The Board of Caritas Westminster is a sub-committee of the Westminster Roman Catholic Diocese Trustee (WRCDT) and its members are a combination of WRCDT Directors and independent members who support the vision and mission of Caritas Westminster.
Bishop Paul McAleenan, Chair
Bishop Paul is an Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster and Titular Bishop of Mercia, with pastoral care of the deaneries of Hertfordshire. He also has oversight of all matters concerning Ethnic Chaplaincies, Hospital Chaplaincies and the work of the Permanent Diaconate. In the Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Paul is Lead Bishop for Migrants and Refugees and Racial Justice issues.
Our Leadership Team
Richard Harries, Director
As Director of Caritas Westminster, Richard oversees the growth and development of this social action agency.
Richard has a background both in the civil service and the voluntary sector and has experience in research into social action and faith, having been the Director of the Institute for Community Studies. He joined Caritas Westminster in September 2023.
Karen joined Bakhita House having spent 31 years working with traumatised victims as a Metropolitan Police Officer. In 1985, she became a specialist trained officer in dealing with victims of sexual crime, and later Karen was instrumental in the creation of Sapphire, a unit which at the time investigated serious sexual offences. Since 2010, Karen has worked closely with the Church in supporting victims of trafficking. This highly successful partnership has culminated in the opening of Bakhita House in June 2015.
Michelle joined the Deaf Service in 2006, and loves the varied nature of her work. The Deaf Service holds regular signed Masses, organises pilgrimages in the UK and abroad, and provides access to the sacraments in British Sign Language. Michelle also works with people who are Deafblind and Hard of Hearing. In 2014, Michelle qualified as a Registered Sign Language interpreter.
Since 2019, Meriel has led the Caritas Development Team and Volunteer Service which supports parishes, schools and projects in the Diocese of Westminster to create inclusive and caring communities, and to put Catholic social teaching into practice. Prior to this she held a similar role in the Diocese of Salford. Meriel is a Fellow of the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, and volunteers with Prison Advice and Care Trust (PACT). She has over 25 years of experience in social welfare projects and corporate sector areas in supply chain.
Nikki Dhillon Keane
Nikki is a counsellor who has worked for the Diocese of Westminster for nearly 25 years. She is fluent in British Sign Language and initially worked with the Deaf Service, where she started Signs of Hope Deaf Counselling Service. Since 2021 she has also been developing Safe in Faith, working with domestic abuse, gender based violence and trauma. Outside of the Church, Nikki works in private practice, as a therapist, clinical supervisor, trainer and consultant on gender based violence and trauma informed care.
Before joining the team at Seeds Hub in 2019 Kathy worked for Oxfam for eight years in multiple roles, starting as second-hand book shop manager. Most recently, she was the Future Skills Project and Training coordinator for London, working with over 100 women to develop their skills, confidence and work experience through volunteering, workshops and coaching sessions. Kathy has as BA in English and American Literature from Manchester University and is a trained Samaritans volunteer.
Gail is the Head of St Joseph’s in Hendon, a lifelong learning centre for over 200 adults with intellectual disabilities. Motivated by her love of sharing her faith, Gail trained as a catechist for people with intellectual disabilities and volunteered in her parish until 2010, when she became an outreach co-ordinator for the Diocese of Westminster. She strives to create a place where her students feel they belong, and where they can find friendship, family and love.