Lauren Stoner will be joining Mermaids this week as interim chief executive and has pledged to address the “root causes” of the transgender children’s charity’s challenges.
Stoner, who replaces Susie Green after six years in her post, said the under-scrutiny charity faces “big challenges” and she aims to implement a “clear plan” by the end of March 2023.
Her appointment comes after the Charity Commission opened a statutory inquiry into Mermaids last month, having identifying concerns about its governance and management.
Mermaids recently revealed that an independent external report it commissioned highlighted a number of significant challenges.
It also recently challenged fellow charity the LGB Alliance’s registration with the Commission in court.
‘Difficult time for the charity’
Stoner, the incoming interim boss, has spent most of her career working in health and social care with a focus on person-centred support, rights, and voice.
Her career thus far has focused on fundraising and policy change, ensuring that disabled people and abuse survivors have the right support.
She has also been involved in developing and supporting partnerships with providers, commissioners and others across the statutory, voluntary, and community sector.
In a letter, Stoner said young transgender people and their families need great support now more than ever, and “I want to support the charity to deliver that, now and in the future”.
She added: “It’s a difficult time for the organisation and for the people we support and there are challenges ahead. In addition to supporting the statutory inquiry, I’ll start by listening to everyone with a stake in what we do and understanding their views, and review that alongside the work that’s already been done.”
Stoner described herself as “passionate about co-production, equity and culture” and said key areas to focus on are ensuring that Mermaids understand its future direction and “have the right people, right culture, right systems and processes to enable us to achieve that”.
“These are all big challenges and change can’t happen overnight, but I’m positive that as a team, and with support of our board, we can achieve our goals. We’ll share our progress and the lessons that we’ve learned openly.
“I’m not going to promise to resolve all of those challenges between now and the end of March. Instead, in 100 days’ time, I want to know that we’ve identified the root causes of our challenges, have a clear plan in place and are starting to address them in a prioritised way.
“Longer term, I see Mermaids as a trusted source of support and advice for young trans people and those who are questioning their gender identity, and for the people around them including parents and carers, professionals, and anyone else who wants to create a better world for them.”
Outside of work, Stoner lives in Nottingham with her partner and pet rats. She added: “I officiate roller derby, an explicitly trans-inclusive contact sport played on roller skates, and am an enthusiastic quilter and dressmaker.”