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Nominations open for Locality Awards '24 -

open until Tuesday 11 June with £1,000 cash prize for community organisation winners

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Locality Convention '23

Speakers

Learn from inspiring community leaders, change-makers, experts, and academics as they share their personal journeys and insights.

Professor Marc Stears - Director, UCL Policy Lab
Professor Marc Stears - Director, UCL Policy Lab

Marc Stears is a renowned political theorist and strategist. He specialises in fostering collaboration between academics and wider society. Prior to being Director of the UCL Policy Lab, Marc was Director of the Sydney Policy Lab, CEO of the New Economics Foundation, Professor of political theory at the University of Oxford and chief speechwriter to the Labour Party.

Marc is the author of several books including Out of the Ordinary (2021).

Twitter/X: @mds49 / @UCLPolicyLab

Afzal Hussain - Chief Officer, Witton Lodge Community Association
Afzal Hussain - Chief Officer, Witton Lodge Community Association

Afzal is Chief Officer at Witton Lodge Community Association (WLCA) - a dynamic social business and landlord, championing community-led approaches in Birmingham, and the wider West Midlands region. He is a huge advocate of asset-based development, especially those that create financial strength, independence, and resilience in our sector.

Twitter/X: @Afzal_H

Berni O’Brien - CEO, St George’s Lupset
Berni O’Brien - CEO, St George’s Lupset

Berni has worked at St George’s for 20 years, the last four as CEO. She is a community and partnership focused leader having worked at management and Board level within the charity, social enterprise and public sectors. She is passionate about making a difference to people’s lives through co-produced and sustainable services.

Twitter/X: @stgeorgeslupset

Olivia Butterworth - Participatory Practitioner, All About People
Olivia Butterworth - Participatory Practitioner, All About People

Olivia began her working life as a Youth and Community Worker, before embarking on a national career including senior-level roles at NHS England, central and local government, the voluntary sector and as a volunteer. Well-known as an innovator and disruptor – whilst at the Department of Health she transformed their approach to voluntary sector relationships and funding. She is driven by an unshakeable conviction that the power of people and communities is the missing jigsaw piece in the development, delivery and sustainability of our public services. Olivia is a Non-Executive Director of Local Care Direct, the National Advisor on working with people and communities for the Complete Care Communities Programme.

Twitter/X: @livibutt

Shane Devlin - Chief Executive Officer, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Integrated Care Board
Shane Devlin - Chief Executive Officer, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Integrated Care Board

Shane was appointed Chief Executive at the Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) Integrated Care Board in February 2022. Prior to this, he served as the Chief Executive of the Southern Health and Social Care Trust in Northern Ireland, offering a wide spectrum of health and care services to the local community. Shane has also been Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service and has held several senior executive positions within the health service in Northern Ireland.

Suzanne Wilson - Chief Executive, Lockleaze Neighbourhood Trust
Suzanne Wilson - Chief Executive, Lockleaze Neighbourhood Trust

Suzanne has run Lockleaze Neighbourhood Trust for seven years focusing on supporting residents to make change happen, community wellbeing, climate action and community led housing. Prior to that she spent two years as City Innovation manager for Bristol City Council considering how technology could make a more sustainable and connected city, and ten years on national higher education policy.

Twitter/X: @Suzanne_Wilson @LockleazeHub

Mark Leach - Climate Change Coordinator, Bristol City Council
Mark Leach - Climate Change Coordinator, Bristol City Council

Mark has led engagement projects ranging from built environment to air quality to climate change, developing a passion for engaging seldom-heard groups, empowering communities, and communicating challenging/complex issues. 20+ years of learning from a diverse range of communities informs his work, from the original Community Climate Action CAF bid to Bristol City Council’s climate and nature comms/engagement programme.

Twitter/X: @markjleach

LaKisha N Williams - Director, #DegreesNYC
LaKisha N Williams - Director, #DegreesNYC

LaKisha is Director of #DegreesNYC, a Co-led movement by young people and education professionals that strives towards educational equity. Lakisha sits on various Committees for the New York State Poor People’s Campaign, organising against racism, poverty, and ecological harm.

She has received numerous accolades for her contribution to education and social justice including the United Neighborhood Houses Award for Achievement in Civic Advocacy.

Twitter/X: @MinLaKi

Makala Cheung -  Co-Director, Fun Palaces, Creative Director of Filwood Community Centre; Music Artist, KALA CHNG (singer/songwriter/performer)
Makala Cheung - Co-Director, Fun Palaces, Creative Director of Filwood Community Centre; Music Artist, KALA CHNG (singer/songwriter/performer)

Makala is a community activist and creative from Bristol. She works at a grassroots level, whilst campaigning for cultural democracy as part of the Fun Palaces network supporting local people to co-create cultural community events and celebrate everyone’s genius.

Makala has recently been exploring how to support creativity in schools for Listen Imagine Compose Primary and is involved in Filwood’s new Levelling Up project.

Twitter/X: @MakalaCheung @KALACHNG

Afka Ray -  Founder and Director/ Guardians of Nature
Afka Ray - Founder and Director/ Guardians of Nature

A series of personal tragedies, including the suicide of her 13-year-old foster daughter, left Afka Ray unable to work and with spiralling mental health challenges.

It was only through growing her relationship with nature that Afka was able to rebuild her life. Afka found solace, healing and community through volunteering with nature-based organisations in Lancashire.

Afka has now formed Guardians of Nature as a means of sharing the healing power of horticulture and nature with others.

Facebook: Guardians of Nature - South Ribble

Instagram: guardiansofnaturehq

guardiansofnature.co.uk

Charlie Ferdinando, Head of Wellbeing and Communities, Southmead Development Trust 
Charlie Ferdinando, Head of Wellbeing and Communities, Southmead Development Trust 

Charlie has worked in the voluntary and education sectors for the last 25 years in London and Bristol. His current role uses his passions for integration, partnerships and community action as he oversees the programmes at Southmead Development Trust. He is the chair of the Community Insights Group in North and West Bristol and Oasis Hub Bristol.

Twitter/ x: @charlieferdi

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Nipa Shah - Programme Director, Brent Health Matters

Nipa is an Occupational Therapist, who has worked in Acute Hospitals and Community Health services in various roles for over 20 years. She joined Brent Integrated Care Partnership in 2021 to work across all stakeholders, including the local communities in Brent to tackle Health Inequalities.

Julie Pal - CEO, CB Plus
Julie Pal - CEO, CB Plus

Julie is the CEO for CB Plus - an independent community infrastructure organisation. She is an experienced senior leader in transformation and change management in statutory and voluntary organisations. Julia champions inclusivity, diversity, intersectionality, and responses to structural inequalities. She sees membership organisations as a lever to create tangible change by forging powerful alliances and partnerships.

Phil Chamberlain - National Lottery Community Fund, England Director (Strategy, Partnerships & Engagement)
Phil Chamberlain - National Lottery Community Fund, England Director (Strategy, Partnerships & Engagement)

Phil joined The National Lottery Community Fund in June 2022, as England Director (Strategy, Partnerships & Engagement). Here, he oversees the Fund's largest funding portfolio in England, shaping their strategy through partnerships and stakeholder engagement. Prior to this, Phil held leadership positions at City Lit, the Youth Sport Trust, Legacy Trust UK, and the Big Lottery Fund, gaining valuable experience in the charitable and community funding sectors. Phil also spent a decade within the Civil Service, working on high-profile policy issues, international campaigns, and in a Minister's private office.

David Nugent - CEO, Canopy Housing - Practical Climate Action for All
David Nugent - CEO, Canopy Housing - Practical Climate Action for All


David is CEO at Canopy Housing in Leeds, an award-winning self-help housing project that has engaged hundreds of inner-city volunteers in practical climate action. They get down, they get dirty, and they tackle the climate crisis head-on. Their latest project aims to help communities across the country replicate their successful model.

Helen Manchester - Professor of Participatory Sociodigital Futures, University of Bristol
Helen Manchester - Professor of Participatory Sociodigital Futures, University of Bristol

Helen Manchester is interested in participatory futures, design justice and digital inequalities. She runs a co-produced research project, working alongside older adults, community organisations and the cultural sector, called: 'Connecting through Cultures as we Age'. She is Co-investigator on the ESRC Centre for Sociodigital Futures. The Centre is a five year programme exploring sociodigital futures in the making to support fair and sustainable ways of life.

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Shobha Asar-Paul - CEO, ASAN