A NEW leader is taking over family support charity Parents And Children Together (PACT).
Jan Fishwick OBE, retired at the end of March, after 13 years leading the charity.
During that time, the organisation has grown from a small adoption and fostering team to one of the largest voluntary adoption agencies in the country.
Ms Fishwick, who lives near High Wycombe, said she felt her retirement came at the right time for PACT as the charity “enters a new chapter” in delivering services.
She said: “It is also the right time for me as I am looking forward to spending more time with family and friends, opportunities to travel, take up creative hobbies, and volunteer in one or two charities.
“PACT will always remain a firm favourite and receive my ongoing support into the future because of the valuable difference it continues to make to so many children, women and families.
“I will miss the exceptional group of staff and volunteers, their impressive dedication and hard work, commitment and flexibility, ingenuity and creativity.”
Ms Fishwick said she is confident her successor, Natausha van Vliet, will bring “excellent and inspirational leadership” to grow the charity further.
Ms van Vliet has worked for the charity for almost eight years and was the chief operating officer.
During Ms Fishwick’s leadership, the charity developed online support platform The Adopter Hub, set up Alana House – a Reading-based community project to support women facing multiple disadvantages – and Bounce Back 4 Kids – a therapeutic support programme for children affected by domestic abuse.
While chief executive, 825 children have been adopted by PACT families, more than 1,000 vulnerable women have been supported by Alana House and 500 families have been helped by the Bounce Back 4 Kids programme.
Chair of PACT’s trustee board, Wes Cuell, said: ”Jan’s outstanding leadership has enabled PACT to make a very significant contribution to the quality of the lives of hundreds of children and families and she has ensured that PACT is in a very strong position to continue our vital work.
“We send her our sincere thanks and good wishes for a happy and fulfilling retirement.”
Ms van Vliet said: “PACT is an amazing organisation to be part of, and I have so enjoyed working alongside Jan. She really will be greatly missed by us all.
“PACT’s support programmes and services for vulnerable women, children and adoptive families have never been more needed. I feel proud, honoured and excited to be taking over as CEO, working together with our dedicated PACT team to deliver PACT’s mission to build and strengthen families.”