Meet our staff team:

Maddy Desforges

Chief Executive Officer

Maddy joined NAVCA in March 2021. As Chief Executive, she is responsible for making sure NAVCA does the right things at the right time, and particularly to listen to and understand member perspectives, and make sure they are reflected in NAVCA’s priorities.  She is also responsible for the internal running of NAVCA, working with trustees to make sure the organisation is robust. Maddy aims to be an influential and persuasive voice at national level, setting out the critical nature of local infrastructure communities to thrive.

Before joining NAVCA, Maddy was CEO at Voluntary Action Sheffield, a NAVCA member. Before that, she was a civil servant, holding a range of policy and strategy roles around education and employment. In her spare time, Maddy enjoys escaping to the hills with either a bike or her dog.  

Alex Boys

Deputy Chief Executive Officer

Alex joined NAVCA in March 2020. As Deputy CEO, he heads up our membership services and leads our work in health and wellbeing. Before joining NAVCA, Alex was CEO of an LIO in the West Midlands and has held various roles with charities, national funding bodies and local government in his 20 years in the VCSE sector.

Outside of NAVCA, Alex is a trustee of a charity which brings the Black Country’s local infrastructure together to support the local sector to engage in strategic projects. He’s a keen mountain biker and walker, and can usually be found in one of the UK’s national parks.

Jill Hopkinson

Policy Manager

Jill joined NAVCA in May 2022. As Policy Manager, she is responsible for strategic policy analysis and development, advising members on issues directly relevant to local infrastructure and the VCSE sector. She works in partnership with members and other organisations to gather and share knowledge and experience, advocate for change and influence decision makers. Jill also leads on research for NAVCA focused on enhancing the knowledge and understanding of local infrastructure and demonstrating its value and impact.

Before joining NAVCA, Jill has worked in agricultural and rural research, higher education and the VCSE sector. Her previous policy work focused on the broad needs of rural communities, local government and housing. Outside of work, she walks, gardens, follows cricket, volunteers in her local community in various roles and is a volunteer for a farming support charity.

Cheng Ee Kok

Membership Officer

Cheng Ee joined NAVCA in November 2020. As Membership Officer, she is responsible for membership support, processing new applications and onboarding new members. She also develops and administers the Local Infrastructure and Volunteer Centre Quality Accreditations, working closely with the NAVCA team to add to the hub of knowledge that demonstrates the impact of our members and supports stakeholder engagement.

Before joining NAVCA, Cheng Ee worked for an online learning provider, helping learners to transform their lives with new skills. Outside of work, she enjoys cooking and is a beginner in vegetable gardening.

Lydia Lowther

Projects Officer

Lydia joined NAVCA in June 2021. As Projects Officer, she leads on various funded projects which focus on providing tools, resources and capacity building for our members, such as our recent Cost of Living Fund, Ukraine Infrastructure Fund and training with the National Cyber Security Centre. She is passionate about delivering projects that meet the needs of NAVCA members and enrich their existing offer to local communities, building capacity in useful ways. Internally, Lydia leads on the development of our CRM, making sure we continue to evolve our use of it to better support our members.

Before joining NAVCA, Lydia worked in the voluntary and community sector in Doncaster, finding a new passion in the sector after graduating from Falmouth University with a degree in Fashion Photography. In her spare time, she enjoys photography and cinema.

Rebecca Vickers

Resources Officer

Beck joined NAVCA in January 2022. As Resources Officer, she has oversight of the financial processing, HR and governance systems, which are essential to the smooth running of NAVCA. She works closely with the whole NAVCA team to make sure our systems and processes are efficient and effective.

Before joining NAVCA, Beck was a Careers Adviser working with young people, alongside volunteering in a variety of different roles. Outside of work, she enjoys being active and spending time with family and friends.

Emily Lewis

Communications Officer

Emily joined NAVCA in February 2022. As Communications Officer, she is responsible for all communications, including newsletters, social media and website, as well as supporting the team to run member events, such as our Annual Conference. She works closely with the whole NAVCA team to make sure our communications are engaging, accessible and inclusive.

Before joining NAVCA, Emily worked in the voluntary and community sector in South Yorkshire, having graduated from the University of Sheffield with a degree in History and Politics. In her free time, she enjoys playing and watching football.

Sam James

Integrated Care Lead

Meet our Trustees:

Sandra Meadows MBE


Sandra has worked in the VCSE sector as a CEO, staff member, volunteer and as a board member for over 30 years. This includes many years as CEO of a NAVCA member and a voluntary trustee for a range of organisations - all focused on improving lives and communities.

She brings knowledge and expertise in strategic and organisational development, innovation, business transformation and cross sector collaboration and partnership. Her experience also extends to enterprise development and social investment. As an EDI consultant and equalities advocate, she is passionate about increasing diversity within Boards and teams. A Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts and supporter of emerging artists, Sandra enjoys live theatre, music and dance whenever possible.

Kerrie Fletcher

Vice Chair

Kerrie has worked in the voluntary sector since 1995, for infrastructure organisations in both urban and rural communities in Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire. Her most recent roles were CEO of South Derbyshire CVS and Deputy CEO (Strategic Partnerships) at Community Action Derby.

Now combining freelance work and study, Kerrie believes the variety, diversity and resilience of NAVCA members are our strengths as a movement, enabling us to respond to our local sector and communities, and evolve to meet their needs. She has been a NAVCA trustee since 2019 and is also a trustee of Willington Community Conservation Group, a small voluntary organisation in Derbyshire working to improve local green spaces.

Stephen Craker

Vice Chair

Stephen is Chief Executive of Communities 1st, a NAVCA member, and has a diverse background spanning the private, public, and third sectors, focusing on strategic development and operational efficiency. His career is marked by a dedication to enhancing community cohesion, driving social change, and fostering meaningful engagement.

Stephen's broad expertise includes strategic planning, stakeholder engagement, and programme development. He actively participates as a trustee in several organisations, such as the Community Transport Association (CTA), Voluntary Sector Studies Network (VSSN), and the Association of Chairs (AoC), as well as a Local Lead for the VCS Emergency Partnership (VCSEP), underscoring his commitment to the sector.  Outside of work, Stephen is passionate about travel, exploring new cultures, and connecting with people globally.

Lisa Healings


Lisa Healings joined NAVCA as a trustee in November 2022. As Treasurer, she uses her skills and experience as a Chartered Accountant with many years’ experience of charity accounting to support both the Board and Management Team at NAVCA in business planning and financial management.

Outside NAVCA, Lisa has been Chief Executive of VAST, the local infrastructure organisation for the VCSE sector in Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire, since 2019, having previously been the Finance Director of the organisation. Lisa is passionate about supporting local communities and advocating on behalf of the local VCSE sector to ensure that they can collaboratively build better places for our communities. Outside of work, she loves to curl up and escape into a good book, and enjoys spending quality time making memories with family and friends.

Julie Farrow


Julie Farrow has been the Chief Executive at Hunts Forum since April 2008, and leads Support Cambridgeshire, an infrastructure partnership that provides strategic support and development to Cambridgeshire VCSE groups.

She has a specific interest in health and social care issues and is the only VCSE representative on Cambridgeshire’s Health and Wellbeing Board.

Christine Blythe

Hannah Reid

Hannah is CEO of Community Action Suffolk, with a keen interest in all things VCSE infrastructure and supporting rural, urban and coastal organisations. Her background is in private and VCSE sectors, having run and managed organisations within both. Her skills lie in leadership, marketing and communications, training and development, and business planning, which she passionately believes are the golden rules for success in any organisation.

Elevating voices of local infrastructure organisations and the importance of partnerships and collaboration have been key within the VCSE sector in the last couple of years, and Hannah is keen to offer her time and commitment to continuing this at a national level on the NAVCA board.

Jess Sumner

Jess started her career in the voluntary sector as a volunteer 26 years ago, moving to paid positions and later to CEO roles. She has led small and large teams of staff and volunteers. She now leads Community Works, a membership organisation with 600 members across Brighton, Hove, Adur and Worthing. She has gained a deep appreciation of the value and impact that membership and infrastructure organisations bring in strengthening community and the wider voluntary sector, and of the role of Trustees in supporting this.

Jess is Chair of a partnership of infrastructure organisations across West Sussex, links with partners across Sussex and has been part of creating a VCSE leadership alliance to support Sussex Health ad Care Partnership. She believes passionately in the values and possibilities voluntary and community organisations offer, via their strong connections with their communities, to influence and create positive impact in those communities.

Angela White OBE

Angela has worked in the North West charitable sector for over 30 years. As Chief Executive of Sefton CVS since 1992, she has led and developed the organisation as a local infrastructure agency. Angela is passionate about the role of CVSs as a social movement and their vital contribution to innovation, leadership and collaboration in local communities and as social and economic partners.  

Angela has extensive experience in leading successful social, community and economic programme teams and initiatives involving Third Sector organisations. She has held a number of roles as Chairs of partnerships both in Sefton and organisations within the Liverpool City Region. She is a member of VS6, which is a consortium of third sector organisations working together to support the sector’s engagement with the Public Sector and City Region structures. As well as NAVCA, she is Trustee of VOLA, a learning and skills consortium in Merseyside and Time to Be Out, a LGBTQI refugee and asylum seeker charity based in Yorkshire. She is also Church Warden to a heritage church in the centre of York. Angela was awarded the OBE in the New Year’s Honours List 2016 for services to community action in Merseyside and is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts.

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