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New Charity Link chair as Leicester charity approaches 150th year of changing lives in need

George Oliver is the founder of 1284 and a previous editor of the Leicester Mercury.

New Charity Link chair George Oliver, with Susan McEniff and Clive Smith.
New Charity Link chair George Oliver, with Susan McEniff and Clive Smith.

George Oliver has been announced as the new Charity Link chair at the charity’s supporter thank you event held on June 20, 2024, at The Guildhall in Leicester.


George, a previous editor of the Leicester Mercury, founder of award-winning strategic communications consultancy 1284, and board member at East Midlands Chamber, takes over the role from retired local businessman Clive Smith, who has led the charity’s board of trustees since 2005.


George joined as a trustee of Charity Link in 2019 after first learning of the charity’s vital work in the community when the charity won the Not-for-Profit Organisation of the Year accolade in the Leicester Mercury Business Awards 2018.


Charity Link has been working in Leicester since 1876, helping to improve the health, wellbeing and dignity of people in financial hardship by providing essential items. Since joining the trustee board, George has used his wealth of business knowledge to help steer the charity forward during times of extreme challenge, with the pandemic and cost of living crisis leading to an increased need for its services.


As the charity approaches its 150th birthday in 2026, George is keen to continue the transformative work undertaken over recent years by the board to ensure Charity Link remains at the forefront of local welfare provision.


George says: “I am hugely grateful to Clive, not just for his trust and support during my first five years as a trustee but also for his many years chairing the organisation. 

"It was an honour to be asked to become chair of this wonderful organisation and I do so knowing I have the full backing of a dedicated trustee board and staff team. 


“Over recent years we have built on the foundations of our long, successful history to transform into the modern, digitally-led delivery partner that our stakeholders expect and our clients need.

"The exciting thing is that there’s a lot more development in the pipeline. Demand for our services is as great as ever, but Charity Link remains well-placed to continue delivering for our partners. That is thanks to Clive for setting the direction of travel and I’m proud to now be leading our essential work.”


Clive adds: “Charity Link has a long, proud history of working with people faced with chronic hardship and need, which unfortunately again and again has proved to be as poignant today as it was when it launched in 1876. I have been privileged to be associated with Charity Link for well over 20 years, during which we have grown considerably, developed new services and increased our geographic reach.


“With my eighth decade starting in under a year’s time, I feel it is the right time to stand aside and pass the baton! I know George shares my passion for developing Charity Link’s footprint and ensuring that our hard-won reputation for service delivery and integrity is continuously safeguarded.

"I look forward to continuing to serve on the board and wish George every success and happiness with the challenges that lie ahead.”


George will lead Charity Link’s trustee board of eight. Day to day running of the charity will continue to be led by Susan McEniff, who has been CEO of the charity since May 2022.


The announcement was made at the charity’s supporter event yesterday, held to thank Charity Link donors, partners, supporters and volunteers for their support over the past year. During this time the charity has provided over £1.2m of essential items to help 6,428 people.


Charity Link now supports people in hardship and crisis across Leicestershire, Rutland and Northamptonshire. 

It works with over 250 local organisations and partners to ensure help is provided to those in financial hardship across the community to improve health and wellbeing through the provision of essential items, including clothing, beds and white goods to those in need.


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