Team Bolton Together

Working together collaboratively to improve the quality of life for communities

Who are we?

Bolton Together is the children and young people’s voluntary and community sector consortium for Bolton.

As a collective, our staff and volunteer base enable us to reach the 73,000 children and young people, and their families in Bolton.

Bolton Together is a Registered Charity in England and Wales (1163466) and a Company Limited by Guarantee (08730010).

Read about our Board of Trustees and our staff here at Bolton Together below…


Board of Trustees

Karen Edwards OBE – Chair of Bolton Together

Karen is the Chief Executive at Bolton Lads & Girls Club, a dynamic and progressive children and young people’s charity, providing a range of universal and targeted services across Bolton. With over 25 years youth and community work experience Karen has held her current role at BLGC since 2010, before which she held a number of senior roles.

Karen and BLGC have received many awards, Karen was awarded an OBE in 2012 in recognition for her services to children and young people.

Throughout her career, Karen has sat on many Boards including Parent Governors, the Queens Award for Voluntary Service assessing panel, strategic forums and national campaigns and has chaired the Board of Trustees for Bolton Together since 2017.

Karen’s passion is equality and opportunity for care experienced children and in 2014 she and her husband adopted two brothers. As well as enjoying family life Karen is a dog lover and has three of them.

Gill Smallwood – Vice Chair

Gill worked in education for 28 years and moved into the voluntary sector 9 years ago and now works as Chief Executive for Fortalice, Gill is passionate about her work in this sector.

Gill is a founding Director of 1Point, an organisation providing a gateway to talking therapies, a Director of Bolton Together and a Director for Fresh as a Daisy.

Gill is still heavily involved in education and is a Governor for a primary and secondary school in Bolton. Being involved in a diverse range of partnership working and sitting on Boards gives Gill an opportunity to help shape local and national policies on domestic abuse, education and safeguarding. Gill has been instrumental in leading and developing a range of accredited domestic abuse training which will be delivered locally and nationally.

Gill likes to give something back, so still does some voluntary counselling sessions and clinical supervisions to ensure she is up to date with current practice and is able to help others when needed. In the spare time Gill has, she loves spending time with her family and friends and is always up for a challenge.

Darren Knight –Chief Executive George House Trust

Darren has almost 15 years’ experience in the voluntary sector and is currently the Chief Executive of Bolton CVS, the local infrastructure support organisation for Bolton’s voluntary, community and social enterprise sector, where he’s been in post since 2015.

Darren is Bolton’s strategic lead for Social Value as part of the Vision 2030 Steering Group and holds a range of roles across local forums, networks and boards in the borough to champion the role of the voluntary sector spanning everything from community development to safeguarding.

Darren’s prior experience with Shelter and LGBT Foundation included influencing national and local decision-makers, research, developing inclusive approaches and delivering creative opportunities for working with disengaged communities.

Darren’s a Governor at NHS Bolton Foundation Trust, an active volunteer for Bolton Lads and Girls Club as a mentor, a volunteer befriender at Senior Solutions and a Trustee for a Lancashire-based charity.

Darren lives in Westhoughton and spends much of his spare time in the open countryside with his dog, Fletcher.

Kath Smith – Trustee

Kath started her career in children’s services and the public sector in 1985 and is currently the Children’s Commissioning Manager with Bolton Council. She is responsible for commissioning social care and education services and works closely with the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to jointly commission services. Kath is passionate about equity, diversity and inclusion for vulnerable children and young people.

Kath has been part of Bolton Together for over 10 years and is an advocate for the voluntary and community sector and has been a Trustee for a local charity.

Kath has served as a school governor for more than 20 years and is currently chair of governors at the school which her children previously attended.

Kath lives in Lancashire and enjoys the outdoors and being involved in the local community. She has raised funds for national and local charities including participating in charity runs.

Staff Members

Louise McDade – Strategic Lead

Louise has 20 years’ experience in the community and voluntary sector and joined Bolton Together as The Strategic Lead in August 2020. Louise is passionate about collaboration and co-design and delivering person-centred services for Bolton residents.

Prior to this role Louise worked for Bolton CVS for 11 years leading on several health, engagement and inclusion programmes and held a secondment with Bolton NHS Foundation Trust striving towards increasing understanding and awareness of the fantastic voluntary sector offer in Bolton.

Louise has vast experience in project management, partnership work, strategic representation and co-designing services with a range of statutory and voluntary sector partners and those accessing support.

Louise is a Trustee for Senior Solutions and a proud Mum of two teenage boys and Poppy the Cavapoo.


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