Friend appointed as our new Chief Officer

Citizens Advice Hart have appointed Jane Friend to replace Ouida Grant as its Chief Officer, taking over the reins of the organisation from as we begin the new year.

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Jane Friend (left) and Ouida Grant (right)

Jane is an experienced manager and consultant, with a legal background and over fifteen years experience working in the voluntary sector. Her key experience, working with charity boards includes fundraising, business planning, education, and promoting community involvement.

Her previous roles have also included interim chief executive of the Landscape Design Trust (which champions use of landscape for the benefit of the environment and the community, particularly its social and health giving benefits); deputy director of the Farnham Maltings; and head of policy at the Landscape Institute (the Royal Chartered Institute for Landscape Architects and professionals, working to protect, conserve and enhance the natural and built environment for the public benefit).

Jane, who lives locally, said: “It was as a young trainee solicitor that I first came into contact with Citizens Advice, supporting the pro-bono work of a senior partner, and I’ve been committed to its values ever since. I’m committed to partnership working, and look forward to making best use of all the resources in Hart to make it a great place to live for the whole community.”

Jane’s priorities in post at Citizens Advice Hart include making sure that its services are accessed by those people in Hart who need it most; reaching out to underrepresented groups including younger people; making best use of technology and reducing health inequalities.

“Jane brings energy and new ideas from her work in the arts, culture and the environmental world, as well as a track record of success. She will prove to be an effective choice in driving the development of advice and information services, and social policy research and campaigning for the people of Hart.  Ouida Grant retires after being with Citizens Advice Hart for twelve years. The service would not be in the strong position that it finds itself today without her years of loyal service to the charity,” said Richard Killpack, Chair of the Trustees at Citizens Advice Hart, who appointed Jane Friend.

Retiring chief officer Ouida Grant commented, “We work with people when they are facing some of the most difficult times of their lives, relationship breakdowns, increasing debt, often facing the possibility of losing their home, problems at work and trying to find their way around the complicated benefits system. I have been privileged to work with clients, worn down by worry and anxiety, who leave the offices with their heads held higher, and knowing what their next step will be and there is resolution to the problems they are facing. I wish Jane well in an exciting next chapter for Citizens Advice Hart.”

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