The Heart of England Forest’s board of trustees
Overseeing the day-to-day running of the Heart of England Forest falls to CEO Beth Brook and her team, but behind the scenes the task of helping to guide and advance our founder’s vision for the charity is the responsibility of our board of trustees under the Chairmanship of broadcaster Jon Snow.
Currently numbering seven trustees, recent additions to the board have seen it bolstered by three newcomers, each bringing a broad range of experience and all dedicated to ensuring that the Heart of England Forest continues the phenomenal progress it has achieved since its inception some 20 years ago.
International education and development specialist Desmond Bermingham divides his time between his home in Warwickshire, and London. Having held senior leadership roles in the UK government’s Department for International Development, the World Bank and Save the Children International, he is also a trustee of Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Chair of the Justice Institute Guyana and Director of the Greenheart Trust, which supports environment projects in Guyana, South America.
Of his new role, Desmond says “I am inspired by the tremendous vision of Felix Dennis and the Heart of England Forest to create a new home for trees, wildlife and local communities to enjoy. Trees are the lungs of the planet and form a critical part of the international effort to mitigate the impact of climate change and protect our environment for future generations.”
Also joining the board is professional fundraiser Nicky Corbishley. Based a few miles down the road, just outside Stratford-upon-Avon, Nicky and her family regularly enjoy roaming the Forest (the English oak is one of her favourite trees) and she professes to a passion for the great outdoors and the environment. Currently, Nicky is fundraising for the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon, where she is responsible for securing almost £2m annually alongside the company’s ongoing capital project fundraising requirements. Prior to this role, Nicky was Development Director at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney, where she secured the funding to build the Australian PlantBank – a science and research facility housing the country’s largest seedbank and research laboratories, specialising in the conservation of Australian native plant species.
A professional fundraiser for over 20 years, Nicky has been responsible for raising over £45m. She also sits on the fundraising committee for Coventry City of Culture 2021 and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Speaking about her latest role, she says “I love trees and am completely committed to realising Felix’s vision of a forest in the Heart of England that my children, and my children’s children, will benefit from and enjoy. I’m excited about the potential of the Forest to inspire and teach young people to care for their environment and feel privileged to be part of an organisation with such an important mission.”
Another trustee who joined the board in February of this year is Steve Price. With a degree in environmental studies, Steve had initially intended to work in conservation, but circumstances led to him spending 10 years at Dennis Publishing, working with our founder, Felix Dennis. He has accrued more than 30 years’ experience in direct marketing, recurring revenues, ecommerce and senior management in the media and publishing sectors.
Steve’s passion for the Heart of England Forest stems from growing up in Solihull and spending many weekends in its surrounding area, with a further love of the countryside fostered by numerous holidays with grandparents in Mid-Wales, walking the woods, picking wild fruit and working on farms. Having experienced the passion and drive behind the early years of the Heart of England Forest charity, he now aims to use his experience to help ensure that it achieves all its goals, saying “I believe that the Forest is something of real value for everyone now but, most importantly, for future generations both locally and nationally.”
The entire Heart of England Forest team extends a warm welcome to our new trustees, and we look forward to benefitting from their expertise for many years to come.