Bishop Toby Howarth
Toby Howarth is Bishop of Bradford. Toby brings to the board his experience of working nationally on inter religious affairs and a deep commitment to work to discover how we can live together differently and well. One of his priorities in his role as Bishop of Bradford is to seek to impact on cohesion and so engagement with The Linking Network is part of this work.
Stephanie Longson is Head of the Ethnic Diversity Service, Stockport Council, which is a specialist service that works in partnership with schools to support children and young people with English as an additional language, and helps schools to create inclusive learning environments. She is also a trustee and the current Chair of the Northern Association of Support Services for Equality and Achievement (NASSEA).
Denise Poole has a background in adult education and community development. A priest and school governor, living and working in Bradford, she has been instrumental in setting up and supporting a range of projects in multicultural, multi-faith areas, addressing poverty, community fragmentation and exclusion. She is a trustee of Near Neighbours and is committed to deepening associations between people.
Wahida Shaffi lives in Bradford and has over 20 years’ experience of working with diverse communities from across the UK.
She is a qualified Social Worker, Vocational Assessor and Trainer and author of the book Our Stories Our Lives: Inspiring Muslim Women’s Voices, published by Policy Press.
She completed her MA in international politics and security studies at the University of Bradford’s Department of Peace Studies. Since then she has gone on to facilitate, deliver training, curate stories, complete research, develop, direct and manage programmes and produce films on a wide range of issues related to equality, diversity, participation, gender, conflict and interfaith both locally, nationally and internationally including in Sri-Lanka, Israel, Palestine, Syria, Turkey, Romania and Pakistan with particular focus on gender and young people.
Before becoming the national Director of the Catalyst Programme (Church Urban Fund) focusing on young people based in London, she was the West Yorkshire Coordinator for Near Neighbours where she oversaw Grants and Catalyst Programmes in the North of England and the Midlands. She has also held the position of Director hope National Women’s Programme Lead for the Christian Muslim Forum; pioneering their national women’s programme, conducting research & exploring the issues affecting women of faith across the UK.
She is currently finalising the last phase of her Travel Fellowship exploring faith inspired peace building initiatives in India, Pakistan and Nepal and working on a freelance basis.