HKF founder receives damehood- Dame Ann Limb

The Helena Kennedy Foundation staff and Trustees would like to congratulate our Founder Dr Ann Limb who has been awarded with a damehood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Dame Ann Limb DBE CBE FRSA DL is a life-long champion of diversity and inclusivity in all she does, she has also made significant personal charitable donations to the arts, music, culture, and education.

The Helena Kennedy Foundation was set up by Dame Ann Limb DBE CBE FRSA DL to take forward in a practical way the recommendations of Learning Works, the seminal report by Baroness Helena Kennedy QC – President of the Foundation, which drew attention to the needs of adult learners nationally.

Commenting on her honour Dame Ann said,

‘A butcher’s daughter born in 1950’s Moss Side does not grow up dreaming of damehood, inspired by teachers who believed in me and nurtured by the further education system that is a powerhouse for social change, I eventually found the courage to become myself, to speak out against inequalities of all kinds in society, and to speak up for others from disadvantaged backgrounds”.

 “I want people to look at me and say to themselves ‘This person is like me’.  I’d like everyone pursuing their own career to support those who follow, by remembering to ‘lift as you climb’. 

 “I accept this honour to encourage young people, regardless of their start in life, to step up to serve humanity with kindness, compassion and in a spirit of peace building. As we say at City & Guilds ‘Believe you can’.

 Dr Julie Mills OBE, CEO and Principal at Milton Keynes College and Chair of Trustees at the Helena Kennedy Foundation warmly welcomed what she believes is thoroughly deserved recognition for all Dame Ann has done.

From a personal perspective, Dame Ann was the principal who created the culture at Milton Keynes College which made me want to become a lecturer there.  She set the character and insisted the College was values-led at a time when few in Further Education (FE) were thinking in that way.”

 “Dame Ann remains a great friend to FE and is still active in the sector, always making sure we are involved when decisions and policies are being made which affect our region.”

Shahida Aslam, Director of operations at the Helena Kennedy Foundation commented, “Ann set up the Helena Kennedy Foundation nearly 25 years ago and we are forever grateful for her support in helping to improve the lives of others to become future leaders.  She has great determination, skill and tremendous energy.  I am absolutely delighted for Ann who is incredibly deserving of this honour”. 


Ann Geraldine Limb CBE Lately Chair The Scout Association. For services to Young People and Philanthropy

DBE is a ‘high national honour’ and the official Cabinet Office ‘long short citation ‘known as BD22 Long Short Citation which will be published by the Cabinet Office will read


Ann Geraldine Limb CBE

She is Chair of the UK Innovation Corridor, the country’s leading SciTech region stretching from London to Cambridge, and Chair of City & Guilds. As the first female and openly gay Chair of The Scouts, from 2015-21 she provided outstanding leadership of the country’s largest youth movement comprising 460,000 young people and 160,00 adult volunteers in 8000 separate charities. During her tenure as Chair, she played a fundamental role in encouraging young people, aged 4-25, from all backgrounds to join Scouts to gain key life skills, speak up, step up, and find their place in the world. Under her stewardship, youth membership and adult volunteers grew every year until the pandemic, and 1,280 Scout units opened in areas of deprivation.

A life-long champion of diversity and inclusivity in all she does, she has also made significant personal charitable donations to the arts, music, culture, and education, founding the social mobility charity the Helena Kennedy Foundation 25 years ago, and serving as Chair of IF: Milton Keynes International Festival since 2010.