Rowena Young - Executive Director of the Just Finance Foundation

Rowena started her career in journalism and worked at the think-tank Demos prior to the 1997 general election. She held senior management roles at national news agency Children’s Express (now Headliners) and the Kaleidoscope Project, widely regarded for its holistic approach to supporting long term drug users.

Between 2000 and 2017 she led a number of organisations that played formative roles in the establishment of the social enterprise and innovation fields: the School for Social Entrepreneurs, the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford and NESTA’s Lab. She joined the Just Finance Foundation at its incorporation in March 2017, from the Young Foundation where she oversaw the health and education portfolios.

Rowena has advised government on employment, social enterprise and health policy; her report, From War to Work(Foreign Policy Centre, 2002) was dubbed ‘the bible of drug policy’. She has held a range of non-executive roles with organisations ranging from FairTrade fashion company People Tree (Chair) and Park View Secondary School (Vice Chair), to Britdoc, SEUK and VSO. She sits on the government’s Financial Inclusion Policy Forum, the Children and Young People’s Steering Group for the Financial Capability Strategy for the UK, and the Impartiality Committee of the Fair Banking Foundation, and is a trustee of A Band of Brothers.  

Liz Carnelley - Near Neighbours Programme Director

Liz is the Programme Director of Near Neighbours. She works from home in Retford, Nottinghamshire, is mum to two boys, and is often travelling the country visiting Near Neighbours activities. She grew up in South Yorkshire and likes jazz, films and walking her dog Ben. 

Polly Taylor - Just Finance Foundation Project Coordinator

Polly joined CUF in February 2016 after a two year post in the Church of England supporting the work of the Archbishop’s Task Group on Responsible Credit and Savings. She is involved at her local church with her husband and two children, and enjoys crochet and yoga- but not at the same time!

Ali Khimji - Grants Coordinator

Ali joined CUF and Near Neighbours as the Grants Coordinator for Near Neighbours and Together Grants in May 2016. He previously worked for a Muslim lifestyle magazine and a social enterprise that advised charities on their fundraising and programme development. He enjoys working with the many different and varied organisations that Near Neighbours supports and the Hub Coordinators across the country.

In his spare time, Ali volunteers with Al-Mizan Charitable Trust, which supports people living in poverty across the UK, plays football, and reads books. He studied Financial Economics at the University of Leicester.

Florence Akuffo - Catalyst Programme Administrator

Florence is the Administrator for the Near Neighbours Catalyst programme. She has had a career as an Administrator spanning two decades in the corporate and private world. Florence has also volunteered as an advisor with Ealing Equality Council and also helps as a leader at Kensington Temple Children’s Ministry. She runs a monthly CV and Job Search workshop at Northolt Library through her organisation called Dream Possibilities - her way of giving back to her community. Florence has two teenagers who keep her on her toes and in her spare time she likes to do a bit of writing including poetry.