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Gareth’s first blog: Taking over the baton!

Just a few weeks ago, I was reading Luen’s final blog, entitled ‘My Legacy’, and boy what a legacy it is! Luen, thank you so much for all that you have given not only to Forget Me Not but also to the wider charity sector over 30+ years of dedicated service. We will miss you but rest assured that we will certainly continue to build on that legacy.
I thought I’d use this, my first blog as CEO, firstly to introduce myself to those who don’t know me but also to reflect on my priorities as I get to grips with my new role.

I might be new to the role, but I’m certainly not a new face at Forget Me Not!

I joined Forget Me Not in 2016 as Head of Trading. A few years later, I became Director of Income Generation, responsible for our fundraising and marketing teams as well as all our shops. Now, I couldn’t be more proud to be the CEO for this amazing charity. 

Every day, since the moment I first stepped through the doors of Russell House back in 2016, I’ve learnt something new. Whether that’s hearing from a family about a particular challenge they face, exploring with the team how we could do things differently or through my own personal and professional development; my knowledge, understanding and experience is always growing. 

It’s the same for Forget Me Not. We’re a learning organisation, always listening to what families tell us and creating innovative services to better meet their needs.

That gives us (and me) the agility and flexibility to adapt to the changing needs of families. We did this superbly during lockdown when we couldn’t deliver vital support in the usual way. We quickly changed how we did things so that the families we support, who felt vulnerable and isolated, got the support they needed. We’re doing that again, right now, as we develop a new way of caring for families to help them not just survive, but thrive. And that also means developing new ways of raising funds too.

As CEO, my key priority is to protect the future of Forget Me Not. This means having the right care model, the right finances and the right people in place so that we’re here for many years to come. And ultimately, so that we’re able to help more families and provide more innovative services and support.

A key part of my role is to continue to bang the drum about the vital work children’s hospices do and the need to fund them properly, I want to ensure that we’re recognised as a critical service for families that need us right here in West Yorkshire.

I remain in awe of what we do here at Forget Me Not. Alongside my colleagues in the senior leadership team and all the staff, volunteers and supporters that make us who we are, I want to build on, strengthen and protect that service so that no family in West Yorkshire has to face the loss of their child alone – that’s the promise I’m committed to, now it’s time to get on and deliver on it.