Local businessman Mark Barnett has become a trustee of Wiltshire Community Foundation, joining the charity as it helps voluntary groups bounce back from the pandemic.
The former Chief Operating Officer of The Consortium in Trowbridge, Mark sold the company with his wife Melanie – the firm’s Chief Executive – in 2012. He has been working with the community foundation for seven years as a fundholder and grants panel member.
The community foundation provides funding and advice to grassroots charities and voluntary groups to help them support the most disadvantaged people in their communities, as well as giving educational opportunities to young people through individual grants. It awarded £2.1million in grants to groups and individuals in 2020/21 and has pledged to invest £10 million to help the people and communities of Wiltshire and Swindon thrive over the next five years.
Mark and Melanie, who met while working at education products supplier The Consortium, set up the Teal Barnett Family Trust with the community foundation in 2015.
Mark said, “The groups it has funded are often about supporting children with educational needs or helping disadvantaged children get out of their particular situations, that tends to be where our focus is.”
“We had already set up a family trust on our own but what we struggled with was finding local good causes and particularly being able to support people with small amounts that make a difference to their lives.
“That’s where the community foundation has had a strong part to play, in being able to take away the difficulty in getting your money to the right place and being confident that it will deliver the outcomes that you want for the money going in. It does that so well.”
Since leaving The Consortium, he and Melanie, who have four children and live in Allington, founded Responsible Homes in Chippenham, a firm which helps people get on to the property ladder.
Fiona Oliver, joint Chief Executive of Wiltshire Community Foundation, added, “We are delighted to welcome Mark on to our board of trustees. He and Melanie have already made a huge contribution to our work through the fund they have set up with us and taking part in our grant panels.
“Now we are going to benefit from Mark’s experience even more and that is very exciting.”
Pictured above: Former Consortium Chief Operating Officer Mark Barnett, who has now become a trustee of Wiltshire Community Foundation