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Big Lottery Fund appoints new Heads of Regional Funding to support communities across England

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Release date:
11 9 2017

Seven Heads of Regional Funding have been appointed to lead the Big Lottery Fund’s work at a local level in England.

As part of its Strategic Framework, launched in 2015, the Fund held conversations with communities across the country to understand how National Lottery funding can support people to create the changes that they want to see.

Building its local presence, the Fund is tripling the number of staff working locally to help realise its ambition to put people in the lead. This will bring teams closer to the people and organisations best placed to make a difference in their communities.

The Heads of Regional Funding will be responsible for all strategic and operational delivery within their respective regions. This includes developing relationships with local stakeholders and overseeing staff across the region who will have a base for outreach but spend the majority of their time out in communities.

The appointments are as follows:

Abdou Sidibe, Head of Regional Funding, Yorkshire and the Humber, who joins the Fund from the Children’s Society. Having started his career as a practitioner supporting refugee children and young people in Leeds, he went on to manage services across Yorkshire. He brings with him 14 years of experience working in the UK voluntary sector.

Duncan Nicholson, Head of Regional Funding, North East and Cumbria, who joins the fund from Rathbone UK, where he focused on strategic and corporate partnership management in the North East of England, Scotland and Wales. Duncan brings senior level stakeholder engagement, a real understanding of the region, and a passion for community development.

Elly de Decker and Sacha Rose Smith, Heads of Regional Funding, East of England, London and the South East.

Sacha joined the Fund in 2009 and has worked in various senior funding and policy roles. Prior to this she worked in regional voluntary sector infrastructure, providing support to organisations focusing on equalities and human rights, throughout the South East.

Elly joined the Fund just over two years ago to lead the development of the HeadStart programme, which supports young people's mental wellbeing. Prior to this she worked in venture philanthropy, and she also has experience in humanitarian aid and international development.

Matthew Poole and Nicola Thurbon, Heads of Regional Funding, Midlands.

Matthew has worked at the Fund for just over two years, overseeing the Talent Match programme which supports young people furthest from the job market, and the Youth Investment Fund, co-funded with the Office for Civil Society. He previously worked in the voluntary and community sector, and local and regional government.

Nicola joined the Fund in 2006 and has held a variety of roles from grants officer to heading up the local team across England. Before this Nicola worked for a community arts charity, writing funding bids for its community and multi-million pound capital project.

Thomas McCulloch, Head of Regional Funding, South West, who joins the fund from Action for Children, where he held a range of leadership positions, most recently overseeing a large team of members and volunteers across multiple locations in the region.

James Harcourt, England Grant-Making Director, who will oversee the team, said:

“Increasing our local presence is vital to ensuring National Lottery funding helps people turn their great ideas into reality and in turn helps communities to achieve their ambitions.

“We are excited to welcome such a strong team of regional leaders to the Fund. They bring a wealth of experience in developing relationships at a local level and delivering real and meaningful support to communities across England.”

Notes to editors

  1. The Head of Regional Funding for the North West is currently being recruited. Further details will be available in due course.
  2. Staff in hubs will oversee the grant-making process for awards over £10,000, from pre-application through to assessment, management and evaluation. The hubs are expected to be fully operational by April 2018.
  3. The Hubs will be located in: Birmingham (covering the Midlands), Exeter (South West), London (covering East of England, London and the South East), Leeds (Yorkshire and Humber), Manchester (North West) and Newcastle (North East and Cumbria).
  4. The Big Lottery Fund uses money raised by National Lottery players to help communities achieve their ambitions. From small, local projects to UK-wide initiatives, our funding brings people together to make a difference to their health, wellbeing and environment. Since June 2004 we have awarded £8.5 billion to projects that change the lives of millions of people.