Our team

Meet the people behind Plunkett’s work

Plunkett is made up of a great team of people with the range of skills and expertise needed to support your community business at every stage. We’re always happy to help, so click on the profiles below for more information and contact details.

If you have a general enquiry, please contact:

  • 01993 810730

Alison Macklin,
Community Business Manager

Alison was appointed to the post of Community Business Manager in March 2020 joining Plunkett after spending the last fifteen years as Business Manager of an award winning Community Shop and Café in the Wye Valley. Alison has also been one of The Plunkett Foundations Business Advisors for several years and has helped support several shops formally and informally. Alison will be responsible for helping set up the new Training Hub and working with the Plunkett advisors to provide training and support for new and existing projects.

Aimée Evans,
Project Manager

Aimée joined the team at Plunkett in April 2015 to support rural communities through the process of setting up and running community co-operatives. Before joining Plunkett, Aimée worked for Healthwatch Oxfordshire and Oxfordshire Rural Community Council, where she has worked with rural Community and Voluntary groups for over ten years. Aimée graduated from Staffordshire University with a BA hons in Cultural Studies and has previously enjoyed volunteering on the management committee of her local youth club and Home-Start organisation.

Amanda Gibson,
Finance and Operations Officer

Chris Cowcher,
Head of Community Business

Chris was appointed Head of Community Business in June 2018 and leads the frontline delivery team, who provide direct support to community groups and businesses. Chris joined the Plunkett Foundation having spent a decade working in the rural community development sector; with the Gloucestershire Rural Community Council and South Gloucestershire Council. He has also worked on national policy directly relating to sustainable communities, whilst working for Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) the national umbrella body for the ACRE Network.

Claire Spendley,
Membership Manager

Claire joined Plunkett as the organisation’s Membership Manager in April 2020. She has had a varied career across a number of marketing, public relations, membership and management roles, after having graduated from the University of Surrey with a BA Hons in Combined Languages (French, Russian and Spanish). As former Head of Membership for the Chartered Institute of Housing, she has a wealth of experience in the development and delivery of membership programmes to meet members’ needs. Claire is passionate about ensuring Plunkett’s network of community businesses are empowered through their membership to solve problems, address local needs, and build businesses that continue to thrive. Claire is also a Trustee for East Street Early Years CIO, a Banbury-based charity and early years education provider supporting vulnerable families in the community.

Diane Cameron,
Project Support Officer

Diane was appointed Project Support Officer at Plunkett in July 2020 to work on the More Than A Pub programme giving direct support to community groups and businesses. Diane spent more than a decade working at Oxfordshire County Council, latterly as a policy officer working across voluntary and community sector and public sector partnerships, special projects, grant funds for community groups and other initiatives. Diane has volunteered for soup kitchens, museums and hospital fundraising committees as well as being a Street Champion for her street during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Duncan Smith,
Communications Manager

Duncan joined Plunkett as the organisation’s communications manager in October 2019. He joined the charity after fifteen years as a journalist and television producer. Duncan started his career as a reporter on rural local newspapers before moving to London to work as a producer and reporter for BBC News. During his career he has produced and reported for political programmes in Westminster and worked as a reporter on national radio and regional television news. He brings an enthusiasm for community businesses and rural issues and a passion for inventive communications and strong human stories.

Georgina Edwards,
Information Hub Manager

Georgina joined the Plunkett Foundation in September 2020 to support the growth of the Information Hub. She works with colleagues across the organisation to link Plunkett’s grassroots support activities to our ambitions to influence national policy and the wider community business sector. She is involved in commissioning sector-specific research which feeds into policy consultations, impact reporting and other state of the sector reports, with the ultimate aim of strengthening the voice of rural communities. Before starting at Plunkett, Georgina undertook a PhD in German literature and philosophy at the University of Oxford, during which she was also involved in teaching and outreach projects. While living in Oxford, she became involved in community projects through volunteering. She has also previously worked in academic and trade book publishing.

Hannah Barrett,
Senior Project Manager

Hannah re-joined Plunkett in June 2018 to project manage the Making Local Woods Work programme. She previously worked at Plunkett between 2011-2016; during this time she co-ordinated a wide variety of urban and rural projects in the UK, Ireland and Canada, supporting enterprises from shops, pubs and cafes, to farms and leisure centres. Hannah left the organisation in 2016 to specialise in fundraising and event management.

Harriet English,
Head of Engagement

Harriet was appointed Head of Engagement at Plunkett Foundation in March 2017 and leads the Engagement Team to deliver our membership, events, communications and marketing activity. Harriet joined Plunkett in December 2008 as support to the Rural Community Shops Projects. Since joining Plunkett, Harriet has led on a range of campaigns and events as well as leading the development of membership for all our supporters and community co-operatives. Having been brought up in rural West Oxfordshire she has always had a keen interest in the countryside. Harriet graduated from the University of Exeter in 2006 with a BA in Human Geography.

James Alcock,
Chief Executive

James was appointed Executive Director in April 2018, and is responsible for the strategic development and day to day operations of the Foundation. James joined Plunkett in August 2007, and has since established our core advisory service for rural community businesses, consisting an advice line, advisory support programmes, events and membership. James is a BA (Hons) and MSc by Research graduate in Human Geography, both of which focused on rural community issues.

Joe Hesketh,
Data Officer

Joe joined the team at Plunkett in August 2020 to support the continued growth of the Information Hub as well as maintain accurate & quality data in aid of Plunkett’s output of policy & reports. Prior to Plunkett, Joe worked within the broadcast industry as a Graphics Co-ordinator, overseeing the accuracy of large amounts of incoming statistics for use on live sports programming. Joe graduated from the University of Gloucestershire in 2015 with a BA in Digital Film Production having spent a year of his undergraduate degree at Juniata College in the United States of America.

Jenna Crook,
Finance Assistant

Lucia Jesus,
Community Business Officer

Maurice Edgington,
Senior Finance Officer

Maurice joined the team in 2013 on a part time basis to strengthen the financial side of the reporting to the trustees and the systems within the organization. A qualified accountant, Maurice began his career in private practise but moved to industry as he qualified. With experience in large companies in leisure and publishing and SMEs in software and design agencies, and retailing. Maurice had a leading role on the development of employee ownership in the UK when Roadchef launched the first Employee Share Ownership Plan in the UK in 1986.

Olivia Lanham,
Engagement Officer

Victoria Smith,
Compliance Manager

Need some help?

If you are interested in learning more about community business, the support we have available and the work we do supporting rural communities across the UK, please do contact us and we will get back in touch very shortly.

Contact us