Skip to Main Content

The board of Local Trust [1], the charity creating lasting change in communities throughout England, has appointed Matt Leach [2] as its new chief executive, a role he will take up in early 2017.

Matt is currently CEO of HACT, the social housing sector’s ideas and innovation agency. In his new post he will lead on the delivery of Big Local – Local Trust’s first and major initiative [3] funded by a Big Lottery Fund endowment of £220m – and Local Trust’s collaborative exploration into the future of community development in the UK. [4]

Announcing the appointment, Kevin Sugrue, chair of Local Trust’s board, said:

“We are delighted to welcome Matt to Local Trust. He arrives at a key time as interest in resident-led solutions are gaining momentum on most policy makers’ agendas, and communities are seeking to harness local talent, connections and creativity to address local challenges. Building on the strong legacy left by our outgoing chief executive, Debbie Ladds, Matt brings a track record of strategic thinking and building on organisational strengths, helping small-scale charities have large-scale impacts. His innovative and forthright ideas of how Local Trust can contribute to a positive and exciting future for community development are exactly what is needed right now.”

Matt Leach said:

“Local Trust is already making a real and lasting difference to the communities it works with and it can go even further. With residents making decisions, allocating funds, forging alliances and building local capacity there is already evidence to suggest the impacts of Big Local will be sustained over the long term. The opportunity to share that way of working with a broader audience – government, local authorities, funders, public and private sector – could see Local Trust extend its approach, and reach even more people who want to make their areas even better places to live.”

Local Trust is a charity that enables residents and those they trust to create lasting change, supporting communities to ensure resident and community-led transformation of people and places.


For further information, contact Rachel Roberts, communications co-ordinator at Local Trust, on 020 3588 0572 or


[1] Local Trust’s mission is to enable residents to make their communities and their areas even better places in which to live. We do this by helping them develop and use their skills and confidence to identify what matters most to them, and to take action to change things for the better, now and in the future. We provide a mix of funding and finance to support people to make sustainable change, maximise impact and make the best use of scarce resources.

[2] Matt Leach is currently CEO of HACT, the social housing sector’s ideas and innovation agency.  Prior to joining HACT in 2011, Matt was, variously, CEO of civil society funding agency Capacitybuilders, associate director of the ResPublica think tank, a director at the Housing Corporation, led start up work on the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation and held a range of senior roles at DCLG and the Cabinet Office.

[3] Big Local is an exciting opportunity for residents in 150 areas around England to use at least £1m each to make a massive and lasting positive difference to their communities. Big Local brings together all the local talent, ambitions, skills and energy from individuals, groups and organisations who want to make their area an even better place to live.

Big Local is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and managed by Local Trust. Nationally we work with a range of partners to deliver Big Local, building on the skills and experiences of others to provide expert advice and support for residents.

[4] In September 2016 Local Trust announced outline plans for a major new research project that will capture the contemporary value of community development and scope its future. The project theme is ‘Empowered communities in the 2020s: shaping the future of community development’ and is funded by the Community Development Foundation and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The findings from the research will inform further work to improve working with communities including the allocation of the £500k gifted to Local Trust by CDF on its closure in March 2016.