Staff

Lorrainne Smyth - Chief Executive

Lorrainne Smyth - Chief Executive

Lorrainne was appointed as Chief Executive in 2012. Prior to this she worked as Strategic Policy Advisor Community Programmes and Performance Manager at Cumbria County Council where she advised on community engagement and inclusion. Lorrainne's background is in community development, specialising in rural communities. Between 1993 and 2007 she worked at ACT as the Development Team Manager taking responsibility for a variety of projects. She has worked extensively with parish councils, village halls, graduate apprentices and undertaken project development and delivery with communities throughout Cumbria. Lorrainne has also held management positions in private sector training and development companies, local authorities and Third Sector organisations placing emphasis on shared learning and the development process.

Dani Hall - Office Manager

Dani Hall - Office Manager

Dani joined ACT in 2005 after relocating from Yorkshire where she worked as PA to Chief Executive of a group of international companies. As well as administering the Cumbria Rural Panel, Rebuilding Together and the Community Resilience Network she also provides PA support to the Chief Executive, organises ACT's events and conferences. Dani is the public voice of ACT. She is responsible for the smooth running of the offices, finances and support services to the ACT team and all those who call us with enquiries.

Julia Wilson – Development Manager

Julia Wilson – Development Manager

Julia joined ACT in 2002 and is the Development Manager. She works part-time for ACT developing new project ideas and identifying funding opportunities.

Previous roles for ACT have included development work with communities in the south of the county and project management. Julia has 20 years experience in the voluntary sector and has worked for the Wildlife Trusts, Cumbria CVS and Brathay Trust.

Hellen Aitken – Development Officer

Hellen Aitken – Development Officer

Hellen joined ACT in 2006. In her role as Development Officer she focuses on the North of the county, supporting communities with Community Led Planning, Village Halls advice, Community Resilience, Emergency Planning and other initiatives.

Prior to joining ACT Hellen established and led a programme for the Princes Trust in West Cumbria, mentoring and facilitating learning for young people.

Damien Morris - Development Officer

Damien Morris - Development Officer

Damien Morris joined ACT in March 2020 as part-time Development Officer for West Cumbria. He has a background in housing, housing management and community development having worked for local housing associations and charities on community projects. 

Damien recently facilitated a project for Humankind Cumbria, piloting a food share scheme for at risk offenders. Damien has a particular interest in working with young/older people and community groups on local projects of interest and need.

Fran Richardson – Community Led Housing Hub Manager

Fran Richardson – Community Led Housing Hub Manager

Fran joined the ACT team in 2015 and is Development Officer working with communities in the south of the county. She supports the work of groups involved in Community Led Planning and offers advice to Village Halls on a range of practical and governance issues.

Fran has over fifteen years previous experience working for a national charity in which she created, funded and managed opportunities to engage volunteers in practical environmental work and training. She has a particular interest in sustainable living and social equity, including community led development, locally-owned renewable energy production and making sure that communities work to meet the needs of those who require support.

Jemma Metcalfe-Gibson, Project Officer

Jemma Metcalfe-Gibson, Project Officer

Jemma Metcalfe-Gibson is our Project Officer with responsibility for the Neighbourliness Project with Cumbria Neighbourhood watch. The project, which is funded by Cumbria County Council is about supporting some of the two hundred Neighbourhood Watch coordinators to run activities in their community to promote neighbourliness. Jemma has a background in heritage and alternative therapies.

Katie Milburn - Support Officer

Katie Milburn - Support Officer

Katie joined the ACT team in March 2019 originally as a part-time Development Officer with a focus on championing community-led housing in Copeland. Katie now helps further the work of the Community Led Housing Hub and provides project and systems support across all our work.

Katie has a strong background in environmental conservation and an experienced footing with farmers, volunteers and community groups. She has previously worked for West Cumbria Rivers Trust, Lancashire & Lincolnshire Wildlife Trusts and the University of Worcester.