Patrick Philip Vernon OBE is a British social commentator and political activist of Jamaican heritage, who works in the voluntary and public sector. He is a former Labour councillor in the London Borough of Hackney. His career has been involved with developing and
managing health and social care services, including mental health, public health, regeneration and employment projects.
Also a film maker and amateur cultural historian, he runs his own social enterprise promoting the history of diverse communities, as founder of Every Generation and the "100 Great Black Britons" campaign. He is also an expert on African and Caribbean genealogy in the UK. He was appointed a Clore Fellow in 2007, an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours for "services to the Reduction of Health Inequalities for Ethnic Minorities", and in 2018 was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Wolverhampton.
Vernon led a successful campaign for 22 June to be recognized annually as Windrush Day, a national day acknowledging the migrant contribution to UK society, which was officially backed by the British government in 2018.
In 2019, he was appointed Associate Director of Communities at the Centre for Ageing Better, a National Lottery Community funded charity looking to improve the lives of those approaching later life.
Sonia has been actively involved in Reach Society since it was founded in 2010. In particular actively volunteering every year for the annual Careers Conferences, where she was involved in registering and directing the attendees and their parents. She is also a key member of the team on the annual Recognition Awards events for honouring exhibitors and volunteer role models.
Sonia Palmer currently works part time as the Mentoring Coordinator Associate for the Amos Bursary Charity. This involves recruiting and training mentors before they are allocated to students on the Amos Bursary Programme. Previously she worked for the Civil Service in the Department of Transport, including DVLA for 20 years. Having volunteered in a local school, she discovered her true calling, and switched to the education sector where she worked for more 20 years.
Extensive, accomplished, cross-sectoral expertise in comprehensive change programmes and project management, including policy implementation and roll out. Responsible for systems development (tool kit and blueprint) and facilitation for Vaccine Confidence Dialogues on behalf of NHS England and NHS Improvement. Provides NHS Trusts, CCGs, Healthwatch and Regeneration Bodies, with community consultations and dialogues among key stakeholders, interest groups and faith communities, in response to COVID public appointments.
Extensive experience in the selection of ministerial and NHS senior leaders (Appointments Commission, Department of Health & Social Care and Ministry of Justice)) including NHS Trust Boards, Strategic Health Bodies, Governing Councils, Expert Panels, Advisory Groups and External Teams. Selected by the Appointments Commission to lead the recruitment and selection process for Healthcare for London Patient & Public Advisory Group (PPAG).
In addition, appointed by NHS London as Chair/Facilitator for PPAG with added responsibility for delivering regular development sessions. Based on the successful PPAG model, asked by NHS London to lead the recruitment process and act as interim Chair and mentor the successor for the Peoples Platform, East London. A request was made by NHS London to lead the recruitment process and Chair (on interim basis) the Patient & Public Involvement Group for the London Clinical Senate.
As a proven skilled facilitator, is personally and professionally committed to equality and inclusion that influences local leadership and management system changes. Has gained the trust and co-operation from frontline teams and directorates within and across sensitive working environments. Responsible for facilitating BME diversity & equality networks and advisory groups on behalf of the Royal College of Nursing, Royal College of Midwives, Imperial College London, St George's University Hospitals NHS Trust, Guy’s & St Thomas’s, and University Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.
Paula has been an active volunteer for Reach Society since it was founded in 2010, and she has led several of the Society’s projects such as being the co-author of virtually all books in the Society’s collection. As the history project manager she has edited the 6 books in the Society’s collection. She is often found on the Society’s stands at inspirational events in Greater London and elsewhere. In addition, she has overseen the quality of the annual Recognition Awards evenings and spearheaded each of the enjoyable raffles.
Paula A. Neil has over 30 years’ experience in the field of social care and training. She has been a service manager, specialising in child care and safeguarding of vulnerable children and young people; a social care practice assessor and a university lecturer. Now in retirement, she plays an active role in a range of Society’s activities.
Dr McClymont has been a supporter of Reach Society’s work to inspire young people and to explore a wide range of topics of importance to the Windrush Nation (also referred to the Black community). Her ongoing willingness to support the Society’s work is highly appreciated.
Dr Velma McClymont is a fifth-time published author, scholar-activist, international speaker; the publishing director of WomanzVue; and the recipient of several honours. Also known as Kate Elizabeth Ernest, she has published four books for children, including Hope Leaves Jamaica (1993), which was selected by Wandsworth Libraries as the Windrush text in schools and libraries in the borough during the 50th Windrush anniversary in 1998.
Her third book, Birds in the Wilderness (1995), tells the story of children coming to England during the Windrush era. To her credit, the book was shortlisted for the Sheffield Children’s Book Award in 1995, and voted “Book of the Year” in Jamaica in 1998. Her fifth book, Little River (2022), is currently enjoying positive reviews on social media.
Glaister has been an active contributor to Reach Society from its founding in 2010 and he was on its leadership team for more than 10 years. In that period he played an active part in the roll out of its annual Careers Conferences in Greater London, and supported a range of other activities. Prior to his involvement in the Society he contributed to voluntary groups such as the African Caribbean Finance Forum or ACFF; the British Caribbean Chamber of Commerce or BCJCC; and Interaction, a group for inspiring young people.
Glaister had a long career in Unilever as a senior member of the team responsible for company secretarial services, which took him to countries in Africa on several occasions. Although he is in retirement, Glaister remains one of the Society’s enduring volunteers, for which the Society is most grateful.
Tony Tiyou is the Founder and CEO of Renewables in Africa, a Clean Energy engineering company and media platform whose mission is to: Bring (Back) Power to Africa.
Tony previously worked for a decade as an engineer and later consultant in several companies in the Automotive and the Renewables Energy sectors where he occupied several key roles.
In 2016, Tony launched Renewables in Africa, RiA a clean energy company whose vision is to turn Africa into a fully electrified continent by 2040 and its mission is to Bring (Back) Power to Africa. RiA first mandate is to raise awareness about Renewable Energy across the continent and the globe, and its second is to provide clean energy solutions to businesses. RiA has a footprint in Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Mozambique and Benin, and a widening network in other countries and regions.
Tony is a regular technical expert making appearances in various Renewables Energy programmes on the BBC, Sky News and has also featured on the US broadcasting Stations VOA and Emerald Planet TV. Tony has also contributed to various prestigious outlets like, LSE Blog, The Exporter or Forbes Afrique.
Tony is the author of ‘The Wind Industry Outlook in Africa’, released in November 2017. Tony has won multiple Awards which include:
African Leadership Impact Investing,
Nominated as one of the 50 Top Influential African & Afro-Caribbean Leaders in the UK 2018, and
TOP 100 most influential, impactful and successful African business leaders, entrepreneurs and professionals in the UK by the African Business Chamber in 2023.