Meet the team

NCF staff stand wearing pink hoodies outside

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 (Online Communities Coordinator)

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 Support Advisor)

Lizzi is one of our newest team members, and is a Programmes Support Advisor. 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!

Lauren Birch (Corporate Philanthropy Advisor)

Lauren is our Corporate Philanthropy 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!

Tessa Clarke (Development Support Officer)

Tessa is our Development Support Officer, largely supporting the team with finance, memberships and online event management. She has worked in the charity sector for almost ten years, having also supported the Membership Team of RSPB. Tessa is also a member of our social committee, helping set up events and activities for staff, including visits to local charities and grassroots groups.

Ask me about…

Making donations, booking into events, and memberships.

I love Norfolk because…

Norfolk is where I grew up, and I’ll always think of it as my home. I feel lucky to live in a county of such variety and natural beauty.

Did you know…

In the last year I have tried aerial hoop lessons, axe throwing, zip lining and visited Cornwall for the first time!

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!

Cindee Crehan (Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund Coordinator)

Cindee is our Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund Coordinator, overseeing the Sir Norman Lamb Coalition for Young People and the Sir Norman Lamb Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund since August 2020. She believes that her role is a fantastic opportunity to support groups that do such great work with young people. Cindee has worked in the voluntary sector for over 20 years, and has held executive positions at Voluntary Norfolk and Momentum. Cindee previously worked in social work, education and health before finding her home in the VCSE sector.

Ask me about…

The Sir Norman Lamb Coalition for Young People and the Sir Norman Lamb Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund, as well as organisations that work with Norfolk’s youth.

I love Norfolk because…

Norfolk has been my adopted home since 1986. I’ve raised my children here, and love exploring the beautiful countryside and market towns.

Did you know…

My favourite film is Donnie Darko – I like its subversive nature!

Hannah Crouch (Philanthropy Advisor)

Hannah is a Philanthropy Advisor, focusing on building relationships with our private donors, Norfolk 100 members and key cross sector partnerships. From roles in income generation, partnership development, marketing and communications, Hannah has nearly 15 years’ experience of working in the third sector here in Norfolk and the East of England, spanning health and social care, social inclusion, education and corporate responsibility. This follows a degree in American Studies at the University of Birmingham.

Ask me about…

Partnering with Norfolk Community Foundation or designing a new programme, your fund at NCF or how to set one up, our Norfolk 100 membership.

I love Norfolk because…

Norfolk remains one of the UK’s best kept secrets! We have beautiful countryside and a stunning coastline combined with a lively city that is a hive of activity. You don’t have to go far in Norfolk to find some of the freshest and most delicious local food which will give any other county a run for their money.

Did you know…

When not working I like a challenge and have completed three Tough Mudder obstacle races and two marathons. I am generally the butt of jokes amongst my friends and family for the injuries I have sustained doing so. I love to travel anywhere and everywhere and have spent time studying, living and working in San Diego and Melbourne.

Claire Cullens (Chief Executive)

Claire is the Chief Executive of Norfolk Community Foundation. After working for Mars in business development and emerging markets , with time in Japan and Russia, Claire returned to her home in Norfolk. A passion for working with young people to help develop their skills led to volunteering for charitable organisations such as the Prince’s Trust before joining the Foundation in 2017. Becoming the Chief Executive in 2018, Claire advises businesses, public agencies, high net worth individuals and charitable trusts on how to target their giving using the Foundation in order to make the most impact locally. She leads on our strategic development  and advises our Board on policy and the future direction for the Foundation.

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 (Head of Finance and Operations)

Joanne is our Head 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)

Judy is our Head of Philanthropy. 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!

Izzy Foss (Programmes Support Advisor)

Izzy is one of our newest team members, and is a Programmes Support Advisor. A recent UEA Media and International Development masters graduate, she is excited to be working at the Norfolk Community Foundation.

Ask me about…

Applying for our latest grants, impact and ethical storytelling.

I love Norfolk because…

I love the Norfolk coastline, especially when the seals and their pups are out on the beach!

Did you know…

In my spare time I like to bake, play the saxophone and paint – though not all at the same time…

Catrin Hamer (Programmes Advisor)

Catrin is one of our 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 go!

Sara Herschel-Shorland (Finance Coordinator and Philanthropy Advisor)

Sara is our Finance Coordinator and Philanthropy Advisor. She is responsible for the day to day running of the Foundation’s financial functions and also works with some of our fund holders, developing their funds and guiding 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, making payments 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!

Karen Hutchinson (Office Manager and PA to the Chief Executive)

Karen is our Office Manager and PA to the Chief Executive. She oversees the everyday running of the Foundation as well as acting as PA to 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 (Marketing and Communications Manager)

Jamie is our Marketing and Communications Manager and is responsible for the Foundation’s various forms of communications including website, PR, newsletters and publications. 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…

Measuring and reporting impact, media opportunities and anything creative (especially colour schemes!).

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 even a bit of boxing!

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 (Programmes Advisor)

Stef is one of our 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 (Programmes Advisor)

Clive is one of our 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.

Ask me about…

Applying for grants for your group.

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 will be happy to share questions with you.

Graeme Tolley (Community Development Manager)

Graeme is our Community Development Manager. He is responsible for the Foundation’s Nourishing Norfolk initiative, which aims to establish a network of affordable food hubs across Norfolk communities to address the growing challenges and pressures facing many households. Before joining the Foundation, Graeme has spent over 10 years working in various roles within the youth work sector and came to Norfolk to complete a PhD in International Development at UEA.

Ask me about…

Nourishing Norfolk, food security, community needs and challenges.

I love Norfolk because…

Having moved from Manchester to Norfolk in 2011 to study at UEA, I fell in love first of all with the relaxed vibe of Norwich before getting to know and love the wider geography of Norfolk. I now live in North Norfolk within easy access of the coast, one of my favourite places to spend time.

Did you know…

In my spare time, I love being on the water, either paddleboarding, bodyboarding or kayaking. I also spending time in the garden, and woodworking.

Our Trustees and Patrons

Simon Bailey CBE, QPM, DL, Chair
Simon is the former Chief Constable of Norfolk and has a strong understanding of the issues facing the most vulnerable locally. He has considerable experience in protecting some of the most vulnerable in our communities and in the area of online safety.

Ed Savory, Company Secretary
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.

Stephen Allen
Stephen is Norfolk born and qualified as an Accountant in 1976. He did his training in Norwich with Lovewell Blake, before moving to London and joining what was then Coopers & Lybrand. He subsequently left the accountancy professional and worked in stock broking and banking before moving back to Norfolk. Since 1998 Stephen has been the Finance Partner/Consultant for Brown & Co, the property and business consultants. Stephen loves Norfolk and all that it has to offer; he is never happier than when he is sailing and fishing its waters or just travelling around the County. Stephen is married to Fuff and they have three grown up sons.

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.

Lady Kay Fisher
Kay has been involved in local government for 30 years, both in St Edmundsbury, Suffolk and Breckland in Norfolk. She has also held positions as a Non Exec Director of the Mid Anglia Community Trust in Suffolk, trustee of Rethink (a national mental health charity), regional Chairman and former trustee of EACH, and currently a Mental Health Act manager for the Suffolk & Norfolk NHS Foundation Trust. She is also a Governor of the Thetford Academy, a patron of the Thetford Grammar School, the Priory School (SENDAT) in Bury St Edmunds and the YMCA Norfolk. She is also involved in the family farming business and various charitable projects in Thetford.

Fiona McDiarmid
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!

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.

Nicholas Pratt, DL
Nicholas has lived his entire adult life in Norfolk, having helped to run his family farm near Downham Market with his late father. He is married to wife Julia and has three children. Alongside the family farm, Nicholas’ Agricultural Contracting business has been running for 26 years. His main interests include the environment and climate change; Nicholas has been a part of the Game Conservancy Norfolk Committee for nearly 10 years. He was appointed the High Sheriff of Norfolk for 2015-2016, and is currently a Trustee of St. Margaret’s Minster Kings Lynn.

Dr Rosalyn Proops MBE
Rosalyn moved to Norfolk with her family over 35 years ago to work in Norfolk hospitals. Before retiring a few years ago, Rosalyn was a paediatrician in the Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust and Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. During her paediatric career, Rosalyn worked with national agencies and organisations concerned with Children and Young People. This included work around Safeguarding, Youth Justice and Mental Health. Since retiring, Rosalyn continues to enjoy life in Norfolk.

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. He 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. He 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 Financial Reporting Council and the Reclaim Fund Ltd, and the chair of GAMSTOP and the House of St Barnabas. Previous board experience includes roles as chair of the Electoral Commission and the Equal Opportunities Commission. She has had a local connection to Norfolk for over 15 years.

Joint Patrons:
Lady Pippa Dannatt, Lord-Lieutenant of Norfolk
The Rt Rev Graham Usher, Bishop of Norwich

Founding Patrons:
The Rt Rev Graham James, Former Bishop of Norwich
Sir Richard Jewson, Former Lord-Lieutenant of Norfolk