Our People

Head of Operations - Francesca Johnstone

Francesca joined the Foundation in July 2017. She has a background in both the statutory and voluntary sector having worked with Parish Councils, schools and a number of charities in the past.  She has worked for a number of years in the grant sector and is passionate about supporting local community groups. She leads and coordinates a number of initiatives at the Foundation including the Small Charities Forum, as well as heading up the general grants work.  In her spare time she is also a Trustee for a pre-school in the Bedford area and a keen volunteer for the Cinnamon Trust.

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 Community Investment Fund. breege.begley@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 manages a number of national 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.

Grants Administrator - Karen Scott

Karen joined BLCF in October 2020. Prior to taking on this role she has spent over 20 years working at local law firms as a Legal Secretary. Her key responsibilities will be to work alongside the grants team to help coordinate and support the hundreds of applications for funding we receive each year.
Karen will be involved in the grant process from start to finish ensuring the correct criteria documentation has been supplied and all aspects of the assessment process have been properly adhered to and logged on our database. She will also be the key liaison point for team meetings and the collation and distribution of regular reports. She has lived in Luton her whole life and enjoys spending time walking with her husband and two dogs.


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.