A new representative for the voluntary and community sectors has been appointed to the board Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership.

Lorrainne Smyth, chief executive at ACTion with Communities in Cumbria, will replace Professor Patricia Allen, chief executive of Eden Valley Hospice and Jigsaw Children’s Hospice, who has stepped down.

Ms Smyth has been at the helm of ACTion with Communities since 2012.

The charity works to influence national policy on rural issues ranging from broadband and transport services to housing and health.

She said: “I am delighted to be joining the CLEP Board to make sure that the voluntary and community sector has an effective voice in strategy development and delivery.

“The sector makes an important contribution to Cumbria’s economy and it is essential that we are involved in shaping and taking forward Cumbria’s growth.

“I very much look forward to working with my Board colleagues to ensure that Cumbria, its businesses and all of its people benefit from growth.”

Prior to joining ACTion with Communities Ms Smyth worked as strategic policy advisor community programmes and performance manager at Cumbria County Council, where she advised on community engagement and inclusion.

She has also held management positions in private sector training and development companies, local authorities and third sector organisations.

Lord Inglewood, chair of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (CLEP, welcomed Ms Smyth’s appointment – which was made at a meeting of the economic development agency’s board this month.

“Lorrainne’s appointment provides important continuity, picking up on Tricia’s work to fully engage the sector in CLEP’s business,” he said.

“CLEP is very committed to working with the voluntary and community sector and that is why we have a specific place on the Board for the sector.”