The National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (NAVCA) has appointed Maddy Desforges as its new chief executive.
Desforges is currently the chief executive of Voluntary Action Sheffield, one of NAVCA's members, and will take up her new role in March 2021.
At Voluntary Action Sheffield, she focused on work on health and wellbeing, on developing strategic relationships with the local authority, on working with CEOs from BAME organisations and on a holiday food and activity programme. She was previously a civil servant.
She takes over from Jane Ide, who left the organisation last month to became chief executive of cultural sector body Creative and Cultural Skills. Ide had been leading the charity since 2017.
NAVCA is the membership body for local support and development organisations in England. According to its latest annual report for 2019-2020, it had 174 members.
‘We are all looking forward to working with her’
Judy Robinson, chair of NAVCA, said: “Maddy impressed the recruitment panel with her work at the local level as CEO of Voluntary Action Sheffield - one of NAVCA’s members - and with her experience as a senior civil servant.
“We were impressed by Maddy’s understanding of the vital role of communities, voluntary organisations and VCS infrastructure to make life better and fairer.
“She also has extensive management experience in the civil service at a senior, national level managing teams and programmes. We know that Maddy will bring this experience to work with NAVCA’s national strategic partners, with government and with our members.
“We are all looking forward to working with her to tackle the challenges ahead.”
'Keen to to be an influential and persuasive voice at national level'
Desforges said: “As CEO at VAS, I have really appreciated the support and connections that NAVCA has helped me to foster, to make sure we have been able to support a thriving, resilient local communities sector locally – especially through the Covid-19 pandemic.
“While I will miss VAS hugely, the opportunity to lead NAVCA into its next phase of development, as we move from pandemic through vaccination into recovery, is really exciting. It’s also a huge challenge, though with the staff team in post I know that’s a challenge we can rise to as an organisation!
“I’m really keen to build on the relationships and connections Jane Ide and others have fostered, to be an influential and persuasive voice at national level, setting out the critical nature of local infrastructure at national level, demonstrating the importance of local infrastructure support for resilient communities as the best path to recovery.
“I’m also looking forward to developing new relationships across the membership, and having more conversations with the members I already know and work with.”