The management and administration of FCN is looked after by an experienced team of full-time and part-time members of staff, based across England and Wales. They are:
Dr Jude McCann – Chief Executive Officer
Jude has been Chief Executive Officer of The Farming Community Network since January 2020. Prior to taking up this role he spent seven years as Chief Executive of Rural Support – a charity supporting farming families in Northern Ireland. Having grown up on a family farm in mid-Ulster, Northern Ireland, Jude has significant expertise within agriculture and the farm support sector. His PhD examined the social impacts of subsidy reforms in New Zealand where he lived for seven years and his Nuffield Farming scholarship explored how farm support organisations can help secure farmers’ resilience in a changing world.
Mark Thomas – Head of Services
Mark joined FCN in 2019 following a career spent working in a number of roles with a national agronomy company. As lead for our Regional Support Officers team, Mark’s role in FCN is to ensure that our volunteer groups are able to carry out their work with their local farming communities in an effective and fulfilling way. He also has responsibility for the FCN Helpline. Mark is a strong advocate for diversity in the agricultural sector and of FCN’s outreach work to help people in farming build resilience, manage stress, and fulfil their potential living and working in the best industry in the world.
Alex Phillimore – Marketing and Communications Manager
Alex joined FCN in early 2020 and oversees our marketing and communications activity. Previously part of the award-winning University of Leicester press team who publicised the discovery of King Richard III’s remains under a car park in Leicester in 2012, Alex then worked for a time for the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health where he developed a passion for workplace wellbeing and safety. The occupational challenges associated with agriculture motivated Alex to join FCN. He is an accredited PR practitioner with the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and a member of the British Guild of Agricultural Journalists.
Georgina Lamb – Senior Partnerships Manager
Georgina is a first generation beef farmer’s daughter from Halifax, West Yorkshire. Before joining FCN, Georgina worked as a regional manager for RABI where her primary role was to coordinate the fundraising and awareness raising across the region. As Senior Partnerships Manager for FCN, Georgina develops relationships and fundraising streams working with associated businesses and organisations, agricultural colleges and partner charities. Georgina is also FCN Regional Lead for the North of England working closely with Regional Support Officers and County Groups.
Philip Wilson – Emergency Planning and Resilience Manager
Philip has been with FCN for 3 years – but has been a supporter for many years before that. Working in rural policy roles both at a county and regional level in the east of England, he has extensive experience of local government including as an elected councillor. He came from a commercial background, working in the City of London for most of the 1990s. He works alongside Mark Thomas as Regional Lead (South East).
Stephen Dennis – Farm Support and Network Manager
Stephen first volunteered for FCN in 1996 supporting farmers in Devon and the wider South West region. Alongside running his beef and sheep enterprise in Mid Devon he continued to spend an increasing amount of time with the charity, helping the Coordinators develop the support in the South West. In 2001 when Foot-and-Mouth hit he was FCN‘s stakeholder contact with Animal Health and in 2005, along with Christopher Jones, led the communications with the RPA as FCN’s demand (due to the change in the subsidy system) increased. Stephen is Regional Lead for the South West, alongside a great team of coordinators and volunteers. Having trained as a family mediator and mental health first aider it is his desire to help the farming community wherever possible.
Peter Hardy – Training and Development Manager
Following careers in the animal nutrition, the food ingredients and renewable energy sectors, Peter joined FCN in 2018 as a volunteer caseworker in the Staffordshire group, just in time to be persuaded to take on the role of Chair. He became Regional Director for the newly formed Midlands Region in 2019 and has the honour of working with volunteers in these growing and dedicated teams. Peter is now in the role of Training and Development Manager and is Regional Lead for the Midlands.
Richard Betton – FCN Mentor and Advocate
Richard is a first generation farmer following an honours degree at Oxford University. His hill farm in Teesdale is part of Raby Estate and carries a flock of Swaledale sheep and a small herd of pedigree Aberdeen Angus cows. He is a long serving member of the NFU Council, church warden, former member of the Ministers Advisory Panel and a former Leader of a Local Authority. He has been with FCN since 2009 but has also continued with his work for the Upper Teesdale Agricultural Support Services as their Farm Liaison Officer.
David Williams – Partnerships Manager (Wales)
David has worked for FCN in the role of Regional Director Wales for 5 years before being appointed to his current role. During this time David has developed the charity in Wales, strengthening the presence of FCN at a local and national (Wales) level and introducing support in the Welsh language. David is a farmer – he ran a dairy herd on the family farm before diversifying to stables, sheep, fishing lake and holiday lets. He has first-hand experience of many of the problems farmers face and is an advocate for speaking out and sharing difficulties. David is a member of NFU Cymru and FUW. Outside of work and farming David represents his local community on Newport City Council and is Chair of Governors at his local secondary school.
Sandra Caulfield – Finance Manager
Sandra joined FCN in the summer of 2015 and oversees the charity’s finances. Sandra previously worked for a smaller local charity for seven years and is a member of the Association of Accounting Technicians. She enjoys working in the charity sector, helping to make a difference and support others.
Debbie Roe – Helpline Coordinator
Debbie joined FCN in March 2018 as FCN Administrator, and now more recently has taken the additional role of Helpline Coordinator. Debbie was previously a Volunteer Manager at a Hospice Charity and spent nearly 14 years within a Police Authority at various senior levels, culminating in 6 years as the CEO. Debbie holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA).
To get in touch with FCN head office, call 01788 510866 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The head office is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm (excluding bank holidays).