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Who's Moving: Stonewall, Mencap, Comic Relief and more

26 May 2020 News

National Brain Appeal’s new chair, Jackie Ashley.

Chief executive and executive director 

Nancy Kelley will become Stonewall’s new chief executive. Kelley is currently deputy chief executive and director of the Policy Research Centre at the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), and will be joining on 1 June.

Kelley will take over from Paul Twocock, who served as interim chief executive following Ruth Hunt’s departure in August 2019. 

Kelley said: “It is an honour to have the opportunity to lead this groundbreaking organisation. Over the last 30 years we have made amazing strides towards LGBT equality in the UK, driven by the work of LGBT+ activists and millions of everyday acts of bravery and pride. 

“Stonewall is rightly proud of its role in creating this change. But the benefits of progress haven’t been equally felt by all LGBT+ people. Today, we see the LGBT+ community around us responding to the challenge of this pandemic with solidarity, resilience and creativity. But we can also see deep inequalities.”

Mercy Ships UK, a medical aid and development charity, has appointed Joanne Balaam as acting executive director.

Balaam has served at Mercy Ships UK and its US counterpart, supporting finance and operations and most recently as the deputy executive director of Mercy Ships UK. She succeeds Lea Milligan. 

“I am honoured to take up the role of leading such an outstanding team within this incredible organisation,” said Balaam.  

Lea Milligan will become the chief executive of MQ: Transforming Mental Health at the end of June.

Prior to Mercy Ships UK, Milligan held a range of senior roles across the charity sector including in community and young offender education charities.

He said: I’m delighted to be joining MQ at such an important time for mental health. The enormity of the challenge faced by the world's healthcare systems and societies is truly at all-time high. While our immediate response has been on securing health from infection, the focus now and as we rebuild must also be in continuing to expand our understanding and ability to support mental health and wellbeing for all.

“I have seen first-hand the impact of misunderstood, misdiagnosed and poorly treated mental health. MQ exists to build a brighter future, where mental health conditions are understood, effectively treated and maybe even prevented.”

Simon on the Streets, which supports homeless and vulnerable people across West Yorkshire, has appointed Natalie Moran as chief executive.

Moran will oversee the running of the organisation, coordinate its outreach support and drive fundraising activities, as well as spearhead the charity’s future development and growth. 

She replaces previous chief executive Eric Richardson.

She said: “This is a really challenging time in which to make the move to Simon on the Streets, with the Covid-19 pandemic making the charity’s work supporting homeless people more important than ever.

“Although some homeless people are now in temporary accommodation, there is a big question about what happens next, and it’s vital that we help to shape the next chapter and contribute to the decision-making process, in order to keep the region’s vulnerable safe.”


Mencap has appointed Mairi Martin to the newly-created role of executive director of transformation, from 1 June. Martin is currently leader of exceptional service at Cornerstone.

The new role has responsibility for the organisation’s transformation agenda. This will include the development, delivery, evaluation and alignment of a transformational strategy for Mencap.

Martin said: “I am thrilled to be joining Mencap, having been hugely impressed by their work to drive change for the better for people with a learning disability.

“As someone who thrives on being part of a great team that transforms organisations, I am excited to have the opportunity to build on that with Mencap and look forward to getting started.”


Eric Salama has been appointed as the new chair of Comic Relief. 

Salama recently stepped down as the chief executive of international research, insight and data consultancy Kantar. He has previously served as an adviser to the government on e-commerce and business, and as a non-executive director at DFID.

Salama will formally start the role of chair on 1 July, and succeeds Tim Davie, BBC Studios chief executive, who has served on the board for over six and a half years.

Salama said: “Comic Relief has achieved so much over the past 30 years and has the potential to achieve even more over the next 30. Its creative heart is unique and its services are needed more than ever right now. 

“I look forward to helping the charity grow to even greater success. I’m thrilled to be joining a group of such talented people and I can’t wait to start.” 

The National Brain Appeal has appointed Jackie Ashley as its new chair.

The charity raises funds for The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery and the UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology in London. 

Ashley recently stood down as president of Lucy Cavendish College at Cam​bridge University. Her career in journalism spans 40 years.

She takes over the role at a challenging time, with much of the charity’s normal fundraising activities affected by the Covid-19 crisis.

Ashley said: “During these unprecedented times, the team at The National Brain Appeal has been working harder than ever. We are quickly adapting to changing times and are excited by the new ways of working and fundraising that the lockdown has taught us.

Despite the difficulties that all charities are facing right now, The National Brain Appeal is moving onwards and upwards with zest and determination, and I am delighted to be a part of it.”

She takes over from Peter Stone, who held the post from 2015. 

The Nuffield Foundation has appointed professor Dame Wendy Hall as chair of the Ada Lovelace Institute.

She is the UK’s first artificial intelligence skills champion and regius professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton, where she is also executive director of the web science institute.

Her three-year term as chair will begin on 1 June. She succeeds Alan Wilson, who retired as executive chair in February having led the Institute’s development phase. 

Hall said: “I am very excited to be offered the opportunity to become chair of the Ada Lovelace Institute. I have been very impressed with what the Institute has achieved since its inception and the commitment of the Nuffield Foundation to its development.”

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