Senior Management Team

Mental Health Foundation

David Knott

David Knott

Interim CEO

David was appointed Interim CEO in June 2021. He joined the Fund in October 2020.

“It is an honour to be asked to lead The National Lottery Community Fund as CEO for the next phase. I will focus on putting communities first, helping ensure the Fund is ready to emerge from the pandemic and provide the much-needed support to people and communities across the UK”

David has had a varied public service career, most recently as Director of the Office for Civil Society. In this role he was responsible for policy on charities, volunteering, young people, philanthropy, dormant assets, impact investment and mission-led business. He has also worked internationally, advising on governance and public policy in more than a dozen countries, and in the private sector. He enjoys leading people and organisations in support of social improvement. His leadership has particularly spanned fields of education, health, civil society and community development, and topics including social mobility, loneliness and culture change. He has two degrees in economics and one degree in Public Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

John Rose

John Rose

Wales Director

John is the deputy accounting officer and responsible for the development, delivery, and communication of The National Lottery Community Fund’s grant programmes in Wales, working closely with stakeholders in the public, private and voluntary and social enterprise sector.

“The projects we fund really touch the lives of the people and communities they support. I enjoy see people and communities take the lead and helping that continue to happen, ensuring that the National Lottery pound is well spent and celebrating the positive impact National Lottery Funding has on communities.

John has enjoyed an eclectic career. Having trained as a chef before travelling internationally John went on to study Environmental Systems and Applied Hydrobiology at the University of Wales, before working for an Environmental Charity. He joined The National Lottery Community Fund in 2003. He meets regularly with the organisation’s Board and senior management team and is the lead on the Funds Environmental Strategy.

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.

Neil Ritch

Neil Ritch

Scotland Director

Neil was appointed as The National Lottery Community Fund’s director for Scotland in July 2019.

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

“I am delighted to take on the role of Scotland director. The work we are doing is as interesting and exciting as it’s ever been in all the time I’ve been here. It is a great place to be and I am excited I now get the opportunity to lead on our work across Scotland.”

Neil first joined The National Lottery Community Fund in 2000 to set up the Scottish Land Fund and has since gone on to progress through a number of positions, from Funding Officer through to Deputy Director.

Prior to joining the Fund, Neil started his career as a community worker in Shetland and worked as a Scottish Civil Servant in community care policy, both of which gave him his thorough grounding in community led action and the importance of putting local people in the lead.

Neil Harris

Neil Harris

Corporate Services Director

Neil leads our Corporate Services functions, including strategic planning, programme management, people & culture, legal, governance and property management. The directorate plays a key role in ensuring our funding teams are supported and equipped with the necessary tools to have the greatest impact possible.

Prior to joining the Fund, Neil has significant leadership experience across different sectors which helps him to see our priorities through multiple lenses and perspectives. Neil is a strong believer that happy, effective and efficient teams will in turn improve the way we serve communities.

"I feel fortunate to work for an organisation where I can again lead positive change, remove unnecessary complexity and create simplicity - and ultimately make a real difference to people’s lives across the UK".

Matthew Green

Matthew Green

Technology and Data 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.

Elly De Decker

Elly De Decker

England Director

Elly was appointed as England Director for The National Lottery Community Fund in 2020, as Director Elly will seek to build upon the Fund’s successful shift towards a more local model of grant-making and to deliver on the organisation’s strategic framework that when people are in the lead, communities thrive.

Elly has worked at The National Lottery Community Fund for the last five years. She has played key roles in the Fund’s Headstart programme - a £56 million programme, testing new ways to improve young people’s mental health. Elly also set up and co-led funding awards – worth over £90 million a year - made to the south of England.

Recently, she led on the development and launch of the Fund’s £100 million Climate Action Fund, awarding money raised by National Lottery players to help communities take the lead in tackling the climate emergency.

Before joining the Fund, Elly worked with the international children’s charity, Save the Children, in overseas development and in management consultancy and also ran a number of strategic funding programmes for Impetus.

Faiza Khan MBE

Faiza Khan MBE

Engagement and Insight Director

Faiza joined the Fund in 2020. She is responsible for leading our activities across communications, engagement and knowledge and learning. She was previously Director of Policy and Communications at Paul Hamlyn Foundation and before that led a national citizen engagement programme, working with NHS England to bolster citizen voice through a process of deliberative democracy. Faiza has led one of the largest networks of voluntary youth charities as Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Policy and Communications at the National Council for Voluntary Youth Services, working with charities, communities and Government Departments to support better outcomes for children and young people. She has been a Trustee for End Child Poverty and has supported many not-for-profit organisations during her career to date. In 2014, Faiza received an MBE for services to young people.

“I have long held a great appreciation for the work of the Fund, having been both a previous grantee and in more recent years a fellow funder working to support shared strategic objectives. I hope to bring these experiences with me as I work with colleagues to make the most of our engagement, knowledge and learning potential to achieve maximum impact for the communities we serve.”

Emma Ackerman

Emma Ackerman

Funding Strategy Director

Emma joined the National Lottery Community Fund in 2017 with over 20 years’ experience of working with children, families and communities across the education, public and charity sectors. Emma is responsible for ensuring that all grant making is of the highest standard and that the richness, reach and scale of funding enables people and communities to thrive across the UK. She also oversees innovation, improvement and foresight work to drive forward funding development and support the sector.

In her previous role at the Fund, Emma oversaw England’s strategic programmes- an investment of over £500m tackling some of society’s most entrenched social problems ranging from young person’s mental health to homelessness and social isolation. Before joining the Fund, Emma spent the earlier part of her career in teaching and leadership positions across a number of inner-city London schools. She also worked as a specialist in early years, disability and complex needs, leading teams and programmes for a number of Local Authorities, The Family and Childcare Trust, 4Children and the Institute of Education.

Harnish Hadani

Harnish Hadani

Interim Director of Finance

Harnish has just recently joined the Fund in January 2021 as Interim Finance Director. Harnish is responsible for leading the funds finance, risk, internal audit and procurement teams. The directorate is instrumental in ensuring Lottery player’s and dormant money is utilised effectively to deliver the greatest benefit to communities.

“It’s so exciting to join an organisation that supports people and communities in so many different and diverse ways which make such a positive impact on people’s lives.”

Prior to joining the fund, Harnish has held a number of senior leadership roles across different sectors leading multi-disciplinary teams. This has enabled Harnish to gain broad leadership experience and view organisations through different perspectives. In his previous role Harnish was part of the change and transformation team tasked with changing finance (including a new systems implementation), procurement and HR. Harnish also has significant commercial experience including successfully tendering for new business contracts.

Senior Management Team expenses