Meet the team

The Community Foundation team has unrivalled knowledge of community issues, experience of working with philanthropists from all walks of life and a track record of effective and efficient governance, finance and management.

Adam Baker (Communication & Insight Manager)

Adam is our Online Communities Coordinator and is responsible for the Foundation’s social media. Originally hailing from Essex, Adam moved to Norwich after studying at UEA. Prior to starting at the Foundation in 2021, Adam worked in the museum sector and brings with him a love of community, history, and storytelling.

Ask me about…

All things social media and engaging with your community online. I can also offer help with press releases.

I love Norfolk because…

I admire Norfolk’s quirky, independent spirit and rich cultural landscape that goes back generations.

Did you know…

I volunteer at the Millennium Library’s archive centre, working on the LGBT+ community archive.

Lizzi Barker (Programmes Advisor)

Lizzi is one of our Programmes Advisors. She works as part of the Programmes Team, assessing grant applications and communicating with VCSEs, guiding them through the application process. Lizzi is a UEA graduate.

Ask me about…

Applying for our latest grants and any social ventures surrounding food insecurity and poverty.

I love Norfolk because…

Norfolk has such an extensive and fascinating history. I enjoy the sense of community and hearing about all the important and innovative projects that are happening on my doorstep.

Did you know…

In my spare time I enjoy growing fruit and veg on my allotment!

Sophie Berry (Corporate Giving Manager)

Sophie is our Corporate Giving Manager. She is helping to build on the Foundation’s experience of working with local businesses to drive forward corporate giving in Norfolk. Sophie is passionate about helping local businesses understand how they can make a positive, meaningful and impactful contribution to our local communities, in line with the emerging focus on ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance). Sophie first started working in Norfolk’s voluntary sector in 2005.

Ask me about…
How your business can give back to the Norfolk community with impact. If you have found yourself at that start of thinking about ESG Policy and feeling like you don’t know where to begin, I can help you deliver the ‘S’ and ‘E’, so pick up the phone or drop me an email and let’s see where the conversation takes us.
I love Norfolk because…

We are so lucky to have the most perfect mix of a bustling city and towns, peaceful countryside, sandy beaches, heritage and a community that is proactive in supporting the needs of the local population.

Did you know…

In my spare time I crave wide open countryside spaces and enjoy nothing more than a rural or coastal walk followed by a slice of cake and a hot chocolate (with cream and marshmallows!).

Sharon Betts (Finance and Operations Assistant)

Sharon is a Finance and Operations Assistant, supporting Joanne, Sara and Tessa. Originally from a legal background, Sharon moved into finance working in the Castle Mall before moving to a large corporation, initially as a Team Leader and then Manager of 15 working in the Bank Reconciliation Department.
Ask me about…
Processing payments; working on Sage and Salesforce.
I love Norfolk because…
I get the opportunity to be part of an amazing team helping the people of Norfolk
Did you know…

I have signed up to ride from London to Brighton in June 2023.

Lauren Birch (Corporate Giving Advisor)

Lauren is our Corporate Giving Advisor. She works with and develops further relationships with our corporate partners to deliver free expert advice and support to our charities and community groups. She has a degree in Business and Technology and has worked in many sectors, including running her family’s engineering business, and has also worked in the charitable sector as an antenatal teacher for the National Childbirth Trust.

Ask me about…

Finding free expert advice, from one to one support, to training and resources.

I love Norfolk because…

I have brought my family up here and couldn’t think of a better place to live!

Did you know…

I can wolf whistle like Audrey Hepburn on Breakfast at Tiffany’s – my favourite film!

Cristina Casti

Cristina Casti (Finance Assistant)

Cristina is one of our Finance Assistants. Prior to starting at the Foundation, she worked for another local charity.

Ask me about…

Grant payments, bank reconciliations and Gift Aid.

I love Norfolk because…

The people here are incredibly supportive!

Did you know…

Playing chess is one of my passions!

Ellie Cleary (Programmes Assistant)

Ellie works part-time as a Programmes Assistant, supporting the Programmes Team. Ellie’s main responsibilities are managing the monitoring processes for awarded grants and supporting community organisations with any concerns or questions they may have. Having worked with many artists, arts and community events that are usually reliant on grant funding, Ellie became a volunteer with the Foundation in 2011 to gain a better understanding of how the grants application process worked. Today, and no longer a volunteer, Ellie still finds every day to be an extremely rewarding and humbling experience.

Ask me about…

Any grant you may have been awarded. I can give you support and guidance with your interim and final monitoring reporting, underspends, project delays or any other questions or concerns you may have.

I love Norfolk because…

From it’s cultural city centre to its rural hideaways, there is always something interesting to find from a festival, a building, or a community organisation to Norfolk’s wildlife and natural environment – we really do have it all.

Did you know…

In my spare time, I enjoy participating in making, organising and attending community arts events and festivals both here and abroad. If there are people celebrating their culture, costumes, music and food, I will almost certainly be there!

Corrie Colson (Programmes Advisor)

Corrie is one of our Programmes Advisors. A University of East Anglia alumna, she completed her undergrad in International Development and Anthropology, a Graduate Diploma in Law, and a MA in Gender Analysis in International Development.

Ask me about…

Anything about our programmes and our Together for Women and Girls initiative.

I love Norfolk because…

I come from near Milton Keynes, which is basically as far from the sea as you can get. I love living in Norfolk because I have the sea at my doorstep.

Did you know…

I have an unhealthy obsession with halloumi. I order it whenever it’s on the menu, even once as a side dish next to Biscoff pancakes!

Claire Cullens (Chief Executive)

Claire is the Chief Executive of Norfolk Community Foundation and advises businesses, public agencies, high net worth individuals and charitable trusts on how to target their giving in order to make the most impact locally and respond to the needs of Norfolk Communities. Outside of the Foundation, Claire is a New Anglia LEP Board member and Chairs the New Anglia LEP Skills Advisory panel, as well as being a member of the Norfolk Public Sector Leaders’ Board representing the Third Sector.

Ask me about…

What Norfolk Community Foundation can do for you. Whether you’re looking to have more of an impact on your doorstep, or you want to understand how local organisations can make Norfolk shine brighter, ask me how you can invest in Norfolk communities to make our county the best it can possibly be.

I love Norfolk because…

Norfolk people have such a strong sense of pride in their communities.

Did you know…

I have a lovely black Labrador called ‘Figgy’. She got her name because after our last lovely lab died, our daughter was desperate for us to get another one, but my husband said ‘a new dog, Sophie is going to be a figment of your imagination’. So, ‘figment’ duly arrived and became known as Figgy.

Joanne Dale (Director of Finance and Operations)

Joanne is our Director of Finance and Operations responsible for all aspects of finance, accounting and operational functions, including year end accounts, charity commission, Companies House and HMRC returns. She ensures that NCF adheres to best practice across the organisation and is compliant with legislation in areas such as GDPR, fundraising, tax, investment and charity SORP. She has worked in the charity sector for 25 years.

Ask me about…

Any queries or questions about your fund.

I love Norfolk because…

I enjoy being outdoors, and Norfolk’s beautiful landscape – whether its the dramatic coastline or the gorgeous broads – is unique just to us. There’s nowhere else quite like it!

Did you know…

When not working I like to be outdoors walking Geronimo, our Cocker Spaniel, or out on the broads in a kayak, or cycling in Norfolk’s beautiful countryside.

Judy Dow (Head of Philanthropy – Private Client)

Judy is our Head of Philanthropy – Private Client. With no “masterplan”, Judy has been fortunate enough to work with some amazing people across a wide range of organisations, including Lloyds of London, Brandeston Priory Vineyard, and, dare she mention it, Ipswich Town Football Club!

Ask me about…

Working with individuals, families, businesses and trusts to help strengthen their understanding of the needs of people in Norfolk. I can also help guide your charitable giving to stay local, be effective and make a difference.

I love Norfolk because…

I adore the stunning beaches and lovely people.

Did you know…

I live in Suffolk and work in Norfolk – the very best of both worlds!

Sophie Fuller (Programmes Advisor)

Sophie is one of our Programmes Advisor, working as part of the Programmes Team, helping to assess applications and guide people through the application process. Sophie is a recent University of East Anglia graduate, completing her degree in International Social Development in 2022.
Ask me about…

Applying for our latest grants.

I love Norfolk because…
It has an amazing mix of coastline, countryside and a great city!
Did you know…

I swam with seals on Christmas day.

Catrin Hamer (Senior Programmes Advisor)

Catrin is one of our Senior Programmes Advisors, advising local groups about the funding opportunities we have on offer and helping them identify which might be a good fit for their project. Following a BA in Philosophy at UEA, she entered the voluntary sector in charity retail following some volunteering experience. Before joining the Foundation in 2019, she then worked at the Norwich branch of Samaritans, where Catrin was responsible for administration, fundraising and comms.

Ask me about…

Applying for grants, the Norfolk Millennium Trust for Carers, and youth mental health funding opportunities.

I love Norfolk because…

I love Norfolk because of the birds! I recently became interested in bird-watching during the lockdown of 2020 after reading ‘Bird Therapy’ by Joe Harkness, a Norfolk-born birder. I am delighted to have since found myself in one of the best counties for birding in the UK.

Did you know…

I once learned the Korean alphabet, Hangul, in an afternoon – you’d be surprised at how intuitive it is, give it a go!

Sara Herschel-Shorland (Private Client Advisor)

Sara is our Private Client Advisor, working with some of our fundholders to develop their funds and help guide their grant giving. Prior to joining the Foundation she was an owner and director of a Norfolk-based market research agency, having pursued an earlier career in marketing management roles in Corporate UK – working at Toshiba and Kodak.

Ask me about…

Setting up new funds and funds I oversee, such as the JP Blanch and New Life Funds.

I love Norfolk because…

It is a gentle, beautiful and timeless county and Norfolk people are real and grounded. I feel really privileged to have have been able to raise my family here.

Did you know…

In my spare time I enjoy singing in a Choral Society, attending a weekly Pilates class, walking and cycling in the beautiful Waveney Valley and swimming in the chilly North Sea…brrrr!

Brian Hopper (Warehouse Supervisor)

Brian is our Warehouse Supervisor. He is responsible for the day-to-day running of the warehouse, such as preparing stock to be delivered to the hubs, sourcing new stock and managing inventory. His previous jobs include driving coaches and working in financial services.

Ask me about…

The Nourishing Norfolk warehouse with Norse Group, deliveries, dispatch and all things food-supply.

I love Norfolk because…

There are so many places to go and things to do!

Did you know…

I like food, drink, and peace and quiet… then 34 years ago I married Barbara, have had two daughters and two grandchildren, so there’s less peace and quiet these days!

Karen Hutchinson (Executive Assistant)

Karen is our Executive Assistant. She oversees the everyday running of the Foundation as well as supporting Claire, our Chief Executive. Prior to working at NCF, Karen worked for a large organisation in Norwich, which has gone through many management changes and names over the 28 years she worked there.

Ask me about…

In the extremely unlikely event my colleagues are unable to help you, then just ask me. And if I don’t have the answer, I will do my best to find out! You can also ask me about any events that we have planned, or if you want to arrange a meeting with Claire our CEO.

I love Norfolk because…

Born and bred in Norwich, I cannot imagine living anywhere else. I love Norfolk because of the stunning Norfolk Broads. Did you know there are more miles of waterways in Norfolk than in Venice or Amsterdam?

Did you know…

My passion is cooking! I love sharing recipes that I have served up with my colleagues. My latest ‘go to’ is Chicken Panang Curry!

Jamie Kowalyk (E-Communications and Design Manager)

Jamie is our E-Communications and Design Manager and is responsible for the Foundation’s various forms of communications including website, newsletters and publications, as well as its branding. Prior to starting at the Foundation, Jamie worked for a local Member of Parliament for three years, supporting them in a range of areas including with their website, social media, diary, research and casework, following a degree in International Relations and European Politics at the University of East Anglia.
Ask me about…

Anything creative! Through ProHelp, I can offer marketing support for your organisation such as designing marketing materials or help with your website, as well as helping to get the word out about your work and its impact.

I love Norfolk because…

I grew up in Norfolk and feel it has the best of both worlds – a beautiful coast and countryside and a bustling city steeped in culture and history. I was delighted to be able to secure a job in my home county that enables me to give back to my local community and utilise my creative skills and interests.

Did you know…

Outside of work, I enjoy other creative endeavours including silversmithing and pottery, interior design, collecting 19th and early 20th Century antiques …and have even been known to do a bit of boxing!

Jodie Lancashire-Clark (Programmes Advisor)

Jodie is one of our latest Programmes Advisors, working in the Programmes Team to help assess grant applications. Jodie studied International Development at the UEA followed by a Masters in Gender Analysis in International Development. It was through her degree that she discovered a passion for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and more specifically Gender Equality.

Ask me about…

Any problems you might have when applying for a grant. I don’t have a specialism within the Foundation yet but I’d like to get involved in anything EDI related.

I love Norfolk because…

Of the beautiful and varied landscapes, I moved here in 2017 from rural France for university and just never left. Oh and all the great coffee spots!

Did you know…

I love paddle-boarding along the river and all the walks that I can do in Norfolk, especially on the beaches when it’s seal season.

Billie Lawler (Nourishing Norfolk Network Co-ordinator)

Billie is our Nourishing Norfolk Network Co-ordinator, supporting the food hubs that are already open and mentoring those in the process of setting up. In November 2019 she opened East Anglia’s first Community Supermarket at the Charles Burrell Centre in Thetford – an exciting project that was only possible with the help of NCF. Billie brings a wealth of experience from her varied background, which includes working in retail management, hostels for people experiencing homelessness and holistic therapy. Billie knows the importance of working with people to make good things happen.
Ask me about…
Anything to do with food hubs! I am passionate about helping communities to look after each other. Food brings people across the threshold, but once inside it’s possible to offer wrap around care and signposting people to organisations that can really make a difference in someone’s life.
I love Norfolk because…

It’s been home to me and my daughter for many years, and we couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Rich in its history, the beautiful forests and coastline and, above all, a feeling of community that I have not found anywhere else.

Did you know…

When I was 6 I appeared on “Playschool”! I was playing the part of The Queen in a school play which was featured “Through the round window” . Great fun!

Dr Victoria Lewis (Food Strategy Development Manager)

Victoria is our Food Strategy Development Manager, supporting the Nourishing Norfolk Network by managing supply and distribution of food to the community food hubs. She also engages with farmers and growers about sourcing local seasonal fresh produce for the Network.

Ask me about…
Connecting farmers, growers and food organisations with food hubs; finding an outlet for food surplus or waste; how you can help our Nourishing Norfolk initiative.
I love Norfolk because…
It’s a beautiful and special place to belong, and Norfolk people are rightly proud to live here.
Did you know…

My favourite Norfolk beach is at Thornham – a little tricky to get to, but totally worth it!

Jo Maddocks (Programmes Advisor)

Jo is one of our Programmes Advisors, assisting with all aspects of the grants process. Jo has been involved in the voluntary and community sector in Norfolk for 30 years, starting off in volunteering roles for different charities. One of these was with Age Concern Norfolk, which led to a paid job as a community development worker helping small grassroots organisations. This continued to be Jo’s focus within the sector, culminating in the opportunity to join Norfolk Community Foundation 10 years ago. Jo says the best part of her job is getting to know the organisations and providing the support they need to make a successful application.

Ask me about…

Your upcoming projects, making an application, and the grants we administer.

I love Norfolk because…

Days on the beach is my favourite thing about Norfolk.

Did you know…

I love swimming in the North Sea, but not all year round!

Stefanie Pearson (Senior Programmes Advisor)

Stef is one of our Senior Programmes Advisors. Prior to starting at the Foundation, she worked for a local charity in a fundraising and communications role, supporting with grant fundraising and events.

Ask me about…

How to identify grant opportunities and how to tell your organisation’s story in a grant application.

I love Norfolk because…

It has become my home. I moved here to attend University more than a decade ago and fell in love with the countryside and coastline.

Did you know…

Away from my desk I enjoy exploring with my family which includes a toddler and miniature Schnauzer. We are always seeking new places to visit that are friendly routes for little boots… recommendations are always welcome. My favourite impulse buy was an inflatable kayak which means we are no longer limited to land and weekends can be spent on Norfolk’s many waterways.

Clive Rayner (Senior Programmes Advisor)

Clive is one of our Senior Programmes Advisors, and is responsible for a range of the Foundation’s grant funding opportunities. He has worked in grant funding for more than 20 years, including several years with the National Lottery and a period working as an external grant assessor for BBC Children in Need.

Ask me about…

Anything relating to our available grants or our grant application processes.

I love Norfolk because…

Its beaches are as good as anywhere in the world.

Did you know…

In my spare time I am a quiz master in my local pub. If you are ever setting a charity quiz, I have many hundreds of questions that I will be happy to share with you.

Gemma Rivett (Programmes Advisor)

Gemma is one of our latest Programmes Advisors, working in the Programmes Team to help assess grant applications. Gemma graduated from the University of Bristol with a degree in Politics and Sociology and has worked in a mix of education and mental health services.

Ask me about…

Applying for our latest grants.

I love Norfolk because…

I grew up in small village in Norfolk and I love the countryside, the Norfolk Broads, and Norwich’s vibrant arts and culture scene.

Did you know…

I love all things crafty and started a knitting and crochet group with some friends in 2021. We now have 60 members!

Katy Rutherford (Director of Insight and Innovation)

Katy is our Director of Insight and Innovation. She leads the Foundation’s work on insight and impact, working closely with the team to oversee our grant programmes. Before joining the Foundation, she was Head of Innovation at Norfolk County Council, using new ideas, methods and funding to improve local services. She also spent nine years leading grant programmes at the Innovation Foundation, Nesta, and worked in policy and strategy development at Westminster City Council and the Local Government Association. 

Ask me about…

Programme design, innovation, insight and different approaches to evaluation and impact measurement.

I love Norfolk because…

It has everything – beautiful countryside, amazing beaches, great pubs and lots to do in Norwich.

Did you know…

I ran a marathon in 2012, which is a feat I’ll probably never achieve again, although I try to plod around the streets of Norwich a couple of times a week!

Laura Wigby (Director of Community Investment/Programmes)

Laura is our Director of Community Investment/Programmes, responsible for our support of local VCSE organisations. She has previously worked in local government and for local and national charities.

Ask me about…

Our current grants, what we have coming up, and all the ways we can work together.

I love Norfolk because…

Norfolk is such a beautiful county. I love the countryside, the coastline, and Norwich is such a great city to live and work in. It is the place where I grew up and I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

Did you know…

I really like to hula hoop and read a book, sometimes at the same time! Feel free to ask me for book recommendations!

Our Trustees and Patrons

Fiona McDiarmid (Chair)

Fiona came to Norfolk in 2002 to establish the Connexions Service as its Chief Executive. She then moved to the County Council as Assistant Director for Economic Development and Strategy in 2009 and was appointed in April 2017 to the Strategy Director role. In 2019 Fiona was appointed as one of 5 Executive Directors, leading the Strategy & Governance Department. Before joining the County Council Fiona worked in three different local authorities as well as a not for profit social business (‘INCLUDE’). Much of her early experience was with social services in both operational and policy and strategy roles.

Fiona lives in central Norwich with her son Cameron and enjoys being able to walk to its many attractions as well as being within driving distance of Norfolk’s beautiful coastline, the perfect combination!

Ed Savory (Vice-Chair)

Ed is a fourth generation Norfolk solicitor and a partner in the Norwich office of Birketts LLP, an ambitious law firm with offices throughout East Anglia and London. Having qualified in 2006, Ed advises on company mergers and acquisitions with many clients being SMEs based in the region. Many of the transactions involve Ed working closely with business owners to transition to the next level, including through trade sales, management buy-outs and divestment to private equity investors. Ed heads up the firm’s Food Sector and also manages the partnership with the EDP Future50 project, which supports fast growing innovative companies in Norfolk and Suffolk.

With deep roots in Norfolk, Ed is dedicated to working with various organisations in order to enhance the county for everyone whether through charitable means (including with the Norfolk Community Foundation) or through environmental projects linked to agriculture.

Tom Burdett

Tom is Director of Finance and Strategic Operations at Jarrolds, with over fifteen years’ experience in the finance sector, including as an auditor working with a range of charities and then a Finance Director within a charity. Having built a career firstly as an auditor and now as a Finance Director, Tom has extensive knowledge of the often complex areas of charity finance and governance, as well as the varied experience which comes with being in senior leadership positions for a number of years. Tom has also been a Trustee of Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity, since 2018.

Simon Brickles

Simon is a former barrister and has created or operated several stock markets and is an experienced director of both listed and private companies. He is an expert in corporate governance.

Jessica Middleton

Jessica is the Insight Manager for Impact at BBC Children in Need leading on key insight and learning initiatives into the lives of children and young people across the UK. She is a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellow with a range of experience working and volunteering in the voluntary and community sector including over 10 years making and managing grants across the East of England.

Originally from Cornwall, Jessica has lived in Norwich for over 14 years. She is co-founder and committee member of the Golden Triangle Girls Women’s Institute in Norwich and a committee member of the Norfolk Women’s Fund.

Richard Ross

Born in Norwich and educated in Norfolk, Richard has spent most of his life living in and around the city, where he is a director of a wealth management company. He started his first business shortly after leaving school and enjoys the entrepreneurial challenge. He is particularly interested in the ‘big picture’ systemic changes needed to improve the life chances of disadvantaged and marginalised young people. Richard spent ten years supporting a young person in care as an independent visitor with Action for Children where he was able to see first-hand the challenges damaged children faced. He sits on the Strategic Board of the UEA School of Economics and is the founder of The Sounding Board, a not-for-profit initiative to help businesses facing difficult decisions.

Richard is married with three children and three grandchildren. At weekends he enjoys hill walking, cycles long distances very slowly (he completed Lands End to John O’Groats in 9½ days) and describes himself as a very pedestrian rugby player. He is particularly proud to be President of Norwich Union RFC – a remarkable achievement, as anyone who had seen him play would agree.

Jenny Watson CBE

Jenny has over twenty five years’ board experience in the charity, public, private and not for profit sectors. She is currently a non-executive director on the board of the Reclaim Fund Ltd and the Enforcement Conduct Board, Chair of GAMSTOP and Chair of Broadland Housing. Previous board experience includes roles as Chair of the Electoral Commission and the Equal Opportunities Commission. Jenny has had a local connection to Norfolk for over 15 years, finally making the move to live here in 2020.

Lady Pippa Dannatt MBE (Joint Patron and Lord-Lieutenant of Norfolk)

Philippa Dannatt was born into an old Norfolk family. She remains a partner in her family farm. Whilst serving as a military wife she trained as a professional counsellor, formerly volunteering at the Sue Lambert Trust in Norwich to help survivors of abuse.

Lady Dannatt has served as High Sheriff, taking mental health as her theme. She is a Lay Canon of Norwich Cathedral, Vice President of SSAFA and a former Deputy Chair of its Adoption Panel. She is also President of The Army Widows’ Association, President of The Norfolk Club and active Patron of numerous county-based organisations, particularly those involved with mental health.

Lady Dannatt lives in Keswick near Norwich with her husband Richard. They have four married children and eight young grandsons and a granddaughter. She was appointed as HM Lord-Lieutenant of Norfolk in August 2019.

The Rt Rev Graham Usher (Joint Patron and Bishop of Norwich)

Bishop Graham became the 72nd Bishop of Norwich on 17 June 2019 and was formally welcomed at his enthronement service in Norwich Cathedral on 9 November 2019. Prior to his appointment as Bishop of Norwich, he was Bishop of Dudley from 2014 – 2019. Bishop Graham began life as an ecologist and was appointed lead bishop on the environment by the Archbishop of Canterbury in June 2021. He is a member of the International Commission for Anglican Orthodox Theological Dialogue and the Anglican Consultative Council. Bishop Graham is married to Rachel, a GP, and they have two adult children.

The Rt Rev Graham James and Sir Richard Jewson (Founding Patrons)

The idea of Norfolk Community Foundation was first established in 2004 by the then-Bishop of Norwich Rt Revd Graham James, who wanted to set up a big charity to help smaller charities. He approached the then Lord-Lieutenant Sir Richard Jewson, who understood the vision and got behind the project straight away. The Foundation was registered as a charity the following year, with the Rt Rev Graham James and Sir Richard Jewson becoming our Founding Patrons.

“Anyone involved in voluntary charitable work knows that it can be difficult to raise money. It is also a skill to apply it well. The Norfolk Community Foundation has been brilliant at both. I congratulate it on achieving this milestone of £40 million worth of giving, and also on becoming the well informed and creative hub which helps others to enrich our community.”

Sir Richard Jewson, Founding Patron