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UK Funding Committee

Meet our UK Funding Committee members
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Peter Ainsworth - Chair of the Big Lottery Fund

Peter Ainsworth has been the Big Lottery Fund's UK Chair since June 2011.

More about Peter Ainsworth

"It is a great privilege to be associated with the Fund. Having been a keen supporter of the National Lottery ever since it started, I am hugely impressed by the scale and depth of the Fund's giving into communities, and to people most in need across the UK. This is an exciting organisation which really does make a positive impact on the quality of life."

Peter Ainsworth has been the Big Lottery Fund’s UK Chair since June 2011.

He is an Environmental Consultant and a founder member of the Robertsbridge Group. He was previously a Director of Corporate Finance in a major Investment Bank. He has a 25 year record of commitment to public life having served at senior levels both as a Local Councillor and as a Member of Parliament in government and opposition.

Peter is currently chairman of two national charities, Plantlife International, and the Elgar Foundation.

Tony Burton CBE - Vice Chair and Chair of Audit & Risk

Tony Burton CBE is one of the Fund's general members.

More about Tony Burton CBE

"In a fast changing world the Big Lottery Fund is on a mission to transform the lives of communities and people most in need. As Vice Chair I am delighted to be able to play a growing role in unleashing the potential of communities to improve their lives and the quality of their neighbourhoods."

Tony works free-range on a wide range of community and environmental projects, including providing support for community groups on neighbourhood planning and as Executive Chair of Sustainable Homes. He also advises HS2 on design and Lafarge Tarmac on sustainability and is a trustee of Friends of the Earth.  Tony founded Civic Voice – the national charity for the civic movement – in 2010 and has over twenty five years’ experience on the Boards of national charities, including National Trust, Campaign to Protect Rural England and Design Council. 

Tony is a trustee for his local civic society in Mitcham.  He was awarded the CBE in the Jubilee Honours for services to planning, local government and community and can be found on twitter as @Tony4Place.

Tony will be taking up the post of Vice Chair from 1 June 2014 following Anna Southall’s departure.

Dr Astrid Bonfield - General member

Dr Astrid Bonfield is one of the Fund's general members.

More about Dr Astrid Bonfield

"I am absolutely delighted to have been appointed to the Big Lottery Fund Board and it is a real privilege to be part of an organisation that makes such a difference in people's and communities' lives"

Dr Astrid Bonfield is the Chief Executive of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust and the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund; she was previously Director of Policy at the Aga Khan Foundation.

She is a member of the Global Philanthropy Leadership Initiative and has previously chaired both the European Funders Group for HIV/Aids and the Corston Coalition of Independent Grantmakers.

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.

Maureen McGinn - Scotland Chair

Maureen McGinn has been a member of the Scotland Committee of the Big Lottery Fund since March 2007.

More about Maureen McGinn

"I’m proud to play a part in BIG becoming an intelligent funder – working in partnership, making a difference through what we fund, learning from experience and sharing the results"

Maureen is currently an advisor on social justice to the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and is a former member of the steering group of the Partnership Drugs Initiative of Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland. Her past grant making experience also includes running the Laidlaw Youth Trust which promoted partnership working between charities supporting children and vulnerable young people in Scotland.

Her earlier career included periods working for a charity, a trade union and in central and local government. Born and brought up in Perth, she attended Perth Academy and is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh. Maureen lives in Edinburgh and is married to Sir John Elvidge and so, on occasions, is also known as Maureen, Lady Elvidge.

Dr Michael Dobbins - Committee member

Dr Michael Dobbins is the Principal of Ardnashee School and College and is founder and Chair of Liberty Consortium in Derry/Londonderry, an award-winning, nationally recognised, multi-sectoral body promoting inclusive play, community infrastructure and quality services for children and adults with learning disabilities.

More about Dr Michael Dobbins

"I am very excited about joining the team at the Big Lottery Fund and supporting our work in enhancing local communities. It is also a great honour to be able to work for an organisation that puts communities first and I look forward to taking up my responsibilities."

He has published several papers in internationally peer-reviewed journals in both Europe and North America, authored and co-authored several reports and is the author of the book ‘Learning to Enable’.

He serves on a range of public and community sector boards and is actively committed to community leadership.

Michael is a regular speaker at conferences throughout Ireland on educational matters.

Sian Callaghan - Committee member

Sian has worked in public relations, public affairs and marketing for 28 years in the private, public and not for profit sectors. Since July 2014 she has been Director of Communication at the Office for National Statistics in Newport.

More about Sian Callaghan

"I was keen to join the Big Lottery Committee after seeing the impact our funding has on communities’ right across Wales, and I'm delighted to be part of a team which has the interests of the people of Wales at its heart. Visiting the projects we support and hearing how we help to improve lives has been inspirational."

Sian previously worked for Centrica, the parent company of British Gas for 18 years in a variety of communication roles. She has also worked for the Welsh Federation of Housing Associations, at Mid Glamorgan County Council and has been involved in PR and marketing for a number of consumer brands, working both in Wales and across the UK.

Married to Rob, Sian lives in Cardiff. She is a past board member of Shelter Cymru and Cadwyn Housing Association and has a degree in Communication Studies.