We transitioned from a private company, limited by guarantee, to a community interest company in order to provide more robust governance and an ethical vehicle for external funding.

As such, we now have in place an experienced and storied board of directors, led by a chairperson and three additional directors, with backgrounds in the charity sector, finance, local government and partnership delivery.

Hanif Malik OBE

Hanif has over 20 years’ experience of operating within the charity sector at a strategic level having developed and implemented a plethora of projects across health, training, young people’s work and regeneration during his career.

He has a significant knowledge and understanding of governance, fundraising and community engagement processes. He was previously on the board of Sport England where he was also Chair of the Project Committee and the Board lead for Equality & Diversity.

In addition to his paid role, he is a Director and board member at Yorkshire County Cricket Club (where he became the first individual of BME origin to be appointed to the board in the club’s 153 year history).

His prolonged period of working alongside and supporting communities at a local, regional and national level was recognised in July 2014 when he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Leeds Beckett University for ‘services to the public’ and on receiving an OBE in the Queens Honours for ‘Services to the Community’ in June 2016.

Lauren Croll

Lauren has a successful track record and experience of setting up and managing a range of partnership programmes across the social enterprise, youth and education sectors.

Lauren managed UnLtd’s Higher Education Programme, launched to help realise the potential of social entrepreneurship within Higher Education Institutions (HEI) in England. As a member of the team who initially secured the funding and then as the manager of the programme, Lauren was able to take the programme from its initial concept stage and develop it to a high-profile programme being delivered across a network of over 70 HEIs.

Since 2015 Lauren has worked as a freelance consultant providing project management, capacity building support, training delivery and workshop design and facilitation.

Currently contracted by Learn by Design, Lauren is programme managing ‘Our future – Derby’, a Derby City Council and Department for Education’s Opportunity Area funded programme to inspire children and connect primary schools in Derby with the world of work. She also leads the delivery of the curriculum enrichment programme for L.E.A.D. Academy, a Multi-Academy Trust of 25 schools.

Zahra Niazi

Zahra is the Programme Lead for Bradford Council on the Integration Strategy communities programme, which runs under Bradford For Everyone.

Bradford is one of five cities to have been invited by the government department MHCLG to test and learn from new approaches and build on existing good practice on integration and cohesion.

Born in Pakistan in Chakwal, and raised in Bradford, Zahra is deeply committed to the city and its people; and expresses this through championing diversity and equality. Zahra graduated from the University of Bradford in 2001 in Interdisciplinary Human Studies and completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Business Administration in 2008.

Zahra set up her first social enterprise, The Tickhill Centre, in 2006 to support and inspire young people to reach their potential, launching the youngest Nasheed band in the world. The Centre delivers numerous projects and caters for over 100 children and young people per week.

However, Zahra’s passion for entrepreneurship runs deep. Having started her first business at the age of 12, she now provides consultancy on project and programme management having experience of supporting programmes of up to £49m and providing business training, sharing her own expertise in supporting over 100 start-ups, growing businesses and developing network organisations.

Rob Maddison-Joss

Rob is an experienced wealth management consultant who has worked with some of the most respected names in banking and finance, having had a long and successful history within the investment industry.

He worked previously at Barclays Private Bank and Investec Wealth & Investment, managing client investments and providing advice before setting up his own business, Hillcrest Wealth Management, in 2016 to provide face-to-face wealth management to individuals, entrepreneurs, charities and corporates.

Within his roles Rob has undertaken detailed financial investment research as part of managing and advising on private client investments alone worth over £500m and guided clients through all types of market conditions and financial planning requirements.

He has been part of several charity committees where he has used his experience to help guide financial management. Rob is married with one daughter and an avid supporter of Yorkshire Cricket and Leeds United.