Our Petrus Trustees

The Board of Trustees are responsible for the overall governance and strategic direction of Petrus

Petrus Trustee Paul Roberts

Paul Roberts

Chair of Trustees

Paul joined as Chair of our Trustees Board in August 2021. Paul was a member of the Executive Team at The Guinness Partnership for 8 years including roles as Managing Director Guinness Northern Counties and Executive Director.

He has had a varied career across the private and third sectors. He was Finance Director for a youth education company which provided him not only with exposure to the third sector, and charities in particular, but also valuable experience of the creation of a finance function from scratch. He has also worked in Finance and Information Technology at Kelloggs, a small/medium enterprise in the aerospace industry and British Gas.

As a chartered management accountant, Paul is an experienced Finance professional and business leader with significant strategic experience across business sectors and has a track record of delivering business performance and implementing business change through successful teams.

Andrew Underdown

Andrew Underdown

Andrew became involved with Petrus in the 1980s as a local authority councillor in Rochdale and later has served as Trustee since 2011. He worked within the probation service from 1974 to 2010, holding operational and senior management roles, first in Rochdale and later across the North West region, bringing awareness and experience of many issues linked to homelessness. His wider interests and volunteer involvement include environmental conservation and outdoor activities.

Collette Banton

Collette Banton

Collette has been a Petrus Trustee for over eight years, before this she served as a member of the advisory committee for 25 years.

She has a track record within the Public and Voluntary sectors and worked for 30 years for the Local Authority in the homelessness field. Collette had several roles over this period including front line advice officer, later managing this service. She later became responsible for the development, implementation and monitoring of the single person’s homelessness strategy for the borough.

This entailed working closely with a range of voluntary sector partners, colleagues within the authority and developing RSLs; all the strategic targets were met.

In her last role with the authority she was responsible for the development of service user involvement within the Supporting People program. This involved developing a structure for consultation and involvement from a range of client groups and resulted in service user representation on the strategic development board.

After retiring Collette continued to work with the service users and the group became a registered charity.

Patrick Culkin

Patrick Culkin

Patrick studied biology at university before deciding on a career in social work.  Pat spent all but 4 years of his career in the Great Manchester Probation Service, initially as a probation officer but the vast majority of his time was spent in middle and senior management roles.  Pat was also an inspector of services.  Pat has extensive experience of working in partnership at both operational and strategic levels and had a leading role in developing the performance management framework of GMPS.

The 4 years Pat spent outside of the probation service he worked for Family Services Units, a voluntary agency working with families facing a multitude of complex challenges and issues.

Since retiring Pat has resumed his interest in natural sciences, and is actively involved in the Rochdale Field Naturalists’ Society and is a keen cyclist and walker.

Elvet Smith (Trustee)

Elvet Smith

Elvet has been a Petrus Trustee since retiring as a Consultant Physician in the Rochdale and Bury NHS, having met people who had gained great support from the charity. He is also a member of Rochdale Rotary Club, who has supported Petrus with donations of money, food and clothing for many years.

He has been a link with the local medical and professional community, has helped to increase volunteers in our former Petrus Store, and has encouraged the local health service to refer the homeless to the Petrus Hub. Elvet is the editor of the Petrus newsletter and provides up to date information on events and project development.

His NHS work included the setting up of rehabilitation units for the younger disabled, stroke and rheumatic sufferers. He has an extensive knowledge of the medical and social consequences of living on the streets and is a reference point for service user health problems and health and safety issues.

Elvet enjoys his Trustee role, especially since being part of The Regenda Group gives even more opportunities to expand Petrus' services.

Petrus Trustee Dr Michael R. Birkett

Dr Michael R. Birkett

Michael Birkett, BSc (Hons), MBA, MSC, DSocSci, FCIH is the Group Chief Executive of The Regenda Group and holds a number of Non Executive roles with different organisations.

Before joining Regenda, Michael spent eight years as Chief Executive of The Calico Group and earlier and has held senior roles at The Aspire Group and Liverpool Housing Action Trust.