Mental Health Foundation

Senior Management Team

Mental Health Foundation
Dawn Austwick

Dawn Austwick — CEO

Dawn was appointed as Chief Executive of The National Lottery Community Fund at the end of 2013, and has led the development of the Fund’s Strategic Framework, People in the Lead.

“I joined The National Lottery Community Fund because of its extraordinary potential to help people and communities across the UK realise their dreams and ambitions. It’s a constant joy and revelation to discover the talent and enthusiasm of our grant-holders, and the rich variety of activity that takes place every day. The range and breadth of our funding makes us uniquely placed to share stories, make learning available, and bring people together to look at best practice and great ideas, from National Lottery Awards for All to our major strategic programmes like HeadStart”

Prior to joining the Fund, 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. She began her career in fringe theatre.

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. She was previously a Trustee of the Historic Royal Palaces and of the Woodland Trust. She has an MBA from the London Business School and an honorary doctorate from London Metropolitan University.

Gemma Bull

Gemma Bull — Funding Strategy Director

Gemma joined The National Lottery Community Fund in October 2015 and is leading on the design, development and improvement of our England portfolio so that all the projects we fund realise our principles of putting people in the lead to best serve their local communities and neighbourhoods.

“The National Lottery Community Fund is serious about creating opportunities for people and communities to take the lead. I am hugely excited about playing a part in supporting the organisation to learn how best to do this so that we continue to offer the most relevant support and enable the greatest impact.”

Formerly managing director of enterprise and innovation at Leonard Cheshire Disability, Gemma, who has a Masters in Human Rights from the University of Sussex, has a long and successful track record in helping to drive organisations forward, including Save the Children UK. She is the trustee of a learning disability charity The Squad.

John Rose

John Rose — Wales Director

John is responsible for the development, delivery, administration and communication of The National Lottery Community Fund’s grant programmes in Wales and is ultimately responsible for The National Lottery Community Fund’s work and reputation in the country.

“The projects we fund really touch the lives of the people and communities they support. I’m looking forward to helping that continue to happen, and ensuring that the lottery pound is well spent”

Leading a team of about 55 people based in offices in Cardiff and Newtown, John works closely with the Wales chair in discussing future direction and ensuring the non-executive board members are kept informed. He spends much of his time meeting with stakeholders from the public and voluntary sector and making sure The National Lottery Community Fund is aligned at all levels of the organisation.

John, who studied Environmental Systems and Applied Hydrobiology at the University of Wales, joined The National Lottery Community Fund in 2003. He meets regularly with the organisation’s senior management team and is the lead for equalities and sustainability.

Kate Beggs

Kate Beggs — Northern Ireland Director

Kate Beggs was appointed as The National Lottery Community Fund's director for Northern Ireland in January 2019.

Kate said: “I’m proud to work for The National Lottery Community Fund and have the opportunity to meet a wide range of stakeholders, volunteers and the beneficiaries involved in the projects we fund.

“It’s exciting to see people using National Lottery funding to take control and bring to life their own ideas for strengthening communities in Northern Ireland and across the UK. It’s also wonderful to see the genuine and lasting difference this makes in people's lives.”

Kate leads the Fund’s grant-funding activity, relationship management and operations in Northern Ireland.

Before joining the Fund, Kate was an experienced leader in the public sector, with 17 years in the UK Civil Service. She was previously Deputy Director in the Northern Ireland Office, leading their external political and community engagement.

Before joining the Northern Ireland Office, Kate held a wide-ranging series of roles in the Diplomatic Service, in the UK and abroad.

Sarah Benioff

Sarah Benioff — England Director

Sarah Benioff joined the National Lottery Community Fund in April 2016 and is now the Director for England.

Prior to joining the Fund, Sarah was a senior civil servant for ten years including roles as the Director of Integration and Community Rights in the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), National Director at the National Apprenticeship Service in the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and Deputy Director in the Office for Civil Society, developing voluntary and community sector government policy and programmes.

Prior to joining the Senior Civil Service, Sarah had been the Chief Executive of the Community Development Foundation, a non-departmental public body and charity, and had worked directly with communities, managing and leading voluntary and community sector organisations for many years.

Joe Ferns

Joe Ferns — UK Knowledge and Portfolio Director

Joe's team is responsible for evaluating The National Lottery Community Fund’s portfolio of grant programmes. This work is the bedrock of The National Lottery Community Fund, influencing and informing funding decisions and policy.

“The impact of The National Lottery Community Funding on individuals, communities and society is enormous and sharing the knowledge and learning which is generated by local and national work is a challenge which I am looking forward to,” said Joe, who joined The National Lottery Community Fund from the Samaritans in 2015, where he held a number of strategic roles.

“The approach of working alongside communities and stakeholders offers a compelling new way of approaching funding and I am very excited to join a great team at an important time for Big Lottery.”

Joe has also worked in research at the Institute of Psychiatry.

James Harcourt

James Harcourt — England Grant-Making Director

James joined The National Lottery Community Fund in April 2016 and was appointed to the England Grant Making Director role in March 2017. He is responsible for ensuring that the ideas and organisations we support in England help us to realise our principles of putting people in the lead to best serve their local communities and neighbourhoods.

“The organisations and ideas we fund really do have a significant impact on the lives of individuals and their communities. I’m looking forward to helping that continue to happen.”

Prior to joining the Fund, James spent almost 20 years in international development. He worked at Marie Stopes International (MSI) for almost 15 years in a number of different roles supporting the development of reproductive health and family planning programmes primarily across Africa, and most recently oversaw MSI’s relationship with the Unites States Agency for International Development (USAID). Prior to that, James worked with EveryChild developing family-based alternatives to institutional care for children in Eastern Europe.

Neil Harris

Neil Harris — People Director

Neil has 6 years’ experience leading the people agenda for the Wholesale division of BT, where he delivered many large change projects including launching a new set of employee ‘values’, managing significant mergers and acquisitions and delivering the culture change to transform customer experience. He also has significant leadership experience outside of HR, across different sectors which helps him to see our priorities through multiple lenses and stakeholder perspectives; and importantly how people initiatives play through to organisation culture and customer experience. Neil is a strong believer that happy people leads to happy customers; if our culture is a healthy one that will in turn improve the way we serve our communities.

“For me being great at HR is not primarily about process it’s about connectedness; it’s through relationships and a deep understanding of the organisation that we can deliver a relevant and valuable service to the organisation.”

Ben Harrison

Ben Harrison — Director of Engagement

Ben joined The National Lottery Community Fund in 2016, and leads the Fund’s Engagement Directorate.

Ben has spent much of his career working on economic development, housing and localism in a range of research, consultancy and communications roles.

Prior to joining the Fund, he was Director of Communications and Development at national think tank the Centre for Cities. While at the Centre, he played an important role in helping to shape the devolution agenda, appearing regularly in the national and local press, and providing commentary and analysis on the development of mayoral devolution deals across the country.

Ben has also previously established and led Future of London, a not-for-profit policy network focussed on cultivating the next generation of housing and regeneration leaders in London, and spent three years at PricewaterhouseCoopers. He began his career at the Institute for Public Policy Research.

Ian Hughes

Ian Hughes — Finance Director

Finance Director for BBC News and Current Affairs prior to joining The National Lottery Community Fund in April 2015, Ian brings a wealth of experience to the role. He heads up finance and corporate services, which includes audit and risk, legal, IT and facilities.

As well as heading up our audit and risk teams, Ian, who had a number of operational roles in his tenure at the BBC, is responsible for providing an effective and safe working environment for our staff, the smooth running of our technology services across all 13 of our UK sites and supporting the organisation to better understand the financial and commercial consequences of everything we do.

He also has oversight of our procurement processes and grant contractual arrangements.

Matthew Green

Matthew Green — Technology Director

Matthew joined the Fund in 2017, with more than 25 years’ experience of working in IT in public and private sector. Matthew is responsible for all technology systems and services and leads the IT department as a strategic enabling partner to the organisation, having developed the technology vision for our organisation, transforming IT from a traditional internal service provider/utility, to one of strategic enabler/partner of the organisation.

“I believe IT is an enabler of the organisation and can underpin every strategic aspiration. Engaging and empowering colleagues in all parts of the organisation to communicate, collaborate and work together as one team is at the heart of my vision. Drawing together the best of technology and people into excellent services, to create simple and effective digital experiences, provides the ecosystem for all colleagues to work with the teams, customers and communities they support.”

Matthew’s previous roles include senior leadership level for IT in Higher Education delivering Digital Transformation, and in a previous academic role, has taught at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, in a range of subjects including computer science, information systems, change, project and programme management and IT leadership courses.

Senior Management Team expenses