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Who we are

It’s no secret that the public and third sectors are facing some tough internal and external challenges, and we need big ideas and brave leaders to tackle them.

That’s where Capacity comes in. We provide the know-how, big-picture thinking, and hands-on time to get moving on the projects that really matter: the ones that make the biggest impact on the lives of everyday people.

In other words, you might call us a ‘do-tank’. Unlike a think-tank, we also go on to do the stuff we’ve thought about. That means we’re on the journey with the organisations we support; you won’t find us producing a shiny report and leaving them to it. 

We also believe we’re better off together. By that we mean: we want all sectors involved and all sectors represented. We aren’t going to change public services for the better on our own, and neither is anyone else. 

Speaking of teamwork, our people are a total mix – we all have different backgrounds and a wide range of expertise. That means we can apply a range of skills and viewpoints to the challenges we face and fill any gaps a team might have. 

Ultimately, we want the North West to be the best place to grow-up, grow-wise and grow-old. If we do this well, public services will work for every person, every time. And as for us? Well, we’ll be out of job.

Where we came from

In 2015 national children’s charity Catch22 and public sector delivery partner Interserve PLC joined forces with the ambition of creating an organisation that would support the growth of the social enterprise sector in the North West. The aim was to help them more effectively compete for public sector contracts. By bringing sectors together the aim was to develop new approaches that created change on both the commissioning and delivery side of services, and put small and medium sized challenges in a stronger position when bidding for work. The potential of this idea was fully endorsed by Big Society Capital who offered funding (alongside ClubFinance) when Capacity won their Business Impact Challenge in 2016. 

In 2017 ClubFinance were replaced by new investors Amberside Advisors Ltd. 

In 2021 we ended our relationship with Interserve to become more socially owned. As things stand 90% of Capacity shares are held by social enterprise and social investors. This means that £9 in every £10 we make goes back to funding work with communities across the UK.

Our People

Like we say, our team is a total mix – made up of people from all sorts of backgrounds and all sorts of expertise. That means we can apply a range of skills and viewpoints to the challenges we face and fill any gaps your team might have. Our people are used to working with a range of clients and that means they can adapt –whether you need us sitting at your Board table or out and about with the people you’re supporting, we fit right in. 

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Chris Catterall

Chief Executive

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Emma Lord

Director

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Yonder (6)

Sophie Clarke

Director of Juno

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Grace Nolan

Director

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Sarah Taylor

Head of Projects

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Sarah Morris

Director of Finance

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Heather Mackelden

Business Coordinator

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Alice Green

Senior Projects Manager

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Oliver Hall

Finance Manager

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Christine Campbell

Purchase Ledger Clerk

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Yonder (5)

Sam Thorley

Operations Director, Yonder

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George Leroy

Senior Development Manager

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Toni Verburg

Accounts Manager

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Sarah Lee

Finance Assistant

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Goda Dragunaite

Digital Comms Manager

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Ailsa Horne

Head of Projects

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Sarah Dimmelow

Senior Project Manager

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Mallory Wong

Finance Assistant

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Sara

Sara Chattun

Project Manager

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Sophie Kervin

Insight and Comms Coordinator

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Rachael Stott

Marketing Director (Associate)

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Alison Hill

Company Secretary (Associate)

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Our Values

We're grafters


We’re do-ers, not just thinkers.

We chip in and help each other out.

We don’t just work hard, we work smart.

We're social beings


We take care of our relationships.

We love to join things up.

We respect each other and our different experiences.

We're the genuine article


We don’t pretend to be something we’re not.

We earn people’s trust.

We have no hidden agendas.

We're easy going


We keep our egos in check.

We take our work seriously, but not ourselves.

We keep things simple.

We're Bold


We're not just people pleasers, we have difficult conversations, but we do this in a professional way.

We get under the skin of projects and live it's barriers and opportunities with our clients.

We're always learning.

We try and challenge the red tape (although we know it's there) and we respect and ably navigate it.

Chris Catterall

Chief Executive

Chris has significant experience in managing, securing funding and developing the capacity of community businesses and non-profit organisations. As well as leading the team, Chris works with clients across all areas of healthcare, adults’ services and children’s services.   

Prior to his role at Capacity, Chris was part of the core team who developed The Reader Organisation from a University of Liverpool ‘spin-out’ into a leading social organisation, where he tripled revenue, raised £5 million in funding for the transfer of Calderstones Mansion House and created opportunities to support health and wellbeing through shared reading activities.   

Chris is also a Board Member for Local Trust – Local Trust is a place-based funder supporting communities to achieve their ambitions.  

Outside of work, Chris is an avid Liverpool FC fan and lives in Crosby with his wife and two daughters. 

Emma Lord

Director

Emma leads Capacity’s business development and implementation across our key healthcare projects. Emma thrives when she is getting under the skin of the problem, working with and through others to define the stuff that isn’t working.   

By the age of thirty, Emma held an interim CEO position in an organisation she grew up with. Starting on the ‘shop floor’, designing and delivering interventions with people who struggled with their mental health I progressed across the organisation into management and leadership roles across operations and business development.  

From here, Emma joined a start-up public services boutique consultancy and created its position in Health and Social Care. She built a portfolio of work with clients who support the poorest and most sick.  

Emma’s skills and experience in organisational design equip her with the ability to focus on methodology and direction rather than output and destination which enables her to ask how things can be different.  

A proud Lancastrian, Emma enjoys spending her free time with her young son Harry and getting to grips with the rules of football – Harry’s new love. 

Sophie Clarke

Director

Sophie leads projects at Capacity supporting positive change for children and families.  

Sophie and her team work with a range of public and third sector partners helping to make growing up here the best it can be. Sophie oversees the development of Juno, a not-for-profit, high-quality children’s residential care organisation co-designed with care-experienced young people. Juno will open a network of brilliant homes across Liverpool City Region, starting with its first home in Wirral in early 2023.  

Sophie came to Capacity after 10 years at The Reader, where she led on Business Development, Quality Practice and Learning. Passionate about the role that literature can play in helping us all to live well, Sophie has an MA in English Literature, is a Clore Social Leadership Fellow and lives in Liverpool with her family…and her books! 

Grace Nolan

Director

As one of the first members of the team in 2017, Grace has helped to grow Capacity from a fledgling start-up to a thriving organisation. Grace’s portfolio is diverse. She’s been involved in the design, implementation and leadership of several of our joint ventures and is considered to be Capacity’s “dedicated generalist” with a background in organisational development, project management and HR. Grace is a top plate-spinner, problem solver and master do-er. Her superpower is bringing order to chaos.  

Outside of Capacity life, spending time with her young family is her top priority, and although she no longer teaches English, her love of literature is still strong. 

Sarah Taylor

Head of Projects

As Head of Projects, Sarah leads our work with local VCSE organisations and individuals who have great ideas to solve complex social challenges but need a helping hand to make them happen.  

Before joining Capacity, Sarah worked with a variety of organisations to grow the world’s largest social currency, Tempo Time Credits. She is an accomplished relationship builder and networker, passionate about communities and about creating positive, lasting change that builds on the skills and assets of all. She has over 10 years of experience in the heritage field, from managing historic houses to steam-powered textile mills, before moving into the voluntary sector over six years ago.  

A proud Canadian, Sarah now lives in Lancashire with her husband, two kids and a rescued greyhound named Sydney. 

Sarah Morris

Director of Finance

Sarah has over ten years of experience in various finance roles both in the private and third sectors. Most recently, building financial models, developing budgets and managing cash flow for a variety of health, adult social care and community-based organisations.  

Outside of work, Sarah enjoys listening to music and going to gigs and city breaks. 

Heather Mackelden

business coordinator

Heather joined Capacity after graduating with a degree in English Literature. As a Business Coordinator, she provides support for the Senior Leadership Team as well as working on HR, contracts, internal systems, and looking after our Queen Avenue office. She’s passionate about bringing people together with previous experience coordinating the University of Liverpool’s School of the Arts Showcase and coaching and refereeing for women’s and girls’ grassroots football.  

Heather loves attending live gigs, and playing the guitar and has hosted a literature-themed radio show whilst at university. Originally from the Wiltshire countryside, Heather enjoys continuing to explore Liverpool with her housemates. Heather is a highly-decorated Connect 4 player.

Alice Green

Senior Project Manager

As Senior Project Manager, the majority of Alice’s week is focused on Children’s social care projects ‘Juno’ and ‘Community Matters’, for which she draws on project management experience across communications and fundraising at the national fostering and adoption charity, Home for Good. She is also focused on the children and young people’s emotional health and well-being project.  

Alice also has experience in the public sector, having worked as Grants Officer at Liverpool City Council before joining Capacity. Coupled with out-of-work commitments in her local community in North Liverpool, it has offered Alice a broad knowledge base of voluntary organisations across the city.  

In 2019, she also won The Young Programme’s ‘Young Thinker of the Year England and Wales’.  

Outside of work, Alice loves to go abroad and practice her language skills (she speaks four!), while sampling some local vegan cuisine. 

OLIVER HALL

FINANCE Manager

Ollie has worked in a variety of finance roles across his 9 year career, ranging from Apprentice Accountant to Finance Director and spanning both the private and third sectors. He feels his experience working
closely with business owners in the private sector has allowed for a valuable transfer of skills in the not-for-profit space. Ollie also sits on the Board of Trustees for a charity in Liverpool as Finance Lead Trustee.


Outside of work, Ollie enjoys playing golf and spending time outdoors with his Partner.  

Christine Campbell

Purchase Ledger Clerk

Currently, Christine’s role as Purchase Ledger Clerk involves providing support to several organisations; and completing purchase ledger across several entities.

Previously, Christine has worked within Local Government finance departments for almost 40 years, mainly in Education Services. She also has previous experience as a Schools Business manager.

Outside of work, Christine likes to do watercolour paintings, focusing on animal portraits, with 4 sons and 3 grandchildren, her life is kept busy with them!

George leroy

Senior Development Manager 

George joins Capacity as one of our Senior Development Managers, George has over a decade of experience working in the third sector for a variety of organisations, including the National Trust, The Bishop Palace and Designability in a variety of senior management roles including Acting Chief Executive and Deputy Chief Executive. 

George has significant commercial, operations and programmes management experience with a strong track record of developing and leading high performance teams to deliver impactful services. 

George lives in rural Somerset with his family, one dog and six chickens and enjoys playing sport. 

Toni Verburg

Accounts Manager

Toni is the Accounts Manager for one of Capacity’s clients. Her role includes analysing and presenting key financial data. Overseeing accounting procedures and preparing budgets.  

Before Capacity, Toni worked in roles including Finance Officer and Accounts Assistant, where she was involved in all aspects of the management accounting process, including balance sheet reconciliations, monthly journals for fixed assets, prepayments, and monthly management account packs. 

Sarah Lee

Finance Assistant

Sarah has been at Capacity since 2022 as a finance assistant, having worked in a similar role in the charity sector for the previous 5 years.  

Outside of work, Sarah can either be found singing in the choir, where she’s been a member for 7 years or singing in the terraces, where she’s been a season ticket holder at Goodison since she was six years old. 

Goda Dragunaite

Digital Comms Manager

Goda joined the team in August 2022 as a Digital Communications Manager in the Children’s team.  

Since graduating with a degree in Advertising and Marketing, Goda has worked with an eclectic mix of clients from health organisations to household names like Barbie and Dyson. From spending time analysing website stats, to copywriting, she enjoys the variety marketing roles offer.  

Outside of work, Goda loves baking, cooking, and spending time in nature. 

Ailsa Horne

Head of projects

Ailsa has 15+ years of experience across the charity, social enterprise and public sector and works with a variety of Capacity’s clients across the Northwest.  

Prior to joining Capacity Ailsa was Chief Operating Officer at a leading national charity and social enterprise based in Liverpool City Region and has previously held senior positions in local economic development as well as roles with Citizen’s Advice and The Charity Commission in her early career.  

Ailsa has experience in designing new initiatives from scratch as well as bringing a considered approach and ‘fresh pair of eyes’ to existing systems and plans. Ailsa has hands-on experience across all aspects of the effective running of an organisation, in particular, she has strengths in strategic and business planning, commercial planning, business innovation and service design as well as development and fundraising.  

Outside of work Ailsa enjoys spending time with her young family and friends in South Liverpool where she lives. 

Sarah Dimmelow

Senior project Manager

Sarah joins Capacity as one of our Senior Project Managers, making sure the projects she is working on are high quality and meet their milestones.

Sarah has worked in social care settings for over thirty years, predominantly supporting children and young people within leaving care, adoption, fostering and emotional health and wellbeing. She has held a variety of leadership and management roles focussing on the operational and commercial management of outcomes-based services.  

Sarah lives in Manchester with her partner and two children. She loves her local Book Club and plays badminton with enthusiasm if not finesse. 

Mallory wong

Finance assistant

Having joined Capacity in March 2023, Mallory previously worked as a finance assistant in a different industry.  Now he has joined Capacity, Mallory works with Catalyst Choices and Housing with Care. 

Outside of work, Mallory enjoys going to the gym, spending time with friends and is a big movie fan – guaranteed to have watched most horror films. 

sara chattun

project manager

Sara joined capacity in September 2023 as a project manager having worked in local authorities since 2015. She’s worked in the area of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities in different roles including as a caseworker, post-16 commissioning and interim service manager.

Outside of work, Sara likes spending time with her friends and family, reading and doing sport.

sophie kervin

INSIGHT, LEARNING AND COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR

Sophie joined Capacity in January 2024, after having worked in the third sector for a number of years in research and strategic roles. 

Sophie lives in Liverpool with her partner and her pet bearded dragon. Outside of work, she enjoys spending her time reading a good book, travelling or spending time with friends.

Rachael Stott

Marketing Director (Associate)

Rachael is an Associate Director leading Capacity’s Communications and Marketing Strategy and bringing with her experience in organisational culture, leadership, and strategic planning in Social Care.  

She spent eight years at PSS (a large health and social care social enterprise in Liverpool) as Director of Business Development and Innovation and before that was their Head of Communication. Rachael continues to work with them in a non-exec Associate role. Going back further, Rachael worked in management roles for two large national children’s residential care providers as well as working in social marketing and in enterprise education.   

When she’s not in work she likes to spend time with her little boy, husband and dogs. When she can find time for peace and quiet, she loves going walking in the Lake District and (for her sins) following her lifelong football team, Oldham Athletic.