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Hft appoints Virgin Care MD as new chief executive

Kirsty Matthews

Hft, the national charity supporting adults with learning disabilities, has announced the appointment of a new chief executive.

Kirsty Matthews has joined the company with over 30 years’ of experience in the health and social care sector, having held various leadership roles in public and private organisations.

She was previously the Integration Programme Lead at NHS Bath and North East Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group, before joining Virgin Care’s Bath and North East Somerset Community Health and Social Care Services as managing director in November 2017.

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Matthews will use her experience to support Hft on its next stage of development and in continuing the delivery of care and support services to adults with learning disabilities throughout the pandemic.

This will involve ensuring the health and safety of all of those in Hft’s care, as well as the charity’s 3,000 strong staff team.

Hft said ongoing development work will continue to ensure its systems and processes are efficient and effective and this will be taken forward by the appointment of a new Change Director, Mel Corish.

Matthews is also keen to increase brand awareness of the work carried out by the charity, to support Hft’s fundraising efforts, and to strengthen the voices of the people supported by Hft in all of the charity’s work, to ultimately help Hft to extend its reach.

Matthews, who will be based in the charity’s head office in Emersons Green, Bristol, said: “I am delighted to be joining Hft at such an important time and feel privileged to have the opportunity to become part of the leadership team.

“I am very aware of the incredible work that has been taking place across our services, particularly with the additional challenges posed by the pandemic. I look forward to getting to know our staff teams over coming months and working closely with the leadership team to plan the next stage in Hft’s future.”

Matthews takes over from Interim CEO, Steve White, who was appointed to steer the charity through a transition period and will become part of Hft’s Board of Trustees in the spring of 2021.

Mandy Bunce, Hft’s Chair of Trustees commented: “On behalf of Hft’s Board of Trustees I would like to extend our thanks to Steve White for his strong leadership, guidance and support. Steve successfully set a clear direction for Hft and helped to stabilise the organisation through this critical period, and has been an inspiration to us all during these exceptional times. I look forward to welcoming him to Hft’s Board of Trustees next year.

“I am delighted to be welcoming Kirsty Matthews as our new CEO and look forward to working with her as we embark on an exciting new chapter for Hft.”

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Sarah Clarke

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