Lead Expert, Lab manager, thematic expert , National trainer
Alison is Director of Aurora European Services, which helps organisations to achieve local impact from European projects and programmes. Her main thematic interests and experience are in economic development, employment, skills and entrepreneurship - and in integrated approaches to these policy areas in Europe's medium-sized towns and cities. Alison has nearly 25 years experience of Structural Fund projects and programmes, including mainstream European Social Fund (ESF), European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and European territorial cooperation programmes (INTERREG, URBACT, etc). She loves developing new projects and partnerships, facilitating international meetings, delivering training and making connections between policy and practice. Clients include cities, regions, private sector businesses, voluntary organisations and more recently European Programmes and International Organisations.
For URBACT she has been a Lead Expert (ESIMeC since 2009), a Thematic Expert (URBACT Markets since 2013), a trainer (National Training Scheme and Summer University Lab Manager, 2013) and a coordinator of capitalisation workstreams (More Jobs Better Cities 2012/13 and More Jobs for Urban Youth 2014/5). She also has significant experience in INTERREG (A, B and C strands) at project and programme level, most recently leading the capitalisation workstream on Entrepreneurship for INTERREG IVC (2012/3) and being part of a drafting team for one of the 2014-2020 Cross Border Programmes (Channel Programme).
After graduating with a European Studies degree, Alison did a Scholarship in the European Parliament and then an Expert contract with the European Commission’s Statistics Office (Eurostat). She then returned to the UK and successfully established and managed three European Units, two in local authorities and one in a university, before setting up Aurora in 2002 (with Sally Kneeshaw).
Alison is a Business Mentor for the Princes Trust in the UK which supports vulnerable young people into self employment. She volunteers one day each month to help young entrepreneurs in Central London in the early stages of developing their business ideas.
She is the proud mother of two beautiful girls and an expert multi tasker! She loves her job, is passionate about gender equality and female leadership and strives to achieve a balance between work and life. She practices regular yoga and spends her time outside work enjoying time with her family and friends, eating and drinking, reading good books, at the gym, taking great holidays and walking in beautiful countryside. Over the past few years she has done a number of midnight marathons (in a decorated bra) to raise awareness of , and funds for, breast cancer charities and in June 2014 she completed the UK's 3 Peaks Challenge to raise awareness of, and funds for, the UK's leading Meningitis Charity.