UK Funding Committee

Mental Health Foundation

Blondel Cluff CBE

Blondel Cluff CBE

Chair of The National Lottery Community Fund

Mrs Blondel Cluff CBE is a solicitor of over 37 years standing and a Fellow of Kings College, London where she was a member of the college council for several years, focusing on institutional change, governance and investment.

Blondel has held various public appointments for over twenty years, addressing communities, education, health and heritage.

The former head of legal at Lazard Brothers, has recently retired as a diplomat, having represented the British Overseas Territory of Anguilla, supporting the territory through Hurricane Irma, constitutional reform and in its preparations for Brexit as a border nation of the EU.

A daughter of Windrushers from Anguilla, Blondel is CEO of the West India Committee, a UK registered charity and Royal Charter institution that is the custodian of a UNESCO inscribed library and collection on the Caribbean and is a Consulting NGO of UNESCO on small island developing nations and heritage.

During the past six years, she has served as chair of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, London and South Committee and also chaired the London Committee of its predecessor, the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Blondel is a member of the Royal Mint Advisory Committee that is responsible for the themes and designs depicted on Britain’s coinage. An author of various works on the Caribbean, Blondel regularly lectures on history and heritage. In 2018 she received a CBE for services to numismatic design and for her work with the Caribbean community in the UK and abroad.

Blondel was co-opted to the Prime Minister’s Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, with focus on education; and is a member of the Windrush Cross Government Working Group, led by the Home Office.

Dr Simone Lowthe-Thomas

Dr Simone Lowthe-Thomas

Dr Lowthe-Thomas is CEO of Severn-Wye Energy Agency – a sustainable energy charity working in Wales and the border counties. Before becoming CEO, she held multiple roles in the organisation, including Director for Wales and Head of Community Energy. She is also Vice-President for Energy Efficiency and Fuel Poverty at Federene (European Federation of Energy Agencies). She gained her PhD at Cardiff University, studying Energy Crops and Biomass.

Dr Lowthe-Thomas was a founding board member at Community Energy Wales and spent ten years at Cardiff University as a Research associate.

John Mothersole

John Mothersole

John Mothersole has held senior local government posts in UK cities including London, most recently as Chief Executive of Sheffield City Council. Since standing down from that post in December 2019 after 11 years, John has taken on a series of non-executive roles which now include Chair-Designate of The Sheffield College, trustee of a community care charity, membership of the Advisory Board of the Sheffield University Management School and Chair of Meadowhall Education Centre. Prior to being selected as Chair of the National Lottery Community Fund England Committee John was a member of that committee.

John has been heavily involved in the policy agenda for UK cities through the Core Cities network, the Northern Powerhouse initiative and with Government in securing city and city region devolution deals and participating in trade missions.

His early career was in the arts, primarily in London and the North-East, and he sees a highlight of that part of his career being the reopening of the Roundhouse in London which enabled its subsequent redevelopment.

John lives in Sheffield although his roots are in the North-West. Having only recently stood down from being Chief Executive he is still trying to work out what his hobbies are!

Kate Still

Kate Still

Kate is Director for Scotland for the Prince’s Trust, a leading youth charity supporting young people to live, learn and earn. She was a Board member of ERSA for many years, Chair of Employment Support Scotland and a Fellow of the Institute of Employability. Kate started her career as a teacher after completing an MA (Hons) in Politics at Glasgow University.

She has over 25 years of relevant experience in delivery of education, apprenticeships, skills, employability and community enterprise and regeneration programmes across multiple sectors, including 15 years in the Charity sector. Kate has a passionate desire to make a difference coupled with the drive to achieve impact on issues of poverty, equality and diversity and social justice. Kate has held strategic leadership roles at EU and UK levels including Management of EU aid programmes to Central and Eastern Europe. A former Board Member of Strathclyde European Partnership, she completed her MPhil in European Policy research at Strathclyde University in 2011.

She has held Director roles previously with Rathbone and Wise Group. Kate has spent over four years volunteering with her local community council.

Paul Sweeny

Paul Sweeny

Paul has a wealth of experience working in the voluntary, community and public sectors in Northern Ireland.

From 1987 to 1994 he was the Director of the Northern Ireland Voluntary Trust, which supported community-based self-help initiatives.

He joined the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) in 1994, initially on secondment, as an adviser on community development and reconciliation. Throughout his subsequent career in the NICS he held a number of senior positions including Deputy Secretary in the Office of the First and deputy First Minister, Permanent Secretary in the Department for Culture, Arts and Leisure and Permanent Secretary in the Department of Education.

Since retiring from the NICS in 2017 Paul has undertaken a trustee role in a number of not-for-profit organisations involved in regeneration, culture and young people.

He said: “I consider it a privilege to be appointed into this role and to be afforded the opportunity to build on the success of the Fund's grant making in the years ahead.

“The Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise sector across Northern Ireland has responded to the challenges of COVID-19 with leadership, resilience and compassion. I believe that The National Community Fund is well placed to continue supporting local people as we re-build after the immediate pressures of the pandemic."

UK Funding Committee minutes