both as a social worker and youth and community worker. She has engaged in community development work at home, in many European countries and on an International level having lived and worked in the USA and Canada.

Experienced in delivering community projects around youth justice, rights and responsibilities in Bangladesh, India, Ghana and Nigeria, which included training Youth and Community Development Officers tackling crime prevention for over 15 years. During this time she has developed partnerships with statutory services and community to tackle issues at a local level.

MBE for Services to Youth Justice 2010
Luton Community Awards 2016 – Lifetime Achievement Award

Member of the Governance Committee
Head of the DEI Partnership

Grafton Barbour (Company Secretary)

Grafton has lived in Bedfordshire for over 23 years. He is a director of his own company, Hairoun Business Solutions Ltd, deciding to start his own business after working as a Business Relationship Manager at a high street Bank for the last 13 years. He has 15 years Banking experience and more than 10 years Financial Accounting experience. He is very experienced in assisting businesses to acquire funding to grow and expand.

Grafton had previously been a Director and the Chair of an organisation that was set up to offer support, guidance and to work with businesses that have an African and Caribbean link, with the aim of helping them to expand, grow and secure new markets within and outside the UK. 
Grafton has also been involved in teaching Financial Education to individuals and organisations, helping them to manage their finances and have money work for them rather than they just work for money. 
He has been an active sportsman in the local community with regards to football and has played in coach and managed a number of teams locally over the years. He has now retired from playing and managing but is still involved as a referee.
Grafton is also very active in his local Church and is part of the leadership and planning committee set up by the senior pastors as well as being the department head for the Church Outreach department.

Chair of the Finance & Development Committee

Caroline Cook

Caroline is an independent consultant working in the voluntary sector. She was until recently leading the PQASSO work within the Quality Standards team at the national charity NCVO.

Caroline’s consultancy work with charities and social enterprise organisations includes facilitation and support around strategies, new business models, sustainability, diversifying income streams, governance and mentoring support to Chief Execs.

Caroline has worked with all kinds of organisations, having particular experience with women’s organisations, advice agencies and the health and social care sector. She has been the Chief Executive at two charities and has specialist knowledge around volunteer management. Caroline lives in Bedford, having recently returned to her hometown after many years of working in the South West. She enjoys hill walking and sailing.

Chair of the Governance Committee


Tarak Nath Gorai

Tarak joined MavensWood Investments in 2018 as the Operating Partner and is responsible for managing the firm‚ investment activities in the business & financial services sectors. Tarak is currently a Non-Executive Director of Elakkai Food Science Ltd and has a breadth of experience, specialised digital and operational hands-on transformation of private equity investment portfolio companies.

He takes pride in being a brilliant generalist who works with teams of specialists and portfolio CEOs to drive an increase in valuation and exit strategies. He started his corporate consulting career with Accenture and worked for various large Tech companies. He has been instrumental in transformation projects of portfolio companies of American private equity firm Symphony Teleca Group.

Tarak is an MBA Marketing from Banaras Hindu University and an MBA in Finance and Private Equity from Said Business School, University of Oxford, with distinction in Technology Transformation and Corporate Turnaround. A CFA Foundation, Prince 2 Certified practitioner, and currently perusing Insolvency for managing and turnaround of distressed portfolios. Tarak takes a keen interest in the digital, operational and governance improvement of BLCF.

Member of the Fund Development Committee

Bina Briggs

After an 8-year business partnership, Bina is now the solo director of Plain Talking HR. She arrived in the UK as a refugee from Uganda in 1972. Both her general life experiences and a background working in the corporate world have given her a strong foundation for the work she now carries out for her clients, who are in the main small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

She holds a Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development qualification and is commercially experienced in supporting various businesses in industries such as education, aviation, manufacturing, engineering, charities, global merchandising, IT, medical and dental, to name a few. Prior to running Plain Talking HR, she was the Human Resources Manager for London Luton Airport, having worked in the Aviation industry for seventeen years.

She has adapted to and managed change in HR strategies, policies and practices throughout her HR career, working with various stakeholders, during times of rapid growth for their organisations. I take pride in understanding my clients’ issues and support them with practical and pragmatic advice for all their employment matters.

Outside work, I love my family, keeping in touch with extended family scattered around the globe and enjoys travelling.

Member of the Governance Committee

Rory Herbert

Rory is an aspiring governance professional, having recently completed a master’s degree in Corporate Governance and Law. He is currently a Governance Trainee, assisting international businesses wishing to enter the UK market with their company secretarial and governance requirements.

Prior to this, he was awarded an internship sponsored by the Worshipful Company of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators and worked within the company secretarial team of an international conglomerate in Hong Kong.

Though he was born in London, Rory has lived in Dunstable for the majority of his life. During this time he has been an active member of the local community, having worked previously in various libraries across Central Bedfordshire.

Member of the Fund Development Committee
Young Trustees Ambassador

Robert Houslin

Robert lived in North West London for over 30 years before moving to Luton in 2006, after marrying his wife Denice. He worked in business, mainly telecommunications for over 20 years, the last eight years for an International Telecommunications in the City of London, finishing his time there as the International Presales Manager.

In 2005, Robert returned to education gaining a degree in business studies, followed by a PGCE in secondary school education, before working as an A level Business Teacher at a grammar school in Watford, leaving there in 2018, his 2 final years as the lead Business Teacher.

Since 2018, Robert has worked with his wife Denice in their own business, ChangeMaker Training and Resolution Services, delivering private tuition in both Business Studies and Maths, Conflict Resolution Training, Mediation Services and bespoke advice and support for small business owners.

In his spare time, Robert enjoys regular visits to his local gym, and he also leads a small church prayer group that meets every week.

Member of the Finance & Development Committee

Jennie Lascaris

Jennie Lascaris has lived in Luton for over 18 years. She has extensive Human Resources Management experience having worked in both the private and public sectors. She is employed on a part-time basis as HR Manager Europe for a Luton based company and is active in the community by supporting/promoting local projects and events on a voluntary basis; she has embarked on ventures that aim to tackle issues that have an impact on the level of serious youth violence and other matters of importance within the community.
Jennie has previously been involved with the Council’s Community Led Local Development Board, Restorative Justice Services and recently has become a mentor with the Greenhouse Mentoring Project based in Stopsley, which sees young people in Luton empowered to unlock their potential. She also provides advice and guidance as an HR Consultant to companies and individuals on employee relations issues including equality/diversity issues, grievances, redundancies and disciplinaries.

Member of the Governance Committee 

Judith Barker

Judith joined Bedfordshire and Luton Community Foundation in March 2021.  She is the Director of Programmes and Governance at SEMLEP – the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership.  Judith leads the delivery of the £265M Local Growth Fund programme as well as the Getting Building Fund.  She oversees the development of and compliance with SEMLEP Assurance Framework and wider governance.  

She previously worked for the East of England Development Agency as lead on community regeneration, rural and sustainable development issues.  From 2008-2017 she was self-employed and undertook economic development project management roles.

Judith has worked in economic development and programme management for nearly 20 years and previously in housing and community development.  Previously she has been on the Board of 2 housing associations as well as being on pre-school and after school committees and a school Governor.

She lives in Bedfordshire with her husband and three sons.

Member of the Fund Development Committee

Become a BLCF Trustee

BLCF is an independent, non-profit organisation established since 2001. Our aim is to improve the quality of life for local residents through encouraging local giving. Our Trustees play a vital role in the organisation and are the final decision-makers. The Board’s main job is to set direction and have oversight of what’s going on, offer the executive strategy, scrutiny, and support, to the employees. 

To apply to join us, please download the following 3 documents:

1. Trustee Recruitment Advert
2. Trustee Recruitment Policy
3. Trustee Application Pack

We welcome enquiries from prospective Trustees throughout the year. The role encompasses a wide varity of skills, and we are particularly interested in hearing from (but not exclusively to) those with a background in Banking, Business Development, Law, Digital Marketing, Arts and Press Relations.

Closing Date for Applications:

Sunday 21st March 2021
Interviews will be held:
W/C 29th March 2021

To find out more and request an informal chat with our Chair of Trustees please send an email to our administrator here.