Our team

Who we are

King's Arms Project Team

The objectives of King’s Arms Project are delivered by a lively and passionate team, committed to making a positive difference in the lives of people we come in contact with. Our culture is solution focused, person centred, and we are very much a family! The team consists of people from diverse backgrounds and cultures, bringing their own life experiences and professional qualifications both as volunteers and paid employees.

Staff team

Kirstie Cook

Chief Executive Officer

Kirstie has been the CEO of King’s Arms Project since January 2021, having previously served as trustee for the charity from March 2009 until June 2020. She brings a passion and a desire to see the lonely and excluded brought into community, bring hope and restoration to broken lives and speak out on behalf of the defenceless. Motivated by her Christian faith, Kirstie brings considerable experience and skills to this role following 15 years working in criminal justice and 3 years serving on the leadership team of Kings Arms Church. She is particularly interested in exploring creative new ways to prevent the cycle of homelessness by tackling its root causes.

When she is not working, Kirstie enjoys time with her family, walking her crazy spaniel, running the occasional marathon and cheering on West Ham United.

Sarah Blakey

Director of Services

Sarah is a qualified Social Worker and has spent many years working in Youth Offending teams. She has worked for King’s Arms Project at different times in its history as a Support Worker and Outreach Worker as well as developing mentoring and prison leavers outreach. Sarah is passionate about bringing hope to individuals and seeing lives changed.

Sarah loves the outdoors, walking and kayaking are a few of her favourites. She grew up on a farm and hopes to start beekeeping later on this year. Sarah loves baking and keeping fit along with travelling. Fun fact: Sarah has slept in a jungle, and eaten piranha!

 

Matt Croxon

Head of Operations

Matt is responsible for oversight of the Operations functions across King’s Arms Project. After working in the Public, Private and Charity sector for over 20 years, Matt joined the staff team here in order to be a part of something that is changing lives in Bedford.

 

Joe Beaty

Accommodation Manager

Joe oversees the Supported Accommodation team and has been part of King’s Arms Project for several years. His knowledge of homelessness support comes from his experience in various roles, including outreach work and hostel support for clients with complex needs. Joe focuses on service growth and enhancement. Continually seeking to improve the supported accommodation we provide.

He is passionate about developing ways to help those most marginalised and has piloted King’s Arms Project’s No Recourse Accommodation. 

Pip Bloom

Pathways Manager

Pip has nine years experience working with this population as well as seven years working in clinical rehabilitation settings.  Pip combines these experiences to provide a holistic & collaborative approach to developing and facilitating progressive community.  A place to belong and thrive from underpins how Pathways operates.

Pip loves the Norfolk coast, good coffee and long walks with her dog Red.

Hannah Joy

Refugee & Migrant Services Manager

Hannah oversees our services for refugees and migrants (including our ESOL and Support Teams). She is passionate about working in a person-centred and trauma-informed manner, supporting people to realise their potential and live empowered lives. She strives to help those with complex immigration cases to access excellent legal advice, as well as carefully considering people’s overall wellbeing. She loves to work cross culturally and appreciates that every person has an important story to tell.

She has worked with refugees and migrants both in the UK and Turkey since 2015. Hannah is OISC Level 1 registered in Immigration; Asylum and Protection and has a degree in Psychosocial Studies.

Stuart McCaw

Fundraising Manager

Stuart has been involved with charity fundraising for the last 9 years and has joined with the goal of bringing stakeholders closer to the amazing work taking place here at King’s Arms Project. In his career so far, he has worked in different elements of fundraising at different charities, including working in F2F (facetoface), Major Donor management, corporate fundraising, and Legacy and Gift in Wills.

In his free time, he enjoys sports and fitness, long romantic walks to the fridge and studying Theology.

 

Laura McCulloch

Refugee & Migrant Services Support - Team Leader

Laura oversees the amazing Refugee & Migrant Services Support Team. Laura is passionate about advocating for the rights of migrants and refugees. She strongly believes that everyone should be treated with dignity. She and a team of caseworkers assist those with complex immigration situations to access legal advice as well as providing holistic support.

Laura has a degree in Arabic and Middle East Studies from the University of St Andrews. Prior to working with the King’s Arms Project, Laura was based in Iraq working for an NGO.Laura is OISC Level 1 registered in Immigration and Asylum and Protection. She has recently passed her exam with OISC in Level 2 Asylum and Protection! 

Tim Leese

ESOL - Team Leader

Tim has been working in charity programme management since 2001 and oversees our English training programme for refugees and migrants. He worked in Central Asia for 8 years and enjoys learning languages and travelling. He loves finding creative ways for refugees and migrants to develop their language and work skills so that they can be well-integrated members of UK society.
He is especially committed to helping refugees and migrants to overcome the challenge of social isolation as they adapt to living in the UK.

What the team say...

It's been a privilege to see many of our clients with no recourse to public funds go from literally having nothing to be in secure housing with an income, a hope and a future.

Noah
Outreach Team

The thing I love most about working for KAP is the team that I am in and how everyone looks out for each other, I love that we can pray together as a team when we feel like we have exhausted all visible options and we then see answers.

I have worked closely with one resident who has really struggled with both his physical and mental health since the first day I met him but has recently been prescribed the correct medication finally. He said he  'felt the most hope he had felt in over a year about his future' and was making jokes which he hadn't done before and looked like a new man!

Josh
Accommodation Team

Many of those I and my team work with have been through serious trauma both in their home countries and in the UK. Being able to bring hope to them by providing practical and emotional support is a huge privilege. 

Welcoming a new family from Syria has been wonderful. As their support worker I went to meet them at the airport. Journeying with them as they adjust to life in the UK has been an absolute joy.

Laura
Refugee and Migrant Services Team

It is such an amazing thing to be part of this team and make a real difference in people's lives.  It is really rewarding when we support vulnerable clients and see their difficult situation change to the better.

Amged
Refugee and Migrant Services Team

Trustee team

Vanessa Williams-Lipski

Chair of trustees

Nigel Taylor

Trustee

Matthew Burge

Trustee

Samantha Roach

Trustee

Volunteers & experts

As well as our paid staff and Trustees, King’s Arms Project benefits from the support of a wide range of volunteers and the regular input of experts by experience – those who we have helped in the past who now help us shape the future.

 

Experts by experience 

At King’s Arms Project we consider ourselves to be one big family. Whether you are a paid member of staff or someone attending one of our language classes we recognise everyone has something to offer and experience which may help others. As such we actively seek to have experts by experience bringing their insight and opinions to who we employ, how we shape our activities and who we work with.