Our people

Anne is Emeritus Professor of Social Policy and Head of Housing and Communities at the London School of Economics. Anne was one of the National Communities Resource Centre’s founding directors in 1987 and has been an active board member ever since. Well known and respected across the social housing sector, many of her former and current students have supported the work of the National Communities Resource Centre. Most recently Anne developed our Lessons from Grenfell work and set up and manages the Housing Plus Academy project, which brings together social housing residents, staff, and policymakers to tackle important issues facing communities and social landlords. As Chair, Anne has carried a key responsibility to move the charity forward, despite the closure of Trafford Trading, with help from her project coordinator, Jess Rowan, at LSE.

A civil engineer by training, Michael joined the house building division of John Laing in 1983 and since then has run a regional office for Laing Homes, been on secondment to the CBI for nearly two years, and managed the company’s community affairs policy. He then managed the John Laing Charitable Trust (JLCT) as Trust Secretary until his retirement in 2013. During his time managing the JLCT they continued the Company’s association with the National Communities Resource Centre by funding the Community DIY courses. Michael was awarded an MBE in 2010 for Services to the Voluntary Sector and in his spare time he enjoys tending his ‘rather large’ allotment.

Margaret held the role of Director of High Trees Community Development Trust in Tulse Hill, South West London, from 2009 to 2019. The Trust runs a multi-purpose centre and is a community anchor and hub which is concerned with the social and economic development of the community. High Trees has the distinction of being the first community organisation in the UK to deliver the award- winning Apps for Good course.

Faced with the changing financial and funding climate which is a difficult and challenging space for charities, Margaret led the organisation through a number of changes to make the organisation robust and sustainable and vision led, not funding led, to enable High Trees to continue to deliver important and much needed services. Margaret is now working freelance as a community development and training consultant.

Poppy is Associate Director at the Carbon Trust, an international, not-for-dividend consultancy. Poppy is Head of Carbon Trust Wales, currently managing the Welsh Government Energy Service, a 4-year, multi-million pound programme helping the public sector and community groups in Wales to develop and secure investment in major energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

Poppy has been involved with the National Communities Resource Centre since 2008, when she worked at Trafford Hall to develop environmental initiatives, to source renewable energy and to set up our Community Futures environmental training programme. She joined the board in 2013, initiated our Good to Go youth programme with Willmott Dixon Interiors and ran her first marathon to raise money for our 25th anniversary.

Richard has worked with CEOs, Directors and their teams at charities, NHS Trusts and FT 100 PLCs. He worked for ICI Plc in senior commercial and IT roles. His most recent positions were with McMillan Cancer Support and The Royal British Legion. He develops business strategies and leads the change programmes and the governance to implement them, working with the Board and the people across the organisation.

Richard led the data and technology programmes as part of the ‘Live On’ rebranding and transformation programme at The Royal British Legion in 2012/13. This programme enabled staff to provide services to over 180,000 beneficiaries online and over the phone and to over 90,000 beneficiaries at pop in centres. Richard was a volunteer working with the CEO at the National Communities Resource Centre during 2016/17 and became a director in 2018. He is married, lives in Chester and has three children.

Neil joined the National Communities Resource Centre early in 2019 having gained over 30 years’ experience in the training and conference centre marketplace, most recently as the Commercial Director for a niche hotel management company.

Neil witnessed the growth and changes in that marketplace having been an Operations Director of the UK’s largest conference centre operator, De Vere Venues, for nearly a decade. The remit encompassed all aspects of operational delivery: quality, budgetary and financial performance. De Vere provided an outsource solution to training facilities owners including corporate (IBM, PwC, Tesco, BP), academic (Nottingham University) and charity sectors (WRVS and the Royal Society). Latterly the property elements of planning, new build, refurbishment or redevelopment became key areas of responsibility together with appraising new opportunities for prospective owners and sellers. This commercial aspect led Neil to establish a new hotel management company in 2014 from which he has recently moved to develop a Non- Executive Director portfolio.

Mike was a practicing solicitor for 39 years before retiring in March 2019. From 1984 his legal practice centred on advice for social housing landlords and for the last 15 years of that period he was the managing partner of Trowers & Hamlins’ Manchester office.

Since retirement from legal practice, Mike has become involved with a number of non executive director and trustee roles, in addition to NCRC. He is chair of the board of Leeds & Yorkshire Housing Association and of the board of trustees at TLC: Talk, Listen, Change (a relationships counselling and support charity). Mike is also a board member of Weaver Vale Housing Trust, Wakefield & District Housing and Housing Diversity Network as well as being a trustee of Caritas Care.

Mike was also the first chair of Trafford Housing Trust between 2003 and 2008 and a board member of Manchester Care & Repair for over ten years.

Mike is a proud Dad of three grown up sons and Grandad to three young grandchildren.

Michael Birkett, BSc (Hons), MBA, MSC, DSocSci, FCIH is the Group Chief Executive of the Regenda Group and holds a number of Non Executive roles with different organisations.

Before joining Regenda, Michael spent eight years as Chief Executive of The Calico Group and earlier and has held senior roles at The Aspire Group and Liverpool Housing Action Trust.

Lesley is founder of Positive Footprints, an organisation which works with schools and young people to raise aspirations. Prior to this Lesley was Managing Director of Vedas Recruitment and Training. Lesley has held various positions on Boards across the North West for the housing sector, Education and in skills and employment.

With extensive leadership experience in welfare to work, talent management and education, Lesley plays a key role in influencing government policy on the skills and employment agenda, including the Government Careers Strategy, which now includes a focus on Primary schools.

David is a hugely experienced leader in both Executive and Non-Executive roles. He has over 30 years experience in Chief Executive roles, most recently at the National Housing Federation, having previously been Chief Executive of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations and of Newlon Housing Trust.

In his current portfolio of Non-Executive roles David is Chair of The Good Home Inquiry. He is Chair of Clarion HA Board, Chair of ReSI Housing and a board member of Clanmil HA. He is a previous President of Housing Europe and previous Chair of Reall, an international housing development charity. David is also co-Chair of #Housing 2030, a joint Housing Europe and UNECE study on affordable housing in the UNECE region and is a member of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Housing, Church and Community Commission.

David is widely regarded as a compelling and inspiring public speaker focusing on the challenge of optimistic leadership and the critical importance of great governance. He has huge media experience, is a well-regarded commentator and blogger and has extensive expertise navigating the sometimes opaque world of politics and government.

In June 2018 David was awarded a CBE.

community volunteers painting a wall

Join our newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter to keep up to date with the latest news and updates from NCRC at Trafford Hall

Skip to content