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Paying tribute to our Chair, Dr Elizabeth Vallance

We pay tribute to our Chair of Trustees, Dr Elizabeth Vallance OBE, who we are deeply sad to announce has died.

It is with deep sadness that we announce that our Chair of Trustees, Dr Elizabeth Vallance OBE, has died.

Elizabeth had been a dedicated and tireless Chair for YoungMinds since 2017, and a passionate advocate for mental health throughout her career. She was an immensely warm-hearted, good-humoured and caring person, and hugely committed to ensuring young people received the support they need.

Before joining YoungMinds, Elizabeth had been head of the Department of Politics at Queen Mary University of London where she researched and wrote widely on political and social theory and social policy. She was later Chair of Council of the Institute of Education. She has also been Chair of St George’s NHS Trust and Vice-Chair of the Health Foundation.

For eight years, she chaired Centre for Mental Health, and since became a Vice-President at the charity. She was also Chair of the Strategy Board of the National Autism Project which mapped research in autism, and a Governor of the LSE.

Elizabeth chaired YoungMinds during a significant period of positive change, where we saw major increases in profile, size and impact. She oversaw the implementation of our transformation in 2018, to modernise YoungMinds and improve our sustainability, and played a direct role in securing major funding support, including from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Growth Fund, which has been instrumental in that transformation.

Elizabeth led the development of a more robust and appropriate governance and oversight for the charity, including updating of Articles of Association, introducing a new committee structure and strengthening the board with new Trustees, including the recent appointments of two new trustees who bring voice of young people directly onto the board.

Soon after joining, Elizabeth appointed Emma Thomas as our Chief Executive. More recently, she oversaw the development of YoungMinds’ new organisational strategy, which is already proving instrumental in our ability to better respond to the needs of young people in the context of the coronavirus crisis.

Throughout her career, Elizabeth has been a tireless champion for the voluntary sector, the need for parity of mental health with physical health and the importance of investing in children and young people to improve their life chances. She will be sorely missed and lovingly remembered by us all, and her contribution to our charity will never be forgotten.

The Board of trustees have appointed existing trustee, Caroline Hope, as Interim Chair.

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