Confirmed speakers

Elena Laguna, Head of Volunteering, Oxfam

Elena is a volunteering and learning specialist and she believes in social action as a powerful tool for civic engagement within society. She has successfully performed various volunteer management roles which have spanned local areas as well as national ones across the UK, allowing her to work with organisations of different sizes and form partnerships across diverse communities and cultures.

Elena has an interest in building high-quality volunteering programmes with volunteer impact and engagement at their core. Adaptable with a can-do attitude, she enjoys working at both an operational and strategic level, with the ultimate aim of providing an exceptional volunteer management service to every stakeholder. She is currently Head of Volunteer Engagement at Oxfam Great Britain and a Trustee at Peer Power Youth and has experience in developing new digital models, innovative strategies and approaches to engaging volunteers.

Taz Rasul, Director of Volunteering, Just Like Us

Taz Rasul is the Director of Volunteering at the LGBT+ young people's charity Just Like Us, where she does front line volunteer management and manages a small team doing the same. She's worked with young adult volunteers in students' unions and medium-sized charities for ten years. She's particularly interested in the learning and support of young volunteers.

Stuart Garland, Training & Programmes Manager, Volunteer Ireland

Stuart joined Volunteer Ireland in July 2014 and manages the National Volunteer Management & Leadership Training Programme. Stuart leads, develops and manages event and ambassador volunteering programmes. His experience spans over 26 years working in the NFP sector. He has direct extensive volunteer management experience with managing volunteer teams and worked as a Volunteer Manager for a national homeless charity. He was a National Accreditor for European Voluntary Service (EVS) and is a lead trainer in the use of Volunteer Impact Assessment. He holds qualifications in Volunteer Management & Leadership, Teaching & Learning, Event Management, Human Resource Management, First Line Management and Health, Safety & Welfare.

Marie McNeil, Head of Volunteering, The Charity for Civil Servants

Marie has worked in the charity sector for all her career, starting as the Office Services Assistant at CAFOD, gaining experience and skills in Volunteer management, community fundraising and events management along the way. She has been the Head of Volunteering at The Charity for Civil Servants for 10 years, leading the Volunteering Team through various initiatives and projects throughout this period.

As the largest non-occupational charity in the UK, The Charity for Civil Servants is entering into an exciting new strategic period and Volunteers are very much at the heart of it.

The development of new engagement network “The Champions”, for working civil servants has seen numbers grow quickly in the past 6 months through digital marketing and online coffee mornings and simple straightforward calls to action. The development of a new approach to skills-based volunteer roles to support the strategy, will also encourage working, retired and former civil servants to offer their time to support the Charity.

Amber Churchill, National Volunteering Strategy Officer, Action for Children

Amber has been delivering the volunteering strategy at Action for Children for 3 years. In that time, they’ve seen volunteer numbers grow by 50% and in 2020 Amber led on the achievement of the Investing in Volunteers Accreditation. She supports a network of volunteer managers across the UK to deliver best practice volunteer management and improve the experience for over 2500 volunteers. Alongside this, she holds voluntary roles mentoring young people with a local project, and as a member of the regional youth development team at St John’s Ambulance.

Dr Crewenna Dymond, Director of Volunteering and Partnerships, CPRE

Some of Crewenna’s earliest memories are tree planting and butterfly spotting so it’s perhaps no surprise that many decades later she is volunteering and partnerships director for CPRE the countryside charity. In this new role she has been responsible for leading volunteering development and support for 42 local CPRE charities since late 2018. Crewenna chairs the charity’s diversity working group and is a Nominations Committee member for NCVO. Crewenna worked for over a decade for YHA England and Wales as Head of Volunteering and Youth Impact and before that for TVC and Staffordshire Wildlife Trust. She is a PhD graduate from University of Leeds, specialising in biodiversity and wilderness quality. She is lives in Matlock, Derbyshire with her husband and daughter. She supports her local community running group as a co-leader and organises a monthly 5k run. She has big ideas for a ‘5k your way’ for cancer patients and links with the local GP practice, to bring the health benefits of social jogging to more people…just as soon as it’s safe for everyone to participate again.