Richard Hawkes takes newly-created role at British Asian Trust

05 Oct 2015 News

Former chief executive of Scope has a new job as chief executive of one of Prince Charles' charities

Prince Charles speaking at the British Asian Trust annual dinner

Richard Hawkes, former chief executive of Scope, has landed a new job as chief executive of the British Asian Trust, one of Prince Charles' charities.

Hawkes has been appointed to the new role of chief executive with a mandate to create "transformational growth" at the organisation. He aims to scale it exponentially so that it becomes one of the leading NGOs working across South Asia.

The British Asian Trust was established by the Prince of Wales in 2007 to provide a vehicle for UK and Asian philanthropists to identify and support effective grassroots development programmes in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The Prince remains president and is actively involved in the Trust.

It connects donors with organisations working in the fields of anti-trafficking, education, livelihoods and mental health.  

The charity's extensive ambassador list boasts wealthy, successful and influential people drawn from the words of British and Asian commerce, arts, entertainment, politics and sport.

Each year it organises a fundraising dinner that attracts a host of celebrities and raises hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Its total income has grown from just under £400,000 in 2011 to £1.7m last year, and this year is forecast to top £3m.  

Hawkes said the staff and trustees recognised that while the charity had done some brilliant work over the last years, reaching around three million people with its work, there was enormous potential to do more.

“We’ve got some brilliantly successful individuals involved, with access and contacts across the whole South Asian community; a list of patrons and friends that any charity in the country would give anything for; there’s an annual dinner that raises a huge amount of money, and there’s the convening power of Prince Charles.

"The basis is there to enable this to really explode and become something that is much much bigger, that becomes known as the vehicle for all Asian giving in this country and is a hugely credible organisation working across South Asia and making a massive difference in those programme areas. It’s hugely exciting.”  

The charity’s former executive director, Hitan Mehta, who has been at the Trust since it was established, will remain part of the team and will report to Hawkes, though his title is yet to be decided.  Hawkes said: “Hitan is without question part of the future.  He’s done a great job to date and he’s been brilliant about recognising that somebody who’s got real experience of being CEO in a growing charity can be of massive value to the organisation.

“But his knowledge of the diaspora community, of some of the really big events that the organisation organises, and his relationship with the royal household is all a huge asset to the organisation and he will be really crucial going forward.”

Hawkes left Scope, the disability charity, at the end of May after the new chair Andrew McDonald started to review the charity’s future strategic direction and it was agreed to change the leadership of the organisation.

He had been at Scope for five and a half years; previously he worked in international development roles at Sense International and VSO.

Click here to read Tania Mason’s interview with Richard Hawkes.

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