Our Team

Yak Patel

Chief Officer

Yak is a trained Community Youth worker with 25 years of working and managing within both statutory and voluntary sectors in the Lancaster District. Having lived in the district all his life, he has extensive experience managing projects with communities, children, young people, and he has a wealth of experience in managing community buildings & projects, contracts and funding.

He is the chair of the VCFSE Leadership forum, a chair of the Health & Well-being partnership board and a representative on the Integrated Care Partnership, Director for the Lancashire Association for CVS’, Coordinator of the Community Action Network project and Vice-Chair of the Children and Young People Multi-agency Forum.

Mark Waddington

Connecting Communities Development Officer

Mark manages the Volunteer Centre, is our lead contact for Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) queries and writes our regular bi-weekly column for the Lancaster Guardian.

Sharon Phillips

Connecting Communities Development Officer

Sharon’s role at CVS is to provide business development support for VCSFE organisations in the Lancaster District, including information and advice on organisational structure and governance, funding, recruitment, and support for developing a business strategy.

Shweta Pankhadiwala

Finance Officer

Shweta manages payroll, bookkeeping and independent examination services. She also provides voluntary financial advice to charity organisations & groups.

Nick Smith

Senior Administrative Officer

Nick supports staff and volunteers by running back-office functions for membership, IT, finance, and human resources. He also manages the office and helps to coordinate new projects.

Nilesh Patel

Nilesh Patel


Nilesh has a background in IT, specifically networks, as well as accounting! He edits our bulletin at the moment and helps with the website and various other office administrative duties.

Ian Lawrie

Ian Lawrie

Grant and Admin volunteer

Ian is an exceptional volunteer with years of experience in working in offices. His experiences include working for the Citizens Advice Bureau. Ian provides essential admin support to the Galbraith Trust funding program, maintaining target updates on our funding outputs along with dealing with communications.

Our Trustees

Harsha Shukla


Harsha has lived in Lancaster since 1985. She had a corner convenience store from 1990 to 2003 during which time she had very good support from the community, and respect and love was there too. When Harsha retired in 2003, she thought she should help the community. She has been involved since then in different roles such as school governor, college governor and with the City Council etc. In 2004 LDCVS helped Harsha’s organisation to get funding and provided it with very friendly and professional support. Harsha joined the Board in 2007 and has been a trustee ever since. Harsha, together with Sam, is a member of the Operations and Resources subcommittees and is a trustee with responsibility for Wellbeing.

Ken Dunn


Ken is our Treasurer. Ken moved to Lancaster in 2007 following a career in the Electronic Materials industry largely spent in Switzerland and Hong Kong. He fulfilled a number of executive roles, finally serving as a Divisional Director in Total’s EM Division. Along with his role in LDCVS Ken is a Trustee of Eversley Choral Union and is Chair of his village hall. Ken has a special interest in means and methods to reduce social and economic inequalities, particularly as they impact rural communities. Ken joined the Board a couple of years ago and is chair of the Finance, Administration and Planning sub-committee.

Sam Riches


Sam has lived in Lancaster since 2005 when she joined Lancaster University’s Department of Continuing Education. She now works for the Reginal Heritage Centre, part of the Department of History, where she focuses on various aspects of public engagement and supports students to access work placements in the Heritage sector. Sam is also a trustee of Keswick Museum and a committee member of the Friends of Lancashire Archives, and she represents the North West on the Regional Council of the Green Party of England and Wales. Sam has been involved with LDCVS since 2010, initially as an Observer for Lancashire County Council, then as a trustee from 2015. Sam is a member of the Operations subcommittee and, together with Harsha, is a trustee with responsibility for Wellbeing

Jill Anderson


Jill has lived in Lancaster since 2005. She has a particular interest in mental health and the voluntary and community sector and is a member of a local mental health discussion group: Critical and Creative Approaches to Mental Health Practice. She is on the editorial group for Asylum magazine. Jill has a background in social work and currently works part-time, as a research fellow at the University of Central Lancashire. Has been a trustee for LDCVS since 2018. Jill is chair of the Operations sub-Committee and is a member of the web development group.

Claire Louise Chapman


Claire Louise is a Social Impact Practitioner. She worked in the Third Sector for longer than she cares to remember and has represented the sector on several public-private partnership initiatives. Claire Louise works to support social purpose organisations to understand and articulate their mission, making the most difference to people and places in the Morecambe Bay area. Claire Louise joined the LDCVS Board this year and is a member of the web development group.

Paul Colley


Paul has lived in Morecambe for 8 years, moving from West Yorkshire where he spent 10 years in strategic charity management, advising social enterprises and sat on a number of boards. He has over twenty years of Facilities and Operational Management experience and is a champion of partnership working across the voluntary, statutory and private sectors. He spent time leading a large youth sector organisation in Bradford and has experience in the art therapy field.