Barbara Gubbins humbled by CBE

01 December 2017

ONE of the North-East’s best-known community campaigners has been presented with the CBE for her dedication to the voluntary sector.

Barbara Gubbins, Chief Executive of County Durham Community Foundation (CDCF), was awarded the honour by in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace (November 21).
Barbara, who lives in North Tyneside, said: “It was an unforgettable day. I’m deeply honoured and humbled to have received the award on behalf of many wonderful colleagues, past and present, who have made such a difference to lives in our region.”

Before joining the Community Foundation as Chief Executive in 2008, she served a number of organisations in the region.
Barbara, whose mother comes from a South Hetton mining family, became a magistrate in 1997 in North Tyneside where she lived with her two sons. This inspired her to change her career path as she was so disturbed by the inequalities highlighted in the family courts.
Following 20 years in project management and marketing, she joined the voluntary sector in 1999 as Development Director for the Community Foundation in Newcastle. One of her first projects was to establish the ‘Sunday for Sammy’ concerts in 2000, which have raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to support budding performers and writers.

Barbara also worked with Dame Margaret Barbour to set up the Women’s Fund, supporting projects for vulnerable women, before becoming Chief Executive of The Children’s Foundation.
CDCF has given out more than £35m to good causes since 1995 and last year gave out a record £3.5m. It now manages 215 charitable funds for individuals, families and companies who want to support their local community.

As well as serving as a magistrate for 16 years; Barbara was also a school governor in Newcastle; a trustee of the Evening Chronicle Sunshine Fund; a mentor for young people at risk; and currently a trustee of Voluntary Organisations Network North-East (VONNE). She has also had several other unpaid roles.

In 2010, she was awarded the Marks & Spencer Sieff Award by Business in the Community.
Barbara steps down as Chief Executive of the Community Foundation at the end of this year but has just become a trustee of the North of England Civic Trust (NECT) and will continue as a trustee of VONNE.

She also plans to do some consultancy work and train to be a celebrant, officiating at weddings, funerals and naming ceremonies. However, she will retain a link to the Community Foundation through the charitable fund she has set up, named ‘The Annie Lily Fund’ in memory of her mother.