Senior Management Team



Zenna Hopson

Chief Executive

As former Chairman of Ofsted, the children and learners’ inspection and regulation body, Zenna has over 20 years experience in education, governance and innovation. She served as a non-executive director on the board of the Royal Navy for 10 years and chaired their audit committee. Zenna was also a member of HM Treasury audit committee and has served on a number of other British government boards.

With a keen interest in public speaking, Zenna has extensive media and communications experience, including; regular broadsheet columnist, Sky newspaper reviewer and a former guest presenter for a television series on Channel 5.

Zenna’s previous roles are unified by her commitment to young people and dedication to enhancing the opportunities available to them. She wants to ensure that young people are heard, understood and are at the heart of creating excellent, safe and responsive services which meet the needs of young people and the community.


Jim Donnelly

Director of Programmes

Having started his career as a sessional worker, Jim is extremely proud of his position as the Director of Programmes for Active Communities Network. The Ballymurphy-born director spent 6 years as the manager of the Belfast project which grew from small three person team to now a leading Charity with over 15 full-time members of staff.

Jim, who was jailed aged 22, says his Belfast childhood fuelled his desire to make things better for today's young people. He bore witness to the Springhill shooting in 1972, when Fr Noel Fitzpatrick died after being carried injured into Jim's parents' home. And as a 14-year-old he was shot by a plastic bullet.

“I got involved in this work so many years later so that my kids and others did not experience things like I experienced. I thought using sport would have a positive impact on young people and the wider community. Our work transcends borders and barriers. I have seen young people go from being at the very edge of life, being threatened by armed groups and having suicidal thoughts, to getting involved in our programmes, engaging and turning their lives around completely."


Oliur Rahman

Director of External Affairs

In 2006, Oliur Rahman was working on a local community sports initiative in south east London when he came together with other like-minded grassroots project workers to form a strategy to reach more people. The charity London Active Communities was born, and as co-founder Oliur took a leading role in managing its sustainable expansion with a specific focus on how it could improve outcomes for young people.

“I grew up on an estate in Elephant and Castle in south east London and I knew firsthand the power of sports and physical activity to engage young people and build relationships. When we set up London Active Communities we simply wanted as many people to get involved as possible. Soon we had more than 300 young people engaging in our football programmes. This in turn helped build trust with the parents as they saw their children enjoying themselves. Creating those connections gave us the chance to develop our work to start programmes that tackled obesity, such as educating groups about diet and wellbeing.”

Being one of the co-founders Oliur is extremely proud of where Active Communities Network is today and looks forward to seeing what happens in the future.


Julian Wadsworth

Head of Programmes Hampshire


Mark Copeland

Head of Programmes Belfast


Jamie Lees

Head of Programmes Greater Manchester