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Four new trustees have been appointed to place-based investment charity Local Trust’s Board.

Bringing a wealth of experience and knowledge from a range of disciplines including local government, property development and national policy, the charity’s four new Trustees are:  

  • Matt Bell, corporate affairs director at global property business Grosvenor 
  • Chris Catterall, chief executive of public service design agency Capacity 
  • Patrick Melia, chief executive of Sunderland City Council 
  • Charlotte Pickles, director of think tank, Reform 

Charlotte Pickles said: “I couldn’t be more delighted to be joining Local Trust at this pivotal moment. Big Local areas are providing a blueprint for radical devolution that can help deliver the social and economic renewal the nation needs. 

“Community-led, place-based investment is key to levelling up, and I am excited to be working with the Local Trust team and Board to embed this model for the future.”   

The appointments come at a strategically important time for the charity, as it seeks to maximise the impact of its work and secure a legacy beyond 2026, when its pioneering community-led investment programme Big Local, is set to complete. 

Patrick Melia said: “I’m delighted to be joining Local Trust’s Board at such an important time in its development. Working closely with local communities has been a crucial part of our own plans to address the economic and social challenges facing our city. I hope to bring the experience and networks I have gained from this to my role at Local Trust.”  

Funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and delivered by Local Trust, Big Local is a resident-led funding programme providing people in 150 areas in England, that have historically missed out on funding, with £1.15m each to spend across 10 –15 years to create lasting change in their neighbourhoods. 

David Warner, chair of Local Trust said: 

“This is a crucially important time for Local Trust. Over the past few years, the charity has taken rich learning from the communities it supports across the country to drive change to champion community-led investment and drive even further change.  

“Now, with the end our strategy in sight, we are really pleased to be joined by four individuals from across the country with completely different experience and perspectives. Their knowledge and skills will be invaluable in helping us, not only meet our aims, but ensure that community power is firmly on the national agenda now and beyond 2026, so all neighbourhoods have the opportunity to flourish.” 

The four new Trustees will be formally appointed at the organisation’s Annual General Meeting in November 2021. 

You can find out more about Local Trust’s existing Board members here.

New Trustee biographies 

Matt Bell, corporate affairs director, Grosvenor
Matt is Corporate Affairs Director for Grosvenor, a global property company that has been making and managing places for more than 300 years. His job involves helping the business engage with communities and lead long-term campaigns that champion social impact and environmental leadership. He has previously held senior leadership roles with global NGOs, public bodies and a FTSE 100 business. For ten years, he was Chairman of Hope and Homes for Children, an international children’s charity. He is a trustee of Leap, the youth conflict charity, chair of the Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair, founder of the Young London Print Prize and a co-founder of Collective Community Action. 

Chris Catterall, chief executive of Capacity
Chris has been Chief Executive of Capacity since the organisation was founded, taking it from a start-up in 2016 to a 25 strong team in 2021. Working with Public and Third Sector clients across the North West, the organisation has a very simple aim to ‘Make Public Services People Services’.   

Before joining Capacity Chris gained significant experience and success in organisational development, with a particular focus on funding and development in community businesses and non-profit organisations. Most recently his role as Managing Director at The Reader, a Liverpool based social enterprise that promotes literacy and personal wellbeing, resulted in a £5million capital investment project and a 200% increase in revenue. 

Patrick Melia, chief executive, Sunderland City Council
Patrick is committed to leading a significant change programme within the City Council to make Sunderland a great place for residents to live, business to thrive and for visitors to enjoy. Patrick is also co-chair of the North East Regional Coordination Group, leading on ambitious plans to contribute to the Government’s levelling-up agenda, creating skills and employment opportunities for residents. 

Charlotte Pickles, director, Reform
Charlotte has spent the past 15 years working on public policy. Having started her policy career at the Centre for Social Justice, she then joined the Coalition government as Expert Advisor to then Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith. After leaving government she spent time advising a major police force, working as a management consultant in the public sector practice of a global consultancy firm, and then as a founding editor at UnHerd. Charlotte is also privileged to be a Member of the Social Security Advisory Committee and the NHS Assembly.