We’ve been extremely lucky to get the help of a wide range of people who have their lent professional skills to the project. This has included software developers, former high level civil servants and benefits advisers, graphic designers and the list goes on. Everyone who has help us has helped make a difference to the people we’re here for. Thank you. We love you to bits!

Erin Gilbey, Community Engagement Office (part-time), 2024 – present

 Erin is a freelance producer and writer who has worked in community engagement in Birmingham for four years. As a creative producer at Northfield Arts Forum, she supports community members with food access as well as creative workshops, and as a founder of Windswept Workshops, she produces accessible and inclusive storytelling activities. 

 At Help Close By, Erin supports our charities and volunteers to help to maximise the organisation’s reach into the community. 

Duncan Catterall-Mason,  Co-Founder & Trustee, 2020 – present

A filmmaker and animator by trade, Duncan is well-known amongst his peers for bringing projects to life by combining his problem-solving skills with cutting edge technology. During the Covid-19 crisis and lockdown, he became aware that people were tragically being missed by aid organisations in Spain.

At the same time, he noticed that the UK’s response was heavily fragmented. He realised a simple-to-use app would be the perfect way to help people in need rapidly reach the organisations that were best placed and most able to help them.

Duncan heads up the local Birmingham group as well as designing the User Interface and has presented to a wide range of organisations during his time with Help Close By. His other responsiblities include bid writing, treasurer, data analytics, data mapping and even the odd animation or cartoon to promote the charity.

Leah Harvey, Trustee 2022 – present

Leah has strong record of volunteering for food and community causes. Running with Good Gym, Leah helped at homeless shelters, did litter picks, cleared spaces. During lockdown Leah worked on the Potato Project that prevented food wasted and supported struggling farmers and community kitchens. 

Her work with Slow Food and the food network in Birmingham opened her eyes to issues around food. Leah became a delivery volunteer with Help Close By in 2021 and a year later became a trustee. Leah has interest in fundraising and food collections strategies.

Naomi Robson, Trustee 2023 – present

Naomi is the Assistant Director of Finance and Head of Financial Planning & Analysis at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She originally trained as a chartered accountant at Deloitte, where she focused on the charity and non-profit sector. She then worked in the financial services sector, before moving to the LSE in 2015.

Anjali Parshotam, Trustee 2023 – present

Anjali is a secondary school teacher, tutor and has been a volunteer with our local delivery group in Ladywood since October 2021 and has also been active in fundraising and volunteer recruitment.

Indi Sidhu, Trustee 2023 – present

Indi has worked in the Birmingham for the last sixteen years as a Chartered Surveyor. As well being a trustee at Help Close By he is also an Honorary Vice President at Birchfield Harriers Athletics Club. Last year he was a volunteer at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Outside of work and volunteering Indi, follows Leicester City and is a fan of live music.

Rashida Gandhi, Trustee 2024 – present

Rashida is a secondary school teacher of 20 years, tutor, parent governor and volunteer. She has joined HCB in September 2023 and leading the new Bordesley Green food delivery efforts.

App Development:

Penny Bamborough, Co-Founder & Volunteer Full-Stack Developer 2020 – present

Penny’s experience in developing complex location-based software and systems has been crucial in bringing the Help Close By app and software to life.

Her career has spanned a vast array of software applications, and she currently builds systems at the cutting edge of cloud computing, machine learning and virtual reality. Penny is CTO and founder of Penny built our app on a voluntary basis, an enormous effort which we are continually grateful for. Penny is only this far down the page out of respect for her privacy and is pivotal to the organisation.


Former trustees:

 Olly Armstrong, Trustee 2023 – 20224

Olly Armstrong has worked at the intersection of community, class, faith and climate for over 2 decades. Olly set up Northfield Food Service during lockdown in response to the free school meals crisis in 2021. He was a councillor for Northfield ward and argued for the Right to Food.

He is currently one of the directors and founders of a climate justice organisation working across the uk. Olly is passionate about putting power in the hands of the people and acting together for change in our communities.


Wendy Sale, Founding Trustee 2020 – January 2023

Wendy has dedicated the past ten years to working with vulnerable members of the community, working for Citizen’s Advice Bureau and then as a Benefits Adviser for Hertfordshire County Council’s Macmillan project.

She has seen first-hand the challenges faced by cancer patients, people with disabilities, and mental health clients, and her unique understanding helps ensure the team is entirely user focused. Wendy has lead of safe guarding in addition to her trustee role.

John McCombs, Founding Trustee 2020-2022

A former senior central government project manager, John brought his considerable experience in fundraising, community engagement, and managing high-stake central government projects to the project in its first years.

He is also a trustee of the Liverpool Astronomical Society and Chair of Friends of Childwall Woods and Fields.

With huge gratitude to the voluntary efforts of:

  • Fushcia Hutton – for copyrighting and introducing us to translators

  • Stephen Plaster – for our branding

  • Tal Williams – UX tester

  • Charity translators for their translations of the app into Polish, Romanian and modern standard Arabic

  • Incredible Surplus for supplying food for over a year to our Birmingham group

  • Our pathfinder testing charities FoodCycle, The Active Well-being Society and Northfield Food Service (under The Project, Birmingham).

  • Our amazing volunteers who help our every week delivering food parcels in Birmingham

Supported by grants from

Supported by corporate non-profit programmes from

Supported by grants from

Supported by corporate non-profit programmes from

Help Close By is a charity registered in England and Wales.

Registered Charity Number 1190642

Ask for the app near you

Help Close By is a charity registered in England and Wales.

Registered Charity Number 1190642

Ask for the app near you