After 22 years, Alison Fisher, our Chief Executive, is retiring. 

Alison has been with Mind BLMK for 22 years, starting as a volunteer and working tirelessly over that time to take a diverse and disparate range of groups across four counties and building a sector leading organisation, seen as the 'turn to' place to support local solutions. 

Alison Fisher

Known for her love of shoes, cars and technology, Alison has built a reputation both within Mind nationally and within the third sector as someone who champions the causes that matter, creates strong and effective partnerships and challenges inequality in a firm, but fair way. Alison is enormously respected and known as a trailblazer within the Mind network; someone who looked forward, saw changes coming rather than reacting after the event and modernised the role of CEO, creating a more professional approach both individually and for the organisation. 

The crowds gather for the leaving do

One of the challenges of working in this sector is the constant change, as Alison mentions in her words below. Mental health services and the charity sector more widely have been in a state of flux for as long as anyone can remember. Despite this, Mind BLMK has grown from some small, very local befriending services into one of the leading Mind associations, a significant provider across four counties with regional and national reach and renowned for providing diverse, high quality services. The leadership skills needed to undertake this journey are considerable and it is testament to the skills that Alison has brought to the role that Mind BLMK is is such a strong position. 

Alison is remembered for other things too; dressing up as SuperTed for an awareness raising event, the almost legendary leather dress at the AGM, the best shoe collection since Imelda Marcos and a great sense of humour. Her drive, determination, sense of fair play and sincere wish to see better funded, better quality support for people with mental health needs have underpinned her time with Mind BLMK. She will be missed. 

Alison speaks at her leaving do

Below is a farewell message from Alison.

 

Hello Everybody
I am sure you will all now be aware that I am leaving Mind BLMK after nearly 22 years. My final day is fast approaching but I could not leave without saying thank you.
 
Mind BLMK is now in a very different place than when I started and I have been lucky enough to have witnessed a growth in service scope and geography during my tenure as Chief Executive – as well as massive shifts in health and social care policy.
 
Looking back, it is apparent that Mind BLMK never sits still, and I am proud of the way that we have been able to react to and use opportunities to improve the lives of those who come to us for help. Even as I leave, the organisation is poised to begin an exciting new Peer Support collaboration.
 
I leave Mind BLMK confident that it is in a strong position to continue to champion mental health and those people who use mental health services.
 
I have been fortunate to have always had the backing of a very strong Board of Trustees who, together with my colleagues on the Executive team, have kept me on the right track and guided me though some challenging times. My thanks go to the Board and to all the staff team for their support which has enabled me to effectively lead Mind BLMK, something I would not have been able to do alone. I wish the organisation well for the future, under the very capable leadership of Caroline Holman.
 
Goodbye and thank you for having me. Alison

 Margaret introduces Alison      People queuing at the buffet

We wish Alison all the very best in her retirement and thank her for all she has done.

Alison receives flowers from Roger