Meet our lovely trustees

“Trustees have and must accept ultimate responsibility for directing the affairs of a charity, and ensuring it is solvent, well-run, and delivering the charitable outcomes for the benefit of the public for which it has been set up.” – Charities Commission

In short, the Board of Trustees accept ultimate liability for the affairs and the operations of Christ Church Students’ Union and, as such, must ensure that their level of influence and control is appropriate and sufficient to ensure that this duty is discharged.   The Board is made up of 4 different types of Trustee, up to 5 of which are not students at Christ Church;

  • Sabbatical Trustee – the four full-time elected officers [Jump to Section]
  • Student Trustee – up to two elected and two selected part-time student trustees [Jump to Section]
  • Community Trustee – four trustees who have been selected by the Union to sit on the Board due to their skills, experience and knowledge [Jump to Section]
  • University Trustee – a trustee appointed to sit on the Board by the University, usually the PVC Education & Student Experience post-holder [Jump to Section]

Krum Tashev - Sabbatical Trustee




Biba Chuta - Sabbatical Trustee and Chair of the Board of Trustees

Biba Chuta

Biba grew up in East Grinstead, West Sussex and started her path in Student Representation by becoming Senior prefect at Secondary School.

She came CCCU because of the fantastic teaching opportunities and programmes available and became involved with various sports volunteering opportunities available at the University. Varsity Maker, TrySport Ambassador, then Sports Executive Committee, following as Students’ Union Sport Representative.

Biba was also part of the Athletics Club and became Social Secretary of the Women’s Hockey Club. Further to this she went on to join Women’s Rugby; a sport never played before, but Biba quickly picked up and went on to play for the Canterbury Rugby Football Club Ladies team and then playing for Kent at County level.

President of the Christ Church Women’s Rugby club came and the club went on to win a national award from the Rugby Football Union (RFU) for Student Club of the Year. Later on that year Biba went on to win the Sports Personality of the Year at the Sports Federation Awards Dinner before being elected President (Sports) 2016/17 and 2017/18.

Jordan Howard - Sabbatical Trustee

Jordan grew up in Dartford in Kent and attended Dartford Grammar School for Boys and North West Kent College before coming to CCCU.  He studied a degree in Events Management and was involved in the Students' Union by becoming the Men's Cricket President for 2016/17 and played Men's Hockey as well. 

Before becoming a sabbatical officer Jordan was on the  Board of Trustees and Union Council as an elected student trustee.

Nick Beard - Sabbatical Trustee

Nick Beard

Nick grew up in Kingston, South West London, and graduated with a BA in History from Canterbury Christ Church University in September 2016.

As a student, Nick was passionate about politics, media and events.

Despite minimal engagement with the Students' Union whilst a student, Nick stood for Election and was elected as President (Student Activities) in 2016/17 and 2017/18.

Vanessa Adofo - Elected Student Trustee

Vanessa is currently studying Education Studies, is originally from Kingston upon Thames and went to Holy Cross Roman Catholic Girls School.  Before coming to Christ Church Vanessa took part in the London Youth games for Tag Rugby.

In Vanessa’s previous year at Christ Church she was not involved in the Union at all, but talked about change although never took it upon herself to do anything about it.  This year however, Vanessa jumped right in!  She is a Trustee, an elected member of Union Council and a member of the Diversity, Equality and Liberation committee.  Vanessa can't wait to bring forward thoughts and ideas from a different perspective.  In addition to this, Vanessa has recently curated the Karaoke and Lipsync society.

Vanessa believes becoming more involved with the Students' Union has positively impacted her student experience and now feels she is voicing her opinions are representing her peers on her behalf.

Elected Student Trustee - VACANT

Will be filled at the next elections in October.

Conor Dobbs - Selected Student Trustee

Conor originally chose to come and study at Christ Church due to the warm, friendly and homely atmosphere on campus.  He studied Politics and International Relations at undergraduate level and has now just started a Masters degree in European Politics.  

Conor believes that Christ Church has opened up a great deal of opportunities, and he was lucky enough to hold an internship with the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd MP, as well as acting as a research intern for his lecturer in the summer of his third year. 

Before coming to Christ Church Conor engaged with a lot of sports; golf, cricket, tennis and football but was most active with football, where he competed at county and semi-professional levels.  Since arriving at Christ Church he has been keen to engage in University life on a number of levels.  He currently plays American Football and is elected to a committee role for the past three years, which also led to Conor being chosen for the Sports Executive Committee in his third year. 

Away from sports, Conor has been a Student Programme Rep for my politics degree and has newly established a Conservative Society at the University. 

Being in and around the Students' Union throughout my time at the University led Conor to want to be more involved and applying to be a student Trustee. 

Hugh Lanning - Selected Student Trustee

Hugh is currently a mature post-graduate students, but during his first stint in education he was very involved in students' unions – holding sabbatical posts at local and national level.

Since then Hugh has spent his life working in the trade union and labour movement.  Hugh worked for the main civil service trade union, the Public and Commercial Services union, in various roles concerning staff management, the union’s budget and finances, running its education programme, legal and membership services and the union’s organisation and development. Hugh is currently Chair the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Hugh believes the current generation of students are facing huge challenges that his generation never had to face and the need for strong and representative student organisations has never been greater. This is something he hopes to contribute to during his time on the Board of Trustees.

Community Trustee - VACANT


Joe Cooper - Community Trustee

Joe Cooper

Joe Cooper is the Head of Operational Partnerships and Transformation at Imperial College London.  He was previously Managing Director of Imperial College Union and worked in the Students Union sector for 15 years, in a number of elected and appointed roles. He has also undertaken a number of voluntary roles, including as a Trustee of a local mental health charity and community centre, and as a founding Director of Canterbury Youth and Student Media Limited.

Joe originally studied Film, Radio and Television at Canterbury Christ Church University and served as its Students’ Union President in 2001/02.  Joe lives in Canterbury with his wife Caroline and two daughters, Annabelle and Emmeline.

John Adams - Community Trustee and Deputy Chair

John Adams

John is a successful and experienced Finance Director that has worked within the Housing Sector for over 17 years.  After Qualifying in South Africa he continued in Public Practice for 10 years, specialising in Local Government, Housing, Health and Treasury.

He has been involved in a range of financial and non-financial roles – the last 8 years at Director Level, and has recently started his own finance consultancy business.

John has held Directorship roles on other Housing and Education organisations; including Board Member, Treasurer and Chair of Audit Committee.

Helen James - University Trustee

Helen James

Helen James is Senior Pro Vice Chancellor (Education, Enhancement & Student Experience) at Canterbury Christ Church University, having taken up this post in September 2014. Helen joined the University from Glyndwr University where as Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching) she had a broad portfolio including responsibilities for student experience and success, academic portfolio, learning and teaching, employability and had Institutional lead for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and economic development.

Professor James started work as a mechanical engineering apprentice in the shipbuilding industry before graduating from the University of Leicester with a BSc (Hons) in Engineering. She became a design engineer in the space industry before lecturing in Mechanical Engineering. She later obtained a Masters Degree in Education from the University of Sussex.

In 1999 she was the founding Head of Business Services at the University of Brighton and in 2001 joined Glyndwr University, obtaining a Doctorate of Business Administration in Higher Education Management from the University of Bath in 2010. Professor James holds a number of national roles in professional bodies related to both higher education as well as engineering. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and in 2005 was named Woman of Year for Science and Technology in Wales.

Register of Trustees and Directors Interests

Under the Bye-Laws of Christ Church Students' Union, the Union is required to maintain a register of interests and significant holdings for the Trustees and the Directors.

  • One Trustee is a partner, director or shareholder in I & J Advisory Services Ltd.
  • One Trustee is a partner, director or shareholder in LA blueprint
  • One Trustee is in a senior management position at Imperial College London
  • One Trustee is in a senior management position at Saxon Weald and Seedlings Montessori Pre-school
  • One Trustee is in a senior management position at LA blueprint
  • One Trustee is in a senior management position at BBI Group Ltd
  • One Trustee is in a senior management position at Canterbury Christ Church University
  • One Director is in a senior management position at St. Stephen's Infant School, Canterbury

No trustees or directors have declared any other significant interests.

No trustees or directors have made any other relevant disclosure expected under the 7 Principles of Public Life. 


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