Welcome to our new Chair of Trustees

Thursday 18 November 2021

Ian was elected as our new Chair in October following the retirement of David Coslett. He has already met many of the staff and young adults and is looking forward to leading the Trust through its next exciting phase. So everyone can get to know a little about Ian we asked him a few questions.

How did you originally hear about Dame Hannahs?
I heard about Dame Hannahs from a business colleague who knows of my interests and experience in supporting individuals with disabilities. He suggested the Trust would be exactly the kind of organisation that I would like to help.
What motivated you to become a Trustee?
The motivation comes from being part of a charity that makes such a difference to the lives of the adults with disabilities we care for. Indeed it is difficult to underestimate the importance of the care we provide. It comes from understanding just how difficult their lives would be without Dame Hannahs. When it became clear that Dame Hannahs were looking for somebody with my skills and experience, it was impossible to turn down the invitation. 
Have you worked in the charity sector before?
During my business career, I have been closely involved with a number of charities, who found themselves having to overcome challenging and difficult situations. My work helped them to get through their difficulties, refocus on their core values, renew their sense of purpose and put in place the financial security that is so important for the long term sustainability of any charity. In the past I have also been a non-executive director of a number of social housing organisations, all with a number of care homes within their businesses. The challenges of keeping these open to help and support residents – rather than closing them down or selling them off has given me the experience over many years to properly understand just how difficult working in the social care sector can be.
From your previous experience what do you feel you can bring to Dame Hannahs?
Hopefully it is the humility to understand how important it is to encourage everyone to live life to the full including having access to the support for them to meet their full potential. For a number of years, I was the disability champion for a major UK business, and this helped me to properly understand and appreciate all the little and large things we can do to make life easier for others. In practical terms, I am a very experienced businessman, with a track record of building successful and sustainable organisations in a number of industries and countries. The skills I have learned and the challenges I have overcome, will hopefully be helpful as Dame Hannahs moves on, from what has been a difficult period in its history. 

What do you see as your plan for the next two years? 
I want to make sure that Dame Hannahs thrives and moves forward and that we concentrate on what we do best – providing first class care for our adults with disabilities. It is vital we keep looking at ways to expand their lives and to enable them to have an even better quality of life. It is also critical we make sure that the Trust is in a position to provide the same level of care for a greater number of adults with disabilities on a sustainable basis. However, nothing will happen if we don’t ensure all our employees are properly recognised and supported. It’s my job, with my other trustees, to get to know the staff, to fully understand what is needed to help them do their jobs to the best of their ability and support the Executive in putting in place what is needed. It is fundamental to our future success that we maintain an encouraging, positive nurturing and welcoming environment. Ensuring that all our employees have the confidence to move forward with the knowledge and belief that Dame Hannahs now has a bright future.
What do you see as the key challenge?
Apart from all of the above, my priority is to help spread the word that Dame Hannahs is now in a strong and stable position and making good progress. To expand the reach of the charity by finding more volunteers of all ages and reconnecting with key supporters in Plymouth and the South Hams. Much of the past and hopefully future success of Dame Hannahs has come through the dedication and support we receive from all our volunteers. The Covid epidemic has made it much harder for us to be fully engaged with our volunteers and one of my key goals is to ensure we continue to work closely with our existing and new volunteers, supporting them to the best of our ability.