Meet the team
Meet Sandwell Council’s Business Growth Team. You can click on the names below (presented in alphabetical order by last name) to jump to each person’s profile.
Nicy Morgan, Business Development Coordinator
Donna Parchment, Systems Officer
Darshana Patel, Programme Coordinator
Helen Peach, Business Development Coordinator
Karen Richards, Social Value Impact Officer
While Nicy’s role is wide ranging, her overriding aim is to showcase Sandwell as a great place to do business, and deliver support to help local companies grow. The many people Nicy liaises with every week include business owners, stakeholders and influential business and political representatives.
Among the many projects Nicy supports are AIM for GOLD and the annual Top 50 Fastest Growing Businesses index. She is also heavily involved in the Sandwell Business Ambassadors programme. Nicy helps to organise our business events and oversees the maintenance and development of this very website. She also works to manage the Sandwell Business Solutions Centre with partners from Sandwell College and Wolverhampton University.
Nicy’s professional qualifications include a Level 7 Certificate in Executive Coaching and Leadership Mentoring, Leadership and Management and PRINCE2.
When not in the Sandwell Council office, Nicy works on her medal collection for running and obstacle course racing. Some of her favourite events are Spartan, Runstock and the aptly named Mudnificent7. Nicy enjoys visiting her family in Suffolk.
Donna’s wide-ranging role involves providing frontline customer and business support to the residents and businesses of Sandwell, as well as liaising closely with partners and officers of the council. She provides event management support and attends business engagement events to promote Think Sandwell.
In a typical day Donna may take telephone or face-to-face enquiries from businesses seeking funding support and individuals looking for advice on starting a business. She receives system-generated enquiries including freedom of information requests from organisations and members of the public, and requests from local MPs on behalf of their constituents.
Donna brings over 25 years of knowledge, experience and networks to our team, and we’re always grateful for her diligence, professionalism and high standards.
Outside of work Donna enjoys reading (she counts crime fiction and inspiring autobiographies among her favourite types of books), relaxing with her partner, and spending valued time with family and friends.
She has vast experience in leading and managing complex projects for Sandwell like European Funded AIM (Advice Investment Market Development) for the Black Country, AIM for GOLD, Regional Growth Fund, Growing Priority Sectors, Growing Places Fund, and BDUK Black Country (the government’s Broadband Delivery UK programme for our region).
As a lead officer Darshana has responsibility for managing the monitoring and compliance of the outputs and financial spend within both the council’s financial framework and the European framework.
Darshana supports businesses to access funding opportunities so they can strengthen their capacity and take advantage of new market opportunities. She is there throughout the process, recording the positive impact that funding has on business growth.
Outside of work, Darshana enjoys early morning walks and spending time with her family and friends. She also volunteers her time; Darshana is the chair of PACT (Parent and Academy Contact Team) for her daughter’s school, vice president of Walsall Youth Committee, assistant treasurer for a community organisation, and a committee member for her local temple and women’s forum.
Helen Peach, Business Development Coordinator
If you’ve ever contacted Sandwell Council with a business matter, there’s every chance you’ve spoken to Helen. Her job as Business Development Coordinator means she supports our local businesses to achieve their goals.
Having spent many years as an industrial recruitment consultant in the private sector, Helen brings people skills and business acumen to her role at Sandwell Council. Here she has also managed various funded programmes to help unemployed people back into work.
Helen has valuable qualifications in leadership and management, PRINCE2 (project management), NEBOSH (health and safety) and PTTLS (Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector).
Outside of work, Helen’s main passion is co-pastoring Tipton Christian Church with her husband. They work with adults, children and young people from many different backgrounds. Helen is chair of governors for a local primary school and manages a Back to Netball team, for which she also plays.
Under Karen’s guidance, all council procurement and planning processes include community benefits clauses for targeted recruitment and training. Following the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 she ensures council opportunities maximise their potential to create employment, boost skills and nurture business growth in our region. Karen supports all level of businesses and helps SMEs and VCSEs (voluntary and community social enterprises) at every opportunity to ensure social value is fulfilled.
Karen worked in training and development for many years, including within the rail industry. She joined us in 2006 from an assistant director role at a construction college. Karen’s qualifications include a Public Policy & Management BSc degree and Chartered Institute of Personnel Development training.
Karen enjoys building rapports with businesses while they create opportunities for local people. She loves hearing about young people who gain apprenticeships and jobs as a result of community benefits strategies.
Karen’s job reflects who she is at home. As a mindfulness practitioner, she helps others to gain self-belief in their personal and working lives. “I suppose many years within a role of advice and guidance means it becomes naturally part of you,” she said.
Page last updated in December 2020.