Our country is starting out on one of the greatest journeys in recent history. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reshape the UK, not only in terms of how we relate to the rest of the world, but also here at home.
The prime minister has been vocal in highlighting the burning and everyday injustices that too many of us face today. A key priority must be to build a stronger and fairer society.
The incredible organisations that make up our charity sector will be at the heart of this work. It was a huge privilege to be asked to take on ministerial responsibility for the sector in June, as part of the civil society brief. I have long been in awe of our charities. Large and small, they work tirelessly to address some of the most pressing problems we face, driven by the passion and commitment of incredible staff and volunteers.
But I believe that there is even more potential that can be unlocked if we can find ways to make partnership across all sectors easier and more effective. Some great work is already going on, but there is much that needs to change to make this good practice common.
Charity leaders do an amazing job in often extremely challenging circumstances.
I recognise that a large part of the change that is needed will come from the public sector and the way in which we create opportunities for charities and others to engage in public services. But as we are celebrating the 30th anniversary of ACEVO, it feels appropriate to focus on the role of charity leaders and the support they need to reach their full potential.
Charity leaders do an amazing job in often extremely challenging circumstances. But from what I have heard in the last few months, this contribution and commitment goes largely unrecognised. It is easy for leaders to feel isolated, with a huge burden on their shoulders. Too often leaders must focus all their efforts on the day-to-day running of key services. This can mean they are unable to take time to plan for the future and look for new partnerships and opportunities, let alone to think about their personal development.
Too often leaders must focus all their efforts on the day-to-day running of key services.
I don’t know what it is like to run a charity, but I do understand the pressures of leadership and the impact it can have. It is clear to me that all leaders need to be supported if their organisations are to reach their full potential.
My challenge to those with an interest in creating a stronger society, and in the future of the charity sector, is to put the needs of leaders at the heart of their work. Government is ready to work with you to support leaders. I look forward to seeing new ideas and partnerships emerge in the years ahead as we work together to address this challenge.
The charity sector has come a long way in the last 30 years. In the next 30 it can do even more, at the heart of efforts to build a stronger and fairer society. But this will only be possible if we work together to support our current and future leaders.