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Community Finance Solutions

The CFS team

Professor Karl Dayson
Executive Director
0161 295 2827,

Karl is the co-founder and project director of CFS. Karl has 10 years of research experience in the field of community finance, financial exclusion and institutional forms of collective and communal ownership. In 1999, together with Bob Paterson and other colleagues, Karl developed a model for lending to low-income, financially excluded households, called Community Reinvestment Trusts (CRTs). The model was laid out in the first publication of CFS: Investing in People and Places. Since then, Karl has helped set up over a dozen of CRTs across the UK. Karl has also been a key player in the development of CFS’s work on Community Land Trusts (CLTs). He is the chair of the Conservative Party CLT Taskforce and in April 2007 a CLT practitioners guide edited by Karl was launched. Recently Karl was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA).

Karl is currently advising the European Commission on the drafting of a Code of Good Conduct for microfinance institutions. He is also working on a study examining the feasibility of a UK banking disclosure act funded by the Friends Provident Foundation.

For a list of Karl’s publications and other information, please visit Karl’s staff profile at

Dr. Bob Paterson
Visiting Social Enterprise Fellow

Bob is the co-founder of and a project director at CFS. Bob has over 25 years of experience working for housing associations and in local government. Bob has used his extensive knowledge of current housing policy and community development issues to develop and test models to facilitate the access to financial services and affordable housing. In 1997, Bob joined the University of Salford as a Senior Visiting Research Fellow where he conducted research into how community-based financial institutions could make an effective contribution to the long-term regeneration of poorer communities in the UK. This work laid the foundations for the creation of CFS which he co-founded with Dr. Karl Dayson in 1999.

Currently, Bob is involved in providing technical advice to CLTs and developing a range of tools to assist CLTs nationally. He was made an Ashoka UK Fellow in 2008, which makes him part of a global network of leading social entrepreneurs. In recognition of his contribution to community development, Bob was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Salford in July 2009.

Pål VikPål Vik
Research Fellow
0161 295 2841,

Pål is a Research Fellow at CFS and leads on academic research, policy advice and consultancy work on financial and social exclusion, and microfinance initiatives for private and public sector clients and funders. He has over five years of research and consultancy experience and has previously worked as a researcher for the London School of Economics, the Centre for Rural Development Studies in Costa Rica and ECOTEC Consulting. His methodological expertise includes survey design and execution, statistical analysis of household data and case study research.

Pål was awarded the 2008 European Microcredit Research Award for a paper on sustainability of the UK CDFI sector and the Robin Carter prize in 2004 for best undergraduate dissertation in subject matter. He has a BA Hons in Latin American Development Studies from the University of Portsmouth and an MSc in Local Economic Development from the London School of Economics.

Currently Pål is working on the development of a Code of Good Conduct for Microfinance Institutions in the EU for the European Commission, and on a study examining the feasibility of a UK banking disclosure act funded by the Friends Provident Foundation.

Gemma Thompson
Project Co-ordinator
0161 295 4951,

Gemma is Project Co-ordinator within CFS and oversees the financial and administrative aspects of all current projects. As well as this, Gemma manages the F2F Debt Advice Project funded by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. This project delivers face to face debt advice and financial capability skills to financially excluded clients through six partner organisations based across the country.

She has a BA (hons) in History from the University of Hull and is currently undertaking an MA in English Literature, Culture and Modernity. Gemma also has a strong background in community work in the North East of England having been a part of community art groups for over 6 years, working in low income communities engaging youth and children in order to raise social awareness.