meet the team

STAFF & TRUSTEES

Diana Sterck

CEO

Diana is a Chartered Marketer with over 20 year's experience working in public/private sector partnerships. She has been Chief Executive of Merton Chamber of Commerce since 2001 and is co-Chair of Merton’s Sustainable Communities and Transport theme group and the Economic Wellbeing Group. She has a passion for supporting local communities working together for a better environment, and is a lover of trees, plants, gardens and all things “green”!

 

e: diana@sustainablemerton.org

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Rachael Edwards

Community Champions Project Manager & Volunteer Coordinator

Rachael is a passionate environmental social scientist and a frequent visitor to Merton’s many beautiful green spaces. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Planning exploring cultural diversity in the use of public open space and has previously completed degrees in Conservation and Biodiversity (MSc) and Biology (BSc). Through her work and research,

 

Rachael aims to improve community wellbeing and environmental health by promoting sustainable behaviour change and fostering a connection to nature.

e: rachael@sustainablemerton.org

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Inger Larsen

Community Gardening Training Coordinator

Inger joined Sustainable Merton in the summer of 2021 and is very happy to be involved with their Community Gardens. With a degree in ‘Management of Natural Recourses’ from the ‘Norwegian University of Life Sciences’ and working as a part-time teaching assistant in a secondary school, she is very keen on everything that grows and how we can thrive and grow together in a sustainable way.

Two of her favourite activities are spending time at her local allotment and riding her bicycle.

e: inger@sustainablemerton.org

Sue McGhie

Treasurer

Sue is a Merton resident with over 40 years experience in finance. She has been a founder and board member of a number of community-based organisations. Her interests include travel, gardening, food preserving, sewing and stained glass. She and her husband are eco-conscious and are very interested in the welfare and rich history of the River Wandle, which runs behind their home.

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Ben Cuddon

Chair of Trustees

Ben is a teacher and climate change educator. After studying History (Edinburgh) and then Middle Eastern Studies (Harvard), he did a PGCE at Cambridge University to become a history teacher. He taught in London schools for two years before setting up Climate Ed, a charity delivering specialist climate education to children. He is a trained facilitator with Carbon Conversations, a carbon reduction scheme. He is also a board director of the Surefoot Effect Community Interest Company and a Community Champion with Sustainable Merton.

Juliet Boyd

Trustee

Juliet is a retired consultant anaesthetist and palliative care doctor. She joined Transition Town Wimbledon in 2009 and became chairman in 2011. This organisation merged with Sustainable Merton in 2013.She campaigns on the links between climate change and health. She coordinates the Wimbledon Churches green group which promotes the Christian responsibility for sustainability.

Gillian Leigh

Trustee

Gillian is a retired doctor who worked part time while bringing up her twin sons. She started a club for mothers of twins and is author of a self-help book All About Twins. She did voluntary work for Home Start Merton, Sustrans Cycling Campaign and the Medical Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons. She has a BA degree in Fine Art and is on the steering group of the Phipps Bridge Community Garden Project.

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Blanca Peña-Méndez

Trustee

Blanca has a background in Communications and PR having experience in a number of industries, most recently as a Communications Manager within Insurance. Trained Journalist, previously she worked for the media in the UK, France and Spain. Blanca has post graduate studies in Economics and International relationships. She also speaks Spanish and French. Blanca is married and has two daughters. She enjoys practicing yoga and meditation regularly and she's a keen cook.

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James Webb

Deputy Chair of Trustees

James studied Built and Natural Environments at UWE, Bristol, studying geographic, environmental and heritage related topics. James has worked in a wide range of organisations, most recently in tourism marketing for VisitBritain, and prior to this for membership bodies and charities, including Ramblers, Britain's walking charity. His personal interests include travel, nature and the environment, reading and walking. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and has lived in Merton since 2011.

Amy Coyne

Communications & Office Coordinator

Amy joined Sustainable Merton in 2013 as an office volunteer, and later that year took on the role of Office Administrator. She now works with the team to coordinate the charity's growing communications channels, and is proud to support the volunteers who are the heart of the organisation.

 

Amy enjoys long walks on Merton's commons and wishes to explore more of the UK's beautiful landscapes.

 

e: amy@sustainablemerton.org

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Jackie Ford

Community Fridge Coordinator

Jackie joined the Sustainable Merton team in 2020 as a Community Champion. Her experience volunteering at the Phipps Bridge garden and Community Fridge has inspired her passion for projects that create fair, local and less wasteful food systems.

Jackie enjoys spending time in nature, learning to forage and grow delicious veggies. Never shying away from a challenge to put good use to surplus food, she loves trying out recipes to preserve, ferment and batch cook! Jackie also enjoys music, knitting and cycling around London.

e: jackie@sustainablemerton.org

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Ellie Smallshaw

Projects & Campaigns Coordinator and Green Coffee Coordinator

Ellie started her journey as a Community Champion for Sustainable Merton and has since joined the team as Projects and Campaigns Coordinator. She has a degree in Geography and has recently become an associate member of IEMA (The Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment).

 

Ellie is passionate about raising awareness of environmental issues with individuals and businesses within our community, inspiring collaborative action at all levels to mitigate the impacts we have on our environment.

 

e: ellie@sustainablemerton.org

e: greencoffee@sustainablemerton.org

Tom Walsh

Community Ambassador

Tom was trained in applied biology before becoming a green activist first with the Green Party and then as a co-founder of Sustainable Merton. He has always believed in the vital role we all have in helping to solve the problems of climate change and the role of grassroots organisations like SM reflects this.

 

Tom is married to Wendy and has two grown up children, Ben and Katie.

Ruth Baber

Secretary to Trustees

Ruth took voluntary redundancy from university administration in 2005.  She is on the steering group of the Phipps Bridge Community Garden Project. She has recently completed an MSc in Environmental Management at Birkbeck College.

 

Ruth plays the viola in the Wandsworth Symphony Orchestra.

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Luisella Lazzarino

Trustee

Luisella trained as an architect and has 20 years’ experience in the UK and abroad as a planning and design manager and company director. She currently dedicates her time and efforts on raising awareness of the impact of climate change on the environment. She is active in her immediate community, trying to trigger change one step at a time. She volunteers as a Sustainable Merton Community Champion and promotes eco-friendly activities within her local school (WPPS Planet Team) and local families (SW London mums go green). She has been a Merton resident for the past seven years and enjoys the borough’s magnificent green spaces and helps preserve them by campaigning and personally cleaning them up with her daughter on regular litter picking walks.  

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Alan Maries

Trustee

Alan has a background in construction materials research and environmental management of major road and rail projects, with a particular interest in sustainability. He has lived in Wimbledon for nearly 40 years, and became involved in local issues through membership of local residents’ associations, the Wimbledon Society and the Green Coffee network, using his professional experience in assessing the impacts of local planning developments. He has also participated in launching the Wimbledon Town Neighbourhood Forum, believing strongly in the need for individuals to help shape the future of their immediate localities.

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Alysha Randall

Treasurer Trustee

Alysha is a qualified accountant with over 20 years experience.  She is currently working as a Portfolio CFO, working with many small businesses as well as training future Finance Directors.  
She has been campaigning for the environment, saving forests & reducing waste for decades.  Alysha moved to Merton 5 years ago with her family.  She enjoys cycling locally, yoga and cooking.

“Sustainable Merton brings together very passionate individuals. It's exciting to be able to work with the Trustees board to help look after the group that does so much for the local environment and our residents”