As has been the case for many small voluntary sector organisations, the last two years have been tough. The Abianda team has continued to deliver essential services to young women throughout COVID, and continued to deliver on cross-organisational projects and development plans, all of which I am incredibly proud of. However, COVID has also pushed us to our limits of resource, capacity and wellbeing. The impact of delivering services that have such a close proximity to trauma, under conditions of isolation, has asked more of our team than ever and challenged our infrastructure. During this time, we have relied on our small, but incredible, board of directors to guide us through the unique challenges of running an organisation such as Abianda through the pandemic. It is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to three members of our board. We wish Wesley, Camille and Kamini all the best with family and work plans. I am so incredibly grateful for the expertise, reflection, guidance and compassion they have all brought to their board roles. Over the past six months, we have been refining our board recruitment processes as part of our efforts to increase transparency and diversity at this level of governance in the organisation. I am delighted to announce the appointment of five new members to Abianda's board of directors. The group brings an amazing level of skill and expertise in their specialist areas, as well as years of collective experience in strategy and leadership. Most importantly, there is a strong alliance across values. Every member of our board is with us because of a values match with Abianda and a desire to challenge oppressive treatment of women and girls, and fight for equality for the young women we support. In addition to this major expansion and development of our board, I am also very pleased to announce that Clare Walkeden will be our new Chair. Clare is a long-standing board member with Abianda and has seen the organisation grow and develop over recent years. Her knowledge of the organisation and her strategic capabilities, combined with her coaching expertise, means she is perfectly suited to guide the board in its support of Abianda. Over the coming week we will be doing a spotlight on each of our new board members, so you can get to know them a little. I am really hopeful and excited to work with a group of such incredible people and minds, in realising our ambitions over the coming years.
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