Who's Moving: United Response, British Heart Foundation, Seafarers UK and more

20 Jul 2020 News

Dr Robert Easton

Chief executive and director

The Fawcett Society’s chief executive, Sam Smethers, is stepping down after five years in the role. 

She said: “After five fantastic years at Fawcett I have decided it is time for me to step down. I will be leaving in December.

“I remain fully committed to the issues we are campaigning on and the important work we do, but I think Fawcett could benefit from some new leadership and fresh energy and I need to take a step back to rebalance my life. 

“It has been such a privilege to do this job, and I have loved it. I am extremely proud of the work we have done and what we have achieved together. There are so many people I need to thank – all our members and supporters, our allies, funders, local groups, partners and volunteers, all our trustees and also my wonderful staff team past and present.

“I plan to stay involved in equality and social justice issues one way or another as that is what I care deeply about, and I look forward to seeing Fawcett go from strength to strength in the months and years ahead.”

Muslim Aid's chief executive, Jehangir Malik, has also recently stepped down. Kashif Shabir has stepped up from his role as transformation and strategy director at Muslim Aid to become acting chief executive. 

Delphine Moralis has been appointed the new chief executive of the European Foundation Centre.

She will take up the position in September. Moralis is currently secretary general of Terre des Hommes International Federation and brings several years of international experience in building and leading pan-European associations and organisations, including in the human rights and development sectors.  

Moralis succeeds Gerry Salole, who will retire at the end of this month after leading the EFC for the past 15 years.

Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis (OMS) has appointed Grazina Berry as its new chief executive. 

She joined the global charity on Monday 6 July 2020 and replaces Gary McMahon, who has stepped down having been with the charity since its inception.

Up until recently, Berry was chief executive of the Aplastic Anaemia Trust. She has extensive knowledge of community-led organisations, commercial strategy, research and operational excellence.

Berry said: “I can’t wait to meet our Overcoming MS members, volunteers and supporters – virtually at first – and understand how we can best serve our communities.

“While these are strange times, we already have a superb digital platform and content – including our website, podcasts and webinars – and I am confident we will continue to deliver leading lifestyle advice and inclusive communications for everyone living with MS around the world.”

Youth homelessness charity Step by Step has appointed Debbie Moreton as its new chief executive.

Step by Step operates across six counties in the south of England, supporting vulnerable young people with accommodation and specialist support, including counselling and life skills training.

Moreton joined the charity in 2008 and rose through the organisation to become head of young people’s services. 

She said: “I am committed to ensure we deliver outstanding support for all young people within our services, enabling and empowering each young person to reach their potential, live independently and positively contribute to their community. Recent events have reinforced the need to advocate for young people within the homelessness sector. 

“As a member of the National Policy Forum, I will work to ensure young people’s voices are heard and help shape local and national government policy, as well as the future direction of Step by Step.”

Clergy Support Trust has announced the appointment of Ben Cahill-Nicholls as its new chief executive.

He will succeed Jeremy Moodey, who is stepping down in the autumn to complete his training for self-supporting ministry in the Church of England.

Cahill-Nicholls will join the charity from the Serco Institute and Foundation, where he is deputy director. He began his career in the civil service and was an adviser to both the Laming Review and the House of Commons Education Committee.

He is a trustee of the international development charity Mellon Educate UK and the youth charity RicNic, which he founded. He is also training for self-supporting ordained ministry in the Church of England, aiming to be a ‘worker priest’ continuing with secular employment alongside local ministry.

He will start work at Clergy Support Trust in November and will seek to build on the changes made under Moodey’s leadership since April 2017. 

The West Horsley Place Trust has appointed Ben Pearce as the charity’s new director. He will take up his appointment in September.

Pearce was previously executive director of Paintings in Hospitals, a national arts-in-health charity, where he worked with the board on vision and strategy and led the team to new partnerships and the charity to its 60th anniversary. 

Prior to this, Pearce was project director at the Royal Academy of Arts (RA), developing and leading their National Lottery Heritage Funded Reveal, Celebrate, Explore programme and planning the first stages of the RA250 redevelopment.

Peter Pearce said: “I am delighted to be handing over to such an accomplished successor as Ben, with whom I am honoured to share a name although we are not related! 

“It has been a huge privilege to be the first director of the Trust created by the vision and philanthropy of Bamber and Christina Gascoigne, and I thank the trustees for giving me such an opportunity.

“I now hand over the baton to Ben to carry forward our partnerships and programmes on the foundations we have laid, and to continue the long term programme of restoration.”


Learning disability charity United Response has appointed chartered accountant Andy Ward as its new director of finance. 

He succeeds departing executive Jerome Walls, who will leave the post in August 2020 after four years of service.

During his vast career, which spans more than 30 years, Ward has worked at companies such as Christie’s, Alliance Boots, Compass PLC, AT&T and Ernst & Young.

Ward said: “I am delighted to be joining United Response at what is an undoubtedly challenging but incredibly exciting time for both the organisation and wider sector. 

“I am incredibly enthusiastic about moving into the third sector and joining an organisation which makes a tangible difference to people’s lives every single day.”

Ward formally joined United Response on 6 July 2020.


The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has named Dr Robert Easton as the charity’s inaugural distinguished fellow.

The role, which is a lifetime appointment, has been created to celebrate those who have made an exceptional contribution through volunteering and philanthropic activity to the BHF.

Easton stepped down from the BHF’s board in October 2019, following six years of service.

Easton said: “It is a great privilege to be named the British Heart Foundation’s first distinguished fellow.

“The amazing work that the British Heart Foundation does, from its pioneering research to its tremendous fundraising events, has a special place in my heart, and plays an invaluable role in medical research.

“Serving the charity has been a great honour. While I might not be on the board of trustees anymore, I look forward to continue supporting the wonderful work carried out by the charity as a distinguished fellow.”


David Robb will take up the role of chair of Aberlour Children’s Charity at their AGM in September 2020. 

Robb joined the Aberlour Board in December 2019, having worked in the Scottish government since 1990.

From 2011 to 2019 he was chief executive of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR). Since January 2019 he has been the chief executive of the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS).

Robb replaces Val Surgenor, who has decided to step down after serving as a board member since 2009, including holding the role of chair since 2014. 

Robb said: “These are very difficult times for many of Scotland’s children and young people, so the charity faces some big challenges. There are however huge opportunities too, as we adjust to the ‘new normal’. 

“Val will leave an impressive legacy, and we have a strong senior team in place. Aberlour has a long, proud history, and I look forward to working with our staff, volunteers and stakeholders and helping steer the charity through the next few years as we rise to the challenges together.”

Paul Butterworth was appointed chair of Seafarers UK at the charity’s AGM on 7 July, after serving as a trustee for three years.

Butterworth is a partner and head of the maritime and shipping practice at the global executive search firm Odgers Berndtson, based in their London office.

He has 28 years experience in the maritime sector, 15 of which have been in executive search. 

Commenting upon his appointment, Paul said: “I am deeply honoured to be taking the helm of the Seafarers UK General Council, particularly during this year’s Seafarers Awareness Week.

“Over the last few months, the plight of stranded seafarers has gained increasing visibility and the work of Seafarers UK has never been so needed since our founding in 1917.”

Civil Society Media’s 13th annual Trustee Exchange conference will be run virtually over two mornings on the 29th and 30th July. Pressure on trustee boards has never been higher and we are keen to respond to that need for greater help and guidance in a safe and timely manner – hence the move to an online conference. Find out more here.


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