Meet the team

Our team is made up of lovely people who know what it takes to make things happen in communities. They can help you kick start your project, help you solve challenges, and connect you up with other like-minded people who are out there making positive changes.

Tracey Robbins pictured with Stone Sculpture.

Tracey manages the UK wide Delivery Team overseeing work across the four nations. Tracey is passionate about communities, informal networks, relationships, interconnectedness and reducing loneliness. Tracey is herself a product of community development and focuses on being a powerfully ordinary, northern woman who gives a lot of HUGS!

Photo of Sandra Brown
Sandra Brown, Country Manager, Scotland

For the past 25 years Sandra has been working to understand what makes different communities work and to support the people living in them to make them stronger.  She has an unshakeable conviction that so many of our biggest dreams - of caring better for each other and the world around us - can only come true if we first build our communities by connecting people, their ideas and enthusiasm to one another. Sandra also loves growing vegetables and playing bass in a rock band.

Contact Sandra

Paul Smalley, Community Network Developer

North of England 

Paul has worked within communities for most of his adult life, whether through work or through volunteering.  He is a proud Northener and has an inbuilt passion for creating stronger communities and the importance of bringing people together. Working and studying for the past few years, around the current hot topic of our nation's mental health and wellbeing, has further strengthened his resolve on why the connecting of people has an extraordinarily positive effect on our wellbeing and enhances society as a whole. 

Contact Paul

CND Linda Gill

Scotland East

Linda attended a Community Camp and held her first Big Lunch in 2014.  She is delighted to be sharing her experience and knowledge of community development to all those looking for support in her region.  Linda puts a lot of store in the words of Martin Luther King, "Life's most persistent and pressing question is 'What are you doing for others?'" In her spare time, Linda set up Leith Community Cinema, and runs Leith Community Knitting Bee, which knits items for local families.

Contact Linda

Niamh in a parade with a rainbow on her face.

Northern Ireland

Niamh connects community projects across Northern Ireland and helps their organisers to share knowledge, experience, motivation, and inspiration. She loves seeing people find their spark and being brave enough to take on new challenges. Here is Niamh’s boat building project: Lagan Currachs

Contact Niamh

 Grainne McCloskey.

Gráinne manages the delivery of Eden Project Communities in Northern Ireland, having nurtured The Big Lunch since 2011. She brings over 20 years of communication and engagement experience to her role, promoting ideas and opportunities and developing partnerships. Gráinne believes in the power of community spirit and loves it when a plan comes together. Watch videos for The Big Lunch NI here.

Contact Gráinne

Diana Vogtel.

The Midlands and East of England

Diana connects community projects and community organisers in the Midlands and East of England. She loves seeing so many great community projects taking off — from a single crazy idea, to full-fledged impactful projects — and enabling our community organisers to inspire the next generation of change makers by sharing their experiences, knowledge and inspiration.

Contact Diana

Peter Lefort.

Peter manages our UK wide network of ordinary people doing extraordinary things in their communities. He is a big believer in the power of empathy and the importance of passing things on from person to person, whether it is inspiration, a helping hand or some leftover apples from the garden.

Contact Peter

Laonikos Psimikakis-Chalkokondylis, Community Network Developer

London, South East and South West

Laonikos is a socially engaged artist and outdoor educator. He believes that listening can be a radical act and help us connect to ourselves, our communities, and the world around us.  Through his work, he seeks to create spaces for communal listening and sharing, and is most inspired witnessing the transformational power of simple acts of connecting. 

His favourite quote is "hakuna matata", and he loves Finnish saunas and malted rye bread. 

Contact Laonikos

Samantha Evans.

Wales

Samantha connects community projects and community organisers with each other across Wales. In her spare time, she loves nothing more than being alongside people in her own town creating various informal events that bring her community together, adopt a sense of community spirit with one another and a sense of pride about where they live. One of her favourite quotes is “Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire”, because she loves meeting all the compassionate and energetic people she gets to work with across Wales, with a fire in their belly to turn their passion into something that makes a huge difference to many.

Contact Samantha

Lowri Jenkins.

Lowri manages the delivery of Eden Project Communities in Wales. She loves making positive change happen and has led environmental campaigns across Wales. She is inspired by the diverse community projects working in Wales and wants to support them to reach their potential.  

Contact Lowri

Katie Swann Community Network Developer (Scotland)

Scotland

Katie connects community projects across Scotland.  She started her working life in public libraries - spaces where you can discover some amazing and inspiring local communities – and still believes in the power of stories to change lives.  She loves supporting people and projects to reach their potential, develop confidence and become more resilient, and never underestimates the power of cake!

Contact Katie