Karen Phillips & Mark Cunningham: All Change at The Fed


The Manchester communal baton is about to be passed to Mark Cunningham.

Retirement isn’t necessarily the word I would use. For me it is about leaving the CEO role carried since ’97 to make space in life for other pursuits. I remain as Deputy to the Lord Lieutenant in Manchester and an Ambassador for The Fed.

Interestingly, the decision came literally overnight after being decidedly unready beforehand. It was a waking up feeling...the “I’m done” moment.

This in no way reflected neither my loss of loyalty to The Fed nor disenchantment with social care in Manchester. It was more about the need to spread my wings, to follow other pursuits and spend more time with the family whilst I had the drive and energy to do so.

Manchester is undergoing huge change and is about to enter an exciting time. Devolution in Manchester and Healthier Together alongside the stringent, statutory cuts we all face, create the perfect storm. The Fed under Mark Cunningham’s leadership with the support of our excellent Board led by Mark Adlestone, will be more than capable of meeting these challenges. The two Marks will form a great partnership – a new era.

Thanks to all the organisations and to JLC for their good counsel over the years.


Mark C....

I have undergone a 20 year apprenticeship at The Fed having joined the organisation as a student studying for a social work qualification in 1995.

Karen will be a hard act to follow but I have learnt so much from her. I am approaching the upcoming challenge with some trepidation yet confident that it is the right decision for both of us.

The Manchester community has changed immeasurably over the years and will continue to do so. One of our greatest challenges remains funding. Covering the cost of providing outstanding care and support is a significant issue. As a consequence and after great deliberation, we have given notice on some of our Local Authority contractual agreements, changing our approach to communal work. There will be a greater emphasis on advocacy and pastoral care – focusing on traditional social work & support. The ongoing challenge to do more and more with fewer resources is a familiar story to many charities but we believe we can adapt existing services and develop new ones in line with the community’s changing needs.

I am so proud to work for The Fed and to be given the opportunity to lead an amazing organisation. Developing a sustainable future based upon the charity’s Jewish values and principles is a key part of our plans, especially in a year that sees the organisation celebrate its 150th Anniversary. The world of social care is evolving; the Government is increasingly taking a back seat and looking to individuals and communities to take responsibility for their own problems. In many respects it is a return to a care system that predates the welfare state and the services we provide have never been more important.

I am delighted that Karen has agreed to act as an Ambassador for the Fed and to support me in the initial stages of my new role.  Alongside guidance from Mark Adlestone, the Board of Trustees and a great team of staff and volunteers I am confident of the next stage.

Looking forward to working with JLC.