The Druglink Team and our Trustees
Useful contacts from the Druglink Team
derek heath - chief executive
Derek started working within Supported Housing over 18 years ago. He began as a trainee Support worker at a large hostel in central London and was soon promoted to a drug and alcohol worker specialist. His first managerial role came after 12 months when he was asked to manage a 10 bed third stage house for clients completing Residential Rehabilitation. After five years at Irish Centre Housing, he became an Operations Manager for English Churches Housing Group, managing two services supporting sex workers and clients with varying alcohol and drug and complex mental health needs. When funding was removed for both services Derek took on a new challenge, developing and managing a new 25 bed hostel for armed forces veterans. After three years building up the service, he recognised that he still had unfinished business with his first love, developing alcohol and drug services, and the opportunity to work for a small and innovative charity like Druglink was too hard to resist. Derek has been at Druglink for seven years, in which time he has developed and overseen the Oxygen Recovery pathway, along with being responsible for the strategic management of all the services we deliver.
Director of Business Development
T: 01442 800 917
Director of Care and Support
T: 01442 800 923
Other useful contacts
T: 01442 800 918
T: 01442 275 880
T: 01442 800 911
Our Board of Trustees are volunteers responsible for making sure the charity is running well and doing what it was set up to do. They often meet with the Leadership Team and other members of staff.
David Swarbrick (Chair) - Trustee since 2011
David began work in 1977 as a toxicologist within the Pharmaceutical industry. After two years he moved into clinical research and then obtained a number of different positions within the industry leading eventually to the position of Vice-President, Europe with ConvaTec. On leaving ConvaTec he became a partner in a small Marketing/ Public Relations company in Wokingham. David retired in 2010 and in 2013 graduated from the Open University with an honours degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. He first became involved with charitable activities in 1999 when he became a trustee with the Swan Youth Project in Berkhamsted (of which he is currently still Chair). In 2011 he became a trustee for Druglink, and in 2014 was asked to assume a part-time executive role.
Padraig Dowd - Trustee since 2016
Padraig is a chartered accountant by profession and retired a few years ago from a long career in business. He joined as a Trustee early 2016 and wants to contribute to the sustainability and growth of Druglink to ensure that it continues its valuable work to impact the lives of many people, both now and in the future.
Kevin Cohen - Trustee since 2017
After leaving school at 16 Kevin was determined to experience the ‘real world’. He joined an established firm in the city as an office junior leading to a very successful career as a financial Money broker. His career has been built on strong relationships developed with clients and colleagues over a sustained period of mergers and acquisitions.
Ray Knowles - Trustee since 2018
After leaving Liverpool university with a BSc Hons in biology, Ray trained as an Accountant with Arthur Andersen then moved into the pharmaceutical industry with Searle/Monsanto. He worked on the client side in various roles from Product manager to Managing Director. Ray set up a communications and advertising group specialising in the medical and Healthcare sectors which he sold in 1995. He has since worked as a consultant and mentor to the industry as well as setting up a mezzanine investment fund for property developers. More relevantly to Druglink he currently owns and lets a number of properties in the South East.
Rosemary Farmer - Trustee since 2011
Rosemary worked for 25 years in London both as an investment and corporate commercial banker. In 1999 she set up as a consultant working with economic development agencies in the UK and US. She later made a career move to work as Research and Information Officer, Drugs & Alcohol for Joint Commissioning (Joint Hertfordshire County Council and NHS Services), while also writing annual needs assessments in respect of drug and alcohol misuse treatment. In 2009 Rosemary retired to concentrate on public and voluntary services. She is currently serving as the Mayor of St Albans City and District, and has served as Harpenden Town Mayor three times. She is an appointed governor of the Herts Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust and is a member of The Harpenden Trust Care Fund Committee.
Geoff Rose - Trustee since 2017
Geoff is an experienced CEO within the pharmaceutical and private healthcare Industry, with additional expertise as Chair of large complex organisations in the Public and Third sectors. In all his roles, Geoff has held a passion for being user focused and improving the quality and design of health and social care services for vulnerable and disadvantaged people. He was appointed by the CQC in October 2013 as a Special advisor in the field of mental health and learning disability. Geoff was Chair of Dimensions UK, and Chair of Harrow NHS Primary Care Trust. He has worked on the Boards of a number of other NHS Trusts and most recently joined West London Mental Health NHS Trust.
Rachael Evans - Trustee since 2019
Rachael has worked in a variety of policy roles in the voluntary and statutory sectors. After completing a Masters in Human Rights Law, Rachael moved to Spain to work for a woman's rights organisation and teach, before returning to the UK, where she began working in the drug and alcohol sector. Rachael now works as a civil servant, and remains dedicated to working to improve the lives of the most vulnerable in society - and the support and services provided to them.