We're the largest national children’s charity in the UK
Find out about how we're organised by meeting our CEO, trustees and patrons.
Lynn’s focus is on ensuring a charity wide focus on the core mission of the charity to deliver better outcomes for more children.
Her career has been entirely focussed on work with children and young people and in her last substantive post as Corporate Director for Children’s Services on Barnardo’s Executive Leadership Team she had responsibility for Children’s Services across the 4-nations of the UK, overseeing the development and delivery of over 800 services. This large and diverse portfolio of health and social care services is also focussed on partnership work, influencing policy and system change and responding to new and emergent vulnerabilities.
Before joining Barnardo’s Lynn worked for The Children’s Society and has worked in both Education Services and Youth Justice in Local Authorities and the Third Sector. Lynn was awarded an MBE for Services to Youth Justice in 2008.
Our Board of Trustees is responsible for our governance and strategic direction as a charity.
The Board agrees our vision and values, sets the strategy and policies for our key activities and monitors our progress. Our trustees are also responsible for appointing our chief executive and for our overall professional, legal and financial management.
Trustees are elected by the Members of Association at the Annual General Meeting. They serve a three-year term and are eligible for re-election.
John Bartlett (Chair)
John is a finance professional with a career spanning 45 years; he retired from the position of Group Controller and CFO of Group Finance with BP in 2018 and prior to that was an Inspector of Taxes. John is also currently a non-executive Director with HSBC, chairing the audit committee for their Middle East, North Africa and Turkey banking operations. He is also a non-executive financial consultant to a number of private companies. John became a Trustee in 2014.
Anne-Cécile has almost 30 years of experience in marketing, sales, partnership management and fundraising and has been Country Director for Movember Europe since September 2017, helping the organisation return to growth in the UK. She started her career in France as brand manager at Colgate-Palmolive and Danone, then became Corporate Alliance Director and Commercial Director for Disneyland Paris. In 2005, she moved to London and decided to pursue her career in the third sector, when she joined Comic Relief, heading up the Corporate Fundraising team then the Fundraising team. She is passionate about using her skills, enthusiasm and experience to raise money to help support the most disadvantaged communities and people. Anne-Cécile became a Trustee in September 2020.
Neil brings a passion in using digital innovation to lead teams and organisations through rapid change in strategy, culture and execution. His most recent role was as Chief Digital Officer at Rolls-Royce PLC and previous roles included a variety of senior executive positions over a 14 year career in Cisco and being CEO of the Digital Catapult, a leading advanced digital technology innovation centre.
Currently Neil is a non-executive on the Board of Costain PLC a leading engineering and smart infrastructure company as well as a non- executive at Catalyst a not for profit organisation driving innovation in the Northern Ireland knowledge economy.
Neil has been involved in a range of UK digital advisory boards including the Smart London Board, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology and the Northern Ireland Matrix ICT growth panel and is currently a member of the Innovation panel for the Queens Awards for Industry.
Neil also served for 9 years as a Governor at Coventry University and is an active supporter of Co Operation Ireland the largest Irish peace charity. Neil became a Trustee in 2019.
Avis Darzins (Senior Independent Trustee)
Avis joins the Board of Barnardo’s with considerable retail experience and, specifically, a strong background in retail transformation. Avis was based for eight years as a Partner at Accenture focusing on the retail and consumer products sector, where she delivered successful profitable growth engagements with many well-known national and international brands. Avis also founded her own management consulting practice in 2013 following four years as Director of Business Transformation at Sky where she established and led a team of business operations transformation experts. Prior to that Avis held business leadership roles at Arcadia, BHS, Mothercare and Littlewoods. Most recently Avis served as a Non-Executive Director at Moss Bros Group PLC until the business transferred to private ownership in June 2020. Avis also spent over a decade as a board member of retailTRUST, the key retail-orientated charity and continues her involvement with the charity as co-chair of their Ambassadors Group. Avis became a Trustee in December 2020.
Matt is a chartered accountant and the Chair of several consumer facing businesses including Hobbycraft and Travel Counselors. He was previously CEO of Tesco UK and ROI where he successfully led the turnaround of the UK business after his appointment in May 2015. Prior to Tesco, Matt was CEO of Halfords from 2012 to 2015 and Finance Director (2001-2004) and CEO (2004-2012) of Pets at Home.
Matt became a Trustee in September 2020.
Dennis Hone (Honorary Treasurer)
Dennis has spent over 30 years working in Urban Regeneration. He retired as Group Finance Director of Mace, the construction and consultancy company, in January 2020 and was previously Chief Executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation and the 2012 Olympic Delivery Authority, having previously worked in senior positions for English Partnerships and the Commission for New Towns. In June 2013 he was awarded a CBE for his contribution to the London Olympic Games. He is a Trustee for Roehampton University and The London Playing Fields Foundation. Dennis is also a Board Member and Chair of Audit & Risk Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing.
Dennis became a Trustee in 2017.
Meredith Pierce Hunter
Meredith joined the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in May 2017 where she leads their Foundation, responsible for philanthropic and membership support.
She was previously the Director of Development and Alumni Relations at London Business School where she was part of the leadership team raising £125M for the school’s first-ever comprehensive campaign.
Prior to joining LBS, Meredith led her alma mater’s successful $160M fundraising campaign, having moved to Virginia from Boston where she was a Director at Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and Kennedy School of Government prior to that. Meredith has extensive experience of major gifts, alumni relations, international fundraising and institutional support.
She holds dual American and British citizenship and has her BA & MBA from the US. Meredith is on the Board of Goodenough College, and became a Trustee of Barnardo’s in December 2020.
Briony is a qualified nurse, midwife, health visitor, family planning nurse and specialist practitioner (child protection). She has also holds a post qualifying BA (hons) in multi-agency child protection studies and an MSc in inter-professional practice (Society, Violence and Practice).
After having managed an integrated (multi-agency) safeguarding children team as a Designated Nurse in a London Borough, Briony was promoted to Senior Strategic Safeguarding Children Advisor for NHS London, Strategic Health Authority. Following the NHS reforms, Briony continued as the Safeguarding Children Lead for NHS England (London Region). Both posts involved working closely with the Department of Health, the Department for Education and all of the NHS organisations and services operating in the Capital. Enabling partnership working was a key component of the work.
After retiring from the NHS in 2016, Briony has been an independent safeguarding children consultant, undertaking a variety of projects throughout the UK, including a short consultancy role with Barnardo’s and authoring statutory multi-agency practice reviews.
Briony became a Trustee in 2020.
Penny Thompson CBE (Deputy Chair)
After a degree in History at The University of London, Penny began her public service career in in Tower Hamlets in the 70s, qualifying in 1979 with a Masters in Social Work from the University of Kent. She spent a decade on the frontline, moving from London to Sheffield in 1981. Penny moved into management and leadership in Cleveland in 1987.
Penny returned to Sheffield as Director of Social Services in 1998 where she played a key leadership and improvement role for Social Services and the Council as a whole. Sheffield achieved an Excellent rating and Council of the Year in 2004. In January 2005 Penny became CEO of LB of Hackney and subsequently took her experience of improvement into a number of other CEO roles at NHS Haringey, GSCC the Social Work regulator, and finally, Brighton & Hove in 2012, stepping down in 2015.
Since then, Penny has continued to contribute to public services as a Leadership Consultant with assignments including: Independent Chair of Birmingham's Safeguarding Children Partnership since 2016; being a Leadership Mentor, and a Trustee. Penny has been a Governor on the Board of Sheffield Hallam University since April 2017 and has been appointed as the Independent Chair of the Improving Outcomes for Solihull Children Board. Penny became a Trustee of Barnardo’s in 2019 and in January 2022 she was appointed Deputy Chair of Barnardo’s Board of Trustees.
Raj is a global people leader and has been in the field of change, transformation and HR for almost 25 years. He is currently Chief Diversity + Ex Officer at Sanofi, a global pharmaceutical company.
Prior to joining Sanofi, Raj was Senior Vice President, HR at Sodexo, one of the world’s largest services company for over a decade. He is passionate and purposeful about understanding the changing workplace and the global trends that affect it, and the enabling role HR must take to make this happen. Enhancing the employee experience, innovating through digital transformation, and engaging diverse talent where a sense of belonging and inclusion makes a real difference, are all key to creating competitive advantage in the future of work.
Before Sodexo, Raj was a member of the HR leadership at Santander in the UK. His early career started in general management in financial services before moving to Ford Motor Company where he specialised in HR across different brands and geographies. He has been a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development since 2007.
Raj became a Trustee in 2019.
Mark Waddington CBE
Mark has over 16 years’ experience working as a CEO in the field of child protection. For eight of these years he led the charity War Child, more than quadrupling income, increasing beneficiary reach by 1,200%, using the music industry to win the attention of the media and politicians on issues relating to the prosecution of war on children, and winning the UN Grand Award. Mark then joined Hope and Homes for Children in 2012, which has since doubled its income,
trebled its beneficiary reach, taken a leading role in negotiating a cross-government policy statement on the UK’s position on promoting the deinstitutionalisation of childcare internationally, and most recently in securing the new UN Resolution on Children Without Parental Care. Hope and Homes for Children has been one of the leading organisations in reducing the number of children confined within the orphanage system in Romania from over 100,000 to less than 7,000, while delivering similar systemic transformation of child care and protection in countries like Rwanda, Bulgaria and Moldova.
until joining the Board of Barnardo’s Mark was Chair of the Board of MICAIA, a development charity that is delivering exciting new solutions to the longstanding injustice of poverty in Mozambique with an emphasis on working with young people on the development of innovative social enterprise models. He was awarded the CBE for services to Global Child Protection in the 2019 New Year’s Honours list. Mark became a Trustee in 2019 and was appointed Chair of the Advisory Board for the Barnardo’s Foundation.
Our President and patrons
Our presidents, patrons and ambassadors have helped us raise hundreds of thousands of pounds through their work, which ranges from hosting events to donating gifts.
Natasha Kaplinsky OBE
Natasha Kaplinsky OBE is our new President, as announced in July 2019. The newsreader, presenter and journalist is passionate about issues affecting vulnerable children and a recognised figure in British public life. She will help the charity to raise awareness of issues affecting vulnerable children, young people and their families, including mental health and wellbeing, child sexual exploitation and children who are leaving care.
HRH The Duchess of Cornwall
HRH The Duchess of Cornwall was Barnardo’s President from October 2007 until December 2016, when she became our Patron.
The Duchess has been very supportive of the charity, visiting a range of services and hosting a Buckingham Palace Garden Party to mark our 150th anniversary in 2016.
Her Majesty The Queen
Her Majesty The Queen was Barnardo’s Patron from 1983 to 2016, when she handed over the role to HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.
Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan said:
“We are extremely grateful for Her Majesty The Queen’s generous time and patronage, together with her dedication to the work of Barnardo’s since 1983. The Royal Family has given us tremendous support throughout our history, and there has been a royal patron since 1902 and royal presidents from 1923. I am delighted that HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, our current president, has graciously accepted the role of our new patron.”
Who we are