A head and shoulders photo of Becky Donnelly taken with grass and trees in the background. Heather is smiling at the camera

Becky Donnelly, Trustee

Becky is an FCCA qualified accountant who has spent her career working in the grant funded and not for profit sector, particularly in the areas of humanitarian response and public financial management.

Becky has experience working with charities of different sizes as they navigate the challenges of seeking and spending grant funds and enjoys supporting organisations to develop their projects, governance and social inclusion goals.

More recently Becky’s client work has been focussed on projects with an environmental and forestry emphasis in Africa and South America.

This role as a Trustee is a chance to combine her governance, grant management expertise and sector knowledge with a passion for being outdoors and encouraging others to do the same.

Q&A with Becky

When did you become a trustee? 

April 2023.


Why did you choose to give your time and get involved with the charity?

I’ve been working in the charity sector for over 15 years, both in the UK and internationally, but had recently taken a more flexible role at work which provided some bandwidth to give something back to an organisation and use my skills in a different way.

I live in Birmingham, and have visited the Heart of England Forest before with my family. It seemed like a great fit to combine my finance and governance skills, an important environmental cause and a locally based organisation that I could support in person instead of online (having spent enough time on Zoom over COVID!)


What expertise do you bring to the trustee role?

I’ve spent time seeing how organisations work and what could be done better -  and can bring specific charity governance, risk and finance skills to support the existing trustees.  

There’s a lot to learn about the Heart of England Forest (I’m not a broadleaf tree expert by any means) but I am naturally curious and enjoy trying to offer supportive solutions, which can hopefully help the charity move forward.

My finance skills also help me to understand the risks and rewards of different projects, and to help assess whether these contribute to the long term and ambitious strategy at the Heart of England Forest.


What aspect of the charity’s work interests you the most?

The Heart of England Forest is at an interesting point in its strategy and has made amazing progress from a small team to a fully functioning national charity with a growing team.

I’m interested to see how I can support the organisation into its next phase, to help to put processes in place that assist it to run efficiently, and give the team more time to engage with the amazing space and projects we have going on.


How do you think the Heart of England Forest is making the most difference?

The value of our green spaces has become increasingly important, and people understand the benefits more since lockdown.

The Heart of England Forest is managing and planting an amazing resource, and it’s one of the first organisations I’ve worked with that has a 100 year plan that will outlive us all!

It’s making a difference every day by providing great spaces for people to visit, but keeping an eye on the long term future by investing in planting and managing woodlands now to keep this great space for future generations.


What are the challenges facing the charity over the next 12 months?

As trustees we need to support the organisation to set a clear strategy and decide what the most important projects are. Some of this is investing in systems so we’ve got the right data to have the right conversations.

We need to ensure that all our plans contribute to the overall vision for people, wildlife and the environment and that we help contribute to the climate change response.


What 3 words would you use to describe the work of the Forest?

Connected, ambitious, leafy!


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