Meet The Team

Meet the People behind Blackburn with Darwen Food Alliance who work on behalf of the membership

Annie Collier MA

Annie Collier MA

BwD Food Alliance Coordinator

My food story, is more of an awakening than a story. I woke up to the reality of food in 2000. I was pregnant with my first child and anything processed, tinned, frozen, with additives or chemical preservatives became unpalatable.
Working in the city for all my life meant convenience foods had been the majority of my shopping trolley up to this point. So this meant I had to teach myself how to cook, but the more I looked at cooking from scratch the more I found the urge to break down recipes further, even breaking down things like mixed spice into their individual spices. 
When I look back now, I think I was probably a bit nuts – when my daughters went to school everything in their lunch boxes was home made, I’d even go as far as doing a different nationality each week in their lunch boxes. Crazy! 
This foundation has lead me on to my professional food journey. When I questioned whether people would be interested in good healthy home cooked takeaways. From this I was asked to take over a vegetarian and vegan cafe, which was really well received. I now run courses and workshops, doing pop ups and exclusive catering.  
I also cook in the community, volunteer at The 180 Project, cooking food when they have competitions. I am a Good Food Champion for BwD, after completing the Good Food Championship training with My Food Community. 
I am excited to be Blackburn with Darwen Food Alliance Coordinator and really feel that I can make a difference in the food world, from all kinds of different prospectives.
Halima Hajat MPharm NPI-Dip

Halima Hajat MPharm NPI-Dip

BwD Food Alliance Coordinator

I started off as a Pharmacist but personal circumstances took me out of work. This opened me up to researching health through a more holistic frame of mind. Since then, I have been down a rabbit hole of unlearning and rediscovering health through nature, foods and the mind-body connection.

A lot of my work currently involves coaching people into symptom and disease improvement privately on a 1 on 1 basis or through my Blackburn based South Asian focused CIC. I’ve picked up a few qualifications a long the way including an Aalimiyya degree (equivalent to a BA in Islamic theology), cupping practitioner, Neurolinguistic programming practicitioner and trauma informed qualifications to name a few and have also worked as a media buyer and marketing strategist for businesses.

I have come into the Food Alliance as a coordinator to re-engage the message of Food As Medicine and help bring all the food communities together for more strategic impact across the borough. There is so much amazing work being done and I am really looking forward to helping that work hit on a deeper level.

On a more personal note, I’m a mum of 2 girls and lived in Blackburn my whole life. I love getting lost in a good book (I buy too many books!) would happily sit on the grass amongst nature all day long and I try to grow something different each year. I’m a deep person that enjoys deep conversation.

Meet The Trustees

Jackie Floyd Ba Hons, RN & RM, Retired

Jackie Floyd Ba Hons, RN & RM, Retired

Trustee & Chair of the Blackburn with Darwen Food Alliance

I have been a Councillor at Blackburn with Darwen (BwD) Unitary Authority since 2018 and Assistant Executive for Adult Services & Health, Older Persons Champion, and elected member North BwD Primary Care Neighbourhood.

I was born in the East End of London where I completed my nursing and midwifery training. I moved to Blackburn in 1986 and took further studies at the University of Central Lancashire. I studied and learnt a lot about the practice of change when working as an improvement lead in the local NHS

I formally established the Food Alliance in 2021 and became the Chair to steer to CIO status.

I have been a lifelong participant in community organisations from founding a childcare co-operative to Keep Blackburn Tidy.

A lifelong learner who enjoys being a grandma, making and creating, growing food, bee keeping and generally ‘trying stuff out’. I strive to be a participant of all aspects of a Community of Practice.


Julie Mallinder-Smith

Julie Mallinder-Smith


My background is in teaching, I have worked for primary schools, Blackburn College, am currently an Early Years Assessor for Best Practice Network and do supply work for Reed Education. As a Family Learning Tutor, I delivered cooking classes for children and their parents. The focus was on basic food preparation skills and budget meals.

I have worked for the Cooperative Group for two years as a Member Pioneer. This has involved me building a network of community charities and sporting clubs. I have connected the food stores with groups who benefit from the short-dated food which can be distributed to families or made into meals. I coordinate the allocation of the Local Community Fund; three local charities are chosen each year to receive a share of the Co-op Member’s money from each area.

On a personal level, I have been married to a busy GP for the last 30 years and we have four children aged between 18 and 26. I like gym classes, travelling, cooking, watching films and walking.

As a Trustee for the Food Alliance, I can share my local knowledge, teaching experience and interest in building connections to achieve a more equitable distribution of food.

Amanda Meachin

Amanda Meachin


As Chief Executive Officer and Board Director of Multi Award Winning Community & Business Partners CIC, I have significant experience of partnership working with the Private Sector and in the Voluntary, Community, Social Enterprise sectors.

I have vast experience in managing projects, services for commercial markets and delivering impact in the local community, excelling in leading the sustainability and growth of the company.

As examples of the expertise I bring as a Trustee of the Food Alliance, I was a lead partner for the successful £23 million LEGI bid to promote enterprise in deprived communities of Pennine Lancashire, led a successful partnership of £1m Asset Transfer from office third sector in partnership with BwD Borough Council and have been a lead delivery partner of the Boost Business Growth Programme for Lancashire County Council since 2012.

I qualified in Management Studies to level 7 – EDMS Lancaster University. I am a member of the Board of Trustees for the Community Foundation for Lancashire since 2015. Member of the Parish Council for Laneshaw Bridge, Pendle since 2021.

Sarah Johns

Sarah Johns


I am Chief Officer of Healthwatch Blackburn with Darwen, whose aim is to help residents to share their views and experiences on local health and social care services and have greater ownership of their own health and wellbeing.

I have worked in the voluntary sector for over 13 years and have had the responsibility of fundraising through different income streams and am keen to support the Alliance’s sustainability.

I am also currently Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of Fordhall Community Land Initiative. Fordhall Farm was a pioneer in organic farming and became the first community owned farm in England in 2006 and now has over 8,000 shareholders from across the UK and worldwide.

Gill Fourie

Gill Fourie

Trustee & Manager of Blackburn with Darwen Foodbank

Gill is the Operations Manager at Blackburn Foodbank which is a full-on, full-time & very interesting role. She has successfully overseen the growth of the whole service as a result of the pandemic and the rise of the cost of living.

She has extensive experience writing grant applications and managing large-scale projects and events – including organising music events with over 4000 children and mass catering for parties and weddings. She is a great networker, making countless connections between people both in the workplace and at home.

In her spare time Gill is a Director of Whoops a Daisy Music, running a music programme for 115 schools across the county. Concerts are planned with military precision and are enjoyed by thousands, both performing and watching.

In her spare time Gill loves singing with her 2 choirs – The Trills and Octavius, going to parties with friends and family, cooking dinner for others and playing badminton.

Being a Trustee of the Food Alliance, Gill hopes to help unite all the food groups in Blackburn with Darwen to provide opportunities for the best food and diet for the people in the Borough.

Discover more about us & how we support people in our local community

Find out more about our Food Charter & its aims

Our Food Charter

What is our Food Charter, what are its aims & who does it benefit in your area?

Our Guiding Principles

Learn about what guides us & our work in Blackburn with Darwen.

Read our Guiding Principles

Food Support

View support groups that may be able to help you.

Delicious bowl of hot soup
Good food for all, eat well with support from the Blackburn with Darwen Food Alliance

About Us

Who are the Blackburn with Darwen Food Alliance & what do we do?