The Team

LocatED is led by an experienced Executive Management Team and Board of Directors. It has a multidisciplinary team with specialist skills and extensive property sector experience to get the best possible value for money for the taxpayer.

The team is organised in to the following core functions; acquisitions, asset management, development, technical and planning, legal, finance and people.

Please contact the team by email at, or refer potential sites for review by the Acquisitions Team to

A headshot of Lara Newman.

Lara Newman MBE

Chief Executive

Lara has over 25 years' experience in property and development. Having worked with many of the UK’s biggest landowners, agents and developers, Lara has held a number of strategic leadership and board positions.

Her experience of property deals and complex capital investment projects for government education capital programmes underpinned her determination to bring commercial insight and rigour to education sector acquisitions, disposals and developments. Lara’s vision for LocatED has brought together a team of experts able to bring both experience and pace to all kinds of government estate efficiency programmes.

Lara is also Senior Sponsor for the Government Property D&I Shadow Board and cares passionately about increasing diversity in the profession.

Having been the first in her family to go to university, social mobility is very important to her, but she works effectively both inside and out of LocatED to ensure all those from different backgrounds, with and without protected characteristics, know what a career in property could look like and are able to progress with fulfilling and interesting careers.

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Alyson Gerner

Finance Director

Alyson is a Public Financial Accountant and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply. Most of her career has been in commercial roles in the public sector and include, Director of NHS Commercial Development, Head of Procurement for the Department for Education, Deputy Director for Risk Analysis for the Education Funding Agency and latterly Director of Financial Accounting, Operations and Procurement for the Funding Agency Shared Services team, part of the Education Funding Agency.

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Julie Noble

Chief People Officer

Julie has worked in Human Resources for over 30 years, including 10 years at a strategic level within a FTSE 100 company. She has worked with both public and private sector organisations and is passionate about developing others so that they can reach their maximum potential. At LocatED, Julie leads the People & Development, Project Management Office and the Business Support Teams where she has overall responsibility for all aspects of HR, training, and development as well as managing & reporting on commissions, working on the release and training for new systems and processes and providing administrative support to the business. As a member of our Executive Management Team, Julie works with the Chief Executive and Finance Director to ensure that we deliver our key objectives and operational priorities while maintaining our commitment to our employees and their development.

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A headshot of Gareth Whitmarsh.

Gareth Whitmarsh

Property Director

Gareth is a chartered surveyor and has worked in land agency and development for 25 years, acting across all sectors nationwide. His particular focus was on the acquisition and development of large-scale, residential-led mixed-use schemes for developers across London and the South East. In total, Gareth has been responsible for acquiring land for over 3,500 homes and disposing of significant commercial real estate for clients.

Having been at LocatED since inception, Gareth has led the transactions team to 250+ acquisitions, and c. £150m million worth of income from disposals. He also leads the Asset Management team with its recurring managed portfolio of 80 properties, creating over £20m income from meanwhile uses since 2017.

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Matthew Robertson

Associate Director - Property

Matt is a chartered surveyor and works nationally in the delivery of property advice to the Department for Education and the state-funded education sector. This includes schools and further education colleges. Previously Matt led regional acquisitions for LocatED between north London and the midlands. Having worked in the industry for 20 years he has extensive experience in agency, mixed-use, commercial and residential development consultancy.

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A headshot of Alex Metcalfe.

Alex Metcalfe

Associate Director

Alex is a Chartered Surveyor with 15 years’ experience of delivering education capital projects. He has led over 100 property acquisitions for new schools in London and the South, and more recently has become the national lead for acquisitions and disposals at LocatED. Previously, Alex worked as a Project Director at the Education Funding Agency and Partnerships for Schools (PfS), where he managed the delivery of site acquisitions and procurement of building contracts. Prior to this, he supported the Operations Director at PfS, leading on the re-engineering of procurement processes, performance and programme monitoring regimes and external reviews of capital programmes.

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A headshot of James Brook.

James Brook

Senior Associate

James is a chartered surveyor who has worked in the property industry for over 30 years. James was previously Head of Acquisition and Development at Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC where he was involved in the significant company growth, being directly responsible for new stores, distribution and manufacturing facilities. James has a wealth of experience in the acquisition and development sectors and has also worked on over 40 major planning applications for a mixture of retail, mixed-use and employment uses. James has also been a Director of a Company specialising in site finding, acquisition and development management. Since joining LocatED James has been responsible for the identification and acquisition of sites predominantly in the North and Midlands which have resulted in many new schools being delivered with more planned in the pipeline.

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A headshot of Rav Cheema

Rav Cheema

Associate Director

Rav is a chartered surveyor with over 10 years’ property experience, providing agency and development consultancy services to a range of public and private sector clients across the country. At LocatED, Rav leads and develops the estates efficiency initiatives, focusing on maximising the potential of schools and other education land, while ensuring a sustainable and efficient education estate.

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A headshot of Emma Weintraub.

Emma Weintroub

Senior Associate

Emma has worked in the property industry for over 30 years. Emma was previously Acquisition Manager for Co-op retail group acquiring convenience stores. Emma has vast experience in acquisition and development having worked as Senior Acquisition Surveyor at McDonald’s Restaurants, worked as a development consultant on large development projects including retail parks and supermarkets as well as experience in residential and mixed-use developments.

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Alex Ward


Alex is a chartered surveyor with nine years of commercial property experience and is part of LocatED's Acquisitions Team. He is responsible for identifying and acquiring new free schools across London and the southeast.

Prior to LocatED, Alex worked as a commercial surveyor for four years with a southeast regional firm of chartered surveyors. More recently, Alex has provided specialist development consultancy, viability and affordable housing advice to developers, house builders and private clients.

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Paul Broadbent


Paul is a dual chartered architect (RIBA/ARB) and development surveyor (MRICS) who has over 12 years’ experience in property and development.

Paul previously worked as Development Director at Goldcrest Land, where he provided strategic leadership for all matters relating to land acquisition and development including procurement, planning and design. Paul has experience in the delivery of complex residential and mixed-use schemes with construction values from £0.9m to £210m for clients including Berkeley Homes, KPMG, Crest Nicholson and Pembroke. He holds a Masters in Architecture from the Bartlett, UCL.

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Matt Jones


Matt is a chartered surveyor with over five years’ experience. He joined LocatED in 2022 working as part of the Disposals Team, as well as advising on acquisitions. Most recently, Matt worked with Avison Young providing valuation, investment, and viability consultancy services within the North West.

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A headshot of Kevin Foster.

Kevin Foster

Development Director

Kevin is a Chartered Surveyor with over 30 years of experience working in property development, having managed his own development business, acted as a consultant to various property companies, and for 12 years as a Director of Jones Lang LaSalle. Kevin has worked on a number of significant re-generation schemes and has extensive experience of structuring joint ventures between the public and private sectors.

Since joining LocatED, Kevin has led on the delivery of a number of mixed-use projects, as well as manging the expansion of our work across Estate Efficiency and Further Education, supporting the DfE and education providers to release value and invest in improving learning environments and the sustainability of buildings.

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A headshot of Will Atlee.

Will Attlee

Head of Estates Efficiency and Net Zero

Will is Head of Estates Efficiency and Net Zero at LocatED, providing real estate and development expertise to schools, the DfE, Local Authorities and other responsible bodies. Will has over a decade of property and development experience, delivering complex mixed-use schemes on behalf of public and private sector clients. Before joining LocatED, Will worked in private practice and advised landowners, investors, and occupiers on broad range of property related matters. He holds an MSc in Real Estate from the University of Reading and is a qualified Chartered Surveyor.

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A headshot of Simon Kidd.

Simon Kidd

Senior Development Manager

Simon is a Chartered Surveyor with over 20 years’ experience in property development and investment.

He has advised and worked for the public sector and a number of the UK’s largest property companies, including Lendlease, Berkeley Group, Intu, Kier and British Land.

Simon has experience of residential led mixed-use development with particular emphasis on masterplanned urban regeneration.

Whilst at LocatED he has worked on a number of major urban, mixed-use regeneration and development projects, from master planning, concept evolution and feasibility, through detailed design, planning, procurement, construction management then handover and post occupancy evaluation.

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A headshot of Guy Wheeler.

Guy Wheeler

Senior Associate

Guy is a chartered surveyor with over 15 years’ commercial property experience. At LocatED, Guy advises a range of clients on development, asset disposals and estate management, with a particular focus on the further education sector.

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Ruth Cunningham

Senior Planning & Development Manager

Ruth is a chartered town planner with over 15 years’ experience in both the public and private sector. Ruth has worked on a number of mixed-use development projects in London and spent several years with Transport for London’s Property Development Team, working with development partners and planning authorities across London to bring forward development proposals on TfL’s surplus land portfolio.

Ruth later joined St James, part of the Berkeley Group, where she was involved in the preparation and submission of planning applications, including the large scale development proposals for Poplar Riverside in Tower Hamlets for circa 2,800 new homes. Ruth is project driven, securing planning consent to enable project delivery.

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A headshot of Jonathan Harvey.

Jonathan Harvey

Development Manager

Jonathan joined LocatED as a Graduate Surveyor in 2019 and qualified as a Chartered Surveyor in 2021. Since qualifying, Jonathan has moved into the Development Team where he is now a Development Manager who focusses on mixed-use and surplus land projects. Jonathan manages the Hanworth Road mixed-use development project whilst also specialising in providing estate efficiency advice for a range of local authorities and school Trusts nationwide. Prior to joining LocatED, Jonathan worked at a number of companies including Colliers International in London and southeast Asia.

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Andrew Hertzell

Andrew Hertzell


Andrew is a chartered surveyor with over five years’ property experience. He joined LocatED’s Development Team as an Associate in February 2023 and is focused on providing advice on mixed-use and surplus land projects.

Prior to joining LocatED, Andrew worked at a specialist surveying firm based in South East England, providing advice exclusively to public sector clients. He advised on financial viability at the planning stage as well as on other property matters such as valuations, S106 drafting and local plan reviews.

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Piers Mulroney

Development Surveyor

Piers is a Development Surveyor who has worked in property and technology for over ten years. Most recently he was Head of Public Sector for VU.CITY, a technology start-up creating digital city twins for use in planning and development. Prior to this he worked in property development for Lend Lease and Countryside, focusing mainly on securing new public private housing-led joint ventures. He has also worked for other technology and real estate companies advising on business growth. Piers holds an MSc in Real Estate from the University of Reading.

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A headshot of Robert Waugh.

Robert Waugh

Associate Director - Asset Management

Robert leads LocatED’s Asset Management function and, since LocatED’s inception, has built and grown an integrated team with deep and specific skills across a broad range of property areas to provide expert advice and management across the DfE’s managed property portfolio which has delivered savings and value add in excess of £20 million.

Robert is a graduate engineer (BSc), MSt (Cambridge), chartered surveyor (MRICS), chartered financial analyst (CFA) and holds an MBA.

Previously he has also worked in the Middle East and Africa and across property, industry and finance.

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A headshot of Craig Ellin.

Craig Ellin

Senior Asset Manager

Craig has over 20 years’ experience in central government property and has specialised in a number of areas including project management, benefits realisation, sustainability, finance business partner (property) and FM contracts management. Craig currently manages the £12m p.a. FM contract delivering services on behalf of the DfE to over 70 properties in the asset management free schools portfolio.

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A headshot of Daniel Armitage.

Daniel Armitage

Senior Associate - Asset Management

Daniel is a chartered surveyor and has had varied experience in the private sector in both client-side and consultancy roles. At LocatED, Dan leads on commercialisation initiatives across the portfolio creating revenue from the vacant estate. Dan also handles various Landlord and Tenant matters, dilapidation negotiations and assists with developing asset management strategies for potential site acquisitions. Prior to joining LocatED Dan was an Asset Manager for a £1.5bn mixed-used investment fund and worked for Cushman & Wakefield in its lease advisory team.

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Will Primrose

Senior Surveyor – Asset Management

Will is a Chartered Surveyor with 10 years’ experience in property in both client-side and consultancy roles. Will works with the Asset Management Team in driving value across the estate. Prior to joining LocatED, Will worked as a Property and Asset Manager for a private landlord of a portfolio of hotels, offices, and land across the UK.

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A headshot of Michael Limmer.

Michael Limmer

Senior Asset Manager – Finance & Accounting

Michael has worked in property finance and accounting for over 20 years with experience across the corporate, investment and residential sectors. Michaels main focus in his 4 years at LocatED has been to ensure financial information for the managed portfolio and upcoming acquisitions are correct and reported to the DfE.

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A headshot of Will Mumford.

Will Mumford

Director - Technical, Planning & Construction

Before joining LocatED, Will worked as the Operations Director at NPS South West – a multi-disciplinary property consultancy. Will is a chartered surveyor who has been based in the West Country for over 20 years working in retail, property and local politics. Will chaired the East of Exeter Growth Point helping to bring forward the Cranbrook new town, Exeter Science Park as well as extensive enabling of infrastructure. A founding board member of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership he helped provide the leadership to create and develop this organisation.

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A headshot of Duncan Bennett.

Duncan Bennett

Head of Planning

Duncan has over 25 years’ planning experience gained from working on a wide variety of projects in both consultancy and the development industry and has advised some of the UK’s biggest companies and government departments. Duncan has experience of various aspects of planning including complex mixed-use redevelopment projects, commercial development, residential schemes, retail development, education projects, heritage schemes, and leisure proposals.

Duncan has been part of the LocatED team for six years and has advised on over 200 sites during this time in relation to acquisitions, disposals, mixed-use development, and estates advice.

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A headshot of Jacqueline Nixon.

Jacqueline Nixon

Lead Planner

Jacqueline is a chartered town planner with over 30 years’ experience in both the public and private sector.  She has worked with LocatED for more than five years. Previously, Jacqueline was Head of Development Services, Property, at Hertfordshire County Council, leading a team which worked on planning obligations and the community infrastructure levy, acquisitions, disposals, local plan representations and planning application submissions. This role involved significant activity related to securing the development of new and existing schools in Hertfordshire. Prior to that, Jacqueline was the Land Buyer/Planner for a regional house builder.

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A headshot of Nigel Smith.

Nigel Smith

Lead Planner

Nigel is a chartered town & country planning professional with over 30 years' experience in both local government and the private sector with a wealth of experience and a proven track record on the delivery of regeneration, housing, and retail projects. Having joined LocatED in early 2017, Nigel now works closely with surveyor colleagues, mainly in the North and Midlands, to help identify, promote, and deliver a wide range of new school sites. He also provides sound Planning advice to Department for Education colleagues, often under tight timescales.

Previously, Nigel was Associate Planning Director for Countryside Properties (UK) Ltd, northern residential business. Prior to that, as National Planning Manager for the Co-operative Group Ltd, he built and led a team of 6 Regional Planning Managers in support of the Food, Health & Funerals trading businesses across the UK.

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A headshot of Naheem Kharyat Siddiq.

Naheem Kharyat Siddiq

Senior Surveyor – Technical

Naheem is a qualified architect with over 20 years’ experience in both the private and public sectors, working on a wide variety of projects, from domestic to commercial works, through to large high-profile education schemes.

He specialises in school design - from ideas and briefing documentation, through to design development and on-site completion.

Naheem joined from Lancashire County Council, where he worked on Basic Needs and Primary Capital Works Programmes. Prior to that he was a Technical & Client Education Design Advisor at Archial Architects advising on BSF programmes, and also worked as an Education Design Manager for Capita, managing major BSF projects.

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Jeremy Aston

Senior Surveyor – Technical & Planning

Jeremy is a Chartered Building Surveyor, PRINCE2 project management practitioner, and a member of the RICS Planning & Development group. He has 30 years’ experience establishing, leading, and successfully delivering projects within commercial and residential construction, telecoms, defence, and renewable energy. Since 2017 those skills have been deployed at LocatED undertaking technical & planning due diligence on sites acquired for education, the delivery of further education college projects, and estates and third-party advice for clients such as the Cabinet Office.

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Lorenzo Minichiello

Senior Surveyor - Development Monitoring

Lorenzo is a surveyor with over 30 years’ experience in construction and property development. Prior to joining LocatED he worked with some of the largest national house builders and worked on mixed-use schemes including care homes. Lorenzo has also run his own development company, obtaining planning and developing various sites. His role includes monitoring progress on existing sites.

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Sam Grainge

Design Lead

Sam has well over a decade of experience working within architecture, urban design and property on large scale residential, mixed-use and institutional developments in London and the South East with some of the UK’s leading architecture, urban design and property practices. Sam has led LocatED’s design output for the past five years introducing a focus on sustainable regeneration and creative design solutions in an increasingly constrained and regulated property market. Sam has an Architecture RIBA Part II qualification, an MA in Spatial Planning and Urban Design, and is currently studying towards gaining RICS accreditation as a chartered surveyor focussing on ‘planning and development’.

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Liam Kennedy

Quantity Surveyor

Liam is a Chartered Quantity Surveyor with over 13 years of experience covering various sectors both in the UK and overseas, pre and post contract.

Prior to joining LocatED, Liam worked as a Regional Cost and Technical Manager for Department for Education overseeing Free School projects in the Northwest and Midlands regions.

He also worked for a large international cost and project management consultancy as a managing cost consultant who delivered value for money and projects within budget.

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Lucia D’Acunto-Patel

Graduate Surveyor

Lucia joined LocatED in November 2023 as a Graduate Surveyor after completing her BSc in Real Estate from the University of Westminster. With an interest in development, planning and sustainability, Lucia is working towards completing her Assessment of Professional Competence.

Prior to joining LocatED, Lucia gained experience in property, event, and retail industries.

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Tom Muldowney

Apprentice Surveyor

Tom joined LocatED in September 2022 to embark on a new journey in the property industry, starting a whole new career path. Tom’s previous work history has been in the hospitality and security sectors where he worked in operations management for multiple hospitality venues, provided site security for Transport for London sites, and gained experience of management and customer service across both sectors, as well as an additional 10 years experience in education as a TA. Tom is currently half way through the UCEM educational program working towards a surveyor apprenticeship and completion of the APC beginning next year. Tom was nominated for and won last years Gov Prop award for the Rising Star category. 

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Melissa Love

Apprentice Surveyor

Prior to joining LocatED, Melissa worked for Southwark Council in the Property Team. She also worked for a housing association, alongside surveyors, where she developed a focused interest in becoming a surveyor. Melissa is presently studying for a BSc in Real Estate, with a clear view to completing her APC in three years' time.

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Brendan Henao

Apprentice Surveyor

Brendan has a BSc in Business Management and following prior roles in the luxury hospitality industry, is now progressing his career in real estate as an Apprentice Surveyor at LocatED. This builds on his experience as a lettings agent in Dubai.

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Ben Palmer

Apprentice Surveyor

After completing his A-Levels, Ben joined LocatED as an Apprentice Surveyor, gaining on-the-job experience whilst also working towards an accredited degree in Real Estate.

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A headshot of Nadia Persaud.

Nadia Persaud

Business Manager

Nadia has worked in project management and policy development for over 25 years with experience across all sectors and a robust background in legal aid, sustainability, management information and justice estate reform. With LocatED since January 2017, she led on the creation of an effective programme management office function to support the successful project delivery of a start-up property company to an established, reliable, trusted delivery arm of the Department for Education. She has now turned her attention to the maximise the efficiency of LocatED’s finance and governance processes, as well as ensuring that our corporate governance is discharged.

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Alison Lumsden

Business Manager - HR & PMO

Alison joined LocatED in July 2020. She has over 15 years' experience working in the events industry, managing events, exhibitions, brand activations and national roadshows.

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Natasha Batchelor

Junior Power BI Analyst

Natasha joined LocatED in November 2023. She has 12 years’ experience of working in a Local Authority housing department where she reported on Housing Association, Temporary Accommodation and Council property data. Prior to joining LocatED, Natasha worked as BI Developer where she applied her developing Business Intelligence technical skills.

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peter ganney

Peter Ganney

Head of Marketing & Communications

Peter joined LocatED in February 2023 and leads the organisation's communications efforts. He has 15 years’ experience in marketing, communications and public relations, working in a diverse range of sectors. Prior to joining LocatED, Peter worked at a global communications agency in the corporate practice, supporting a mix of real estate, manufacturing and infrastructure clients to develop and build their international reputations. Before that he worked in a range of communications, marketing and campaign management roles, developing and executing communications plans, handling media relations, producing content and planning events.

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Diana Wong

Communications Manager

Diana has been working in government communications service in the UK and Hong Kong over 15 years.

Prior to joining LocatED, Diana led on managing integrated campaigns and developing communications strategies on high-profile policies and issues for government departments and public bodies. She also worked in media relations, publications and event planning.

Diana had been a journalist at two major broadcasters in Hong Kong.

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Matthew Dineen

Legal Counsel

Matthew is a solicitor with over a decade of experience in the private and public sectors. He has significant experience in both commercial property and public sector development, having been the lead legal advisor to a number of billion-pound public/private joint ventures. As head of a large legal team, he has overseen the delivery of ambitious multi-million pound investment and acquisition projects. Matthew has also written articles published in the legal press.

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Alrick Stewart

Finance Manager

Alrick is the Business Accountant at LocatED and is currently undertaking an AAT accounting apprenticeship. He joined LocatED in 2017 as a Project Manager before joining the Finance Team. Alrick has spent most of his career working in the University sector and has over 20 years of experience in finance, IT and procurement.

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Rebecca Welbourn

Procurement Executive

Rebecca joined LocatED in February 2022 as Procurement Executive, working in the Finance Team. Prior to this she was Contracts & Procurement Manager at the NHS and previously worked for the East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s Corporate Procurement Team for number of years.

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Sarah Jane Brown

Office Manager

Sarah has been the hands-on Office Manager for LocatED since 2017, with over 28 years’ front-of-house experience. She is responsible for all elements of office management, including health and safety, transport and staff support.

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Jessica Hope

Jessica joined LocatED in April 2024 as Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive. She has over 17 years’ experience in education, wealth management and retail, providing executive support to senior management.

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Ramona Skerritt

Executive Assistant

Ramona joined LocatED in September 2018 as an Executive Assistant with over 20 years’ experience. She is responsible for supporting LocatED’s Finance Director & Legal Counsel. Ramona also supports the Board, managing the Secretariat for the main Board and Committee meetings, as well as the Charity of the Year Committee.

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Liorah Bloomfield

Executive Assistant

Liorah joined LocatED in 2021 and is an Executive Assistant with over seven years’ experience. She is responsible for supporting LocatED’s Development Director and Director - Technical, Planning & Construction. Liorah also manages the Mixed-Use Committee providing secretarial support with meetings.

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Hayley Barclay

Executive Assistant

Hayley joined LocatED in September 2020 as an Executive Assistant and has over 15 years' PA experience. She is responsible for supporting the Property Director. She has previously worked in the property sector and for a globally-recognised energy recruitment company. She also has experience in the legal, human resources and customer service sectors.

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Liz Ells

HR Administrator

Liz joined LocatED in July 2022. She has previous experience in HR and payroll administration, as well as customer service. Liz has also worked as a recruitment consultant, specialising in allied health professionals.

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Rachel Achunine

Rachel Achunine

HR Administrator

Rachel joined LocatED in March 2023. Prior to joining, she was working in the private sector as Talent Acquisition Partner within a commercial property company. Rachel also has worked in customer service and was a volunteer English Literature tutor for a charity specialising in bridging the attainment gap in education.

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