Lynne Berry OBE

Lynne Berry

Areas of Interest

Charity, Alumni

Honorary Award

Honorary Doctor of Health Sciences, 2010


Lynne Berry is Vice-Chair of the new Canal and River Trust, transferring British Waterways into the voluntary sector; founder of Public Benefit; an associate of Civil Exchange and a senior visiting Fellow at CASS Business School, City University London, linking the corporate and voluntary sectors, supporting social enterprise and encouraging women's leadership and professional experiences to be valued in all sectors.

Lynne has had five Chief Executive posts: WRVS, the General Social Care Council, the Equal Opportunities Commission, the Charity Commission and the Family Welfare Association. She has served on many Government bodies including the Office of Civil Society Advisory Board and several Better Regulation Task forces, most recently to reduce burdens on charities and social enterprise. She chairs the Government's Social Action Fund. Current board roles include the Anne Frank Trust, Cumberland Lodge, the International Women's Forum UK and Pro Bono Economics. Previous non-Executive roles included NCVO, the National Centre for Social Research, the European Division of the DTI and she was chair of CPAG.

Lynne was Vice Chair of the Deakin Commission on the Future of the Voluntary Sector and has received a number of honours including an OBE, an Honorary Fellowship from Cardiff University and Honorary Doctorates from Anglia Ruskin and Bedfordshire Universities and was named one of the '100 Women to Watch' in the Cranfield University FTSE list 2012.


"Vice Chancellor, it is my pleasure to read the citation for Lynne Berry for the award of Honorary Doctor of Health Science.

Lynne Berry is Chief Executive of WRVS - a major national charity that enables older people to get more out of life by providing a range of practical services, powered by around 2 500 staff and 55 000 volunteers. Moreover she is a major name in the field of health and social care, a position she has earned having built a reputation for delivering exactly what she promises.

Her leadership of the WRVS is helping her, once again, to make a difference to people's everyday lives.

What used to be the Women's Royal Voluntary Service now has some 4 000 local schemes ranging from meals-on-wheels to community clubs and including cafes and shops in hospitals which will in future offer advice and information. This is a major charity and Lynne Berry is very proud to be in the driving seat as she steers it through major transformational development to give WRVS a stronger voice in the community and with local authorities and the NHS.

Previously known for its support of disaster victims - going back to 1938 when the WRVS was set up to provide wartime help - the charity now focuses on older people as a result of a change in the demographics of society.

Lynne Berry has already improved understanding within her role showing that people who benefit from the WRVS service offering feel less isolated thanks to contact with volunteers, and more confident and independent. The new focus is on listening to service users to shape future policies. She is also aware that the central role of the WRVS remains the same - to help in an emergency, and the help is not just short-term. In the event of a major incident, such as flooding, clearly the recovery of older people may take longer than that of other members of the community.

The charity's mantra is simple encouraging service volunteers and users to be 'Positive About Age' and 'Practical about Life'.

Educated in Redditch, Worcestershire; at Cambridge College of Arts and Technology, a forerunner of Anglia Ruskin University; and University College Cardiff, Lynne Berry studied English and History before specialising in social sciences, public health, and cross-cultural studies.

Lynne is WRVS' third Chief Executive. She was appointed in 2007 having joined from the General Social Care Council. Previously she worked at the Equal Opportunities Commission and before that was Executive Director of the Charity Commission and Chief Executive of the Family Welfare Association.

Her earlier career has spanned central and local government, higher education, management development and training, community development and social work. She was Vice-Chair of the Commission on the Future of the Voluntary Sector in England and Chair of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation report on Governance in the Voluntary Sector and has been a board member of many voluntary organisations and charities

Her services to the social care sector were recognised in 2006 when she was awarded an OBE and it is for her continuing and inspiring role with the Third Sector that we recognise her today.

Vice Chancellor, it is my pleasure to present Lynne for the award of Doctor of Health Science, honoris causa."