About Us

Our History

Where did the Buddy Bag idea come from?

During a visit to Australia in 2014 our founder, Karen Williams, was inspired by an article about The Alannah and Madeline Foundation which has delivered more than 50,000 Buddy Bags to children in emergency care in Australia since 2007. On returning to the UK, Karen researched the facilities available to children in emergency care and discovered a huge need for Buddy Bags in the UK. To ensure as many children as possible can benefit from the Buddy Bag scheme, Karen set up The Buddy Bag Foundation and launched the Buddy Bag appeal in the UK, with the help and support of The Alannah and Madeline Foundation.

Our Mission

The Buddy Bag Foundation - Buddy Bags for Children in Emergency Care

We have created the Buddy Bag Foundation in response to the rising number of children who enter emergency care after fleeing violent situations at home.

Restoring a sense of safety and security into a child’s life during a traumatic time is one of the first steps to recovery. By providing these children with a few essential items, we can help make the transition into emergency care a little easier.

To support children in this situation we have created the Buddy Bag to provide comfort when all else has been removed.

What Is the Buddy Bags Appeal?

Find Out More

Our Trustees

Karen Williams

Karen is mumpreneur extraordinaire! Director of Buddy Bag Limited, Founder of the Buddy Bag Foundation - and a Reiki and crystal healing master. As you would expect, Karen has a positive ‘make it happen’ attitude. With over 30 years’ business experience and skills, Karen is passionate about making a difference to the lives of others.

“I was raised in a loving, safe household and given all the support and opportunity I could ever have asked for. However not every child has the same upbringing I was privileged to have. As a mum I wanted to do something to help children who have had a difficult start in life, which is why I started the Buddy Bag Foundation. With the help and support of many likeminded people, our aim is to give as many children as possible the extra love and support they need towards a happy and successful future.”

Karen is a very proud mum of three positive, goal directed young adults. In her spare time Karen enjoys walking, cycling, running, travel and personal development.

Sue Crowder

Sue recently retired from her career as a secondary school teacher of Philosophy and Ethics. Sue’s career followed 38 years of teaching in Staffordshire schools with senior management responsibilities for pastoral care and student welfare, where she developed strong and regular links with support agencies.

“Throughout my career I have been constantly committed to supporting the needs of young people, helping them grow towards confidence, fulfilment and happiness in all areas of life. I’m mum to two amazing sons who both now live and work in Leeds. Originally from South Wales and proud of it, I love singing in a local choir, supporting the Welsh Rugby team, am a keen book club member, and enjoy walking, travel, good food and wine.”

Zeeshan Masood

Zeeshan is Head of Strategy at Morgan Reach Chartered Certified Accountants

Zeeshan works with businesses on key issues concerning strategic planning and implementation, business growth and development as well as on how to improve profitability, competitive advantage, customer satisfaction and retention, employee engagement, operational management and involvement within the community.

Zeeshan has extensive leadership and management experience across a range of sectors at national and international levels, with a proven track record in turning ideas into reality, implementing change and driving forward successful outcomes for private, public and non-profit organisations.

Zeeshan was awarded ‘Chartered Manager’ status by the Chartered Management Institute in 2009 and received ‘Leadership of the Year’ ‘Innovation’ and ‘Jaguar Land Rover Business Champion for Arts & Business’ awards during his professional career.

Zeeshan takes keen interest in charitable causes and works as a volunteer Trustee with The Buddy Bag Foundation. Zeeshan also works as a volunteer Business Mentor with The Prince’s Trust, BPS (Birmingham Professional Services) and as a volunteer Tutor with The Access Project

Zeeshan enjoys traveling, cooking and spending quality time with his family and friends.

Martine Laffan-Butler

Martine has more than 25 years’ management experience and is known as a ‘Social Entrepreneur’ by her peers. She strives to drive social change and tackle issues that affect communities. She is always looking for ways to engage marginalised sectors of society and support them to build better futures for themselves and the wider community.

Not only is Martine our Chair, she is an Executive Chair within the waste management industry, Managing Director of her own creative agency and Governor of a local Secondary school in Sutton Coldfield.

In previous positions, Martine has been a trustee for a national charity focused on restorative justice, and Chair of a national grant giving charity.

She also finds time for fun. Her personal interests include cooking, listening to music, reading, socialising and singing her heart out to songs she doesn’t know the words to.

Harry Williams

Harry is a Strategy consultant with experience working with a range of businesses across multiple industries. Harry and his colleagues help businesses solve their most pressing issues, defining clearly articulated strategies that businesses are able to act upon. Harry will be joining Accenture in May 2016 where he will continue his passion for helping the biggest businesses in the world, respond to the increasingly complex business landscape they operate within.

Combined with a first class degree in Management, from Loughborough University, and his consulting experience to date, Harry will be focused on driving the Buddy Bag Foundation's strategic direction in order to achieve sustainable growth.

Dr Kamran Shaikh

Dr Kamran Shaikh is the Managing Director of Morgan Reach Chartered Certified Accountants. Kamran qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2003 and holds a PhD in Business Studies. Kamran works actively with his professional institute and is one of the Panel Members for the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants in the West Midlands.

Kamran recognises the need for Morgan Reach to support the community that in turn supports it. He personally plays an active role, though not necessarily a public role in a number of community services.

Kamran sits on the Advisory Board of The Buddy Bag Foundation and provides strategic financial advice to the charity. Kamran is proud of Morgan Reach Chartered Certified Accountants to be a leading supporter of The Buddy Bag Foundation.

Kamran is a keen traveller and his favourite places are the Middle and the Far East, albeit most of his short holidays are spent in the UK and Europe.