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Marc Scott - ChairpersonMarc joined the Volunteer Board of Trustees on 4 September 2018. Marc has over 15 years’ experience in the sports sector working initially with the Scottish Institute of Sport and Scottish Hockey before relocating to Northern Ireland in June 2009 to work with Sport Northern Ireland. Marc specialises in governance and leadership with his role at Sport NI entailing working with sports governing bodies to improve governance standards across the sector and to assist professional and volunteer workforces build capacity to be well placed to manage public investment. On leaving Sport NI in April 2018, Marc established Progressive Edge, a management consultancy with a primary focus on working with voluntary sector organisations to build board capacity, develop strategy and apply best practice processes to their work. Marc is currently the Chief Executive of Ulster Hockey, leading the organisation into a period of strategic growth. From a voluntary perspective, Marc was the Independent Chair of Archery NI from 2018 – 2022 and is currently the Vice-Chair of the NI Sports Forum.
Martin McCarthy - Deputy ChairpersonMartin is a Chartered Banker who worked for many years in AIB Group/ First Trust Bank, and more recently as NI Regional Manager for Charity Bank. While at First Trust, he chaired the Staff Charity Committee which had a number of very successful fundraising partnership with local charities. His role at Charity Bank dealt specifically with a range of charities and social enterprises across Northern Ireland., In the voluntary sector Martin was a Director of Building Change Trust where he was a Board member and Chair of the Finance sub-committee. Prior to becoming a Volunteer Now Trustee, he was an independent member of Volunteer Now’s Audit and Risk Committee. Martin also chairs his local church’s Finance Committee. In his spare time he describes himself as a music aficionado, and a sideline consultant for his youngest son’s football team.
Dr Nick Acheson - TrusteeNick joined the Board of Trustees on 4th April, 2017. Nick is currently Visiting Research Fellow at the School of Management, Trinity College Dublin and Associate Lecturer in Social Policy at Ulster University. He retired from a career of teaching and research at UU in 2015 and is currently a Trustee of the Voluntary Sector Studies Network, a UK wide charity registered in England and is a co-editor of the academic journal, Voluntary Sector Review: an international journal of third sector research, policy and practice. He is the co-author of two books and the author of a numerous papers and articles on voluntary action and its relationship with government in Northern Ireland, Ireland and Canada. Before embarking on his academic career in 1997, Nick worked for NICVA and Disability Action, the latter in a variety of management roles. He was on the Board of the Law Centre NI and was a founding director of Community Evaluation NI, serving as chair for three years. He brings research and policy analysis skills to the Board and extensive knowledge of international research on volunteering and voluntary action more generally.
Elaine Black - TrusteeElaine is an independent trustee since April 2023. As one of Volunteer Now event volunteers, Elaine ‘meets and greets’ and signposts individuals and families, most recently, at the Belfast Ukraine Assistance centre. Enriching volunteering is Elaine’s enduring priority. Celebrating its value, both the quality of the volunteer experience, and its benefits to the group or community underpins Elaine’s 30-year career. Starting out by supporting communities in housing estates from Ballymena to Belfast, on how to set up groups, attract funding, establish community centres, run events, and implement bespoke training programmes, doing so and safeguarding everyone involved is paramount. Progressing Council community services, e.g., designed Newtownabbey Borough’s Volunteer Awards and Belfast City Council’s Children & Young People’s services. Leading regional services e.g., for older people, mental health support, or pioneering thematic priorities e.g., Community Safety, all has relied upon great volunteers at the heart of it. Elaine is keen to champion the future of volunteering, supporting the Volunteer Now team on their endeavours and quality assure the experience for all.
Nathan Campbell - TrusteeNathan works as a solicitor in Cleaver Fulton Rankin in Belfast. Nathan specialises in a range of areas including charities and social enterprises, business immigration, employment law, data protection and commercial contracts. Nathan graduated from Durham University and has been working in various roles in the legal sector since 2012 including time spent working as a paralegal in Belfast and Doha, Qatar. Nathan enjoys assisting in raising money for Cleaver Fulton Rankin’s charity of the year and as a keen runner has completed three marathons for various charitable causes.
Helen Connolly - TrusteeHelen is the Volunteering and Participation Manager for National Museums Northern Ireland where she is responsible for development of volunteering strategy and practice within the organisation. After graduating from University of Ulster with a degree in fine and applied art in 2002, Helen began volunteering within the community arts sector with a diverse range of groups, such as Belfast Travellers, various older people’s groups and youth groups within disadvantaged areas. It was through this experience that she became passionate about what well managed volunteer involvement could bring to organisations and the people they support. Helen has worked as a volunteering development professional for 13 years with organisations such as Barnardo’s, Volunteer Now and Action on Hearing Loss where she successfully led the organisation through the Investing in Volunteers standard. She has an interest and experience in topics such as organisational culture change and leading beyond your authority, having recently explored both as a Common Purpose alumni. Helen also brings experience and knowledge of writing and embedding strategy, influencing, partnership working and networking skills.
Jenny Ferguson - TrusteeJenny joined the Board of Volunteer Now in September 2021. Jenny has 18 years' experience of engaging and involving volunteers: 5 years of schools and community fundraising with NSPCC and 13 years with the National Trust. Within National Trust, she worked alongside volunteers, directly managed teams of volunteers, was the Volunteer & Community Involvement Officer for a portfolio of properties with 450 volunteers and is currently the regional NI People Business Partner for volunteering and community. She is a voluntary trustee of Belfast Homeless Services and volunteered as secretary of St Columbanus College PTA for many years. Her experience means she understands the range of operational and strategic opportunities and challenges inherent in volunteering. She is personally and professionally invested in volunteering for deep mutual benefit at an individual, organisational and societal level and is honoured to support Volunteer Now's mission to support and advocate for volunteering, volunteers and volunteer involving organisations in Northern Ireland. The pandemic has accelerated societal change and the landscape of volunteering is changing at pace too; as a sector, we must work collectively to support volunteer involving groups and organisations to respond to the changing needs and expectations of people who want to give their time to causes they believe in.
Jenny Marshall - TrusteeJenny has worked in the world of community development for 16 years and has a rich history in volunteer management within community organisations including: youth, older people, addictions and mental health. Her role in the leadership team at Mid & East Antrim Agewell Partnership, an older peoples charity in Mid & East Antrim includes managing the service delivery for a number of health related contracts, as well as building capacity in local community groups around funding, governance and project management. As a strong advocate for the voluntary sector, she has previously served on a number of third sector voluntary boards including Kells and Connor Pre School and The Alternative Medicine Theatre, as well as holding the coveted position of the Boardroom Apprentice for the Northern Ireland Charity Commission in 2018/2019. As part of her ongoing personal development, Jenny is currently studying for a Post Graduate Diploma in Leadership and Management for Health & Social Care.
Jeannie McCann - TrusteeJeannie joined the Volunteer Now Board of Trustees in April 2023. She has 13 years’ experience working across the public sector and civil society. Jeannie is a Social Value Advisor at the NI Strategic Investment Board. She advises the public sector on opportunities to maximise the benefit of Government buying power for people, communities and the planet. She leads on Social Value approaches for Services contracts, including by providing guidance and training on the NI Executive’s recently introduced policy, 'Scoring of Social Value'. Before joining SIB, Jeannie held several roles promoting social justice and active citizenship in civil society, including at Trócaire and Habitat for Humanity. She was a 2022 Fellow of the Social Change Initiative where her research focused on taking local action on global issues. She previously served on the Board of Trustees of Home-Start North Belfast. Jeannie is passionate about the role of volunteering in bringing people together to build strong communities where everyone can contribute.
Samantha McClatchey - TrusteeSamantha McClatchey joined the Volunteer Now Board of Trustees in January 2021 and has spent the last 8 years working in the recruitment industry with Lucas Executive Search. She has worked on many senior executive and Board appointments across the public, private and voluntary sector. She has a love of animals, specifically dogs and volunteered for a number of years at Almost Home, an animal rescue centre and welfare charity. With a background in psychology and HR, Samantha has experienced first-hand the personal benefits that volunteering offers.
Philip McDonagh - TrusteePhilip joined the Board of Volunteer Now in 2018. He is an economist and spent most of his career working in the private sector with PwC. He has always taken an interest in the voluntary sector and the role of social enterprise in the economy and has served as a member of a number of boards including 12 years as a trustee of Community Foundation NI. In 2009 he was appointed as one of the first board members of the Charity Commission for NI where he chaired the Audit & Risk Committee. Philip is also currently chair of the Board of Governors of Friends School Lisburn.
Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council’s Mayor’s Community Awards 2024
27 November 2023
The Mayor’s Community Awards are back – and with five categories to choose from, Lisburn and Castlereagh residents are being urged to nominate the most deserving stars in their local area. Mayor of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council (LCCC), Councillor Andrew Gowan, said: “The fantastic voluntary and community work taking place across the council is […]Read More
Shaping the Future Relationship with Government
15 November 2023
by Denise Hayward, Co-Chair Joint Forum – on behalf of the VCS Panel The Joint Forum was set up in 1988 to promote regular dialogue between the Voluntary and Community Sector and Departments of the NI Government. The forum is made up of public sector representatives and a Voluntary and Community Sector Panel (VCS Panel) […]Read More
Belfast is celebrating its older volunteers
14 November 2023
Volunteers make the world a better place for all of us. They share their time, skills, knowledge, and experience to make a positive difference in the places people live, learn, work, and relax. Volunteers contribute to the resilience of our communities and are the backbone of a compassionate and caring city. In recognition of this […]Read More
King’s Award for Voluntary Service Congratulations!
14 November 2023
Congratulations to 9 volunteer groups in Northern Ireland that are among the recipients of the first King’s Award for Voluntary Service 2023! The King’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest civil Award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work done in their own communities. 262 Awardees from across the […]Read More