NACCOM is delighted to have welcomed Bridget Young to the team as our new Director.

“I am thrilled to now be in post as NACCOM’s Director, and as I finish my first week leading the charity, I wanted to reflect on how honoured I am to have joined such an inspirational network of organisations, and to highlight what NACCOM will be doing over the next six months.”  

Where we are now 

“Last year, the organisation started a Strategic Review of our previous strategy (2017 – 2020) and while that work has been paused due to staffing changes, finishing this review and being ready to launch our next strategy will be a priority for myself and the team over the coming months.  

The Strategic Review process to-date has been comprehensive, and I don’t anticipate that any major changes will be necessary. I am committed to NACCOM’s focus on supporting and working with all our amazing member organisations to prevent destitution amongst people seeking asylum, refugees and other migrants with no recourse, and to push back against the increasingly hostile policies being proposed by this Government. After such a busy and challenging period for all of us, and as we continue to adjust and respond to the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, this is a good moment to pause, reflect, listen and learn. Moving forward, we will put plans in place to ensure that NACCOM continues to best serve the needs of our members and to champion your vital work, and to play our role effectively and strategically in the movement to end destitution, whilst ensuring that the charity is fit for purpose to do this work.” 

Staff changes 

“There has been a lot of change over the last six months at NACCOM – all for good reasons. Our previous Director, Renae Mann, moved to the Refugee Council as Executive Director of Services. Heather Petch has been with us as Interim Director, and will be leaving at the end of July, and Jessie Seal, our Research and Policy Co-ordinator, will soon be moving on to work in the homelessness sector. We are so grateful to all these colleagues for their contribution to NACCOM’s work, and I’m delighted to know that we will continue to have them as friends and champions in their new roles. I wanted to say a particular thank you to Heather for her support and kindness during our Director transition period, as well as our dedicated and experienced team of Trustees, who, alongside Heather, have so ably guided NACCOM through this period of change. 

We will also soon be saying another goodbye to a very important member of the NACCOM family. Lucy Smith has been with NACCOM since the network became a charity in 2015, and is a key member of the team. Working in a number of roles across the organisation, Lucy has most recently taken hold of our policy and campaigns work, which has particularly stepped up and had impact during the pandemic. This summer, Lucy is moving on to a fantastic role with South Yorkshire Housing Association, where she will support residents to be involved in volunteering and service development, taking the lead on a digital inclusion project. Though I know Lucy has loved working with NACCOM members, I think it’s so exciting that she will be using all her skills, experience, and passion for social justice to support people to have a voice in decisions that affect their lives. I’m sure you will join me in wishing Lucy all the very best in her new role. 

In light of these staffing changes, and the plans to spend the next six months finalising our new strategy, we are recruiting a few new members of staff on a temporary basis. You will have seen the part-time Community Researcher Facilitator role, which closes on Tuesday 13 July. Next week we will also be advertising for a full-time, temporary Policy and Research Officer post and a full-time temporary Administrator (details of these posts will soon be published on the members’ Google group and our website). All these roles will enable the organisation to keep up the fantastic work that Jessie and Lucy have been doing, and will provide some additional capacity to the team as we go through these changes. The Strategic Review will include decisions on the more permanent staffing structure for these roles and we will have more news on that in the New Year.”

Looking ahead 

“Though I come with years of experience in housing and homelessness, I know I am at the beginning of an exciting learning journey regarding NACCOM and its history, our diverse and growing network of members and work with partners, and the world of asylum and immigration.  

At this time of both transition and reflection, and as we say farewell to important members of staff, we will continue to support each other as a team and as a network, to deliver to the highest standards possible, whilst responding to whatever this year brings both in terms of immigration policy and legislation, and the ongoing challenges of Covid-19. As a network – and as a movement – our focus, resilience and determination is needed now more than ever. I look forward to working with you all to make the changes we want to see possible.”

In solidarity ~ Bridget