Secretary of State’s Visit

James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government visited Bristol on 7 November to see the work being funded by the Government’s Rough Sleepers Initiative. June Clarke, Ara’s Housing Services Manager, who co-ordinates the new prison release work as part of this initiative, was invited to meet the Minister at St Anne’s House – the new shelter for rough sleepers.

June spoke to the Minister about the importance of joined up partnership working across government Health, Justice and Housing departments, as well as the need for a high level of co-ordination at local level. June emphasised the need to meet prisoners when they are in prison to help them arrange housing and at the gate when they are released.

Ara announces Simon Thompson as its new Chair

The Board of Trustees at Ara would like to welcome Simon Thompson to the board in the role of Chair.

Simon takes over this position due to Ara’s current Chair, Patsy Hudson, standing down at the end of her term of office.

At its AGM on 5th November, the Board thanked Patsy for her excellent stewardship and for leading the development of Ara’s exciting new 5 year strategy “Springboards for Growth”.

Simon has over 25 years’ experience of successfully leading, commissioning and delivering innovative health, housing and social care services at Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer level in the public, charity and private sectors.

Patsy said, “Being involved with Ara for the past 9 years has been a very special experience for me. As in any organisation there have been ups and downs. However I leave feeling confident that Ara is in a position to work with and support an increasing number of clients who will benefit from the excellent support and recovery services that Ara delivers”.

Simon said, “I would like to thank Patsy for her excellent leadership over the last 9 years, leaving at a time when Ara has sustainability, an exceptional Board and management team. I am extremely proud and delighted to be joining a well-respected charity at a time when we believe we provide a great number of high quality recovery focused services and make a difference to the local community and further afield”.

Graham England Ara’s Chief Executive said, “It is an exciting time in Ara’s history. Our talented Board of Trustees, lead by Patsy, have set an exciting new strategic path for us. With Simon’s experience, knowledge and leadership we will be working hard to expand our much needed and excellent services to more beneficiaries”