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October 2019

“I wanted to work on an issue that I felt strongly about” – Our Co-Chief Executives share why they set up Think Ahead

Our Co-Chief Executives Ella Joseph and Natalie Acton, who jointly set up Think Ahead in 2014 and have since run the organisation together, have shared why they left behind a career in the civil service to set up Think Ahead.

“I wanted to work on an issue that I felt strongly about – which for me was mental health,” Natalie told Civil Service World, a magazine for civil servants and politicians. “When I read IPPR’s report recommending that a graduate programme in mental health social work be set up, I was really excited by it.”

Ella and Natalie established Think Ahead as an organisation five years ago, in response to a report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR). The programme’s first intake began training as mental health social workers in 2016.

In the interview, Ella and Natalie – who both held senior roles in the civil service prior to setting up Think Ahead – also explained what their role as Co-Chief Executives involves, how they manage job sharing, and why mental health social work is so important.

“Social workers can play a key role in supporting people affected by severe and enduring mental illness but their potential is not always recognised,” Natalie said, while Ella added: “I found the mission – to find talented people and give them fantastic training to improve the often-overlooked area of adult mental health services – compelling.”

Encouraging others who might be considering taking on a leadership role in the charity sector, Ella said: “My advice would be that it can be hugely inspiring and incredibly rewarding.”

Read the full article on Civil Service World.