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.

Helen Helliwell (Chair)

General Sir John McColl KCB CBE DSO

Commodore Rex Cox

Major General David Eastman

Gerald Oppenheim

Anna Wright

John Pitt-Brooke CB

Wendy Cartwright

Cerys Gage

Professor David Rose

Lesley O’Rourke

John Mooney

Our staff

A picture of Melloney Poole, Chief Executive

Melloney Poole – Chief Executive

Melloney began working with the Armed Forces Covenant Fund in 2015 and was instrumental in establishing the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust in 2018. In her other roles, she is a governor of the Health Foundation and has been a non-executive director of the NHS since 1993. She is the Chair of an NHS Trust in the south of England. 

Melloney practised as a solicitor for many years and has worked extensively in grant making for lottery distributing bodies. She is the former Head of Legal Services for the Big Lottery Fund and the Arts Council England.

In 2010, Melloney was awarded an OBE for legal and governance services in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list.

Carol Stone – Director, Grants

Carol Stone, Director of 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.

Sonia Howe – Director, Policy and Communications

Sonia Howe, Director of Policy and Communications

Sonia Howe is the Director of Policy at the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust where she has strategic responsibility for policy, communications and research. Sonia 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.

Rachel Dawkins – Grants Manager

Rachel Dawkins, Grants Manager

Rachel has been working to support the Armed Forces Community for the past seven years, starting as an MOD civil servant and then moving across to the Trust.

Rachel began her career in the MOD as PA and moved to the Armed Forces Covenant Fund as a grants officer in 2015 when the Fund was created. She progressed to Grants Manager and was part of the move from the MOD to become the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust in 2018.

She works with a wide range of organisations and key stakeholders for the Trust, and is responsible for the oversight and smooth delivery of a variety of multi-million-pound grant programmes that cover a range of projects supporting both serving personnel, veterans and their families.

Rachel is also a trained SSAFA Caseworker and has volunteered for the organisation in her spare time.

Steven Inman, Strategic Grants Manager

Steven Inman – Strategic Grants Manager

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.