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Exeter Community Initiatives appoints new Chief Executive

Local charity, Exeter Community Initiatives has appointed Katie Holland as its new Chief Executive.

Katie takes up her role on 21 November, succeeding Steven Chown who has stepped down after six years.

ECI works in Exeter and across Devon helping people facing poverty, inequality and homelessness to get their lives back on track. It does this by involving them in community projects to improve their mental, emotional and physical wellbeing, increase their sense of belonging and provide skills to help them succeed in life.

Under Katie’s leadership ECI will continue to sharpen its strategic direction, look for new opportunities to support the local community, strengthen partnerships and establish new relationships. 

Katie, who has held senior roles in the charity, finance and housing sectors, said: “I’m absolutely delighted to have been appointed as the new Chief Executive for Exeter Community Initiatives at a time when the charity is seeing an ever-increasing demand for its services. 

“I’m looking forward to working closely with colleagues to develop new ways of working that continue to address the needs of adults, families and the local community in Exeter and the wider Devon area.”

Katie added: “ECI is a charity I’ve long admired, having come from a background of supporting and empowering people, helping to create diverse and thriving communities and providing people with truly person-centred support.

“I love the diversity of ECI’s projects and its work chimes well with my passion for equality and for allowing people to truly have a voice in what they want and need and play a part in developing the services that meet those needs.”

The charity runs a range of projects:

•          Transitions offers guided self-help for adults via trained volunteers, small group workshops and meet-ups to better manage wellbeing, be more socially connected and resilient

•          Bike Bank and Remade helps unemployed adults gain skills in bike repair and upcycling furniture whilst building confidence and wellbeing

•          Devon Family Resource supports families & children, aged 0-18, facing challenges & hardships; such as, social isolation, breakdown in family relationships, parenting issues, housing problems & debt

•          Jelly kids’ charity shop sells low-cost, preloved clothes, toys, books and accessories.

•          Community Builders work across Exeter’s 13 wards, listening to residents and helping turn bright ideas into reality from little libraries to community gardens

•          Exeter Connect provides free professional advice, training, networking and events to help community organisations develop and grow

Tim Goodwin, Chair of ECI’s Trustees, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled that Katie Holland will join the ECI team as Chief Executive.  Katie has real passion and energy for our mission and brings a wealth of experience. As we prepare to celebrate our 30th anniversary in 2023, I look forward to working with Katie, staff, volunteers and our trustees on the next chapter of Exeter Community Initiatives.”

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our outgoing Chief Executive, Steven Chown. Steven has led ECI admirably during these past six years and will be missed.”