After ten years of leading Rural Action Yorkshire and Community First Yorkshire, our Chief Executive Leah Swain is moving on.
As the outgoing Chief Executive of Community First Yorkshire I wanted to say a final thank you to colleagues, members, funders and partners who have supported the work of the charity over the last ten years, and who have also been such a pleasure to work with personally. It’s been a challenging year, but we have all worked together to ensure VCSE organisations and rural communities got the support they needed through the pandemic.
It has been a real honour to have led the charity for so long and to have had the chance to be involved with so many great projects and meet so many amazing and dedicated community volunteers. I have felt inspired by your stories and achievements, and can honestly say you have taught me something new about community spirit, ambition, and resilience every single week. Covid-19 has brought out the absolute best in Yorkshire communities – so much kindness, courage and creativity.
After a decade I think it is fair to say that both Rural Action Yorkshire and Community First Yorkshire are now part of mine and my family’s DNA. We cannot visit a new village without checking the notice board to see what is happening (our favourite find was a drumming workshop with a guest drummer from Africa in Suffolk), every family celebration happens in a village hall, and each of us volunteers for causes close to our hearts. I have learnt so much that I will take into my new role as Chief Executive of Sirius Minerals Foundation.
Finally, a huge thank you to my team at Community First Yorkshire – they embody everything we stand for as a charity and I am immensely proud of their work. If you find you need a helping hand, some advice or a little guidance please do contact them – I know I will in my new job!
Our Chair David Sharp has expressed the feelings of our board of trustees;
“Her legacy is a well-respected, sustainable, well-resourced organisation with amazing staff all working towards that aim of creating inclusive, pro-active and resilient communities across Yorkshire.
So, from me personally but also the Board, thank you Leah for everything you achieved at Community First Yorkshire and we wish you well in your new role – they are incredibly lucky to have you.”
Read David’s goodbye in full.