Ellison Place, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8XS ask@neecco.org.uk 0191 233 2000


Meet the Executive Team, our partners, supporters and funders. You can find out more about our supporting organisations in our directory.

The Executive Team

Portait image of Sir Paul Ennals

Sir Paul Ennals CBE (Convening Chair of NEECCo)
Paul is highly experienced in chairing cross-sector coalitions and groups. Chair of VONNE (Voluntary Organisations Network North East). Previously Chief Executive of National Children’s Bureau (a Research and Development Charity); Chair of the Government’s Children’s Workforce Development Council; adviser on many Government boards and committees. Founding Chair of Centre for Excellence in Children’s Services – the first national “What Works” Centre. Founding Chair of the End Child Poverty Campaign. Currently Chair of Fareshare North East, distributing surplus food to voluntary organisations across the North East, and Chair of 6 Safeguarding Partnerships across the North East.

Portrait image of Carol Botten

Carol Botten (CEO, VONNE)
Carol is an experienced leader of cross-sector partnerships. Appointed as CEO of VONNE in September 2018 following four years as Deputy CEO. Carol has worked in the VCS sector for the best part of her professional life of nearly 25 years, with a specific background in development within the cultural and voluntary sectors, with previous roles focusing on management, business development, fundraising and communications. At VONNE, Carol leads on external policy work with the NE Local Enterprise Partnership and the North of Tyne Combined Authority on skills, employability and inclusive growth. In addition, Carol is a member of Board of the North East LEP, Northern Powergrid’s Social Issues Expert Group and Stakeholder Panel, the NE EU Exit Implementation Group and the Cabinet Office’s National Leadership Programme. Carol is the Chair of the VONNE Climate Action Alliance – a key member of NEECCo.

Claire Thompson (Strategic Advisor)
Claire has dedicated her more recent career to the environment sector, working for the North East England Nature Partnership (NEENP) to achieve Environmental Growth and establishing Capability North East to Green the Economy of North East England. A degree in Managements Science, member of the Institute of Environmental Assessors, Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry and a decade of working in the pharmaceutical industry have embedded interpreting data and identifying co-benefits into my way of working, ideal for a whole system thinking of nature. Achievements with the NEENP include bringing millions of pounds to environmental projects to the region. Creating jobs, delivering landscape partnership, workshops and events for sector innovation, publications and the creation and running of profit for good business, Capability North East (CNE).   Claire role as Executive Manager at CNE focuses on leading environmental sustainability projects of significant clients from the public and private sector to support their green journeys to reduce emissions. Claire is leading NEECCO’s Indicators Group that is developing a dashboard and datasets to chart the region’s progress towards net zero through ecological enhancements, a green economy and a just transition. My creative interest is working with willow and three years ago, along with a friend we set up Cullercoats Basketry and Willow Group.  We’ve grown into a successful team that meets monthly to harvest willow and create a range of items  including baskets, sculptures and decorations for all seasons, it is a space for creativity and connecting with our community.

Portrait image of Allison Madine

Allison Madine (NEECCo Project Support Officer)
Allison joined the project team in October 2019 as Project Support Officer to NEECCo and the VONNE Climate Action Alliance.  Allison has over 30 years PA/administration experience in many different sectors, including Defence and Aerospace, NHS, local Government, and the private sector.  This is her first role within the VCSE sector.  She also works part-time for Generation Rent, campaigners for the rights of private housing tenants in the UK.  Allison was born and raised in the North East, but moved away after marrying a Scot.  Having lived in many parts of the UK and beyond, they have recently returned to live in the beautiful county of Northumberland.


Leadership Board

The Leadership Board will be composed of our ‘Structural Partners’ such as the Nature Partnerships, Local Enterprise Partnerships, Business Sector, TUC, Health Sector, Schools Sector etc. represented by political leaders and organisational ‘chairs’. The Leadership Board will provide strategic oversight on the delivery of the work of the Coalition.

Project Management Group

Our Strategic partners will be asked to nominate a senior officer to represent them on this group which would be charged once sufficiently constituted with developing NEECCo to the next stage

EDI Reference Groups

In addition to this structure, work is underway to develop a number of reference groups to inform our work in relation to Equality, Diversity & Inclusion. This is part of embedding a proactive commitment to equalities, diversity and social justice in all NEECCo’s activity.

Strategic Partners

Strategic Partners to NEECCo are working together to develop a shared approach, and intend to be engaged in the formal structure of the Leadership Board and Project Management Group once they are established. 

To match the scope and objectives of the Coalition, strategic partners must be:

  • Either regional or sub-regional organisations and have a specific sectoral/thematic focus
  • Regional level of relevant Government agencies or other bodies

NEECCo Partners

Our partners comprise a range of organisations from across the sectors who are actively involved or engaged in our work including:

  • Relevant regional or sub-regional organisations represented on the Steering Group 
  • Organisations who wish to ‘join’ and support the Coalition but unable to be part of the key strategic partners as they don’t meet the criteria of being sub-regional or regional strategic bodies, and 
  • Organisations formally engaged in our activities and work currently through the Planning Groups or members of the VONNE Climate Action Alliance.

Find out who our partners are here.


Individuals and organisations from across the region can sign-up to pledge their support to the purpose and aims of the NEECCo.

Organisations and some significant individuals already signed up as supporters of NEECCo.

Find out who are supporters are here.


In the early stages of developing the Coalition, VONNE utilised a proportion of its designated reserves to initiate the work which was matched with development funding from the North of England Commissioning Support Unit (NECS) and the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland. This funding enabled us to consult and engage widely on the proposition for a North East England Climate Coalition, establish an initial project development group and framework and timeline for the purpose, focus and structure of the emergent Coalition. We also received pro-bono employee time support from the Community Foundation with their Director of Philanthropy Sandra King, working with us to engage the business network organisations and key founding corporate supporters of the Coalition.

In March 2020 we secured funding from the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System (NENC-ICS) representing the Hospital Trusts, Clinical Commission Group and wider health system partners which will enable to continue to develop the work of the Coalition until March 2020

In parallel the Lankelly Chase Foundation has provided development funding to the VONNE Climate Action Alliance to enable the Alliance members to develop the purpose, focus and forward plan for the VCAA over the next 12-18 months.

In addition to financial contributions we wish to acknowledge significant pro-bono support from:

  • North East England Nature Partnership and the National Innovation Centre for Data on the development of the indicators work of the Coalition.
  • DoGooder communications consultancy for developing the brand identity, communications strategy and this initial website for the Coalition.
  • Tech for Good team at Accenture who are working with NEECCo on the development of the website

We would like to thank our funders and pro-bono supporters for their backing which has enabled all our work and progress to date.