Our People

CEO - Fozia Irfan

Fozia is Chief Executive at the Bedfordshire and Luton Community Foundation and deeply committed to improving the lives of people in Bedfordshire, having spent most of her life resident in the county. Fozia has just completed a Masters in Grantmaking, Philanthropy and Social Investment with distinction at Cass Business School, with a specialism in comparative approaches to addressing inequality. She has spearheaded many innovations in grantmaking and her initiatives led to her receiving an award at the national Charity Times Awards ceremony for ‘Rising Star CEO’ within the first 18 months of her post.

Fozia regularly presents nationally in the foundation sector and was the only UK foundation CEO invited to the prestigious Social Innovation Exchange Funders Node in Canada to discuss how to build social movements in the UK. Recently she was also appointed a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Fozia is also a trustee of the Association of Charitable Foundations and the Funders Alliance for Race Equality, advocating for a deeper understanding of inequality and how to effectively address it through funding. Fozia was also part of the National Steering Group of the Local Trust in its research on Empowered Communities in the 2020’s, and a commissioner of the Inclusive Growth Commission in 2019. A qualified solicitor, in her spare time, Fozia is heading a project to make Scouting UK more accessible to diverse communities. fozia.irfan@blcf.org.uk

Head of Grants and Programmes - Francesca Johnstone

Francesca joined the Foundation in July 2017. She has a background in both the statutory and voluntary sector and is an experienced grants officer. Previously she worked for The Harpur Trust in the grants team and also co-ordinated the University bursary scheme. She is a Trustee for a pre-school in the Bedford area who are a registered charity, as well as being a qualified Parish Clerk -having worked with 2 large urban parishes in the past. She is responsible for leading the grants team at the Foundation and oversees the coordination of regular The Small Charity Forum events. francesca.johnstone@blcf.org.uk

Grants & Programmes Manager – Dipak Mistry

Dipak joined the Foundation in March 2017. He is a member of the Institute of Fundraisers, has led corporate partnerships for Luton Culture, Oxford City Council and was for over 10 years Senior Consultant and Business Development Manager for Arts & Business in East England and London. His other ‘part-time’ roles include working for Arts Council England and he runs his own arts commissioning and consultancy business. At the foundation Dipak leads on strategic programmes and operations and manages a number of funds such as BSBT and #iwill.

Grants & Programmes Manager – Hannan Ali

Hannan joined BLCF in August 2019. He graduated from the University of Greenwich in 2014 and has gained 5+ years experience in community development, project management and administration. He has lived and worked in developing communities in Colombia, Kenya, and China; and continues to actively participate in international development projects and local volunteering initiatives. He recently set up a Colombian coffee business that supports direct trade with small farming families to export speciality coffee.

Marketing and Communications Officer – Anushia Johnson

Anushia joined the BLCF team in January 2020. She has a 10 year background in media planning for a number of well known travel and FMCG brands. Prior to this position she was the Marketing and Communications Manager for a local business in Harpenden. Whilst she is new to the voluntary sector, she is herself a keen volunteer, heavily involved with her local school, cubs and church community. She is eager to raise the profile of the Foundation and help deliver a strategic marketing plan.

Head of Partnerships – Michele Rigby

Michele took up the post of Head of Partnerships in December 2019. Michele has over 30 years’ experience in the charity and social enterprise sector at local, national and European levels, most recently at Luton Law Centre where she was the Centre Director. As a local resident and with a wealth of experience in the voluntary sector, she is focused on managing the Community Investment Fund and developing stronger partnerships with all our key stakeholders. michele.rigby@blcf.org.uk

Relationship Manager (CIF) – Breege Begley

Breege joined the Foundation in March 2017. Formerly Chief Executive Office for Alcohol Services for the Community. Breege is an active member of the Bedfordshire and Luton community, having herself received a High Sheriff’s Award in 2015 for services to the community. Breege is passionate about fairness, equality and finding ways to support people facing personal difficulties. Breege will lead on a number of programmes for the Foundation, such as Jane Cart Trust, Luton Youth Fund and The Mark West Fund. breege.begley@blcf.org.uk

Finance Consultant- Jaqui Childs

Jaqui has been advising the Foundation since June 2019. She is an FCA, having spent years as a partner in accountancy practices advising corporate entities. At the Foundation she oversees the finances, which includes fund management, reporting and accounting systems and reporting to the trustee board.

Work for us

We have extended our recruitment for an Administrator to join our growing team. This role is now being offered as full or part-time with a minimum requirement of 25 hours, Monday-Friday. This is a key role at our Foundation as we support voluntary organisations across the whole of Bedfordshire who apply for funding each year. The main aspect of the role will be to support the grants team, reporting to the Head of Grants and Programmes.

The ideal candidate will be familiar with:

  • maintaining a database
  • producing reports
  • checking applications for eligibility
  • coordinating meetings with external partners
  • collating and distributing the correct information in advance and minute-taking

We see this role as having great potential to be involved in a number of exciting initiatives that BLCF are currently working on. So if you're a confident, conscientious, computer literate, self-starter, then we would love to hear from YOU!

**Due to demand this vacancy has now closed to applications**