Localise West Midlands is registered as a Company Limited by Guarantee (not for profit). LWM has a board of directors elected by a wider group of members. We also have associates, who undertake our consultancy activities, and there is a small overlap between the two. We are considering establishing an advisory group of people with valuable experience and skills.

We’re seeking new active board members to help us achieve more change. Click here.

LWM’s board:

Phil Beardmore
Phil works s as an environmental and third sector consultant specialising in thought innovation. He founded the renewable energy co-operative CoRE50. His clients include local authorities, utilities, construction companies and social enterprises.  In 2010 Phil was voted one of the top 50 Green Leaders in the West Midlands, is the Third Sector Assembly Environment Network Champion and member of Birmingham’s Green Commission. Phil is also an occasional LWM associate.

Paul Cobbing (Vice-Chair)
Paul has worked for the last 30 years on environmental issues, from operational land management to policy development and implementation across climate change and the natural environment.  He is now chief executive of the National Flood Forum, a charity that supports and represents people at risk of flooding.  He has experience of developing and supporting sustainable development, climate change and environmental networks across the West Midlands, and working with them to progress strategic action.   He is convenor of the West Midlands section of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management and a member of the West Midlands Forestry & Woodland Advisory Committee and the Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull Local Nature Partnership.

Chris Crean
Friends of the Earth’s Regional Campaigner for the West Midlands. Chris has been involved with Friends of the Earth (FOE) since the late 80s, initially as a campaigner on air pollution and transport in Birmingham and the West Midlands and now as campaigner, policy officer and spokesperson in the region. Previously he worked for an environmental consultancy specialising in contaminated land and industrial water.

Sarah Longlands
Sarah Longlands is a senior research fellow at IPPR North. Her recent PhD examined the influence of economic growth policy on spatial planning in England. Previously she was Director of Policy at the Centre for Local Economic Strategies. She also undertook some work on a freelance basis on the second phase of LWM’s Mainstreaming Community Economic Development project.

Jon Morris (Chair)
A housing, planning and regeneration consultant who led LWM’s work on Birmingham Energy Savers and contributed to MCED. Former Director of Coventry New Deal for Communities, Chair of Royal Town Planning Institute Housing Panel, Extensive experience in the fields of housing, planning and regeneration, as a practitioner, researcher and lecturer. Jon has also been a member of a number of ministerial advisory groups and an expert witness to the House of Commons Environment Select Committee.

Rose Poulter
Rose Poulter is a Board Member and Associate of Localise West Midlands. Now a freelance consultant with a focus on securing decisions, policy development and organisational change, she was previously Director of the West Midlands regional grouping of local authorities (WM Councils; WM Leaders’ Board; WM Local Government Association) for fourteen years. She also spent two years on a secondment to regional development agency Advantage WM, and held various economic development posts with Birmingham City Council. Rose also works with Age UK Birmingham’s Information and Advice Team on a voluntary basis.


LWM’s staff:

Karen Leach (Joint Coordinator and Company Secretary)
Karen was involved in setting up LWM, and has been employed as LWM Coordinator since October 2002 , reporting to the Board on its strategy, activities and systems as well as undertaking projects. She previously created the role of Campaigns Support Worker with Birmingham Friends of the Earth, and within this role developed interests in planning, trade and local food.  She is also on Birmingham FOE’s Management Committee, responsible for the running of community environmental building The Warehouse in Digbeth, and chairs a community group aiming to secure a future for Moseley Road Baths in Balsall Heath, Birmingham.

Karen McCarthy (Joint coordinator)
Karen is the new joint coordinator of LWM, sharing the role with Karen Leach. Karen has worked in the public and third sectors in a variety of roles. Most recently, she has run care services both as a social enterprise and for a local authority. Her interests include co-production, practical devolution and dignity in care. She is looking forward to working on initiatives around the new Midland Metropolitan hospital, but also contributing to LWM’s wider work. She is also a councillor in Birmingham and a youth leader for St John Ambulance.

David Viney (Admin & Communications Officer)
David has a background in community development, previously working cross-sectorally on a variety of projects with a specialism in equalities and grass-roots community action. His professional interests include asset-based community development, regional economic disparity and how discrimination impacts on minority health outcomes. He has a passion for art, heritage and architecture and is currently undertaking an Arts based MA.

Active members

Barbara Panvel (steering group)
Barbara produces websites for eight groups, Civilisation 3000 (defence), Vested Interest in Politics, regional SME manufacturers, Fair Deal Farmers Council, New Era Network, India’s CHS-Sachetan, Concerned Co-operators and the Thomas Attwood group.  She has been involved in LWM since our earliest discussions and contributes some of our blog content.


If you are interested in getting involved in our Board or advisory group, or as an associate, please contact Karen Leachto discuss this further.