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The Organisation

Since its inception in 2011 the People’s Health Trust has received more than £58million from the Health Lottery to address health inequalities across England, Scotland and Wales. In just three years 1,500 initiatives have been supported by the Trust.

Where people are born, live, work and grow old are powerful influences on their health. Those who live in more disadvantaged neighbourhoods live shorter lives and spend more time living with disabilities. People’s Health Trust believes passionately in a just society without health inequalities, and importantly that they are avoidable. That is why the Trust invests in local people with great ideas to make their neighbourhoods even better places to live.

The Brief

Following a three year term as Chair, Professor Jennie Popay decided to step down. Having previously worked with the Trust to appoint a Trustee and a Director of Policy and Communications, Prospectus was approached in November 2014 to lead the search for her replacement.

The Trust’s new Chair would be tasked with leading the Board, ensuring governance of the highest quality and that its ambitious strategy is delivered. We were looking for candidates who could evidence a naturally collaborative approach, highly strategic abilities, and with the personal presence and gravitas to represent the Trust externally at a national level.

Critically, candidates needed to demonstrate in depth understanding of the wider social determinants of health and a deep interest in how health inequalities can be addressed by funding local action. Professional backgrounds could be from a relevant academic field or as a practitioner in community or voluntary sector organisations. Previous governance experience was also required.

The Appointment

Prospectus was successful in appointing Sue Cohen, a member of the Productive Margins programme at the University of Bristol. The programme, a five-year research project, cultivates research on regulation with marginalised communities in Bristol and South Wales. Sue brings a depth of experience and knowledge around the wider social determinants of health and health inequalities, in addition to extensive governance experience across a number of committees and boards.

For more than 20 years Sue held the post of Chief Executive of Single Parent Action Network UK, where she managed major partnerships work, delivering eight European Programmes working on women and single parent poverty, anti-racism and anti-discrimination initiatives and six Big Lottery projects on poverty and disadvantage. Sue has produced several publications, including a pending publication on community development and post urban regeneration policies. Sue’s early career was as a teacher and adult educator.

Sue officially took up the Chair role in March 2015.