News

Somerset Community Foundation welcomes new Chair

October 20, 2022

Michael Samuel MBE, a committed philanthropist and businessman who has supported charities through his family foundations for several decades, has become Somerset Community Foundation’s new Chair of trustees, following the retirement of Jane Barrie OBE DL at their AGM earlier this month (6th October, 2022).

Michael brings a wealth of experience to the Foundation. He is Chair of the Anna Freud Centre, a charity focusing on research and advocacy about mental health of young people, founded and Chairs Civic, a not-for-profit initiative seeking to increase the impact of charities in the UK and abroad, and is co-founder and Chair of Full Fact, a charity set up to check and correct facts reported in the news.

Michael said: “I am very privileged and excited to take on the role of Chair of Somerset Community Foundation. My wife and I have a strong attachment to Somerset since settling in the county more than twenty years ago. I have also been a supporter of SCF for the last 10 years and have had the great pleasure of being able to fund many innovative grassroots organisations who are doing superb work to change lives in Somerset. Organisations I would not have found were it not for the knowledge and insight of the SCF team who do such an invaluable job connecting donors like me with inspiring charities.

“I am fortunate to be taking on the role of Chair at a time when SCF is in a strong position, having gone through a period of growth and development in recent years. But I know that there remains a great deal of need in our communities. I hope to inspire others like me to give through SCF and to help grow our role as an integral part of the fabric of Somerset. By inspiring more local philanthropy, we can significantly grow our impact, strengthening our communities and improving the lives of many more people across the county.”

Jane Barrie step downs after eight years as a trustee, seven of those as the Foundation’s Chair. During that period the Foundation has grown to become one of the largest independent funders of local charities in the county, awarding over £2 million each year to hundreds of local groups.

Jane said: “It has been a tremendous honour to lead the Board of trustees during this period of growth, not least overseeing its response to the pandemic, and I leave knowing it will continue to serve the county of Somerset well. I have no doubt that SCF will continue to go from strength to strength with Michael Samuel at the helm, and that he will provide support and guidance to our fantastic team of staff, volunteers and trustees, every step of the way. I wish them all well for the future.

“I would like to express my deepest and most heartfelt gratitude to every single person who has, over the years, played a part in SCF’s role here in Somerset; from the hundreds of incredible grassroots organisations we fund each year, to the generosity of our wonderful donors and supporters, without whom, quite simply none of our work would have been possible.”

At the AGM, Angela Kerr was newly appointed as a trustee, and long-serving trustees Jan Ross and Sarah Wakefield retired having joined at the same time nine years ago. Between them, Jan and Sarah have helped oversee the delivery of over £10 million of grants and social investments into local charities.

Justin Sargent, Chief Executive at SCF said: “On behalf of all of us at SCF, we would like to thank Jane for her incredible service, energy, and time. During the period in which Jane has been Chair, the Foundation has grown to become one of the largest independent funders of local charities in the county, awarding over £2 million each year to hundreds of local groups. We are very grateful for her committed leadership for the last seven years.

I am confident that these appointments will serve to strengthen our Board and put us in a fantastic position to achieve the goals of our 2021-25 strategy and grow our impact, helping us to change the world on our doorstep.”


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