Karen Loftus

CHIEF EXECUTIVE

Karen joined CAN in May 2019. She has worked in both the voluntary and public sector over the past 20 years, and held senior positions in local and national charities, including NHS Dorset HealthCare University Foundation Trust, NHS primary care, and what was The Borough of Poole in Children’s Centres.

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Karen says: ’It’s a joy to be Chief Executive of such a brilliant charity with a committed board of trustees and a motivated staff team, developing CAN to fulfil our mission to EMPOWER the voluntary sector, ENABLE volunteering and CONNECT communities.”

She also sits on the BCP Health and Wellbeing Board, the Dorset Integrated Care Partnership Board, and is the South West representative on the national VCS Emergencies Partnership.

Karen lives in Poole and in her spare time has a passion for interior design and socialising with friends and family. You may also see her on her kayak in Poole harbour, or navigating the river Stour in Christchurch.

Twitter @karenloftus287

To contact Karen please email karen.loftus@can100.org  or call 01202 466130

PEOPLE

Amy Leyland

HEAD OF PEOPLE

Amy joined CAN in December 2019 as Office Manager and Executive Assistant. She previously worked in the legal sector as a personal injury lawyer. She spent the majority of 2019 travelling on a belated gap year.

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Amy says: “I enjoy a challenge and a good puzzle, so starting a new role and discovering the potential of what I can bring to the organisation is very exciting. I also feel very privileged to work with such a wonderful team who have welcomed me with open arms.”

She lives in Bournemouth and in her spare time, she is a rugby fan having played in her youth, enjoys dancing and is usually planning her next holiday or adventure.

You may see her walking her beloved family dog Max in the New Forest or scuba diving off Swanage Pier.

To contact Amy please email amy.leyland@can100.org or call 01202 466130

Frescy Kopanycia-Reynolds

OFFICE COORDINATOR

After completing her BA (Hons) in Photography and working in the creative industry, Francesca, who prefers to be known as Frescy, joined CAN in March 2023. She began her career as a planner, organiser, and facilitator of numerous regional events for a charity dedicated to creative events. She was able to collaborate closely with numerous groups and individuals, as a result, learning about the non-profit industry.

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‘I’m really excited to join CAN and work with the team to create a positive impact in the local area. I love to organise and plan, and look forward to supporting my colleagues in ensuring we empower, enable and connect communities and volunteers in the best way possible’.

Frescy is based in Poole and can normally be found bouldering or sea swimming in the local area, as well as planning her next trip away in the UK or abroad.

To contact Frescy please email frescy.kopanycia-reynolds@can100.org or call 01202 466130

Rachel Pascoe

OFFICE COORDINATOR

Rachel joined CAN in February 2022 after working in the hospitality sector in the UK and Canada. Rachel says: “I am really excited to be joining the voluntary sector and to have the opportunity to be a part of the inspiring work that CAN do.

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“I’m thrilled to be involved in the local community and can’t wait to see how CAN continues to grow.”

In her spare time, she is kept busy studying part time for a degree in Criminology and Law. When she gets chance she loves hiking and exploring new places and is a keen amateur baker.

To contact Rachel please email rachel.pascoe@can100.org or call 01202 466130

Rassu Rana

MANAGEMENT ACCOUNTANT

Rassu worked as an accountant for retail and finance companies before moving into the charity sector. Rassu says, “I am very humbled and excited to be a part of a team, who are so dedicated to empowering the community to bring positive changes. I am looking forward to working with our CEO Karen Loftus as well as CAN’s trustees to effectively manage the charity’s resources”.

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In her spare time, Rassu enjoys hiking, gardening, spending time with her family and volunteers for a community group supporting women and children.

To contact Rassu please email rassu.rana@can100.org or call 01202 466130

Nazia Islam

MARKETING AND ADMINISTRATION OFFICER

Nazia joined CAN in March 2022 after recently working in communications within the Higher Education sector. Since graduating her BA in 2019 and her MA in 2020, she built experience working across many sectors. This includes working in the retail industry to administrative and analytical work for independent taxi businesses.

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Nazia says “I’m excited to be able to work for an uplifting and empowering organisation, that amplifies a wide range of communities and individuals voices with a platform to strive.”

In her spare time, Nazia loves reading books, DIY decorating and hosting for her family and friends.

To contact Nazia please email nazia.islam@can100.org 

Amy Collins

HEAD OF VCS DEVELOPMENT

Amy has worked for CAN for over 13 years having originally come from a corporate background. Amy firmly believes that volunteers are the lifeblood of the Voluntary and Community sector. She emphasises the critical importance of providing support and guidance to organisations for effective volunteer recruitment and management. Her passion lies in ensuring volunteers are connected with meaningful opportunities, empowering them to make a tangible difference in their local communities. 

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Amy says: “Volunteering can have a huge impact on people’s lives, helping them to build their confidence, gain valuable skills and giving them a true sense of purpose. Through my role, I help individuals find the right volunteer opportunity, as well as ensuring that the charity they volunteer for are fully supported and follow good practice.”

In her spare time, Amy volunteers for several different local charities. If she can’t be found bucket collecting or marshalling, you may see her out paddleboarding, though she hasn’t yet mastered the knack of standing up! She can also be found bathing hedgehogs at New Milton Hedgehog Rescue or fulfilling Trustee duties for Dorset Children’s Foundation. 

To contact Amy please email amy.collins@can100.org  or call 01202 466130 / 07971 182166

Bekki Stalker

SENIOR VCS DEVELOPMENT LEAD

Bekki has more than 25 years’ experience in the not-for-profit sector, where she combined innovation, simplicity, and a people-focused approach towards managing community-oriented projects. As the Community Engagement Manager for Leonard Cheshire’s south and southwest regions, her team played a significant role towards mitigating injustices impacting people with disabilities while also helping programme participants feel a greater sense of belonging.

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These experiences have shown her first-hand how an equitable organisation can take bold action to create a more diverse workplace which leads to better outcomes for the community.

Bekki says: “I hate injustice and have a passion for inclusiveness and accessibility – giving a voice to the “quiet one in the room”. I believe in inclusive communities where everyone feels safe and has an equal voice in helping shape their community and has a sense of purpose and belonging. I am very excited to be joining CAN.”

Bekki spends time with friends and family, grew up in Dorset, and is a bit of a nerd! She loves Syfy, LARPing, D&D and going to the theatre and watching films.

Her friends would say she cares too much and can’t fix everything. She loves animals, in particular cats and elephants, backpacked around the world and enjoys learning about and experiencing different cultures.

To contact Bekki please email bekki.stalker@can100.org 

Steve Place

SENIOR ADVISOR

Steve advises new and existing voluntary and community groups.  He helps with constitutions, charity set up and law, policies, procedures and how to stay legal. He can also review how your organisation operates and suggest how you can be more efficient, effective and sustainable.

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He has worked in, and with, the sector most of his adult life (over 40 years now!), in small local charities and a small national one. He has been the Senior Manager and CEO of voluntary/community organisations and a community worker in mostly inner-city areas.

He has been a trustee of various charities and is currently the treasurer of a small childcare charity.

Steve says: “I have a passion for the voluntary and community sector believing it’s how people can make a real difference, especially to their local area. I hope my experience will help groups transform lives.”

To contact Steve please email steve.place@can100.org  or call 01202 466130 / 07966 742933

Louise Stewart

FUNDING ADVISOR

Louise is a qualified Funding Advisor and has worked in both the voluntary and public sector for over 20 years. She has also worked as a fundraiser for charitable organisations and for funders, including the Architectural Heritage Fund.

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Louise says “I am very excited to join CAN and such an experienced team. I look forward to working with organisations in Dorset, supporting them to develop fundraising and income strategies to help strengthen their work, making a difference in local communities”

Louise lives in Weymouth and enjoys sea swimming, paddleboarding, cycling and gardening.

To contact Louise please email louise.stewart@can100.org or call 01202 466130 / 07821 663476

Abi Squires

VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR – WELLBEING COLLABORATIVE

Abi joined CAN in March 2022 as Volunteer Coordinator after having worked in various roles in youth charities since graduating in Psychology at university.

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Abi says: “I am thrilled to be joining CAN and the Wellbeing Collaborative as Volunteer Coordinator and to help make volunteering more accessible, empowering, and exciting for the local community in this project. Having volunteered many times myself, I know the value in being a volunteer, as well as the incredible skills you can develop and experiences you can have. I hope to be able to bring this into the new voluntary roles within the Wellbeing Collaborative.”

In her spare time, Abi enjoys Pilates, long walks in the forest with friends and family and spending time with her new Siamese kitten, Nala. She also loves to cook and find new recipes to bake for her family.

To contact Abi please email abi.squires@can100.org 

Liz Soffe

VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR – FAMILY HUBS

Liz started work for CAN in February 2021, she has always had a passion to assist others and to foster a sense of belonging. With a career predominantly centred around Customer Service, she has continued to enjoy roles where she can extend a helping hand and create welcoming environments.

Liz’s people skills allow her to work with individuals looking to find a volunteer role. Whether it is to improve their mental health, confidence or to make them feel part of their community, Liz is on hand to match them up. She says, ‘I love working with so many fantastic organisations, it gives real variety to my role and comes in handy when finding volunteer roles for people.’

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Liz volunteers as a Parent Champion which involves her going into schools offering support and guidance to families navigating the challenges of Special Educational Needs. Drawing from her own experiences and demonstrating empathy equips her to make a meaningful impact in this role. When Liz is not working, she loves spending time with her family, having cold water dips and channelling her creativity through various artistic outlets.

Liz says: “It was great to be part of a team of people making such a difference in this difficult period of our lives. This led me to CAN and the amazing work they do for the community. I feel fortunate to be working with such lovely, enthusiastic, and dedicated staff and volunteers.”

When Liz is not working, she loves spending time with her family, doing things together. Her dad is really handy, and Italian, so not only does he make amazing food but is also a dab hand at helping Liz with her interior design projects at home.

To contact Liz please email liz.soffe@can100.org  or call 07966 742935

Emma Lee

HEAD OF ENGAGEMENT

Emma joined CAN in September 2020 with over 10 years’ experience within the charity sector, most recently with Citizens Advice BCP where she advised those most in need and ensured the organisation worked in partnership with statutory and voluntary organisations to benefit the community.

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Emma says: “I am passionate about the work and impact the charity sector has both on the communities it works with directly and the wider impact it can have by ensuring peoples voices are heard.”

Emma is keen to ensure CAN has a significant impact on the causes, projects and organisations they work with and strives to make things better.

In her spare time Emma enjoys being with her family, usually exploring the countryside.

To contact Emma please email Emma.Lee@can100.org or call 07971 759189

Hannah Rees

ENGAGEMENT LEAD

After a rewarding career in teaching, Hannah moved to the voluntary sector and began working with CAN in 2016. Her role has adapted over the past few years and she is now delighted to be working closely with local voluntary and community sector groups, facilitating networking opportunities, helping to identify gaps and supporting development to meet the needs of our communities.

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Hannah says: “Leaving teaching was a tough decision but working in the voluntary sector has helped me feel I still have the opportunity to make a difference, for which I am very grateful.”

In her spare time, Hannah enjoys walking her beloved dog in the beautiful area around Christchurch and Southbourne. She loves spending time with family and friends, going to the theatre and live music.

She is passionate about animals, the environment and travelling, taking every opportunity to sample delicious food from around the world!

To contact Hannah please email hannah.rees@can100.org or call 07966 742900

Michelle Holland

MEMBERSHIP DEVELOPMENT LEAD

Michelle joined CAN in June 2022 after nearly 25 years working in various local authority communications and tourism roles. After working with staff and volunteers at CAN on a project to help overcome vaccine hesitancy, she now is now CAN’s Membership Development Lead. Michelle also works part-time for a local charity.

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Michelle says, “My experience with CAN has been amazing. The opportunity to meet so many fantastic people providing essential support to local communities has been incredible. Passionate volunteers supporting dedicated teams plus the willingness to connect, collaborate and share skills gives the VCS a superpower. And CAN is here to help you every step of the way. It’s free to join – so get in touch.”

Michelle’s spare time is taken up making the most of the glorious natural environment and attempting – in stages – to walk the South West Coastal Path.

To contact Michelle please email michelle.holland@can100.org  or call 01202 466130

Gareth Dunning

TEAM LEAD – WELLBEING COLLABORATIVE

Gareth joined CAN in March 2022. Nearly all of his employment has been in people-focused roles, starting in the hospitality industry. Wanting to utilise his skills in other ways saw him move to housing support services working with people who found themselves homeless or at risk of homelessness. This saw Gareth working closely with individuals and families providing advice, guidance and practical support to improve their situation.

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More recently he has been working in education, supporting the teaching and learning of key stage 1 and 2 children, including working for several years as one to one with children who have special educational needs.

Gareth says: “I am really looking forward to being part of the work CAN does to empower individuals, groups and communities. I have a real passion for supporting people and seeing them thrive and grow to reach their potential so I am excited to be part of a team that is dedicated to seeing this happen.”

Gareth lives in Bournemouth. In his spare time; he has recently taken up running but prefer getting out for walks and exploring both locally and further afield, especially if it involves history such as castles or museums. 

To contact Gareth please email gareth.dunning@can100.org 

Marcus Chapman

PATHWAY COORDINATOR –WELLBEING COLLABORATIVE

Marcus has worked in a wide range of Health and Social Care roles including Local Authority, NHS mental health and the Homeless sector.

Marcus says ‘I am looking forward to bringing this experience to help support the team and wider community.’

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“I feel excited and blessed to have been given the opportunity within CAN and the chance of being surrounded by inspirational and motivated people.

“After working as a volunteer in a number of organisations I understand the important and valuable work the volunteer and community services provide. I am passionate about promoting the value and benefits of health and wellbeing for individuals and supporting groups to deliver them.

“I live in Bournemouth and in my spare time I like to explore the natural beauty of Dorset on my (electric) bike. Otherwise, I can be found rummaging in charity and vintage shops for a hidden gem or bargain.”

To contact Marcus please email marcus.chapman@can100.org

Abi McQueen

PATHWAY COORDINATOR – WELLBEING COLLABORATIVE

Abi joined CAN in November 2023.  She started her career within the voluntary sector, moving over to working in higher education for many years.  For the past five years Abi has worked on European funded projects within business education.

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In Abi’s free time she loves spending time with her kids and family, as well as driving about in her beloved camper.

To contact Abi please email abi.mcqueen@can100.org

Nikki Sanderson

PATHWAY COORDINATOR – WELLBEING COLLABORATIVE

Nikki has had a wide range of job opportunities in her career such as the NHS, Probation, Dorset Police and BCP Council before changing to a Social Prescriber after COVID-19. Having recently worked for the National Academy of Social Prescribing Nikki is passionate about helping others and empowering them. 

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Nikki says “I am really looking forward to being part of the work CAN does to help empower individuals, groups and communities. I love watching others gain confidence. I am passionate about helping others finding their voices. I had the opportunity during the pandemic to volunteer and saw the power of the volunteer sector and what a positive impact it makes” 

Nikki lives in Poole with her husband and 2 children. In her spare time, when she isn’t ferrying her children to afterschool clubs such as dance or rugby she can be found at her beach hut or going for long coastal or forest walks. 

To contact Nikki please email nikki.sanderson@can100.org 

Mayu Rouco-Santos

EDC Project Manager 

Mayu joined CAN in April 2024 as the EDC Project Manager. Her previous role as a Community Engagement Officer at BCP Council has guided her determination and passion to play an active role in the support and engagement of ethnically diverse communities, and to help groups advocate for a stronger community voice. Before joining the council, Mayu worked at Bournemouth University in the field of Global Engagement.

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Mayu comes from a little town in Spain but throughout the years, she has studied and volunteered in different countries. This has provided her with first-hand experience of cultural challenges but also of the great opportunities and richness that comes alongside with those.

In her free time, Mayu volunteers at the Social Canteen in Boscombe. She highly values wellbeing and practicing yoga really helps her feel grounded and keep active. She also loves poetry and spoken word. She co-hosts a local poetry night called ‘’Getting Poetical’’ and you can often find her on stage performing at local community events, cabarets and festivals.

To contact Mayu please email mayu.rouco-santos@can100.org 

Rachel Trickey

HEAD OF RESEARCH & TRANSFORMATION

Rachel joined CAN in August 2022 after working in the public sector for the past 28 years. She started her career in education and most recently worked in children’s services at Dorset Council, taking on several roles during her time there.

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Rachel says, ‘I have a passion for health and wellbeing as well as developing and implementing projects so am very excited about working at CAN, alongside partners. Imagining what is possible and seeing the impact that can be achieved for wellbeing across Dorset.’

Rachel lives in Wimborne and in her spare time you will often see her with a coffee in her hand, chatting with friends and family at various cafes or browsing in the shops! She has a passion for art, reading, health and listening to a podcast or two!

To contact Rachel please email Rachel.Trickey@can100.org or call 01202 466130

Andy Robertson

PROJECT OFFICER

Andy previously worked for CAN in June 2021 on the Health Equality Partnership as a Project Officer, this was a 6 month project to gather community insights through a health research and engagement program. He will be working on a “follow up” project revisiting groups who support individuals with severe mental illness in collaboration with the physical health check initiative.

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Andy says “I am glad to be back working for CAN who are such a lovely team, I am also looking forward to be involved in this role again as I have a passion for engaging with individuals from different backgrounds and ultimately making a difference in peoples lives and the community”

In his spare time, he enjoys meditating, playing football, learning new skills and knowledge particularly around wellbeing and natural health. On the weekend he likes to get outdoors whenever possible, exploring new places, going for long walks and hikes in nature.

To contact Andy please email Andrew.Robertson@can100.org or call 01202 466130

Kelly Hewitt

DIGITAL ACCESS PROJECT MANAGER

Kelly started working for CAN in March 2022, initially within the Wellbeing Collaborative Team. Since graduating University in 2018, she has dedicated her time to working with a diverse range of vulnerable client groups amidst community settings, through NHS and Adult Social Care roles, including as an adviser in a local carer support organisation.

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Kelly is passionate about the role of digital systems in providing high-quality and accessible support that empowers frontline professionals to learn more about what the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) has to offers. 

Kelly says: “I am so excited to have the opportunity to work with Community Action Network (CAN)  as it will allow me to utilise my creativity and expertise”

Kelly has lived in Dorset throughout her life and enjoys exploring the local area with her Cocker Spaniel, Crumble. Where possible, she loves travelling to new countries with her friends.

To contact Kelly please email kelly.hewitt@can100.org 

Chris Small

DIGITAL ACCESS PROJECT ADMINISTRATOR

Chris joined CAN in March 2022. He has worked in the charity sector since graduating in 2004. Chris has experience as a front-line support worker and senior manager working with vulnerable adults and young people. Prior to CAN, Chris was a Director of a University Students’ Union.

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Chris says ”I have worked closely with CAN throughout my career, especially in relation to supporting volunteering in the community, and I am delighted to now be part of the team.”

In addition to his part-time role with CAN, Chris undertook a change of career in 2021 becoming a professional artist. He enjoys portraiture and has provided artwork to a range of professional boxers, including a number of world champions. Chris lives in Bournemouth and enjoys movies and spending time with his family.

To contact Chris please email chris.small@can100.org or call 01202 466130

Bethan Hopkins

TRAINING AND COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER

Joining CAN in June 2023, Bethan has spent 10 years bringing creative marketing campaigns, events and experiences to life for businesses across Dorset. She has further background in the theatre, film and television industries.

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Bethan says ”I don’t think I’ll ever run out of enthusiasm for volunteering, and am excited to be part of a team dedicated to supporting people and organisations to share fantastic opportunities and experiences. You really never know where a volunteering journey can take you!”

In addition to her role with CAN, Bethan is a professional pet-sitter, a board game enthusiast, huge cinephile and a keen gardener who can often be found on her allotment plot.

To contact Bethan please email bethan.hopkins@can100.org 

Parental and maternity leave

Lucy Bradley

PATHWAY COORDINATOR –WELLBEING COLLABORATIVE

Lucy joined CAN in May 2022. Prior to this she had been a Social Worker for the past ten years working across the Local Authorities in the region, within Adult Social Care. Lucy has worked with Adult Locality teams, Continuing Healthcare, Preparing for Adulthood and most recently in the Integrated Learning Disability Service.

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Lucy says: “I am looking forward to getting stuck into the challenge of working in the voluntary sector. I am keen to advocate for vulnerable adults in our area, to try to achieve better outcomes and support for them. I am excited to be part of CAN where creativity and autonomy are encouraged.”  

Lucy has grown up in the local area and still lives in Bournemouth, she spends her spare time experimenting with plant-based recipes in the kitchen and trying her hand at DIY projects in her new home. Lucy can often be seen taking her two cats out for walks or even for weekends away in the local and surrounding area!  

Lucy’s pronouns are she / her.  

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