Meet Connected Together Community Interest Company (CIC)

Find out more about Conneted Together CIC
Healthwatch staff member taking down notes from a member of the public

Connected Together is a Community Interest Company set up as a partnership between The University of Northampton and Voluntary Impact Northamptonshire. 

The Community Interest Company (CIC) is the legal entity that manages the Healthwatch Northamptonshire contract. A CIC is a form of social enterprise and the regulations for Healthwatch state that Healthwatch must be set up as a social enterprise. Currently, the CIC is entirely funded by a contract with Northamptonshire County Council. CIC Board members are directors of the company responsible for the strategic and operational delivery of the Healthwatch Northamptonshire contract. The CIC Board makes decisions relating to governance, finance, income generation and staffing issues and ensures we comply with Company Law. The meetings of the CIC Board are not public meetings.

Professor William Pope - Chair

Professor William Pope has a wealth of experience, leadership and expertise gained from senior roles within industry, the NHS and academia, including at chairman and chief executive level. He has significant experience of working with world-leading companies and organisations including BAE Systems, the BBC, BIS, BP, British Nuclear Fuels, Ford, GlaxoSmithKline, Huawei, IBM, the NHS, Shell and Unilever, and was Chief Executive Officer of the UK’s largest integrated health, safety and environmental business for 10 years.  He has been one of the UK’s leaders in managing and developing environmental technology companies over the last 35 years, and is a four times winner of the “Technology Fast 50” awards for the fastest growing companies.

Amongst other appointments he was previously director & Chairman of the East of England Regional Development Agency (2006-2012) and Northamptonshire & Milton Keynes Primary Care Trusts (2006-2013), and is now Chairman of the Board at Y&H Academic Health Science Partners (2014-date), a Board member (and now Chairman) at University Campus Suffolk (2014-date), Chairman of Healthwatch Northamptonshire (2013-17) and is a Board member (now Vice Chairman) of East Midlands Pathology (2012-date).

Will was educated at St. Mary’s College, the University of Plymouth - where he was awarded the honour of “Best Student” by Prince Charles (1976) - and Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, University of London; he has a 1st class honours degree in Environmental Science (1976), and is a Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv 2004). He is a Fellow of the Institution of Environmental Sciences.

Susan Hills - Connected Together Lay Board Member and HWN Board Member

After a successful career in the world of information science and project management at the British Library, Susan moved into the NHS as Chair and subsequently Non-Executive Director of Primary Care Trusts in Northamptonshire.  She volunteered with Healthwatch Northamptonshire so that she could continue to help join up and improve the health and social care services provided locally.

Susan has worked in the voluntary sector with the Citizens Advice Bureau, Northamptonshire Network 50+, and other organisations for some years.  She believes that the voluntary sector can provide a lot to help an individual have a more fulfilled, active and enjoyable life, and wants to further the work of the health professionals with the third sector.

Susan is also a lay member with the Employments Tribunals service. She enjoys hill walking, going to the theatre and gardening.

Damian Pickard - Connected Together Board Member - University of Northampton

Damian Pickard is non-executive Director of Connected Together and a qualified Accountant, Treasurer and Teacher. After a career in banking, finance and lecturing he is currently Deputy Finance Director of the University of Northampton. He is a seasoned finance professional, with a wide range of skills and experience in both the technical aspects of accounting as well as business in general. He was previously the Director of Accounting for Egg plc, CFO of Citibank Wealth Management NA and FD of Melton Mowbray Building Society and has managed professional teams, along with large practical and technical programmes. He can command a wide level of expertise and experience across many business disciplines and is involved with a number of start-up Social Enterprises.

Dr Stephen O’Brien - Connected Together Board Member - University of Northampton

Dr Stephen O’Brien has worked in the Higher Education sector since 1986 in numerous roles supporting health and social care education. An adult and mental health nurse by professional background he is currently the Dean of faculty for Health and Society at the University of Northampton. Prior to this and over the past 12 years he has worked as Director of academic programmes at Robert Gordon University in Scotland where he developed a number of national programmes for children and young people practitioners and developed a passion for flexible learning and teaching methodologies. For the past five years he was head of the School of Health at Coventry University where he was instrumental in curriculum transformation to address changing health and social care services requirements. In addition he advanced a number of international education partnerships in China, Hong Kong, USA, Sri Lanka, Greece and Scandinavia. Since taking up post at Northampton last July he has become a director of First for Wellbeing and Connected Together CIC and chairs the Education group as part of the Northamptonshire Sustainability and Transformation Plan for the NHS and Social care. His research interests centre on pedagogy and educational partnership development.

Dawn Cummins - Connected Together Board Member - Voluntary Impact Northamptonshire

Dawn Cummins is Chief Executive for Voluntary Impact Northamptonshire and has worked in the voluntary and not for profit sector for the last 18 years. She is responsible for the leadership and management of VIN and works closely with other voluntary sector infrastructure organisations across the county to support volunteers and groups to help their local communities. She also guides the strategic direction for the organisation ensuring the voluntary sector has a place at all key boards to make sure the voice of local communities is heard.
VIN currently holds a seat on the STP, the Health and Wellbeing Board, Commsortia (as a founding partner) and the Local Safeguarding Board as well as links into district partnerships.

She has expertise in Relationship Management, Business Planning, Policy, PR and Communications and is currently the Chair of Board for a local Housing Association.

Kate Holt - Connected Together CEO

Kate is CEO of Connected Together Community Interest Company (CIC) and manages the Healthwatch Northamptonshire contract. She is responsible for the day to day operation and delivery.

Kate has both Institute of Management and Chartered Institute of Marketing qualifications. She has had a diverse working background, most recently in commercial services for a well-known high street bank. Prior to this Kate was a business manager for the Peer Clearing House at the Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA) in London, recruiting and assessing senior officers and councillors to conduct peer reviews and make recommendations for improvement in local authorities. Before that she was Chief Officer of Huntingdon Community Health Council, monitoring the NHS on behalf of the public.

Kate is keen to ensure that young people are heard in Northamptonshire and has set up a very successful Young Healthwatch Northamptonshire group to enable this.

Email Kate Holt

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