Senior Leadership Team

Around 200 people work for Halifax Opportunities Trust, the vast majority are women and the vast majority are in front-line positions delivering projects and services in the community every day. We’re proud to be a Living Wage Employer and a Mindful Employer.

Our Senior Leadership Team oversees the way the Trust operates, developing strategy and implementing plans to support our charitable objectives. Halifax Opportunities Trust is led by:

Alison Haskins – Chief Executive

Alison has worked at senior level within the voluntary and community sector in Yorkshire since 1999. She was Regional Director of the Scarman Trust for eight years, then Deputy Director of Involve Yorkshire & Humber. Following this role Alison became Chief Executive of Nova Wakefield District. In 2016 she was appointed as Chief Executive of Halifax Opportunities Trust and in 2020 added the role of Chair at Locality, the national membership network supporting local community organisations to be strong and successful.

Originally trained as a fashion designer, Alison set up and ran her own retail and design business after graduating and then spent 6 years living and working in Lesotho and South Africa. During this time she taught in vocational colleges, whilst developing her understanding and passion for politics and social justice. This led her to an MA in International Development and her current career in the not-for-profit sector in the UK.

Janet Graham – Chief Operating Officer

Jan has worked at a senior level within the financial services industry for 30 of her 36 year career. She started working in a branch of Halifax Building Society in Keighley in 1987. She has experience across a range of business areas including Business Strategy, Business Growth, Large People Leadership roles within branches and contact centres, she’s been an Auditor, a Trainer, an Account Manager, led the implementation of multi-million pound change programmes and most recently was responsible for the distribution plan/target for insurance and protection business within a large financial group.

Jan actively wanted to put her commercial acumen into practice within the ‘not for profit’ sector but is primarily driven by ‘making a difference’ and ‘achieving results’ – Doing the right things in the right way is really important to her and operating with integrity, honesty and fairness is paramount. ” As Chief Operating Officer, I think I have a lot to offer in terms of skills and relevant business experience and an aptitude and passion for ‘keeping things simple’”

Sabha Nazar – Finance Lead

Sabha joined the Trust in August 2017 from a career in finance working for employers such as Yorkshire Water and the NHS. She moved into the charitable sector when she took roles with Groundworks and National Day Nurseries. At Halifax Opportunities Trust she manages both the finance and HR teams and works closely with senior staff colleagues and the trustees to ensure excellent strategic and operational financial management. Sabha is an ACCA affiliate and has over 10 years experience of financial management in the charitable and public sectors.

Data Office, Mags

Mags Ciewiertnia – Quality and Systems Lead

Mags has 11 years experience of working in welfare to work sector, supporting business improvements, performance and financial services. Since 2014 her role expanded within Quality Assurance function and fundamentally worked on accountability of business performance and compliance results. She has developed, reviewed and agreed defined measures such as quality and system processes on delivery of number, of DWP and Skills Funding Agency contracts. Mags is now Quality and System Lead for Halifax Opportunities Trust and is responsible for compliance, business system and risk management and she is taking on the role of Data Protection Officer.

Abrar Hussain, Operations Lead

Abrar Hussain – Programmes Lead

In 2002 Abrar joined Halifax Opportunities Trust as a Training Co-ordinator and quickly progressed onto becoming a Training Manager. As Training Manager he helped to establish and develop the training arm of the Trust. He then progressed on to become the Operations Manager in 2011 for the Trust where he is responsible for delivery of welfare to work, skills and community development contracts and programmes.

Abrar has played an instrumental role in growing and expanding the range of contracts delivered by the Trust around skills, employment and community development, these include those funded by DWP, ESF and Skills Funding Agency.

Caren Parkinson

Caren Parkinson – Children & Families Lead

Caren has worked in partnership with the Trust since commencing in the role as Children’s Centre Manager in 2008, managing Little Stars Children’s Centres at Parkinson Lane & Warley Road and New Road Children’s Centre, employed by CMBC prior to taking a secondment with Halifax Opportunities Trust in 2011 as Area Manager and then securing the role in 2013.

Caren has over 30 years’ experience of working with the child & family, in health, child development, family support and management roles. Since joining the Trust Caren has had a fundamental role in securing of the commissioned Children’s Centre contract and delivery of the service.

Jason Bell

Jason Bell – Business Centres Lead

Jason began working for the Trust in 2009 as Business Manager for the Elsie Whiteley Innovation Centre. Due to rapid growth in the Trust’s activities, his role has expanded since that time to include managing the Hanson Lane Enterprise Centre. Prior to joining the Trust Jason worked in customer service, as a manager for training venues and in various hotels. His current role sees Jason act as first point of contact for visitors and tenants alike in our two very busy business centres as well as overseeing the technical and maintenance requirements of such largescale properties to ensure a consistent and professional standard of operations at both sites.

Faye Gilling – Marketing & Communications Lead

Faye joined the Trust in 2022 to lead marketing and communications. With a degree in Journalism and Broadcasting and ten years’ experience in dedicated in-house marketing roles, Faye has a range of skills and experience to support the Trust, its objectives and aspirations.

Working across all areas of the organisation, Faye leads the marketing team and overall strategy to build awareness of Halifax Opportunities Trust, its positive impact and the opportunities it creates for local people, families, businesses and communities.