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England committee members

Meet our England committee members

Nat Sloane - England Chair

Nat Sloane is the Big Lottery Fund's England Chair

More about Nat Sloane

"I am very pleased to have joined the Big Lottery Fund, which has made an enormous contribution to the communities and people in need across the UK. I believe that BIG has a really important leadership role to play not only because of the breadth and depth of its reach but also because of its willingness to test new approaches that can enhance its contribution to communities and people in need."

Nat Sloane is an experienced funder. He was the co-founder and is now Vice Chair of Impetus Trust, the first venture philanthropy trust fund in the UK. He is also an Independent member of the Bridges Social Enterprise Fund’s Investment Committee, and has advisory board membership for Social Finance Impact Bond, European Venture Philanthropy Association Knowledge Centre and Liveryman for the Worshipful Company of Management Consultants. He has also been vice chair of Crime Concern.

Nat Sloane does not hold any other Ministerial appointments.

Albert Tucker - England Vice Chair

Albert Tucker is a leading figure in the fair-trade movement and overseas development, and is an advocate for poor small farmers in global trade and policy.

More about Albert Tucker

"BIG has brought real improvements to the lives of people and communities in need across the UK and internationally. It has improved the quality of life in rural areas, towns and cities, impacted on volunteering, improved community health, and generated facilities and opportunities for isolated communities and individuals. And it can still achieve a lot more."

Albert has a long-standing track record with leading charitable funders financing UK and international development. He has had senior management and non-executive roles in regeneration, community development and social enterprise.

He was Chief Executive of Twin and Twin Trading for nine years, and has been the chair of Comic Relief’s International Grants Committee and associated with Comic Relief for over 16 years, funding innovative programmes with poor communities in the UK, Africa, Asia and Latin America.

He is also a trustee and grants panel member of the City Parochial Foundation, a non-Executive Director of The Places for People Group, one of the largest and leading Registered Social Landlords in the UK, and chair of the Assurance and Regulation Board.

He currently works as an independent consultant and recently worked with the BBC, contributing to their Africa Lives season.

Nalini Varma - Committee member

Nalini Varma is a member of the BBC Charity Appeals Advisory Committee and chairs the Robbie Williams Give it Sum Fund that is administered by Comic Relief.

More about Nalini Varma

"Through the privilege of visiting projects and meeting organisations funded by BIG, I continue to be impressed with the support, financial and otherwise provided to enable individuals and communities to identify and respond to the issues and challenges that are important to them"

Nalini was a trustee of Comic Relief from 1996 to 2010 and chair of the UK Grants Committee from 1992 to 2010.

She is currently a lay member of a number of organisations including:

  • PhonePay Plus, the regulator for premium rate phone-paid services through your landline or mobile phone account
  • General Medical Council
  • Nursing and Midwifery Council
  • Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals Tribunal. Earlier in her career, she was chief executive of the Rainer Foundation for three years - a charity for young people taking it through a merger with the Royal Philanthropic Society to form what is now Catch 22. She has worked for a number of other charities, including the Family Service Units, beginning her career as a social worker in the London Borough of Waltham Forest.

She has also carried out a number of assignments as a management consultant, including interim director of EAVES Housing for Women, and assignments for the Ethnic Alcohol Counselling Hounslow, North East London Advocacy, Lambeth Council and Lambeth Voluntary Action Council.

She has had appointments for children's services in Newham Social Services as a consultant commissioner, served as a board member of the Children and Families Court Advisory Support Service (CAFCASS), a Trustee of the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund and as a lay member of the Solicitors' Regulation Authority.

Finally, she has been a committee member of the Association for Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations and the Ashiana Young Asian Women's Refuge.

Geeta Gopalan - Committee member

Geeta’s experiences in the voluntary sector have arisen over the past four years bringing to the sector her knowledge from close to 20 years in the banking sector.

More about Geeta Gopalan

"I believe that there are many committed, passionate individuals who are working very hard to solve some of the toughest problems in society and they need a supportive environment that enables them to perform to their best. I mentor CEOs of small charities with the aim of providing them with a sounding board and sharing experiences"

Geeta is a Trustee of Pilotlight including acting as a mentor to small charities. She is particularly interested in supporting them to help them develop and delegate as the organisation grows.

Most recently Geeta has held senior appointments at Monitise plc, Vayana Financial Services, HBOS, and Citigroup. She also served as Director UK Payments Council and Director VocaLink.

Scott Greenhalgh - Committee member

Scott Greenhalgh is a private equity investor and banker in both the UK and Germany.

More about Scott Greenhalgh

"The diversity and the small size of community based charities and organisations presents a challenge to funders – both in finding them and understanding the organisations and their effectiveness"

Scott is a former partner of Alchemy and Director of Samuel Montagu. He currently holds a number of non-executive director positions.

He chairs the Evaluation Committee of the charity Pilotlight. All the charities helped by Pilotlight are small (under £2m income pa) and many are community based organisations tackling the major social issues we face in this country.

Steve Richards - Committee member

Steve has been in business for over 30 years in public, private and private equity-backed companies and has led organisations as MD, CEO and Chairman.

More about Steve Richards

"I believe that strong engaged communities with purpose, empowerment and finance to get things done are the backbone of a successful society – projects run by motivated locals can achieve far more than central ever could"

Steve has spent the last five years in Non Executive roles helping boards to develop strategy and support executive teams in management execution. Most recently he was CEO for Interflora and was responsible for the restructure from a member’s organisation to a regular stock company.

Steve was previously a trustee of Backup Trust, a charity for the rehabilitation of people with spinal injuries and ten years ago brought UNICEF into Manchester United when he was Managing Director of the merchandising division. This is a partnership that continues to this day.

In recent years Steve has focused much attention on ethical and environmental corporate responsibilities including introducing Fairtrade flowers to Interflora and setting the debate on the environmental impact of food production and distribution at Abel & Cole.

Charlie Howard - Committee member

Charlie is the CEO of MAC-UK and a clinical psychologist who trained at Canterbury Christchurch University. Charlie is also a peer reviewer for the Home Office Ending Gang and Youth Violence Team, an Ashoka Fellow and an honorary lecturer at University College London.

More about Charlie Howard

"My experience has taught me that communities hold solutions - our job is to come alongside and to listen. I also know that we have to find ways of authentically working together across sectors and agencies: voluntary, private and statutory coming together to share what each does best."

Charlie founded MAC-UK in 2008 in collaboration with a group of gang involved young men. She has grown MAC-UK from 1 to 30 staff, co-creating nationally acclaimed new models for mental health delivery for excluded young people. Charlie won the Ben & Jerry's social entrepreneur award 2013 and won the Charity Times Rising Star Award in 2011.

Jane Robinson - Committee member

Jane Robinson was appointed as Chief Executive of Gateshead Council in 2012. She is responsible for an annual turnover in excess of £500m and 5,500 employees.

More about Jane Robinson

"I have worked in the public sector for over twenty years and am motivated by how we can improve opportunities for people and communities most in need, by working together. Through my role as Chief Executive of Gateshead Council, I am very aware of the challenges facing many communities, but I have also been privileged to see what can be achieved by working with those communities and the positive and lasting difference it can make to people's lives. I believe the Big Lottery Fund is uniquely placed to make a difference across the country and I am delighted to be part of the committee that will oversee its future direction and delivery."

She joined the Council as Assistant Chief Executive in 2005, having previously worked primarily in the cultural sector. In her role as Director of External Relations for the Arts Council, she was responsible for overseeing capital investment and business development, pioneering a new approach to support for creative businesses and social enterprises in the sector.

She is Chair of the Chief Executive’s Group for the emerging Combined Authority for the North East area, Clerk to the Police and Crime Panel and Clerk to the Lord Lieutenant for Tyne & Wear. Nationally, she sits on the Advisory Board of SOLACE (Society of Local Authority Chief Executives).

She holds masters degrees in English Literature and Business Administration and is a Fellow of the RSA.

Her non-executive appointments include the Tyne and Wear Community Foundation, Newcastle University’s Development Trust and North Music Trust.

She is married with three young sons.
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