Chris Smith - Chair

chrisChris Smith was bought up in Birmingham and after training to be a teacher in Liverpool, he returned to the city to begin his teaching career in Birmingham primary schools in 1976. The vast majority of Chris's teaching career was spent working within the community of Handsworth, teaching in three Handsworth primary schools – Wattville Junior School (1981), James Watt Junior School (1985) and Welford Primary School (1991). Chris was Head Teacher of Welford for 22 years up to his retirement in 2012. Chris continues to support Birmingham primary schools in the capacity as a part time Educational Consultant.

Chris has a lifelong interest in sport, an interest he still actively pursues within the Birmingham primary school sporting community. He is currently Chairman of Birmingham Primary Schools Football Association, Aston Primary Schools Football Association and Birmingham Primary Schools Athletics Association. He is also Vice Chair of the charity, Birmingham Children's Community Venture, which seeks to give children opportunities for residential experiences outside of Birmingham.

Chris is highly committed to celebrating Birmingham's cultural diversity and it is for this reason that be became a trustee of Legacy West Midlands.

Carol Lyndon - Treasurer

carolCarol was educated at King Edward’s Grammar School for Girls in Handsworth. She grew up in Handsworth and still lives’ locally. She trained at the Bordesley College of Education in Birmingham for a Certificate in Education to become a teacher.

She obtained her first teaching job at Lozells Primary School in September 1970, where she spent 15 very happy years. She became a deputy head at Cromwell Primary School in Nechells in 1985 and stayed there until 1989. She obtained my first headship at Sundridge Primary School which she fought to rebuild. In 1995 she got her second headship at Kings Rise primary school in Kingstanding, where she served until retirement in 2005.

She is involved in several regional, national and international charities. This includes Childline and Gandhigram Children’s home in Tamil Nadu. She is the chair of African Space Trust, where she is leading a project to help rebuild a medical facility in Itete, in Tanzania.

She has been involved with Legacy WM from its inception as the Secretary and now Treasurer. She believes they are doing invaluable work to record the diverse histories of people of the West Midlands.

 Gary Bowman - Vice Chair

garyGary Bowman has been closely involved with local communities and partnerships in the West Midlands for over 25 years. His work started through voluntary work with young people in Ladywood in the early 1980s, where he learnt the enormous impact of poverty and exclusion on the lives and promise of young people. He left a promising career in industry in 1986 to pursue a life and career working with local communities. He has always worked in areas of high social need, including Ladywood, Newtown, Aston, Burton on Trent, and for the last 11 years in Sandwell.

He is deeply committed to helping people improve their quality of life and the opportunities available to them. His achievements demonstrate that commitment: they include leading Sandwell's Local Strategic Partnership from 2001-2011, during which time Sandwell benefitted from huge reductions in crime and anti-social behaviour and improved educational attainment; leading on a major private/public voluntary sector initiative to get 1000 young people in to work, training and work experience in the aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis, leading transformational regeneration programmes in Birmingham and Burton in the 1990s. Gary is very strong on strategy and policy development, and uses his knowledge and expertise to improve partnership working, build capacity and to support local enterprise in the Voluntary and Community Sector to attract resources. He is currently Service Manager for Area Working at Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, responsible for a range of services working directly with local people to improve quality of life and encourage local community involvement and leadership through local management of initiatives and facilities.

 Jesse Gerald -Trustee

Jesse Gerald

Jesse was born and raised in Aston and attended several schools within the area in his formative years. He obtained his honorary degree in Psychology and Public Policy at Coventry University having returned to education in his twenties.

Jesse worked for Birmingham City Council for 29 years in varied positions, from voluntary to senior management, supporting the community. Since retiring from the Council, he has pursued one of his passions of empowering and enabling others by setting up his own business; The 3Es Ltd, which is a training organisation. The 3Es is currently working in partnership with Birmingham City Council and the Police and Crime Commission delivering aprogramme in schools –the ‘Journey to Employment’.

Jesse is committed to helping others to be the best they can be. He likes order and discipline, and uses these to methodically accomplish whatever goals he has set for himself and for others. He has a strong sense of obligation and has a single-minded commitment to the assigned task.

Jesse is the ofChairSimmer Down. In addition, he is a professional photographer specialising in weddings, corporate and black tie events.

 Deborah Broomfield - Trustee


Deborah is a baby of the Windrush generation and the youngest of 3 children. She was one of the first generation born in the UK of descendants of migrants from the Jamaica. Deborah’s family have extensive roots in Handsworth with her mum who was a community midwife in Handsworth. Deborah grew up in Handsworth and continues to live in the area and is committed to the areas development.

Deborah qualified with a degree BCU in Human Resources in 2010 and has had senior jobs in the local authority. She has also worked on the Equalities Act 2010 with Equality Advisory and Support Services. Her other roles includes advocacy, tutoring and project management.

Deborah is passionate about older women returning to the work force and is a blogger for the Huffington Post. She is committed to Legacy WM as it champions wellbeing, heritage of migrant groups.

 Shawkat Chowdhury

 Shawkat ChowdhuryShawkat Chowdhury is the Deputy Head of Al-Hijrah school in Birmingham.  Prior to this he was a Deputy Head at an international school in Jordan for two years.  During his time in Jordan he was able to support agencies working within the largest refugee camps in the world, providing food and clothing.  He has extensive exposure to breaking down barriers to learning in deprived areas. He is the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL), at Al-Hijrah with in depth understanding of child protection.  He is the DSL for Legacy WM.
He attended primary school in Aston and later moved to Handsworth, he continues to live nearby.  He studied LLB law at Coventry University and then pursued a career in teaching, attaining his PGCE in primary education from Birmingham City University.  
Shawkat has worked in the community in a voluntary capacity with Saathi House, BYF, Asian Resource Centre and Lozells Strikers Football Club.  He is passionate for the development of the area. He is dedicated to supporting the wellbeing of local people and improving community cohesion.
He has a love for sports, especially football which he continues to play within the Legacy 35 + five a side league.

Professor Carl Chinn MBE FRSA F.Birm.Soc. Ph.D. – Patron

prof carl chinnCarl is Professor of Community History and Director of the Birmingham Lives project at the University of Birmingham. A social historian with a national profile, he is also a broadcaster, newspaper columnist, public speaker, writer, charity fundraiser and campaigner for the rights of working-class people and the recognition of the importance of manufacturing. Professor Chinn is the author of 29 books that include studies of working-class housing, urban working class life, working-class women's lives, manufacturing, Birmingham, the Black Country, and ethnic minorities.


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