Forum Officers

CNF Officers (l-r): Paul Chapman (Secretary), Ruth Dodson (Vice Chair), Helen Brown (Treasurer), Clare Loops (Chair)

Chair – Clare Loops

Clare has lived in Charlton for over 25 years, working and raising a family here, and has been involved with the local community right from the beginning, including helping to start a friends group at her children’s primary school and then working as a school governor. She is a member of the Charlton Society and Charlton Central Residents’ Association.

Clare is a trained architect working as a strategic planner for local councils since 2004, including several years for Greenwich. She currently leads a planning policy team in a neighbouring borough with responsibilities for writing the local plan for the area.

Keen to work to get the best for the Charlton community and area, Clare stood for election as a Charlton ward councillor in the local council elections in 2018, and again in 2022, as a Green Party candidate.  Although not successful, from this experience she developed and maintains strong friendships with other Charlton residents and this led to her involvement in creating a neighbourhood forum for the area.

Vice Chair – Ruth Dodson

Ruth has lived in SE7 for just over a decade with her teenage son and due to living in close proximity to The Valley has learnt the hard way not to leave the house on match days. Despite not loving the game, Ruth does love Charlton.

Passionate about the local community, Ruth is Chair of The Charlton Society and is active in a variety of community groups. Ruth is also Chair of the Charlton Branch of the Labour Party and thoroughly enjoys engaging with residents on matters of local concern when regularly canvassing.

Professionally, Ruth works in publishing, currently developing content for a variety of websites and CMSs. Ruth is also worryingly old enough to have spent several years working for the long-defunct Melody Maker during the pre-internet heyday of weekly music papers, and is pleased to say has now fully recovered from the trench foot experienced whilst waiting for Nirvana to take to the stage at Reading Festival in 1992.

Ruth helps manage the content for the Forum’s website and the production of the newsletters.

Secretary – Paul Chapman

Paul doesn’t remember exactly how long he has been living in SE7, but Charlton were in the Premiership for a good few seasons after he arrived so it’s over 20 years. In that time Paul has added two children to the local population (with help from his wife) and Charlton have slid down the football league table.

An IT Manager by day, Paul works for an established Charity in Central London. You’d think this would give Paul an abundance of technical skills with which he could assist the Forum, but you’d be surprised.

Paul has long been passionate about local community involvement. Activities over the years include attempts to ‘Save the White Swan’ and being a founder member of the Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival. Paul stood as a Lib Dem candidate in the 2010 Charlton Ward local elections, garnering nearly as many votes as he has fingers and toes.

Treasurer – Helen Brown

Helen, a resident of Charlton for over 38 years, is originally from Yorkshire.

Helen is a Landscape Architect, textile designer, and community and environmental activist.

Helen sees establishing the Neighbourhood Forum as an important step on the road for the Charlton community to build and write its own neighbourhood plan. Helen believes this will give the community a stronger influence over future decisions and plans for the locality.