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 with other like-minded people who are out there making positive changes in their communities. Here they are...

Paul Smalley, Community Network Developer

North of England
Contact Paul 

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. 

Samantha Evans.

Wales
Contact Samantha

Samantha connects community projects and community organisers across Wales. She loves nothing more than being alongside people 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.

Molly Newberry, Community Network Developer

South West & Central South of England
Contact Molly

Molly has recently returned from a 20,000km+ bicycle ride from the UK to New Zealand, to raise money and awareness for charity. Having always been fascinated by our human need for connection, she loves bringing people together to grow kind, creative, self-empowered and happy communities.

Martin Quigley, Community Network Developer

Scotland
Contact Martin

Martin has worked in charity organisations for over 12 years, working for some national charities such as Alzheimer Scotland, Marie Curie Cancer Care as well local charities such as Ayrshire Hospice and Ayrshire Cancer Support. Martin is passionate about communities and bringing people together. Martin enjoys walks with his border terrior dog, Baxter, as well as gardening and the most important thing to Martin is spending time with his family.

Kathy Black, Community Network Developer

Northern Ireland
Contact Kathy.

Kathy has been working within the community sector from 2013 as founder of Unit T Community Kitchen & Hub in Newcastle County Down. She is passionate about helping address needs in her community and has been a Big Lunch Champion for many years, using the Big Lunch as a way to help bring communities together. She has created partnerships across Newry Mourne and Down to inspire environmentally friendly solutions!

Lucy Abbott, Community Network Developer

London and the South East of England
Contact Lucy

Based in Robertsbridge, East Sussex, Lucy has recently returned to the UK after 27 years in Australia, working mostly in the Aboriginal Mental Health and Wellbeing sector. A passionate and committed activist, Lucy has many years’ experience volunteering in bush regeneration and sustainability projects.

Darren Kench, Community Network Developer

Central England
Contact Darren

Darren cut his teeth in broadcasting at the BBC, before a lengthy tenure at ITV where he delivered award-winning creative content across regional programmes. As an eco-friendly gardener, he believes healthy ecosystems and healthy minds go hand-in-hand. It's this connection between our wildlife and wellbeing that’s been central to his voluntary work with conservation charities and community gardeners.

Jennifer Carroll
Jennifer Carroll, Relationship & Communication Lead for Scotland

Contact Jennifer

Jennifer comes from a third sector background where she has been developing links between community members, service providers, funders and stakeholders and working closely with each of them to build projects and partnerships.  Jennifer loves helping to nurture neighbourhoods into thriving environments by creating opportunities for everyone. 

 Grainne McCloskey.

Contact Gráinne

Gráinne oversees our activity in Scotland and Northern Ireland, having nurtured The Big Lunch since 2011. She brings over 25 years of communication and engagement experience to her role, promoting ideas and opportunities and developing mutually supportive partnerships. Gráinne believes in the power of community spirit and loves it when a plan comes together.

Contact Lowri

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.  

Tracey Robbins pictured with Stone Sculpture.

Contact Tracey

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!

Gemma Snow, Head of External Partnerships

Contact Gemma

Gemma manages partnerships and sponsorships at Eden Project Communities that support the UK Delivery of our outreach programme, campaigns and events. Gemma has over 20 years of experience in corporate partnerships and fundraising in the arts, charity and cultural sectors. She is passionate about partnerships that bring about impactful change.

Vicky - Head of Digital biography
Vicky Browne, Head of Digital

Contact Vicky

Vicky looks after our digital channels and makes sure we reach as many people online as possible. She became passionate about communities after working in her own neighbourhood and seeing people give time and energy to local causes – often despite personal challenges. Vicky previously worked in digital and communications for a nature conservation charity.

Josje Praamstra, PR Manager

Contact Josje

Josje shares stories about amazing people and projects with the media to try and encourage more of us to get involved in our communities. Josje has extensive experience of working in charity PR and loves chatting to community-minded individuals to sniff out the next great story!

Kate Groves, Marketing Manager

Contact Kate

Kate is a founding member of The Big Lunch team and worked on the campaign for five years when it started in 2009. She re-joins us in 2022, excited to manage the marketing of our second Big Jubilee Lunch and wider community programme. She is passionate about building strong communities and loves a big breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Thea Bibby, Social Media Manager

Contact Thea

Thea is our Social Media Manager who looks after our social channels. She’s worked in the charity sector for the duration of her career, and enjoys the way social media gets people from all walks of life talking to one another. The things she loves the most are her family and friends, connecting communities (both on and offline), brunch food and Franks hot sauce!

Emily Mann, Research Manager Head Shot
Emily Mann, Research Manager

Contact Emily

Emily manages the research and evaluation at Eden Project Communities. She has previously worked in academia and carried out research studies with national and regional charities, and local authorities, to help improve the lives of people and their communities. She is inspired by the range of projects that help to build resilient communities and enhance the lives of all members of a  community.