The Mustard Tree: Our staff

The Mustard Tree is like the core 'trunk' which supports the branches of each project. At Mustard Tree, we refer to this core as our 'Central Services'. Meet the team...



Katherine has worked in the Reading voluntary sector since 2003 and initially joined the Mustard Tree as Manager of Engage Befriending. She is passionate about increasing wellbeing in our local communities and believes strong partnerships are key to achieving this. She is actively involved in her local church and enjoys connecting with people, including chatting to people at bus stops!

Ali Dent

Central Services Manager

Ali started working at the Mustard Tree not long after its inception in 2004, she’s held a variety of roles, and is now Central Services Manager. “Central Services” is behind the scenes but ensures that Mustard Tree meets it’s legal and contractual obligations and enables Projects to run smoothly. Ali enjoys the variety the role brings and the difference Mustard Tree makes to the “misunderstood” in the local area. Outside of work Ali loves reading, cakes & coffee.


Central Services Coordinator

Mike joined the Mustard Tree in April 2016. His role is to handle some of the behind the scenes admin that is needed to keep things running smoothly. He has a history of assisting local charities in this way, and enjoys working alongside people who are passionate about making a difference to marginalised people within our community. Outside work he is heavily involved in church life at Norcot Mission and also finds time to potter in the garden.


Mick Penson

Chair of Trustees

Mick has been a Mustard Tree Trustee since the beginning, in 2003. He has a passion to see Christian faith worked out in Church, Business and Social Action. Mick also runs an office supplies company in Reading. He is continually inspired by the work of Mustard Tree's incredible staff and volunteers, who transform lives by their work . As a Lover of God, My Family and Fulham Football Club, the first two have taught him what love and faithfulness are all about ... the 3rd has taught him to cope with disappointment and despair!

Richard Wilson


Richard has spent his working career to date in the IT and telecommunications industry, initially in working strategy roles and more recently moving into operational leadership and general management. He specialises in turning strategic intentions into practical action plans for change. He has been treasurer of Caversham Baptist Church since 2009 and has lived in Reading since 2005. He is married to Tamsyn and they have two children.

Tricia Stanley


Tricia became a Mustard Tree Trustee in Autumn 2015, bringing her Finance expertise to the Board. She works for Dimensions - a national charity for people with learning disabilities and autism and lives in Reading, attending Reading Family Church.

Dr John Hawkins


John worked for 33 years for the British Council as a Science Officer, Project Manager, Finance Director and Director for Africa and South Asia. Thirteen years were lived in developing countries. He received an OBE in 2002. John worked in human rights in Nigeria, managed a counselling project in Sierra Leone and was a Magistrate in Berkshire. He has survived armed robbery, rioting and muggings. He is married to June, has two children and six grandchildren.