Announcing our new leadership team to drive forward strategy on UK poverty

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) has appointed a new leadership team to drive forward its strategy to inspire action and change to solve UK poverty.

The new appointments are part of a series of changes the organisation has made to become focussed on achieving outcomes, under the leadership of Campbell Robb, who joined JRF and the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust (JRHT) as Chief Executive in January 2017. JRF and JRHT are evolving their operating models and embarking on a modernisation programme to achieve their outcomes.

JRF’s new direction is based on the landmark strategy the organisation launched in 2016 called, ‘We can solve UK poverty: a strategy for governments, businesses, communities and citizens’. The organisation has built on this with a new strategic plan dedicated to achieving long-term change.

The organisation will be adopting a social change model to work with organisations and people with lived experience of poverty to build public and political will to solve UK poverty, create credible solutions, and hold governments to account for their impact on poverty. JRF continues to work in the four nations of the UK.

Claire Ainsley, the organisation’s former Director of Communications and External Affairs, was appointed JRF’s first Executive Director in December 2017, to drive the strategy and new model. Claire said:

“Today a fifth of our population are being locked out and left behind by poverty. It is simply not right that poverty is increasing in the UK. JRF will dedicate its efforts to working alongside others for change, including people with lived experience of poverty. I am delighted to be working with such a strong team, and look forward to working with them and partners to bring about change.”

JRF’s new leadership team is:

  • Helen Barnard, Deputy Director of Policy and Partnerships, who will lead on creating credible solutions on work, social security and housing
  • Chris Goulden, Deputy Director of Evidence and Impact, who will lead on providing knowledge to inform solutions, holding governments across the UK to account for their impact on poverty
  • Ashwin Kumar, Chief Economist, who will lead on developing economic insight on poverty and its solutions
  • Frank Soodeen, Deputy Director of External Affairs, who will lead on building political will for change and creating demand for solutions

JRF’s work in Scotland will continue to be led by Associate Director Scotland, Jim McCormick, and is working in partnership with the Bevan Foundation in Wales. All biographies can be found at

The new leadership team structure came into effect on 1st October 2018. From the Autumn, JRF will be recruiting into new teams based in York and London.