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Made up of a diverse team of experts and specialists in their fields, the OAPA team is dedicated to making a difference by helping to place those facing or experiencing homelessness into long term, stable employment.
In 2002 after having spent nearly 25 years in corporate life culminating in being an Operations Director Greg started his own Pub business. On the sale of this in 2005 Greg set up Resolution Leisure, a consultancy working in the pub, leisure and hospitality industries. Greg has also worked alongside a leading Corporate Financial Advisory Company and Private Equity with the aim of setting up a hybrid Pub Co.
In 2018 Greg founded Only A Pavement Away, a charity whose purpose was to help the homeless, rough sleepers, ex-offenders and VETs find work in the hospitality industry.
Greg sees the industry as a key component of peoples leisure time and works with various hospitality associations.
Ben is the Founder & CEO of PubLove, a London based pub hostel company. PubLove deliver a unique accommodation experience, genuine hospitality and the buzz of the London food and drink scene on their mission to love pubs back to life.
Ben grew up in hospitality, first in a family run pub, then a hotel in Torquay, so it’s in his bones. He founded PubLove in 2007 using family savings and his credit card. Over the next 10 years Ben grew PubLove to 6 London locations. In 2017 PubLove became a managed partner of the EI Group (formerly Enterprise Inns). This partnership provides PubLove with the investment and new site opportunities to help deliver its vision of creating a National Pub Hostel brand.
Along side growing PubLove, Ben is a husband, a father of two, a mentor, an investor and a keen supporter of the hospitality industry.
Tony Sophoclides is Director of Communications for UKHospitality, a trade association formed in early 2018 by the merger of the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers and British Hospitality Association.
A public affairs and media specialist, Tony has a strong background in consultancy, as well as having worked for more than eight years in Parliament and a spell on Capitol Hill, Washington DC. He was previously a researcher for a number of backbench MPs and political adviser to Rt Hon John Prescott MP in both opposition and government.
Tony has a MA (Hons) Distinction in Diplomatic Studies and a BA(Hons) in Politics, Philosophy and Economics. He is father of two adult daughters. He enjoys live music but his own attempts to play the guitar and double bass are yet to attract a paying audience.
Dulal has over 20 years’ experience supporting vulnerable and disadvantaged people to progress and achieve their goals. The last 12 years have been specifically supporting people into employment.
Dulal is currently Employment Services Manager at Crisis and has been involved with OAPA from the onset and brings his experience and knowledge of the sector to the project.
Matt works in the London and Oxfordshire offices, advising a diverse portfolio of clients. He has a wealth of experience providing compliance and advisory services to the hospitality and charity sectors. Matt’s approach is to work closely with clients to understand their organisation, history, aims and ambitions to deliver advice and solutions that add value to their operations and guide their future development.
Matt started his career at Wellers as a trainee accountant in the Oxford office in 1999. He gained the ACA qualification in 2004 and went on to become a partner at the firm 7 years later. Today, he also acts in the role of Finance Director for Wellers.
In his spare time Matt has a passion for music, both listening and performing, and is a keen golfer.
Paul’s career spans over 30 years in hospitality & leisure with FTSE businesses such as Whitbread, JD Wetherspoon & Punch Taverns.
He is an Exec / C-suite leader with expertise in growth, turnaround, & business sale, exit in Private Equity & Plc’s.
Paul drives business performance & profitability to unlock value & deliver sustainable commercial success. He has a record of creating innovative strategies & a winning culture that engages staff to exceed expectations
Paul delivers award winning customer service in B2B & B2C multi-site consumer facing businesses.
Paul’s roles have predominantly focussed on the strategic operation of the business to deliver the financial & people plan across all channels, Recently, an increasing emphasis has been on longer-term strategy & business sale/exit.
With extensive experience leading & inspiring cross-functional teams he has achieved outstanding results & has coached numerous individuals to realise their full potential
As a consultant, he has worked with FTSE businesses in the hospitality & leisure sector & several business start-ups in retail & digital.
Paul is an advocate of diversity & inclusion & proactively supports & develops talent. His interests include the Plan B Mentoring Program, committed to the development of women to progress in their careers, he is a Non Exec Director at The BIIAB, the BII’s awarding body & he is a School Governor at LVS Oxford, a special needs school which is part of The Licensed Trade Charity group.
Andy joined The Restaurant Group as Chief Executive Officer on 1st August 2019. Andy is an experienced company Chief Executive, with strong consumer and digital credentials. He was previously Co Chief Operating Officer of GVC Holdings PLC (“GVC”). After joining Gala Coral in 2011, he was successively Chief Executive of Coral, Chief Operating Officer of Gala Coral, Chief Operating Officer of Ladbrokes Coral (following the merger with Ladbrokes in 2016) and Co Chief Operating Officer of GVC (following the purchase by GVC in 2018).
Prior to joining Gala Coral, Andy was Group Chief Executive of Alliance Boots from 2009 to 2011, having previously held positions as Chief Executive of Halifax Retail, CEO of the Retail Division of HBOS plc, Chief Operating Officer of HBOS plc and then Chief Executive of HBOS plc from 2006 to the end of 2008. Earlier in his career Andy held a range of roles at Asda, the supermarket retailer, including Retail Managing Director and Managing Director of ‘George’ clothing.
Fiona Eastwood is Chief Operating Officer of Merlin’s Midway attractions encompassing 100+ sites in 22 countries across existing estate, new openings and franchise operations.
Fiona was previously Managing Director, Midway Attractions a role to which Fiona was appointed in 2019, following a period as Managing Director, Resort Theme Parks. In 2015, Fiona joined Merlin as Global Marketing Director, Midway Attractions, responsible for driving all aspects of brand strategy and marketing across a global portfolio of Midway brands.
Prior to Merlin Fiona was at BBC Worldwide, where she was responsible for strategic planning, brand management, market research, ancillary revenues and branded partnerships across Nordics, CEMA, Asia and Latin America. Previously, she held roles as Managing Director, Consumer Products and Commercial Director for one of the BBC’s biggest international brands, Doctor Who.
Mollie is currently the Deputy Group General Counsel for the Ocado Group having joined in May 2021.
Mollie is an experienced General Counsel and Company Secretary having worked in a broad variety of roles in fast moving consumer goods and professional services.
Mollie qualified as a lawyer at the law firm Slaughter and May and spent a number of years practising as a corporate lawyer in the City before making the move in-house and taking on executive level roles at Suntory Beverage and Food Europe (including as General Counsel and Company Secretary of Lucozade Ribena Suntory and the Director of Business Development for Suntory Beverage and Food Europe) and latterly at the DWF Group, the largest listed global law firm, as Group General Counsel and Company Secretary.
Mollie is an advocate of diversity and inclusion, mentors a number of women across multiple industries and was the executive sponsor for gender at DWF working with its board to ensure meaningful diversity and inclusion measures were instituted throughout the business.
Amy lives in NW London and loves meeting new people both through work, socially and through her travels. She left her last role as Senior Key Account Manager at an airline as she wanted a change of career direction. Amy took the opportunity to take some time out and travelled to Central America. She spent this time taking in the sights, improving her ‘Spanglish’ and trying the local cuisine.
Amy has worked in relationship focussed roles for the past eight years within the travel industry. Her current role at Only a Pavement Away is as a Relationship Manager. One of the main objectives of her role it to strengthen the relationships OAPA have with our employer and charity partners. Amy has also worked as a waitress and bar person previously, and loves the hospitality industry. Amy says, “I am absolutely delighted to have joined Only a Pavement Away and I am excited to contribute and build upon the success that OAPA has already achieved.”
Dolores has worked in the hospitality industry in London and abroad for many years and decided to leave her last position as a General Manager to join the charity sector. Over the years, she has volunteered for different organisations with her most recent experience as a First Aider. Her new role as a Relationship Manager is the perfect opportunity to strengthen the link between hospitality and the community. Dolores is thrilled to have joined the Only A Pavement Away team, where she will continue to maintain strong relationship with employers and charity partners.
When the first lockdown was announced, Dolores found herself blocked in a tiny island in the middle of the Caribbean and had no choice but to learn how to fish. On more regular times, she enjoys roller skating, playing bass and looking for new restaurants to try.
Since they started their new role, Amy and Dolores have launched the’ Covid Resource Hub’ to support hospitality workers affected by the current pandemic. They are now working on a Traineeship program to help those looking for work via our charity partners to upskill and gain hospitality work experience.
James Hacon is the Managing Director at THINK Hospitality and a respected investor, consultant and commentator in the restaurant sector.
His experience stretches working with more than 50 brands in 14 countries, from Michelin starred outlets to International hotel chains, casual dining groups to start-up takeaway concepts.
He is one of the worlds most prominent hospitality speakers, regularly traveling across the world appearing at conferences inspiring audiences and sharing his unique insights.
Paul is the founder of Hill Capital Partners LLP, through which he carries out private investment and advisory roles across the leisure and hospitality sectors.
He is currently an investor in and sits on the Boards as Chairman/NED of a number of leisure businesses – including in the hospitality sector Hawksmoor, Blacklock, Vinoteca, The Alchemist, Tortilla, Gusto, Hickory’s and Yard Sale Pizza.
Paul supports these businesses in brand development and expansion, as well as corporate and financial strategy. At the start of his career he qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Price Waterhouse.
Dawn is the Founder, Co owner & Director of Hospitality Jobs UK, a Hospitality online advertising Job Board advertising job opportunities across the UK.
Additionally, Dawn is the founder and CEO of H&R Recruitment, a recruitment agency providing both Temporary & Permanent staff for the Hospitality & Retail industries.
With over 27 years’ experience within the recruitment industry and has held “Head of Recruitment” positions for FTSE 100 companies; Dawn is known as one of the leading recruitment industry experts and regularly speaks at conferences, schools & universities. She is also an advisor to the industry on “anything” recruitment and enjoys being actively involved in judging industry awards.
Katy has 20 years experience in business development, research and consultancy roles. She started off at The Daily Express where she sold ad space and got yelled at by Richard Desmond, moving on through recruitment and into research and consultancy 10 years ago. Katy is passionate about pubs and bars (and not just about being in them) and small format retail.
In retail, Katy has run research programmes for some of the biggest names in FMCG including Heineken, P&G, Diageo and Heinz. She has also worked consultatively with – and created and delivered research programmes to – most major retailers including The Co-operative, Waitrose and McColl’s. She hasn’t had a complaint yet.
In the ontrade, Katy has worked with pub and bar companies as a consultant since what seems like the dawn of time, and run bespoke and syndicated research programmes for both pub companies and ontrade suppliers such as Punch, Enterprise, St Austell, Shepherd Neame, First Drinks, and Carlsberg. They all seemed to like what she did too.
In her spare time, Katy can be found exploring new pubs, bars and restaurants around London, dancing the night away at gigs and partying in fields at festivals. However, she starts every day with a gym session and once in a while she visits a museum to balance it all out.
Karen is an experienced Charity Officer with over 26 years’ experience working in the charity sector with extensive knowledge and understanding of both operational and executive management as well as fundraising and marketing.
Throughout her career, Karen’s roles have evolved but always included fundraising, sponsorship & events alongside Marketing & PR. She has developed sponsorship rights packages for major events, developed existing and new long term corporate partnerships, created and managed key fundraising events and has extensive experience in the development and improvement of key marketing communications channels. Karen has an extensive professional network through managing relationships with long term corporate partners, government and sector leaders.
During 10 years as CEO of a national disability charity, the charity’s income doubled to support the growth and development of the organisation achieving key increases in both participation and awareness. One of the most significant achievements during this time was working with a government PR & lobbying agency to secure a first time £2 Million central government grant and in addition, securing long term funding from Sport England, again a first in the history of the organisation, to support the charity’s strategic growth targets and develop new clubs across England.
Karen says, “I have a genuine passion for carrying out worthwhile work that supports a charity’s development to make positive and long-term changes to society. I am delighted to become an Advisor for Only A Pavement Away and looking forward to supporting the Charity through the early stages of its development and beyond”
Lina is the Founding Director of Cafecito Ltd, a boutique Customer Experience Agency on a mission to ‘perk up’ brands by focusing on all stages of the customer journey.
With over 10 years experience in account management, marketing and business development, a multilingual background (Spanish, English, French) and an MBA in marketing behind her, Lina prides herself on offering unique breadth and depth of CX advisory services to clients.
Lina’s latest role was managing the membership of the UK’s leading trade association in Hospitality – UKHospitality – giving her the opportunity to meet and work with some of the industry’s most influential leaders from both operator and supplier sides.
Her specialisms include: research, customer profiling, service & platform design, customer communications and marketing (multimedia production, social media management), relationship management and support centre optimisation.
Lina starts her weekdays with 6am session at the Foundry, where she likes to flip 160kg tyres, push a 190kg prowler and carry 45kg sandbags to offset her love for a cold pint of Guinness, whiskey and all food.
Sarah’s hospitality career spans almost 20 years and has seen her cover many different roles across learning and development, recruitment, operations and marketing. Sarah’s early career focussed mainly on late night, wet-led venues and in more recent years on restaurants and co-working facilities. Sarah received her MA marketing in 2014, and is extremely passionate about the hospitality industry.
Sarah is also an enthusiastic volunteer, and volunteers for a variety of organisations, writing about her experiences on www.thevolunteeridea.com.
“I am thrilled to join the OAPA team as an Armed Forces Veteran Advisor in support of veterans and ex-offenders who have fallen on hard times and are sleeping rough on the streets. I come from a humble background, and realise that many less fortunate than myself would be able to transform their lives if the opportunity arose. By linking OAPA with the hospitality industry, Greg, Gill and the OAPA team are giving homeless veterans some hope and a chance to turn their lives around and believe in themselves once more. This is something that I am passionate about; especially in giving a little back to those in their time of greatest need who have served their country and have given so much.”
Major Scotty Mills joined the Royal Marines in 1987, his early service included operational tours in Northern Ireland, Norway, Mediterranean, the Caribbean and Iraq with 40 Commando. After training as a Physical Training Instructor, he swiftly sub-specialised and attained distinction on the Exercise Rehabilitation Instructor course at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court.
Following on, he was selected for a Queen’s Commission as Royal Marines Officer, as well as achieving a 1st Class BSc (Hons) Degree in Sports Rehabilitation and Psych out of St Mary’s University. On promotion to Captain in 2007 he deployed to Afghanistan on Operation Herrick with 3 Commando Brigade RM.
Captain Mills had the privilege of being selected as Lead RN Officer as Olympic Flag Bearer at the London 2012 Olympic Games. As a lead RM Officer for Performance and Leadership, he led youth development, corporate leadership and culture change programmes across a broad remit that led to the development of several new influence streams in the City of London.
Following Staff College at Shrivenham and his selection for promotion to Major he was appointed as Officer Commanding Hasler Company leading the multi-disciplinary care and recovery of the most complex, seriously injured and long-term ill members of the Corps. This privileged role has seen him lead a dynamic high profile multi-disciplinary team that provides optimal care to our battle injured Royal Marines across the multitude of recovery strands including mental health conditions within the Naval Service Recovery Pathway spectrum.
As Officer Commanding Commando Training Wing at Lympstone he was responsible for training 600 raw recruits, which was the followed by his last appointment as Head of Performance and Sport for the entire Corps of 6500 Royal Marines.
He is also closely linked to several wider service charities as an ambassador for The Royal Marines Charity, Care after Combat, Commando 999 and the Poppy Appeal. He passionately pursues the Olympic legacy and has led multiple elite sporting and corporate organisations to success such as the England Football Team, Team GB Olympic Teams, GB Gymnastics, UK Sport and many others. His real passion revolves around working alongside people and teams across business, industry, sports and youth development programmes so that they can reach their potential through inspiration, leadership, culture, identity and team cohesion.
Scotty also has deep experience across several other associated streams of activity such as leadership development, recruitment, programme management, logistics, change management, risk, communications, governance, policy, financial management, charity support and marketing.
In 2017 Major Mills achieved a 5-year goal and led a team of Royal Marines to the Marathon 26.2 miles Speed March World Record beating the 19-year old previous mark by some 2½ mins. He was also presented The National 2018 Sun Military Award for ‘Inspiring Others’ by his good friend the England Football manager Mr Gareth Southgate OBE.
Major Mills left the Royal Marines in 2019 after 32 years of passionate and dedicated service having deployed to over 80 countries around the world. He will continue his life’s work with a vision to ‘Inspire Others’ to achieve their impossible dreams.
Steven has led the British Institute of Innkeeping as CEO since March 2020 just as the pandemic struck. He and his team aim to inspire, develop and support their over 9000 members through a wide range of services, in particular providing clear and actionable information alongside expert advice to help their members rebuild their businesses in the months ahead. As the leading professional membership organisation for individuals in licensed hospitality, the BII is passionate about supporting people at the heart of great pubs. Steven’s background is leading technology businesses, most recently in hospitality, for nearly 30 years. He continues to train for the postponed Pedalling For Pubs challenge which will support OAPA as one of the key charities.
‘The Only A Pavement AWAY Team do an outstanding job of supporting some of the most vulnerable in our society. They successfully bring together goodwill and commitment across hospitality in delivering such important work. I am very proud to join their team as an Adviser.’
Tom Aikens is one of the UK’s most acclaimed and inspirational British chefs. With a father working in the wine industry and a childhood mostly spent gardening and cooking with his mother, Tom put food and the use of the finest ingredients at the centre of his life from a very early age.
His remarkable career took him to David Cavalier’s in Battersea, Pierre Koffmann’s La Tante Claire, Joel Robuchon in Paris, Gerard Boyere’s in Riems and Pied-à-Terre to name a few. It was at the latter that Tom became the youngest British chef ever to be awarded two Michelin stars, aged just 26. Tom remained at Pied-à-Terre for five years, then going on to open his immensely successful eponymous restaurant, Tom Aikens.
2003-2014: Tom launched his first ever fine dining restaurant, Tom Aikens, which won a Michelin star and rising 2 star in 2009.
2015: Tom launched a new sharing concept, Pots, Pans & Boards, in Dubai.
2018: Tom successfully launched 3 restaurants called Market, The Oak Room and Alba Terrace in the New Edition Hotel, Abu Dhabi which is a ground-breaking hotel concept brought by Ian Schrager, in collaboration with Marriott International.
2020: The most recent addition to Tom’s portfolio is Muse, a cosy 25-seater renovated mews house in Belgravia. Muse provides a unique and intimate dining journey, offering each and every guest a kitchen table experience from either the kitchen counter or table side. The culmination of many years spent searching for the perfect location, Tom has finally found his new home. Muse is set to be the pinnacle of Tom’s career thus far, where the food, interiors and service comes together to provide a magical and memorable atmosphere for all who dine there.
This restaurant is very close to Tom’s heart, drawing on pivotal relationships, experiences and influences which have led him to this point in his life. Tom draws on inspiration from poignant memories of his early childhood and professional path throughout the years, when creating the seasonal, stripped-back tasting menu. Signature dishes spotlight one key ingredient or element per dish, allowing it to tell a story through minimal, yet expertly selected produce.
2021: Tom is opening in in Doha in the 1st quarter of 2021, in the sports museum by Qatar Museums, which is attached to the National stadium and it will be a full on activity and learning centre as well as having two F&B outlets, which he is running both. One for a café and deli and the other a premium casual concept, with both of these revolving around wellness and healthy eating.
Tom has written three books; Cooking (2006), Fish (2008), and Easy (2011)
Tom and has made several appearances on television, reaching the final banquet of 2013’s Great British Menu on BBC2 in aid of Comic Relief, and is a regular guest on Great British Menu as a Judge and Great British Bake Off’s The Extra Slice.
Charity and Support Work: Tom is dedicated to serving only the highest quality, ethically sourced ingredients and continually supports The Environmental Justice Foundation to raise awareness of illegal ‘pirate’ fishing and diminishing fish stocks. He also works closely with various charities including: The Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Campaign, Royal Marsden Cancer Campaign and School Food Matters, where he teaches young children basic cooking skills. Most recently, Tom has become an ambassador for the homeless charity Only A Pavement Away helping to launch the Hospitality Against Homelessness campaign. The charities aim is to rehouse members of the homeless community and place them back into work within the hospitality industry.
Outside of work:
Tom is an avid sportsman and has a great passion for cycling. He has entered races including the Marmotte, Luc Alphand and the Etape de Tour up Mount Ventoux. In addition to participating in several London Marathons, he also completed the Marathon des Sables in 2010, running six marathons across the Sahara Desert in five days to raise money for Facing Africa. In 2012, Tom was selected as a Torch Bearer for the London Olympics and carried the Olympic Torch through the streets of Chelsea.
Emma Osman, first started performing aged 14 when she got a role with the Boston Operatic Society in the Buddy Holly Story playing Lavern Baker. She then went on to further her education in performing arts at Lincoln College and from there to East 15 School of Acting. During her time there she performed as Ode Mae Brown with Pick Me Up Theatre and Titania in a Midsummer Nights Dream in a site specific performance with Nightshade Productions. During her three years at East 15 she played roles such as Othello and Portugal in Nadia Falls play Home in which Emma’s interest for telling stories centred around those that needed to be heard most began.
Her screen work includes Carly Reynolds on BBC’s Doctors and Beth Ayres on Little islands production of Snatch. Since graduating she has done workshops with the Almeda Theatre for their production of Burning down the house which raised awareness for the LGBTQI BAME community and C Jay Rangers adaptation of Hibo Warders book Cut one woman’s story of surviving FGM & being a refugee. Her latest work includes Kay Mellor’s Theatre production of Band of Gold, where Emma Played Carol.
Emma volunteers for the Girls Network and through this organisation Emma inspires young women, who may otherwise never have access to such a powerful role model to pursue their dreams in the arts and any other subject they are passionate about. She has spoken at numerous schools and facilities such as JP Morgan.
As an actor and performer Emma has the utmost integrity and is unwilling to engage with any works which do not uphold her strong moral values. Emma is a qualified fitness instructor and has a keen interest in many types of therapy, which she believes should be accessible to everyone.
Emma says, “I'm proud to be joining OAPA’s mission as I believe real change comes from people believing in themselves and developing new life skills. "Give a man a fish he eats for a day, teach him how to fish he eats for a lifetime".