It is strange coming into a new organisation; new people, new ways of doing things. At the Michael Wood Centre, however, I felt immediately at home.
This was partly because of the way I was recruited; once I had passed the interview with the Trustees, I was invited to the annual LASS and Well for Living planning day. I met staff, trustees, service users and people from other organisations that work closely with LASS and Well for Living. All of them were scoring me on how well I did in the discussions and exercises. Scary stuff! But even then, I saw how welcoming everyone was and how much everyone cared about delivering excellent services to the community.
Going into a new place you always wonder if you’ll fit in. I think it will be a good match as my background is in charity management, including running a Citizens Advice Bureau. I have worked with older peoples’ charities, been Chair of a Healthwatch Stakeholder Panel, worked for an environmental charity and lead a charity working with international students (useful in this neck of the woods!).
For the last few years, I have been running my own community interest company, working with small to medium sized voluntary sector and community groups helping them to get volunteers, funding and other resources and to manage and govern themselves effectively. All of this is going to come in very handy at LASS and Well for Living.
Originally from Hertfordshire, I have lived and worked at various points around the UK. I now live on the Leicestershire-Rutland Border and I am fast growing to appreciate the vibrancy of the City and the beauty of the countryside. I might even land up a Tigers supporter!
Jenny, the outgoing CEO, and the teams at both LASS and Well for Living have made me feel so welcome. I hope that we can have a long a fruitful relationship.
Jenny Hand LASS CEO since 2008
Jenny Hand has been the CEO at LASS, Leicestershire’s HIV specialist charity for almost 10 years and will retire in June this year . With Jenny at the helm, LASS has moved forward with the changes in HIV medication and support, advice, information, prevention and awareness needs. In 2013 LASS was recognised best 10 health charities in the country with a £30,000 Impact Award from GSK with the Kings Fund. LASS continues to benefit from being a member of the Impact Award alumni attending Kings Fund training with other Award winners and taking part in research and reviews.
LASS was among the first charities in the Country to introduce free instant result HIV community testing, demonstrating huge savings for the health service through enabling people to know their HIV status and be referred for appropriate support and medical treatment through a fast track arrangement.
LASS also set up a social enterprise – trading as Well for Living and through this has worked in partnership with other small local HIV services in the region to provide enhanced awareness and prevention services. Most recently the regional partnership has delivered a public health England funded innovation project promoting HIV testing in the workplace. A full report on this pioneering work is due to be released this spring. Jenny says ‘the findings are very encouraging not only for HIV but for other workplace health awareness developments.’
Patrick Bowe, Chair of the trustees at LASS, is immensely proud of the work achieved at LASS over the past 10 years and while he would have hoped Jenny might stay for a few more years sees this as an opportunity for LASS to recruit a new CEO who will be able to lead both LASS and Well for Living into the future. ‘LASS will enter its 30th year in June and there is still a huge amount of work to do before people living with HIV can live without stigma and discrimination and to ensure late diagnosis is prevented. The CEO’s role will be critical in taking forward the organisation.’
Jenny is looking forward to continuing some part time work focussing on partnerships and in supporting organisations through bid writing. She will have more time with her family and for holidays and travel. She enjoys playing cello in local orchestras, walking, and playing bridge. You may even find her volunteering in the local community when she retires.
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