Simon Blake leaves NUS after three years

10 Aug 2018 News

Simon Blake

Simon Blake has announced he will stand down as chief executive of the National Union of Students and take up the same role at a mental health social enterprise.

Blake, who has led the NUS for three years, will become chief executive of Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England on 3 October.

Chair of MHFA England, professor Mark Watson-Gandy said: “Simon has an excellent track record of working in senior strategic roles within the not for profit and commercial sectors.

“We are confident he will bring formidable strategic vision and operational energy to MHFA England. We hope that he will take us from strength to strength and greatly help in delivering our new and ambitious five year strategy.

“On behalf of the entire board, I would like to congratulate him on his appointment. We look forward to welcoming him as the leader of the team”.

Blake will replace MHFA’s co-founder Poppy Jaman, who announced in March that she was stepping down to focus on her role as chief executive of the City Mental Health Alliance.

He said: “Under Poppy Jaman’s leadership MHFA England has grown into a business with a social purpose and I am looking forward to achieving the aim to train one in ten of the population in mental health first aid skills.

“Our challenge at MHFA England is to achieve parity with physical first aid and the proposed legislative changes we are campaigning for will go a long way to enabling this to happen”.

Blake added it had been "a privilege to be "chief executive" of the NUS and he was sad to be leaving.

NUS president Shakira Martin said Blake "is a passionate and determined leader who has made a really positive impact at NUS and I know he will do great things at MHFA England”.

Deputy chief executive of the NUS, Peter Robertson will take temporary charge while the board recruits a permanent replacement.

Prior to joining NUS, Blake was chief executive of health charity for young people Brook. In 2011, he was awarded an OBE for services to the voluntary sector and young people.

He is a governor at Bath Spa University, a member of the British Universities and College Sport Inclusion Board, and deputy chair of Stonewall.

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