Cath Dillon

Senior Project Lead
Cath joined Innovation Unit in early 2016 from social enterprise Participle, having spent three years as director building and delivering big strategic partnership projects.


Cath’s background is very diverse, having worked with health, social care and community organisations large and small. After qualifying as a social worker, began her career in Leeds back in the late 1980s working in, and then leading a women’s refuge, pioneering interagency work with the police, housing and social service partners. Something she describes as ‘an amazing, truly cutting edge experience.’  

She managed a CAB in Bradford before heading to London to work in the cancer sector - another key learning experience, as the first User Involvement Programme Lead for Macmillan Cancer Support. After seven years, she moved into children’s social care, first grounding herself in London with Community Links in Canning Town, and then onto Action for Children. Cath also worked for a short time with Scope.

These opportunities were all valuable experiences for Cath, not least because all involved leading and managing change large and small. The golden thread running throughout Cath’s career is the belief in the ability for connections, relationships and networks of support to help bring about lasting change for people and communities. She also appreciates how service design can create space for innovation to happen, at a time when we need to transform public services.

Cath is currently lending her expertise to our work in local public services as well as health and social care including our end of life and mental health initiatives.