Staff and Volunteers

John Patience

Chief Executive

Dr John Patience has been the CEO of The Nehemiah Project since 2012. John has been fascinated by behaviour change for many years, initially in what initiates this change and then later in how this interacts within complex social systems. His doctorate was from The University of Brighton in 2008, ‘The complex interplay of factors involved in sustaining the tenancies of long-term alcohol misusers’. Prior to this he was the Communities and Partnerships Manager at Brighton & Hove Drug and Alcohol Action Team. The DAAT provided independent advice to the main partners in the city, on all issues related to substance misuse. John’s expertise and pleasure was to support and develop services to families and communities affected by addiction. By 2009 the team had taken their community model to 18 different communities within the city. Analysis of the data demonstrated substantial reductions in both actual and perceived concerns. The model was the basis for the Home Office Good Practice Guide ‘Reducing drug and alcohol harms to communities and families’ April 2010. The guidance was written and edited in Brighton & Hove. He was a member of the Home Office Knowledge Group (2011).
John’s original degree was in Geology and he worked as a geologist in the in the Oil Industry for 10 years. He changed career in 1988 and joined Brighton Council as General Manager of their Housing department to set up their first decentralised, one stop office. His career in Brighton & Hove Council was primarily within public sector housing. Joining Nehemiah brings together both his housing and substance misuse experience.
John is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. 


Adrienne Sissuh

Supported Housing Manager

Adrienne leads a team of six in the Housing Office, keeping an eye on all four properties, as well as Residents and their welfare.




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Paul Cachia

Supported Housing Worker

Paul joined Nehemiah in March 2018, bringing with him years of experience working in the alcohol and drugs sector. Paul worked for Foundation 66 and later for the South London and Maudsley Trust as an alcohol outreach worker, so knows the nehemiah catchment area well. Paul runs the CBT-based recovery programme, A New Future, in our first stage house in Streatham.




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Jason Hudson

Supported Housing Worker

Jason joined Nehemiah in May 2017, bringing more experience of working in prisons and  with vulnerable men to our team. Although responsible for move-on, or resettlement, Jason is adept at turning his hand to referrals or programme sessions, as well as keyworking Residents. He visits our second-stage house weekly to give support to Residents there, and works with employers to find suitable employment for each of our men.




Paul da Costa

Paul joined Nehemiah in February 2019 as Referrals Co-ordinator.




Dawn Wilson

Dawn joined Nehemiah in February 2019 as the Family Programme Co-ordinator.






Akwa Bestman

Administrator - Supported Housing Office

Akwa is usually the first point of contact for those contacting the Supported Housing Office. She brings light and humour to all her work, and organises not only the Supported Housing Team, but Residents as well. Akwa oversees the running of our Open House lunches and graduation, down to the balloons.




Tracey Thomas

Office Manager / PA

Tracey organises all the Charity's administration and accounts, and keep spending in line. As a CAP Money Adviser, she also takes modules in Budgeting in A New Future, and supports men in understanding and managing their finances.




Lorna Hawthorne

Operations Director

Lorna has worked in various roles at Nehemiah, but as Operations Director is responsible for managing the Charity's growth, and the opening of new houses as we extend the work that we do. She is also the Data Protection Officer for The Nehemiah Project and tries not to bore people into a stupor when asked a question about GDPR. Trained as an interpreter in French and German, Lorna worked for many years at the Canadian High Commission in London. A spell as an oil industry wife overseas added Bahasa Indonesia to her languages, and started her on the journey of working for a charity. Lorna is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.




Lois Momoh

Development Director

Lois Momoh is the Development Director for The Nehemiah Project responsible for securing income for the organisation. Having worked for over 20 years in the not-for-profit/voluntary sector both in the UK and Nigeria, Lois specialises in major gift fundraising management, with experience in the areas of the arts, homelessness, disability, international relief and development.  





Abiodun Opaleye

Trainee Support Worker

Abi has been with Nehemiah for many years and takes care of Residents and the house at our second-stage property in Clapham. Abi is the longest-serving of our staff, and also enjoys gardening.



Francis Johnson-Beke

Caretaker, 1-3 Frederick Gardens

Caretaker - and much more. Francis got everyone dancing at our Summer BBQ and Graduation by performing a song and dance dedicated to the Residents graduating. Francis is studying at Spurgeons College. Francis joined us in Spring 2018 and is making a great contribution to the staff team, as well as being a great support to Residents.



Aaron Bent

Caretaker, 47 Tooting Bec Gardens

Aaron joined us after Easter 2019 when Francis moved to the Croydon house. Aaron is studying at Spurgeons College and brings a calming influence to the house. Aaron has made a great job of working in the garden with Residents since he moved in, a very welcome contribution.