Meet our people

service with a smile

The Team

Panikos Panayiotou

Panikos is responsible for overseeing the day to day activities of UCAN and ensuring the smooth running of the operation. Panikos is the founder of the organisation and acts as a relationship manager between Birmingham City Council and the Charity.

Dr Mervyn Jakody

Mervyn is responsible for the collection of data and statistics to support any prospective funding applications and feasibility studies in which UCAN supports pre funding. His work is based on a bottom up approach and co-production of projects and initiatives.

Angela Kumah

Angela is currently a PhD researcher at Birmingham City University. Her current research is focused on improving culturally sensitive mental health promotion interventions at the community level, especially among BAME groups in Birmingham. Angela is also assigned to UCAN for 25% of her course in which she is supporting the charity re the community mobile health outreach scheme as part of the This Is My City initiative.

Dawn Carr

Dawn leads the Community Outreach support team. Dawn is a Level 3 Fitness Coach and is also qualified to do exercise referral for mental health and diabetes. She is currently undertaking a MRes and researching the impact of social prescribing and its implementation at a local level. She has a proven track record of leading and developing projects focused on black and minority ethnic (BME) groups at local and national level.

Xenia Karayiannis

SeventyOne Media are a boutique public relations agency, based in the heart of Birmingham. Since its inception in 2018, they have represented clients from the worlds of consumer, lifestyle and creative industries. Services encompass securing press and media coverage, features, content marketing, copywriting, social media, launch campaigns, celebrity and talent publicity, brand partnerships and influencer campaigns. SeventyOne Media are committed to getting brands in front of the right audience and cultivating long lasting relationships with clients.

For all press and media enquiries relating to This Is My City please contact Xenia Karayiannis at Seventyone Media.

The Board

With the aim of strengthening and growing communities and tackling disadvantage across Birmingham, a team of twelve trustees oversee the operation and provide the combined skills and experience to successfully reach UCAN’s goals and objectives.

Mark Jeffers

Mark is the Director of Sport and Physical Activity at Birmingham City University (BCU) where he has been since 2017. He has worked in sport and education for over 25 years with a specialist area of talent development and coaching. Mark is still an active coach and coaches the English Universities Women’s Rugby 7s team. Mark has had Non-Executive Director experience being a member of the British Equestrian Federation board from 2014 to 2018 and England Squash board from 2018 – present. He is also a member of the English Colleges Rugby board and chairs the BUCS West Midlands committee. Mark also currently chairs the talent and performance group for England Squash and is a member of the performance group for England Lacrosse.

Lincoln Moses

Lincoln’s speciality is the empowerment of socially excluded young people to access local programmes. This will, in turn, lead to enhance employment opportunities and enable young people to become better and more concerned citizens. He is the Chairperson of Holford Drive Sports Hub, Perry Barr and a board member of Sport Birmingham. He holds a wealth of experience in sport and community development work.

Alex Smith

Alex is the partnership development manager at King Edwards School Sports Partnership. Her expertise is in education management and partnership development in the sport education sector. She has been involved with the UCAN for more than 10 years, firstly as a member representing schools in the area, then elected as the chair.

John Smith

John has extensive experience over 23 years on business management. He is the Director of Kitform Promotional Product Ltd and his expertise has contributed to the growth of many community organisations in Birmingham. John is also playing a key role as the Chairman the Moor Lane User Group Association and North Birmingham Celtic Football Club which is one of the largest junior football clubs in Birmingham overseeing 15 junior teams catering for girls and boys football from U7 up to U18.

Aaron Gavey

Aaron is the founder and Managing Director of Trapped Stars CIC located at Holford Drive Community Sports Hub, Perry Barr, Birmingham. The primary aim of Trapped Stars is to tackle the issues faced by marginalised and isolated people living in inner city environments. His passion is empowering others, giving them tools to mature, helping people to help themselves and keen on health, fitness and well-being. He is also the lead Coach, Mentor and Chair of the junior management of Continental Star FC. Aaron is also the Area Coordinator, of Health Exchange CIC since 2016.

Neil De Costa

Trustee Neil has extensive knowledge and experience of working in the health, fitness, sports therapy, local government, sports development, housing, neighbourhoods, charitable, voluntary and community sectors developed over almost 3 decades. Neil is passionate about community development, corporate social responsibility and empowering others to improve themselves. He is professionally driven and excellent at capacity building, partnership working and translating policy and strategy into practical outcomes for the benefit of citizens

Herman Wilson

Having started as a professional footballer, Herman has always been at the forefront of youth development. Doncaster is still reaping the rewards of his youth policy that was implemented between 1990 and 1994. While working as the Birmingham City Council’s Basketball Development Officer, Herman’s achievements have been numerous and far-reaching. Key to all of Herman Wilson delivery was his mentoring support that as encourages and motivates young people to succeed. He is the director of Birmingham Positive Impact Mentoring organisation.

Avtar Dhillon

Avtar is the Account Manager at CAPITA Birmingham Ltd of Birmingham City Council (previous Service Birmingham) which provides world-class information and communications technology (ICT) systems. His expertise is project portfolio management, project management, financial management and IT strategy. He is the current Chairman of Shere Punjab Football Club which was formed in 1988 by local youths from Handsworth area of Birmingham.

Councillor Morriam Jan

Cllr Morriam Jan has been a ward Councillor of Perry Barr Ward since May 2017. She joined the UCAN board in July 2018 and she has a wealth of experience in community development work and tackling local community issues. In the past, as a schoolteacher, she has been a successful mentor for 11 to 17-year olds who have been permanently excluded from mainstream schools. Her expertise includes helping homeless people and helping them to progress on skill development, training and education, employment, and making a difference to young people’s lives.

Keith Stokes Smith

A widely experienced business executive, with a Corporate legal/administrative and Accountancy background, able to provide sound and effective support to the Corporate infrastructure so as to achieve more cost effective/efficient solutions and thus smooth the path to allowing the Operational team to more ably deliver its growth, revenue and profit targets. Expertise across a range of disciplines and skill areas including Corporate Governance, Corporate Law, Management Accounts and Finance, Share Schemes, Pensions, Intellectual Property, Retail Law, Property Management, Insurance, planning, focus, anticipating and resolving problems, juggling priorities and communication.
A registered charity. Delivering a range of different projects across all sectors, UCAN’s goal focuses on making life in the City more inclusive and hospitable for existing residents in parallel with establishing an attractive destination for tourists ahead of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

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