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Dev-Bank Wales MBO
6 June 2024

Social Mobility Charity Announces New Chair

Young people’s charity WeMindTheGap has appointed a new Chair in its tenth anniversary year.

Karen Campbell-Williams takes over from current chair and the charity’s founder, Rachel Clacher CBE.

Karen is an experienced finance professional, having worked at Grant Thornton UK LLP for 30 years providing commercial tax advice and latterly as a member of the Strategic Leadership Team and UK Head of Tax. She has a passion for supporting organisations that work to support social mobility, having played a key role in driving this agenda at Grant Thornton as the firm’s sponsor for social mobility at leadership level, and brings considerable experience in governance.

WeMindTheGap’s outgoing Chair, Rachel Clacher, co-founded the Wrexham-based global company, Moneypenny, and founded the charity through a commitment and drive to support and create opportunities for young people.

During this time and through Rachel’s leadership the charity has gone from strength to strength, delivering a wide range of work across the North West and North Wales to transform the lives of hundreds of young people improving their wellbeing, confidence, aspirations and skills enabling them to have real choices in life and work and delivering significant social value and public cost benefits.

For every £1 invested, WeMindTheGap returns £3.60 in social value within 18 months. Within one year of graduating from the charity’s programmes, a social impact of £550,000 is achieved per cohort of ten young people, with a public cost saving of £190,000.

Karen Campbell-Williams, said:

“I’m delighted to be appointed as Chair of WeMindTheGap at a truly exciting time as we work to build on the significant achievements made over the last ten years and plan for even bigger future reach. Social mobility is a topic very close to my heart having grown up in a working class family in Glasgow, and I firmly believe that everyone should be given the opportunity to succeed in life irrespective of their background.  I love that WeMindTheGap is harnessing and building communities to support young people to thrive in their lives and I’m delighted to be working with the Board, the leadership team and all of our fantastic team on the ground to support WeMindTheGap in its next stage of its growth and development.”

Rachel Clacher, who will remain on the Board as a Trustee, said:

“I’m delighted to welcome Karen’s appointment as Chair of WeMindTheGap. The wealth of experience and new talents that she brings will help us do even more to create the opportunities and support that so many young people need to achieve their aspirations. I’m extremely proud of what WeMindTheGap has achieved over the years with and for our young people. What we do is truly transformational, bold and brave, and here’s to us doing more and better with Karen’s support.”

WeMindTheGap works across North Wales and the North West to deliver a range of programmes to support young people to develop the skills, confidence, maturity and aspirations to live independent lives, which includes face-to-face and virtual programmes WeGrow and WeDiscover that develop confidence, friendship and self-esteem as well as practical employment and educational skills.

A crucial differentiator is that young people who work with WeMindTheGap have access to further development and support through WeBelong, the charity’s alumni programme which gives them the opportunity to keep in touch with WeMindTheGap communities to ensure they always have access to love, care and support when they need it. Last year the charity undertook ‘The Big Conversation’, that more than 10% of 18 – 21-year-olds in Wrexham contributed to. The outcomes of that project have been shared far and wide and are informing a whole new, more inclusive, approach to working with young people.

Ali Wheeler, WeMindTheGap’s Chief Executive, said:

“WeMindTheGap has made real achievements and progress over the last ten years to transform the lives of young people through Rachel’s leadership, innovation and vision. We know that the challenges facing young people are continuing to grow, and so our work to bridge the gaps in their lives and provide the right support for those that are hardest to reach has never been more important. I’m delighted to welcome Karen as Chair to support us in developing and growing the charity so that we can impact as many young lives as possible.”

WeMindTheGap is part funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund in partnership with Flintshire County Council and Wrexham County Borough Council.

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