Community builders. Pioneers. Storytellers. Believers. Connectors. Visionaries. Activists. Thinkers. Creators. Fighters. Leaders. Leeds-folk. And you.
Completely blown away by these fantastic speakers. The passion and dedication brought tears to my eyes.
- Cheryl Flavell, Placemaking and Partnerships Manager, Orbit Group

Locality Convention ’19 Speakers

Completely blown away by these fantastic speakers. The passion and dedication brought tears to my eyes. Ready to return home, freshly inspired." - Quote from Cheryl Flavell, Placemaking and Partnerships Manager, Orbit Group.

Day one – Opening plenary

Councillor Debra Coupar 
Deputy Leader, Leeds City Council

Cllr Debra Coupar is Leeds City Council’s Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Communities. She has oversight of issues affecting community cohesion across Leeds, covering housing, welfare and is the political lead on the Safer Leeds Board. Cllr Coupar chairs the Strategic Housing Partnership Board and Hate Crime Strategic Board. She is a Co-Chair of the national Special Interest Group on Countering Extremism and chairs the Strategic Neighbourhood Improvement Board.

Find Cllr Coupar on Twitter: @debracoupar

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe
Leader, Bradford Council

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe was elected Leader of Bradford Council in May 2016 and Chair of West Yorkshire Combined Authority in August 2017. Susan is Bradford born and bred and has served as councillor for Windhill & Wrose since 2011. Susan’s varied career has included running her own business, a management position at a major newspaper and a senior role with a national charity promoting responsible business practices.

Find Cllr Hinchcliffe on Twitter: @SHinchcliffe

Julia Preston

Julia has been CEO of GIPSIL Ltd, a Leeds based community founded anchor, since 2007. She has overseen the rapid growth of the organisation, developing local assets and valuable services for young people and leading large partnership consortiums for those at risk of homelessness. She is passionate about partnering with like-minded organisations to deliver citywide services which are greater than the sum of the parts whilst also maintaining a local approach. GIPSIL won a Partnership Award at the Locality Awards ‘18 for their Engage Leeds Partnership.

Follow Julia on Twitter: @GIPSIL_Leeds

Day one – Closing plenary

Vidhya Alakeson
Chief Executive of Power to Change

Vidhya is the founding Chief Executive of Power to Change, the independent trust established in 2015 to support the growth of community businesses across England. To date, Power to Change has invested over £60 million and supported 1,000 community businesses through targeted grants and support programmes to create better places. Vidhya was recently on the Government Advisory Committee for reviving high streets and has since co-authored the ‘Taking back the high streets’ report.

Follow Vidhya on Twitter: @vidhyaalakeson

Kersten England
CEO of Bradford Council

As well as being Chief Executive of Bradford Council, Kersten is also a member of several Boards in and beyond Bradford including – Bradford Economic Partnership, University of Bradford Council, Science Media Museum and a trustee of the Young Foundation. Kersten’s career has included work in the voluntary sector, higher education, central government as well as 27 years in local government. She is passionate about building resilient and confident communities, supporting local democracy and sustainable urban growth.

Find Kersten on Twitter: @kersten_england

David Baxter
Chief Executive and Founder of Abram Ward Community Cooperative (AWCC)

Working in the community for many years, David has managed the Platt Bridge Community Zone since 1999. AWCC was successful in receiving up to £1 million in funding over five years from Power to Change. They were one of seven catalysts across the country to reduce inequality via the growth of community businesses. In turn, AWCC created the Made in Wigan project, forming a ‘Buy Local’ brand and strategy to support a local wealth building model, and increase and sustain economic activity from the bottom up.

Find David on Twitter: @pbcommzone

Alison McKenzie-Folan
CEO at Wigan Council

Alison is passionate about public services and determined to make a difference for residents and communities. She is dedicated to inspiring the next female generation and was recently named in the Northern Power Women Top 50 Power list. She was also named one of the nine most influential digital leaders in Greater Manchester. Alison is a Board Member of Unify Credit Union, spokesperson for SOLACE on the digital agenda and sits on the Board of Open Data Manchester.

Find Alison on Twitter: @AlisonMc_F

Tony Dylak

Chief Executive, Royds Community Association

Tony is CEO of Royds in Bradford, a long-standing social enterprise based in Buttershaw. Tony has steered Royds towards sustainable income, and to providing a range of high-quality assets and services. Royds owns a portfolio of community buildings and is the community anchor for the locality. Tony is very active in the structures of the district, particularly in health and the economy. He provides the Royds Consultancy service and is retained by both Locality and Power to Change as a community consultant.

Find Royds Community Association on Facebook: @royds-community-association

Dawn Austwick​
Chief Executive of The National Lottery Community Fund

Dawn was appointed as Chief Executive of The National Lottery Community Fund in 2013 and has led the development of the Fund’s Strategic Framework, People in the Lead. Before that, Dawn was Chief Executive of the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and was previously Deputy Director of the British Museum, Project Director for Tate Modern and a Principal Consultant at KPMG. Dawn is a Trustee of the London Marathon Charitable Trust, a member of the Advisory Boards of the Institute of Policy Research at the University of Bath and RAND Europe.

Follow Dawn on Twitter: @DawnJAustwick

Kimberly Frangos
Trustee of New Wortley Community Association

Kim has been a Trustee at New Wortley Community Association for 10 years. She works to bring the community together, to make their voice heard, and make sure they are at the heart of everything that happens in their community. The reason she got into community work was to raise aspirations in her area, raise the profile of the area and to close gaps when it comes to social inclusion.

Day two – Opening plenary

Commoners Choir ‘Protest Songs Not Protest Chants’

Commoners Choir is a kicking screaming four-year-old, born and raised in a time of political small-mindedness and austerity. The choir writes and sings its own songs, reacting to the world around them and operating collectively. Commoners Choir is not just a bunch of singers – it creates and leads community-based projects, including a tour of northern libraries threatened with closure; a ‘More Than A Mouthful’ tour where entry to performances was by food bank donation; and as part of the Great Exhibition of the North.

Follow Commoners Choir on Twitter: @Commonerschoir

Day two – Closing plenary

Kim Leadbeater

Ambassador for The Jo Cox Foundation and Chair, More in Common, Batley and Spen

Kim is an ambassador for the Jo Cox Foundation which was set up after the murder of her sister, Jo Cox MP, on 16 June 2016. She also chairs the Batley & Spen ‘More in Common’ volunteer group and is a spokesperson for The Great Get Together. Since Jo’s death, she has devoted much of her time to creating a positive legacy for her sister. Kim champions the importance of strong communities, where everyone has a sense of identity and belonging, inspired by Jo’s words “we have far more in common than that which divides us”.

Find Kim on Twitter: @JoCoxFoundation / @moreincommonB_S / @great_together

Anji Barker
CEO of Newbigin Community Trust

Anji lives and works in the inner-city neighbourhood of Winson Green, Birmingham. She has 25 years’ experience in neighbourhood-based community work in poor urban communities in Australia, Thailand and the UK. Anji runs Newbigin Community Trust, which provides a place of welcome, inclusion and social cohesion for families within the neighbourhood. Anji is a trained social worker and has started a number of successful social enterprises. She is also a passionate speaker and advocate for social justice and grass-roots transformation.

Find Anji on Facebook: @NewbiginCommunityTrust

Paul Butler
Chief Executive of The Selby Trust
Paul has a passion and heart for seeing visible change within communities. He joined The Selby Trust in February at a key time for local communities, the Trust and Haringey’s VCS as they embark on a site transformation and deepen the potential for collaborative opportunities. Paul is also a member of the Mayor’s Knife Crime Strategy Task and Finish Group and provides governance guidance and support within the Further Education Sector nationally.

Find Paul on Twitter: @SelbyTrust

Scott Richards
Project worker for Project 6 and Sheffield Alcohol Support Service

Scott has worked for four years in the addiction field after overcoming his own personal problem with alcohol. He now leads on a project called Active Citizens. The goal of Active Citizens is to support people using the Alcohol Recovery Community (ARC) to become better, rather than simply being in recovery. It aims to promote leadership on projects while working collectively with members of the community.

Follow Project 6 on Twitter: @Project6_

Brian Dawe
CEO of SAFE Regeneration Ltd (SAFE)

Having a background as a musician and a passion for creative arts, in 2000 Brian established SAFE as a not-for-profit organisation, dedicated to regenerating communities through the delivery of participatory arts projects. Brian’s determination, commitment and leadership over the past 20 years has seen SAFE evolve into a thriving community business hub. SAFE is now on the cusp of delivering one of the city’s most innovative community construction developments – currently the largest community-led housing and neighbourhood development programme in the UK.

Follow Brian on Twitter: @safebrian