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.

Ant Briggs

Young People's Participation Worker

Anthony has come on board to lead in the delivery of a new grants programme designed and administered by young people from the Lancaster District and Cumbria.

An artist, producer and experienced practitioner, Anthony has spent the last 18 years developing, managing and delivering programmes for, by and with children and young people across the Northwest.

A partnership initiative between LDCVS and the Cumbria Youth Alliance, this initial one-year fixed-term post and funding pot has been funded by the Francis C Scot Charitable Trust.

Steve Dixon

Communications Officer

Steve conducts the promotion of LDCVS membership and services including graphic design and digital content creation of our marketing collateral across print, web and social media platforms. He also coordinates our regular bulletin and collaborates with the CVS team and members, providing brand communication support across all ongoing projects.

Jim Greenan

Training Coordinator

Jim is responsible for matching the training needs of voluntary organisations and local communities with existing courses, or providing new courses where necessary. 

Shweta Pankhadiwala

Finance Officer

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

Sharon Phillips

Connecting Communities Development Officer

Sharon’s role at CVS is to provide 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.

Jenny Reddell

Community Health Officer

Jenny’s role at CVS is to look after the Digital Directory of services – ensuring it is up to date and accurate as possible. She is also our social prescribing link worker, supporting individuals referred from our general practices to find meaningful activity to help improve their wellbeing. Finally she is available to support organisations with finding relevant training and health related opportunities and funding.

Nick Smith

Senior Administrative Officer

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

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.

Catherine Westwell

Youth Foundation Officer

Catherine leads on developing and supporting the Youth Foundation, which is working to improve the lives of children and young people, strengthen the young people’s sector.

Our Trustees

Paul Jebb


Paul is Chair of LDCVS. He qualified as a nurse in 1996 and has worked in numerous posts within nursing, as well as a period in operational management. Paul is now the Associate Chief Nurse, Experience, Engagement & Safeguarding at Lancashire & South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust. Paul has represented the Royal College of Nursing at local, regional, national and international levels, is a member of RCNi Editorial Advisory Board, and also judges several national nursing and health care awards.

Emma Brant

Emma Brant


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.

Alastair Loasby


Alastair has spent the majority of his career equipping and challenging businesses to better support their local communities, protect and repair the planet, and ultimately bring about value for all stakeholders. He is currently Responsible Business and Strategy Director at Business in the Community.

He has also founded a social enterprise, acted as Vice Chair for a social mobility charity, and is an active participant of a number of responsible business advisory boards.

Anthony Murray

Anthony Murray

Ali Richards

Ali Richards


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 the Friends of Lancashire Archives, and she chairs the North West Green Party (part 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.