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Our team

Thumbnail picture of Dr Ian Humphreys

Dr Ian Humphreys

Chief Executive

Contact Ian about: Policy; strategy; programme sponsorship; management.

Ian joined Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful as Chief Executive Officer in 2008 after 14 years with The Conservation Volunteers. He has strong environmental and research credentials including a PhD from The Queen's University of Belfast. At Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful Ian has overseen rapid growth in Eco-Schools, the re-introduction of the Seaside Awards and the development of litter-related campaigns such as the BIG Spring Clean, monitoring including the Northern Ireland Litter Survey and research. He has also developed a range of support services for councils including the Northern Ireland Environmental Quality Forum and the litter summit. He is involved in the running of Copeland Bird Observatory in a voluntary capacity.

Ian says "All our work seeks to bring about changes in people's behaviour to create a cleaner, greener and more prosperous Northern Ireland."

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Carol Forster

Head of Operations

Carol joined Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful as Head of Operations in 2018 after 5 years with Northern Ireland Environment Link, the umbrella body for environmental charities in Northern Ireland. As Operations Manager and Deputy CEO at NIEL, Carol provided support on strategy development, project management, membership and new business development. She has also previously worked as AONB Manager at the Causeway Coast & Glens Heritage Trust, where she delivered a range of initiatives and projects to promote best practice environmental and protected landscapes management. Carol has a background in planning, graduating from Queens University Belfast with a Msc Degree in Town & Country Planning in 2005 and for a number of years worked as a Planning Consultant in both Northern Ireland & the Republic of Ireland.

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Emma Johnston

Operations Manager

Emma joined the team as Communications Officer for the EUSWIM Project in June 2019 after graduating from Post Graduate studies in Communication, Public Relations and Political Lobbying and Undergraduate studies in Zoology. Prior to her time at University, Emma spent ten years in the retail sector, the majority of which in a management role.  Emma enjoys exploring nature and Greek cuisine. 

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Charlene McKeown

Environmental Education Manager

Contact Charlene about: Eco-Schools. 

Charlene studied combined Arts: Spanish, Irish and Geography at Ulster University, Coleraine. She then completed a PGCE in languages at Queen’s University, Belfast. After her time at university, Charlene taught for 10 years, which her main subjects being Spanish, Irish, Geography and Travel and Tourism in the post primary sector. She also a new mum to a beautiful daughter.

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Helen Tomb

Live Here Love Here Manager

Helen joined the team as Live Here Love Here in December 2020. Helen has worked in the environmental volunteering sector since graduating from Aberdeen University with a Bachelor of Land Economy (Hons). During her long career with The Conservation Volunteers Helen has gained extensive experience in developing community-led environmental action projects.

Outside of work she has a passion for environmental causes including recycling, treeplanting and gardening for wildlife and enjoys long walks with her spaniel Charlie.

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Kate Gormley

Communications Manager

Kate joined Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful in 2021 after 17 years as part of the British Red Cross’ communications and advocacy team, specialising in media relations. She also previously worked for Morrow Communications and the Belfast Telegraph. Kate holds a joint honours BA in English Literature and French from Trinity College Dublin and a CIM post-graduate diploma in marketing. She is passionate about the role of volunteers in local communities and in her spare time is kept busy in the garden while supervising her teenage kids and a couple of delinquent schnauzers.

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Victoria McCloughan

Finance and Admin Manager

Contact Victoria about: Finance, admin, accounting and invoicing.

Victoria joined Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful in July 2017 as our Finance and Admin Officer. She studied accounting at Belfast Titanic Quarter and has worked in financial roles within the charity sector since 2012 giving her a wealth of experience in this area.
Outside of work Victoria enjoys spending time with her nieces and spending time at the beach.

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Rachel Vaughan

LEQ Manager

Rachel has a background in sustainability nurtured through her placements within the National Trust and Ulster Wildlife. She has subsequently worked for three years within Queen’s University Environmental Team, gaining experience with implementing programmes, campaigns and initiatives which aimed to drive climate action at both organisational and personal level. Rachel has a BSc in Geography from St Andrews University and a MSc in Ecological Management and Conservation Biology from Queen’s University Belfast. During her free time, you will find Rachel enjoying walks, cooking and traveling. 

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Nicola Fitzsimons

Community Development Officer

Contact Nicola about: Live Here Love Here, Small Grants Scheme, Adopt A Spot, Big Spring Clean activities and Green Flag for Parks and Open Spaces.

Nicola has been with Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful since 2011, she has an MSC in Sustainable Rural Development and Project Management and a BSC in Geography both from Queen’s University Belfast. Nicola Joined Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful through a placement from The Conservation Volunteers and has remained part of the Campaigns team providing advice and support to volunteers through Live Here Love Here and the Small Grants Scheme. Nicola also works with the LEQ team on the Green Flag Award for Parks and Open Spaces.

Thumbnail picture of Lynda  Surgenor

Lynda Surgenor

Live Here Love Here Communities Project Officer

Lynda initially graduated with a BA Hons in Fine & Applied Art from University of Ulster and diploma in business studies from Marywood University, Pennsylvania USA. She spent the first half of her career as a photographer with studios in England & Ireland and also freelancing. For the past few years Lynda has worked within the charity sector and has a passion for helping and being part of change. Lynda is happiest when surrounded by family and has 1 husband, 2 daughters, 2 stepchildren and 1 dog!

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Chris Walsh

Communications Officer

Chris holds Master's qualifications in English Literature and Marketing, and has worked in the latter sector for four years, including for social enterprise NOW Group. He joined Keep NI Beautiful in late 2021. Outside of a rampant obsession with rock music and gigs, he is a Manchester United supporter and loves film/TV, world literature and coffee.

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Ruth Lawrence

Adopt A Spot Officer

Having graduated from Queen's University Belfast and University of East Anglia, Ruth spent the early part of her career working in Public Service in Northern Ireland, Hong Kong and England. Latterly, she has worked in Further Education and having returned to Northern Ireland, she has embraced voluntary work with Community Rescue Service, SSAFA and Eco Rangers. Passionate about nature and wildlife, she spends hours each week litter picking on long country roads in the Antrim Glens. Her hobbies include reading, sketching and gardening.

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Conor Bush

LEQ Officer

Contact Conor about: Cleaner Neighbourhoods and other Local, Coastal and Marine Environmental Quality Survey.

Conor joined Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful in January 2019 after working for 5 years with various organisations including Ulster Wildlife, Field Studies Council and Science Boffins on education projects. Conor has a BA (Hons) Marine Science from University of Ulster and an MSc Ecological Management and Conservation Biology at Queens University Belfast. He enjoys walking and can often be found by the sea looking in rockpools.

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Gareth Lamrock

Field Officer

Gareth have been involved with youth and community work in Derry/Londonderry for over 20 years. For the past 15 years he has worked for the YMCA in various youth work roles delivering projects on good relations, health and wellbeing, citizenship and environmental education. He is a keen photographer and enjoy foraging along the coast or rambling in the woods with his two sons. His passion for the environment is fueled by seeing the joy the outdoors brings to his boys and their interest in all things wild and wonderful.

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Anna Green

Field Officer

Anna graduated from QUB Joint Honours Spanish and French in 2003. She took a year out to travel around South America. In 2005 she completed her PGCE in Secondary Education in Liverpool Hope University. Anna has taught in many different schools throughout Northern Ireland and has 2 mini dachshunds called Denny and Frankie.

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Harry Murphy

Field Officer

Harry joined the team as a Field Officer in August 2021. Harry has worked in the environmental Consulting sector over the past two years with roles including waste analysis and assisting with the restoration of peatland sites across Ireland. During this time Harry also completed a BSc in Environmental Management at Queens University Belfast graduating with a high second-class honour. Outside of work he enjoys hiking and exploring the coastal areas of Donegal with his dog, Olive.

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Niamh Nic Cana

Environmental Education Coordinator

Niamh is an Irish speaker from north Belfast. She completed her degree in Irish and Translation in the University of Ireland, Galway. Niamh has over seven years’ experience working in the community and voluntary sector in various project and events management roles.

Niamh loves staying active and getting outdoors.

Déan teagmháil le Niamh má tá tú ag iarraidh do ghnó a dhéanamh linn trí mheán na Gaeilge. 

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Claire Leonard

Tackling Plastics Communications Officer

Claire joined us in June 2020 as Tackling Plastics Communications Officer. Claire has a background in Events Management, Marketing and the Music Industry, previously working as Programme Officer at Culture Night Belfast. A First-Class Honours graduate of QUB’s Sonic Arts Research Centre, she achieved a MSc. with Distinction in International Events Management from Ulster University in 2017. Claire enjoys cooking, travelling and playing tenor saxophone with local busking bands.

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Jilly Dougan

Biodiversity Recovery Strategic Lead

Jilly joined the team in June 2020 to help deliver the Food For Thought Project, A community response to Covid-19

She has an MSc in Agri-Food Business Development and has over 25 years’ experience in the Agri Food Industry with involvement in various food related projects. She manages the Yellow Door Kitchen Garden, growing fruit, vegetables, salad crops, micro herbs and edible flowers for the business and is on the advisory board for Belfast Food Network (Sustainable Food Cities) and on the RUAS Horticultural Committee.

She has installed edible gardening spaces for both the private and public sector (mostly hotels and restaurants), and has written a book for schools, entitled ‘Sow, Grow, Munch’ which was adopted by CCEA in collaboration with Tourism NI as part of a legacy project for N.I. Year of Food and Drink 2016, the ‘Growing for the Future’ project website.

Thumbnail picture of Siobhan  Purnell

Siobhan Purnell

Tackling Textiles Coordinator

Siobhan joined us at the end of November 2020 in a new role to raise awareness around the issues of textile and clothing waste and how this affects our environment.  She spent 17 years working with Bryson Charitable Group in a marketing and communications role covering many societal and environmental issues; including energy efficiency, renewable energy, fuel poverty and recycling.  Siobhan has a Post Graduate Diploma in Marketing from CIM.  She enjoys exploring this island we live on, taking photographs and finding out about local history.

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Scott Howes

Strategic Lead-Climate Action

Scott joined the Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful team in October 2020.  With a background in working with young people, families and school groups Scott has held a variety of previous roles in social work, teaching and school headship for over 25 years.  Currently, he continues to work on a part time basis with the W5 Science & Discovery Centre as the Education & Engagement Manager while working as Climate Action Coordinator with KNIB.

Scott holds a B.Sc. (Hons) degree in Environmental Studies, a PGCE and a National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH). He has a keen interest in the natural world, enjoys bird-watching and hill walking whenever possible.

Thumbnail picture of Ciarán Carlin

Ciarán Carlin

Climate Action Officer

Ciarán joined the Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful team in August 2021 as a Climate Action Officer, tasked with the development and delivery of Environmental Education. Ciarán has a background in conservation, environmental education and training having worked across charity, public and private sectors. Ciarán holds a BSc. (Hons) in Land Use and Environmental Management and an MSc. in Heritage Science from QUB, as well as a PG Diploma in Advanced Management Practice from Ulster University and has a keen interest in practical conservation.

Thumbnail picture of Richard Gilmore

Richard Gilmore

Climate Action Officer

Richard has joined Keep Northern Ireland beautiful since October 2021. He has almost a decade of experience across multiple educational and charity organizations, with an eclectic mix of locations. After gaining a diploma in American Business Practice from Waynesburg University, Joint Honours History & Politics from Queen University Belfast, and Masters in International Relations from Exeter University, Richard hit the road. Having studied in America, Richard has worked in Germany, China, England, and Vietnam. After such galivanting, Richard is very content to be back in Northern Ireland and one of his biggest hobbies is making sure he stays put back home.

Thumbnail picture of Orlagh McNeill

Orlagh McNeill

Climate Action Officer

Orlagh’s passion for wildlife started as a child and she is particularly interested in environmental education as she believes everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy nature as well as protect it.

Orlagh has a first class honours degree in environmental biology, a TQUK level 3 award in education and training and a PGCE in early primary education. She has a broad knowledge of marine and terrestrial ecology, and experience delivering events and training to various communities both in a voluntary and paid capacity.

Since 2018 she has worked as a YFCU project officer on Ulster Wildlife’s Grassroots Challenge project which aims to empower young people to create environmental change. She enjoys spending time outdoors with her family as well as writing children’s stories based on wildlife which she hopes to one day get published.

Thumbnail picture of Wendy Afonso-Cole

Wendy Afonso-Cole

Grants Officer

Wendy has well over 10 years experience of managing and distributing public funds to communities in a range of sectors across Northern Ireland and the UK, particularly working as part of the National Lottery Community Fund where she worked for close to 13 years. She is really inspired by seeing the real difference ordinary people with extraordinary ideas can make in their local communities. Wendy can usually be found exploring forests and beaches with my son and cocker spaniel Alfie, foraging locally or in the garden experimenting with growing food with the dream of one day being completely self sufficient! She also enjoys travelling and reading.

Thumbnail picture of Siobhan  Strong

Siobhan Strong

Grants Officer

Siobhan graduated from the University of Ulster in 2004 with a BA (Hons) in English with Business studies. She has over eight years experience of administering grants to community groups for various Councils both here and in England. In her free time she enjoys singing and playing bass guitar. She is also a keen cook and baker and has a nineteen year old son.

Thumbnail picture of Orla McGrady

Orla McGrady

Grants Officer

Orla has worked in the not-for-profit sector for over 25 years, mainly in the creative industries, supporting visual arts, craft, music, theatre and dance. She studied English Literature at Queen’s University and holds an MSc in Cultural Management. With a lifelong passion for the nature, wildlife and our environment, Orla is thrilled to bring her professional knowledge and experience to KNIB. She also holds an FIBKA Certificate in Beekeeping and is passionate about biodiversity, and sharing the message on the value of our pollinators. She lives in Belfast with her fluffy 3-legged cat Petal and can always be found outdoors up a mountain or in the woods.

Thumbnail picture of Cara Johnston

Cara Johnston

Green Flag Project Officer

After working for two years with a sustainability consultancy, Cara joined the Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful team in October 2021 as a Green Flag for Parks & Open Spaces Project Officer. Prior to this, she studied biology at Queen’s University Belfast and went on to complete an MSc in Leadership for Sustainable Development (during which she completed a placement on the Live Here Love Here team!) Outside of work, Cara loves spending time with her nieces and nephews, going to musicals and visiting the north coast.

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David McCann


David currently helps run our social media accounts across our various programmes. He also promotes our events and deals with social media related issues. 


Thumbnail picture of Susie Gilkinson

Susie Gilkinson

Finance and Admin Assistant

Susie joined Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful in September 2020.

Originally from Indonesia, she has studied Financial Management, Secretarial Studies & Business Administration at Diponegoro University, Semarang, Indonesia and has worked in various institutions (school, public sector, private company) in finance and administration role since 2000.

She enjoys cooking, reading, drawing and gardening.