Meet the team

Our Trustees

The Trust is governed by a Board of Trustees who volunteer their time and bring a wealth of experience of the needs of the Armed Forces community and charity governance.

Hans Pung (Chair)

Wendy Cartwright

John Mooney

Collette Musgrave

Frances Nash

Lieutenant General Sir Nicholas Pope KCB CBE

Anisha Worbs

Rear Admiral Rex Cox

Peter Kellam

Sue Davies

Captain Caroline Dix RN

Victoria Wilson

Major General James Senior

The Trust

Meet the Team - Anna Wright, Chief Executive

Anna Wright – Chief Executive

Anna joined the Trust as Chief Executive in January 2022. She served as a logistics officer in the Royal Navy, as both a regular and as a reservist for 12 years. She also served in the Territorial Army as an officer cadet whilst at the University of Stirling. Highlights of her time in the Royal Navy included acting as aide-de-camp to the Lord High Commissioner at Holyrood Palace, leading the Compulsory Drug Testing Team and skiing as a member of the RN Women’s Team.

On leaving the Navy Anna retrained as a Business and Economics teacher and ‘followed the flag’; teaching A level and undergraduate courses in three Further Education Colleges. She took the opportunity to complete a master’s degree in Education whilst living in Service Family Accommodation located close to Brunel University.

As a naval wife and mother of two children, she understands the challenges and joys of the military lifestyle. Her husband, a naval barrister, retired from the Royal Navy recently after serving more than 36 years. Anna felt privileged to be an advocate for Royal Navy and Royal Marine families as CEO of the Naval Families Federation for six years prior to taking up this role. She is now enjoying the opportunity to support the Armed Forces community through the exciting and wide ranging projects funded by the Trust.

Home is on the Isle of Wight and, when not getting in some ‘sea time’ commuting on the fast cat, Anna enjoys swimming in the sea and beach walks with her family.

Alex Stainer – Corporate Governance Manager

Meet the Team - Alex Stainer, Corporate Governance Manager

Alex joined the Trust in June 2024 as Corporate Governance Manager. She has experience of supporting Boards at governance level across the primary and secondary education sectors, providing advice on governance matters and ensuring board compliance.

Alex has previously worked in operations at a local college; in HR; as a librarian and in the food manufacturing industry. Alex has a degree in Philosophy with History of Art and a postgraduate diploma in Information and Library Management.

She lives in Cornwall with her two children and three dogs, which fill up her spare time.

Meet the team – Grant making

Members of the grants team bring a wealth and breadth of experience of grant making in government, welfare, the arts, education, National Lottery, community and international funding arenas.

The Trust’s continuing aim to innovate and demonstrate best practice in grant making draws on this, as well as the staff members’ lived experiences in the voluntary and public sectors and the Armed Forces community. Grants staff are responsible for the management of specific funding programmes, whilst collaborating on continually improving its efficiency and its support for applicants and grant holders.

Carol Stone – Director, Grants

Meet the Team - Carol Stone, Director, Grants

Carol has been with the Covenant Fund since 2016.  She has worked in charities and grant making throughout her career to date, including in management roles at the Arts Council and Big Lottery Fund, as Chief Executive of the London Bombings Relief Fund and the Responsible Gambling Fund, and as an interim manager and freelance grants consultant to many independent trusts and foundations and to government departments. 

She has been a trustee of various charities including a pensions fund, arts organisations and a local foodbank and is also involved in making short films for not-for-profit organisations. She has an MBA and the ACCA CDipAF.

Steven Inman – Head of Strategic Grants and Relationships

Meet the Team - Steven Inman, Head of Strategic Grants and Relationships

Steven initially qualified as a social worker, specialising in family and elder abuse, and worked in a variety of London hospitals and social service departments for over 10 years. 

For the past 20 years, Steven has worked in a variety of domestic and international charities in both fundraising and grant management roles. Steven comes from an Armed Forces family and is excited to be working with the Trust to help develop and deliver programmes which have real impacts in people’s lives.

Rachael Storr – Grants Officer, Strategic Grants

Meet the Team - Rachael Storr, Grants Officer

Rachael joined the Trust in October 2022, as a Grants Officer. 

Her career began in the Higher Education sector, where she worked in management accounts. She then moved into a research finance role and completed her AAT qualification in 2015. 

As a wife of serving personnel, she recognises some of the unique challenges faced by military families and was drawn to the role of Grants Officer at the Trust. She actively supports the wide portfolio of active programmes the Trust administers on behalf of the MOD and HM Treasury.

Martin Dyson – Head of Risk and Compliance

Meet the Team - Martin Dyson, Head of Risk and Compliance

Martin joined the Trust at the beginning of 2021. He began his career in the NHS and Local Government as an Internal Auditor and Counter-Fraud Specialist. 

More recently, he moved into a Policy role, within which he had a lot of interaction with the Armed Forces, delivering a number of projects as well as supporting the organisation in achieving the Gold Award in the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme. As part of this role he also managed a £1m priority fund afforded to councillors to support local causes.

Martin is excited to build on this experience and work alongside a wide range of stakeholders to aid them in delivering their projects to benefit the Armed Forces community throughout the country.

Carol Hartley – Grants Manager

Meet the Team - Carol Hartley, Grants Manager

With her father serving in the forces, growing up as a ‘RAF brat’ gave Carol first-hand experience of the effects of service on family life.

She stumbled into the world of grant-making nearly two decades ago. Since then, she has been involved in multiple funding programmes addressing a wide range of issues, working at The National Lottery Community Fund and as a freelancer. She has also spent some time on the other side of the fence working for a grant-holding organisation.

Carol has a commitment to social justice and since joining the Trust in August 2022, has embraced the opportunity to play a small part in enabling positive interventions in the Armed Forces Community.

Kerry Newham – Grants Manager

Meet the Team - Kerry Newham, Grants Manager

Kerry joined us from delivering front line welfare services at the Royal British Legion for nine years.

She started her career as a Personnel Administrator in the Royal Air Force back in 1998. Marrying a Serviceman led her around the country where she was employed in various roles with DWP, MOD and a period of self-employment.

Being in and around the Armed Forces community for the last 24+ years, Kerry brings first-hand lived experiences and a strong understanding of the AFC, which she hopes will be of great benefit to her role.

Kerry is excited to be working at the Trust and the opportunities this brings to work with stakeholders in supporting families, veterans and those still serving.

Paula Darbyshire – Grants Officer

Meet the Team - Paula Darbyshire, Grants Officer

Paula joined the Trust in September 2023 and works within our Grants Team.

With lived experience of the Armed Forces both as a wife and mother, Paula is aware of all the challenges military life brings. Her husband served in the Royal Navy as a submariner for 26 years before recently becoming a Veteran.

Before joining the Trust, Paula worked as a Third Sector Support Advisor supporting her local community by providing advice, guidance and support to new, emerging and established third sector organisations. She advised on a on a broad range of topics including sourcing and applying for funding, governance, planning and development, and volunteering. Paula also has 10 years’ experience of working in social housing.

Paula is passionate about volunteering, particularly youth volunteering. She is currently both a volunteer and a director at a local youth and community enterprise.

Sian Butler – Grants Manager, Capital Projects

Meet the Team - Sian Butler, Grants Manager, Capital Projects

Sian joined the Trust in July 2023. Originally from New Zealand, our resident Kiwi moved to the UK in 2002.

She has worked in grant-making for over twenty years, beginning her career with The National Lottery Community Fund where she worked as a Grants Officer across a multitude of programmes. Sian joins us from The British Foreign School Society where she worked on their UK and International grant programmes. She has also previously worked for a number of other grant making organisations as a freelance assessor.

Sian’s father, originally from Wales, served his National Service with the RAF.

Karen Addison – Grants Officer

Meet the Team - Karen Addison, Grants Officer

Karen joined the Trust in October 2023 and works within our grants team supporting the design and delivery of our funding programmes. Karen started her career at Newcastle’s universities before moving into grant making, initially working on government funded fuel poverty programmes and then with The National Lottery Community Fund.

Karen brings experience of delivering grants programmes designed to create resilient communities that are more inclusive and environmentally sustainable. She hopes that her experience of working with projects that strengthen society and improve lives will contribute to the current exciting developments at the Trust, and she looks forward to seeing the growing impact of this funding on the Armed Forces community.

In her spare time, Karen loves to swim – particularly outdoors – and enjoys travel.

Rachael Mikulskis – Grants Administrator

Meet the Team - Rachael Mikulskis, Grants Administrator

Rachael joined the Trust in February 2024 and supports the Trust’s day to day grant making activity. Rachael has previously held roles with Suffolk Community Foundation, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and Man Group. Rachael has spent several years living and working around the world, in France, Australia, the United States and the Republic of Korea.

Married with two small children, she understands the challenges and joys of family life. But it is as a military spouse that she recognises the sacrifice, issues and extra demands that service life brings. Outside of work, Rachael enjoys being outdoors as well as yoga, netball and CrossFit.

Christian de Bruin – Grants Data Officer

Meet the Team - Christian de Bruin, Grants Data Officer

Christian joined the Trust in 2019 and, in his role, supports the Trust’s grant management processes with a particular focus on the grants database. 

Born in South Africa, he initially trained as a singer in Opera and Musical Theatre, taking him on touring productions around Asia and Europe. Since arriving in the UK in 2007, he has worked with a couple of international development charities in an IT, facilities management and events support role, as well as supporting the front of house and events function for a large international corporate agency.

Christian’s father served in the RAF in South Africa and he is proud to be a member of the team.

Lottie Ainsworth-Moore – Project Coordinator (VPPP)

Meet the Team - Lottie Ainsworth-Moore, Project Coordinator (VPPP)

Lottie joined the Trust in April 2024 as Project Coordinator for the VPPP programme. She started her career in the recruitment industry before moving into HR and then project management for local government. Following a career change, Lottie worked for military charities directly supporting beneficiaries before moving to the Westminster Centre for Research in Veterans at the University of Chester where she spent over 5 years working on a wide range of evaluation and research projects.

Lottie is part of the Armed Forces community; her husband is currently serving and as a family they have experienced many moves (including overseas), separations and job/school changes. She is looking forward to bringing her varied personal and professional experience to this role, and, whilst recognising that everyone’s experience is different, she has an understanding of the joys and challenges military life can bring.

Back to top

Meet the team – Policy and Communications

Our policy and communications team work to explore the impact of our grants through research and the Impact Hub. They also help develop new funding programmes, publish reports and make sure it is easy to find out about the Trust, our funding programmes and the projects we support, through our website and digital communications.

Our small team brings their experiences of the charity sector, impact and digital skills; and most of the team have lived-experience of being part of the Armed Forces community.

Sonia Howe – Director, Policy and Communications

Meet the Team - Sonia Howe, Director, Policy and Communications

Sonia is the Director of Policy at the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust, where she has strategic responsibility for policy, communications and research. She has previously worked at the MOD, in the charity sector and for Lottery distributors in policy and corporate management roles. Sonia has always had a strong interest in grant making and has a Masters in Grant Making Management from the Centre of Charity Effectiveness at Cass Business School and a post graduate business administration qualification from the Open University. She is a Clore Social Fellow.

She spent a few years outside of grant making in the Helplines Sector, working on approaches to support helplines to measure their impact, corporate and social responsibility contributions from the telecoms industry and staff and volunteer mental wellbeing across the sector. She has interests in grant impact and in how charities use technology as a transformative tool while managing data governance and ethical risks. Sonia is a former Paralympic Athlete and competed in wheelchair basketball at two Paralympic Games.

Meet the Team - Tom Traynor, Head of Impact

Tom Traynor – Head of Impact

Tom joined the Trust in February 2022 as Head of Impact. He has worked in the charity sector as a researcher for over 20 years, focusing on grant-making charities, sector insight reports, strategic reviews and evaluations, including research for Armed Forces charities. He has a background in social science, and has also been an external grants assessor for a community foundation and a trustee of a community arts charity.

Tom works on the evaluation of the Trust’s £30 million Veterans’ Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund and associated grant programmes, and is thrilled to be exploring the positive impact that grant holders and funded projects have had on beneficiaries within the Armed Forces community.

Emi Barker – Research and Evaluation Officer

Meet the Team - Emi Barker, Research and Evaluation Officer

Emi joined the Trust in June 2024. She supports the Policy and Commications team, helping with programme development and contributing to project evaluations.

Emi became interested in research during her undergraduate degree and has volunteered for various charities and non-profit organisations throughout the past. She is thrilled to be joining the Trust to continue to develop her research and analysis skills while making a positive impact within the Armed Forces community.

Jo Brettell – Policy Officer

Meet the Team - Jo Brettell, Policy Officer

Jo is our Policy Officer and works within the Policy and Communications Team.

Jo is an experienced analyst and researcher, with nearly two decades of extensive education experience.

Jo has been involved in the military community most of her adult life and is currently a member of the Armed Forces Patient Public Voice Panel.

Nicci Shayler – Head of Communications

Meet the Team - Nicci Shayler, Head of Communications

Nicci joined the Trust in May 2019. She manages the Trust’s website and social media platforms, as well as designing and producing the Trust’s publications.

Before coming to the Trust, Nicci worked for the Army Families Federation for six years as their Copy Editor and later their Communications and Marketing Editor. Her passion is for writing and graphic design – she enjoys the chance to show her creative flair through designing graphics and short videos to showcase the Trust’s work.

Nicci has been a military wife for over 10 years and is pleased to be able to bring her experience of the Force’s community to the work she does.

Becky Clarke – Communications Officer

Meet the Team - Becky Clarke, Communications Officer

Becky joined the Trust in January 2023 as our Communications Officer, working within the Policy and Communications Team.

Before joining the Trust, Becky worked as Marketing and Communications Officer for a charity who help disabled children reach their full potential through a bespoke therapy programme.

Becky has over 10 years marketing and communications experience within the charity and non-profit sectors and welcoming the opportunity to use this experience to support the Armed Forces community.

Meet the Team - Gemma Calvert, Communications Officer

Gemma Calvert – Communications Officer

Gemma joined the Trust in November 2022 as a Project Officer for the Acute Hospitals Programme. Building on her skills and passion for communications developed in previous roles, Gemma eagerly accepted the role of Project lead for HeadFIT and became a member of the Trust’s Communications Team in May 2024.

Gemma began her career supporting the Armed Forces community by volunteering for Army Welfare Service in 2016. This experience led to her role as an Army Coordinator in 2018, where she supported current serving Armed Forces families within her assigned area, collaborating closing with the Army Welfare Service.

Currently, Gemma remains connected to the Armed Forces community, being married to a serviceman. She brings valuable first-hand experience and understanding on Military life to her role.

Gemma is proud to work for the Trust and enjoys expanding her knowledge within the charity sector. She is particularly passionate about supporting current and former military personnel and their families.

Back to top

Meet the team – Finance and Operations

Our finance team manage hundreds of grant payments a year, making sure that grant payments get swiftly to our grant holders once their paperwork has been checked. Our small team are continually refining and improving our processes to help us be as streamlined and as effective as possible.

Liz Rankin – Director, Finance and Operations

Meet the Team - Liz Rankin, Director, Finance and Operations

Liz joined the Covenant Fund in 2021 and is responsible for financial strategy and oversight of our finance team. She trained at the National Audit Office, where she gained her ACA, and has extensive experience in public sector finance and audit, from small arms’ length bodies to government departments.

Liz is excited to bring her wider public sector knowledge to the Trust and to contribute to ensuring that we continue to be as efficient and effective in our grant making as possible.

In her spare time, Liz enjoys year round sea swimming and has recently started to teach herself to play piano.

Sebastian Hare – Head of Finance and Operations

Joe Marlow – Finance and Operations Assistant

Meet the Team - Joe Marlow, Finance and Operations Assistant

Joe joined the Trust in May 2019 as our Finance and Operations Assistant, supporting the Finance Manager with the day-to-day financial administration of the Trust. 

She has approximately 20 years experience working in a financial role and completed her AAT level 3 diploma in 2016.

Her previous role of nine years was as Accounts Assistant for a worldwide construction company, where she developed her understanding of financial and operational procedures.

Julie Andrews – Finance and Operations Assistant

Meet the Team - Julie Andrews, Finance and Operations Assistant

Julie joined the Trust in March 2023 as Finance and Operations Assistant, supporting the Finance Manager in the day to day administration of our finance responsibilities.

Julie has worked in the field of finance the whole of her working life, in various different organisations, most recently for 21 years with an international shipping company.

She is relishing the change from a commercial working environment to a charity.

In her spare time, she likes to travel, and makes and sells her own jewellery.

Back to top