Our Board and Staff

Access' board reflects its mission. Its trustees have deep experience in the social sector and in trusts and foundations, as well as the business and financial sectors.

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Board of Trustees

Nick Hurd Chair

The Right Hon Nick Hurd served as a Member of Parliament in the UK for fourteen years before standing down in December 2019. During that time he served three different Prime Ministers as a Government Minister over more than 8 years. He has been Minister for Civil Society, International Development, Climate Change, Industry, Police & Fire Service; London & Grenfell Victims and Northern Ireland. As one of the longest serving Ministers for Civil Society he led the Government work that helped establish the UK as a world leader in developing the impact Investment market.

Before politics, Nick spent 18 years in business, including almost nine years in investment banking and fund management. This included the experience of setting up a business in Brazil for Flemings Investment Bank.

Nick has been appointed a Global Ambassador for the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment (GSG) and serves on the Advisory Council for the UK Institute for Impact Investment.

Nick is Chair of the Joint Investment Committee for the Growth Fund, the Blended Investment Committee for Local Access, the COVID-19 Emergency Lending Investment Committee and the Access Legacy Group. 

Martin Rich Senior Independent Trustee

Martin Rich is the Co-founder and Executive Director of Future-Fit Foundation, a non-profit focused on creating a truly sustainable future. Before this he spent seven years as Sales Director of Social Finance Limited where he focused primarily on developing the investor base for social impact investments and also served as a member of the Asset Allocation Working Group for the G7 Social Investment Task Force. Martin previously spent over 12 years in international investment banking working on structured finance products for UBS, JPMorgan and HSBC. He has a passion for sustainable development and poverty relief and is engaged in a range of trustee, investment committee and advisory roles, including as a member of the Social Investment Business Assets and Liabilities Committee, helping to oversee the investments of the Futurebuilders and Modernisation funds.

Martin is the Chair of Access's Endowment Investment Committee and a member of the Flexible Finance for Covid-19 recovery Investment Committee.  

Sue Cooper

Sue specialises in working with charities and social enterprises and is passionate about the difference these organisations can make, both in local communities and in society as a whole. Her business skills and knowledge come from a career in banking. For the past 18 years she has worked with charities and social enterprises for Triodos Bank UK and as CEO of a similar regulated finance organisation in New Zealand. Returning to the UK she set up a new social investment programme for an endowed charitable foundation. Sue is based in Bristol and works as a consultant and non-executive director.

Sue is a member of Access's Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee and Programme Development Group.

Rob Williamson

Rob is Chief Executive of the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, where he drives a long-term strategy to grow endowment and increase funding to benefit communities. The Foundation awards grants of around £8m a year to local charities through funds set up by individual philanthropists, business donors and partner organisations. Rob plays a leading role in philanthropy and social investment in North East England and nationally, and has particular expertise in governance, charitable giving and voluntary sector research.

Rob was for six years Director of Policy and Communications and later Acting CEO at Northern Rock Foundation. His early career was in frontline charities for homeless and vulnerable people. He then went on to senior roles in urban regeneration and local government. Rob is a fellow of the RSA, and he speaks and writes regularly about issues in charity, philanthropy and funding. He is a member of the advisory committee for BBC Charity Appeals and sits on the Court of Newcastle University, whose steering committee he chairs. Rob is also a trustee of Northumberland-based performing arts group, November Club.

Rob is a member of the Programme Development Group and the Access Legacy Group

Kate Kuper

Kate is an established board contributor and strategic leader with a social impact focus. This has been honed by 25 years of operational and board roles in international development, philanthropy, urban development, education and youth employment.  Kate co-founded Bateleur Partners in 2018, a boutique consultancy that specialises in helping impact organisations work smarter.

In her varied career, Kate worked for Bain & Company, the Nelson Mandela Government in South Africa and the World Bank Group before building a leading education foundation, the Moshal Scholarship Program. Kate is a currently a London-based trustee of BRAC and the Evening Standard Dispossessed Fund. Her goal is to help social impact organisations articulate, measure and achieve meaningful results, enduring partnerships and more sustainable funding in challenging environments.

Kate is Chair of the Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee and the Flexible Finance for Covid-19 Recovery Investment Committee. She is also a member of the Covid-19 Emergency Lending Investment Committee. 

Heather Hilburn

Heather has many years experience in the design, delivery and financing of cultural places and healthy spaces for local communities. Heather previously served as Design Advisor for the Queen Elizabeth Park in East London, including the transition of Olympic Games venues into public/private local enterprises. Following the economic crisis of 2008 and subsequent decommissioning of UK development agencies in 2010, Heather worked within a consortium of executives alongside the DCMS, DCLG and CABE to help grant funded regional charities move to social enterprise and CIC business models.  As Strategic Project Director for the Tower of London from 2013 to 2019, Heather shaped a long term plan to make this World Heritage site more accessible to diverse audiences through public engagement. Heather currently serves as CEO for the Thames Estuary Partnership (TEP), hosted by University College London. TEP is a consortium of public and private agencies that operate on the river Thames and UK coast line, working on a long term programme to address climate change and improve the standard of living for coastal communities. Heather also serves as a non executive director and independent advisor focussing on preserving heritage skills, data technology and project finance. 

Heather is a member of the Access Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee, the Covid-19 Emergency Lending Investment Committee, the Flexible FInance for Covid-19 Recovery Investment Committee and the Access Legacy Group. 

Emilie Goodall

Emilie leads the Financial System Benchmark at the World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA), a non-profit that ranks and measures influential companies on their contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Prior to joining WBA she led the development impact and sustainability team at FMO, the Dutch development bank. She advised financial institutions, foundations and businesses on impact management approaches at Bridges Asset Management, and worked with the industry to develop best practice guidance and reporting at the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment. Her passion for UK social investment goes back to her time at CAF Venturesome, supporting charities and social enterprises with debt and equity-like investments at CAF Venturesome. She advised Access Foundation at its inception on its total impact approach to endowment management.

Emilie is a member of the Endowment Investment Committee and the Access Legacy Group

Franz Ranero

Franz is a partner of Allen & Overy, a major international law firm. He has over twenty years' experience in the international finance sector and is a market leader in the field of international capital markets and structured finance. As well as legal skills, he brings to Access extensive business development, strategy and management expertise. 

Franz has a professional interest in the social finance and impact investing sectors. In addition to managing his legal practice, at Allen & Overy he is the global co-head of the firm's pro bono and community investment activity, and he is also a trustee of the teenage mental health charity Stem4. Originally Australian, Franz is currently raising his young son and daughter with his wife in North London. 

Franz is chair of the Blended Finance Investment Committee and is a member of the Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee. 

Jane Ide

Jane was appointed Chief Executive of NAVCA (the National Association for Voluntary and Community Action) in July 2017.  Since then she has led the transformation of the only national membership body solely to represent local voluntary sector support and development organisations (local infrastructure) in England. 

NAVCA’s network of members supports over 160,000 small, local charities and voluntary organisations across the country, working at the hearts of their communities and meeting those communities’ local needs.

In November 2020 Jane was appointed as the CEO of Creative & Cultural Skills, the organisation that works across the UK to create a fair and skilled cultural sector by shaping skills, education and employment best practice.

Jane has an extensive background in leading communications, stakeholder engagement and member services at the most senior level in the NHS and the wider public sector as well as the independent private sector.

She has a particular interest in organisation development and change, along with substantial consultancy experience. Jane has specialised in working with small charities and voluntary organisations to develop their vision, values and strategic direction.

Jane is a member of the Programme Development Group and the Access Legacy Group


Seb Elsworth MBE, Chief Executive

Seb was the founding CEO of Access and has led the organisation since its inception in 2015.

As CEO Seb has overseen the significant impact of the Foundation, working in close partnership with a range of organisations, to increase access to finance for community based charities and social enterprise right around England. Seb is widely recognised as a collaborative leader and advocate for enterprise development and social investment across the sector.

Prior to joining Access, Seb was Deputy Chief Executive at the Social Investment Business where he led on developing a range of programmes helping charities and social enterprises access social investment, and bringing new investors into the social investment market.

Seb was previously Director of Strategy at ACEVO, and he started his career as a student executive officer at Leeds University Union.

Seb was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2022 for services to Social Investment.

Seb was appointed to the Council of the University of Leeds in August 2016, and also serves on the University’s Strategy and Investment, Gift Acceptance and Remuneration Committees.

You can follow Seb on twitter at @sebelsworth and read his regular column in Third Sector magazine.


Photo by Claudia Leisinger


Chris Coghlan Director of Finance & Operations

Chris Coghlan is Director of Finance & Operations at Access, but is on a career break until May 2021.

Chris has almost a decades experience in the charity sector as founder of Grow Movement, a UK charity which has improved the lives of 50,000 people in sub-Saharan Africa by training micro-entrepreneurs over mobile phone. Chris qualified as Chartered Accountant with Deloitte before working in emerging market investment management. Chris holds a Masters in Finance from London Business School and a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard. Chris also served as a diplomat with the Foreign Office.


Neil Berry Director of Programmes

Neil is Director of Programmes at Access.

Neil’s background is in Community Enterprise, combining 8 years running a Community Development Trust in Sheffield, followed by 12 years working for the national network body Locality where he advised and supported frontline organisations and developed national programmes of enterprise support.  His most recent role with Locality was as Director of Services, overseeing all national grant and support programmes and managing the nationwide development and consultancy team.

Neil left Locality early in 2017 and completed various freelance assignments for organisations such as Lankelly Chase, Power to Change, UK Community Foundations and Key Fund, before joining Access in September 2018.

Neil holds a Masters degree in Community Enterprise and specialises in financial analysis, diagnostic systems and community asset development. 

You can follow Neil on twitter at @neilberry1


Sarah Colston Director of Learning

Sarah joined Access in 2019 as the new Director of Learning – tasked with supporting Access to learn from its Programmes; listen to the needs of the sector and embed learning with and through its partners.

Sarah joins us from Mencap, the national learning disability charity, where she headed up the Research & Impact team. She has been working in the not for profit sector for 15 years – spanning mental health; sustainability; disability; housing & homelessness and community development sectors – across charities; consultancies and think tanks. Her specialism lies in evaluation and impact measurement.

Sarah has a degree in Economic Geography from Cambridge University.


Chloe Stables Director of Partnerships and Advocacy

Chloe’s background is in communications and influencing roles in the voluntary and community sector. Following roles in Parliament and political consultancy, Chloe set up the public affairs team at St Mungo’s – a London-based homelessness organisation. From there she moved to the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) where she played a key role in several high-profile coalition-led campaigns including work to secure the £750m package of coronavirus support for charities.

Following an interim post at the Charity Commission as Assistant Director for External Relations, she moved to Access in 2021 to focus on working with partners including foundations, infrastructure bodies and government to help secure long-term support for blended finance and enterprise development in the sector.

You can follow Chloe on twitter at @ChloeCampaigns


Helena Tuxworth Programme Manager

Helena is a Programme Manager at Access, managing relationships with social investment funds within the Growth Fund portfolio. Helena also works alongside Access’s partners on initiatives including the Reach Fund and Good Finance as part of our enterprise development work.

Helena joined Access in May 2016 as Finance, Operations and Communications Officer, before moving into the Programme Manager role in April 2018. Prior to joining Access, Helena worked for a small autism charity in London and also spent time teaching in China. Helena holds an AAT Diploma in Accounting.


Andy Gnaneswaran Programme Manager

Andy is a Programme Manager at Access, managing relationships with various social investment funds within the Growth Programme portfolio. In addition, Andy works alongside partners on the Impact Management Programme & Connect Fund, as part of the enterprise development work.

Andy is a qualified chartered accountant with a background in risk management, working at an investment bank in the UK for five years. Prior to joining Access, Andy worked for an NGO in Uganda providing business consultancy support for SMEs, as well as spending some time teaching in Sri Lanka.


Ana Van Bilsen Irias Programme Manager

Ana is a Programme Manager at Access, managing relationships with various social investment funds within the Emergency Lending Programme and Growth Fund Programme Portfolio. Ana also works alongside Access’s partners on initiatives including the Enterprise Development Programme as part of our enterprise development work.

Prior to joining Access, Ana was an Investment Officer at CAF Venturesome, a leading social investment fund where she managed a portfolio of social investments across all funds, and managed the SE-Assist Fund (a place-based fund for early stage social enterprises and charities). In addition to the investment work, Ana lead on the social impact and SDG work.

Ana has also worked in peacebuilding project management for Concordis International and Innovation for Children’s Rights for UNICEF Nicaragua.

Ana has a degree in Law and Political Science from Université Lyon II and a MSc in International Studies and International Development from Université Sorbonne-Nouvelle Paris III.

You can follow Ana on twitter at @anavbilsen


Chandani Koria Finance, Operations and Communications Officer

Chandani is the Finance, Operations and Communications Officer at Access, providing staff and governance support for the Access team. Chandani also manages the organisation’s online and social media presence including managing Access’s website and newsletters, and assists on a range of financial duties.

Prior to joining Access, Chandani worked in the hospitality industry specialising in Income Audit. Chandani has also completed a placement year at Birmingham City University Business School where she collaborated with SMEs and Entrepreneurs across the West Midlands. Chandani was involved in ERDF-funded projects such as the Innovation Vouchers Scheme.

Chandani has a degree in Business and Finance and specialises in Financial management and International Corporate Finance.