Staff changes at Parent-Infant Foundation

26 January 2021

Top: Beckie Lang and Justin Irwin. Below L to R: Verona Blackford and Emma Francis

With 2021 now well under way, the Parent-Infant Foundation is looking forward to an exciting year of developments as it sees staff additions and changes, including a change of Chief Executive.

Firstly, the Foundation is delighted to welcome two new members of staff: Emma Francis as the Foundation’s Communications and Marketing Manager, and Verona Blackford into the newly created role of Parliamentary and Membership Officer for the First 1001 Days Movement.

Emma will be working across the organisation to raise awareness of our work for babies and deepen our engagement with the first 1001 days sector, our network, and policymakers at local and national levels.

Verona will be working with the team to support the effective operation of the First 1001 Days Movement and ensuring that members of the Movement are actively involved in its work with parliamentarians to champion babies and their families. This position is funded by the AIM Foundation.

At the end of February, the Foundation will be saying farewell to current Chief Executive Beckie Lang. After three and a half years in post, Beckie will be heading off to take on a new role as Director of Network Impact at Home-Start UK. During her time as CEO, Beckie has developed the charity’s first five-year strategic plan, created clarity of purpose alongside a new name and brand; transformed the way the charity works with and champions specialised parent-infant relationship teams, and guided the Foundation to becoming a reputable national voice for babies and their emotional and relational needs both in its own right, and as the secretariat for the First 1001 Days Movement. 

The Foundation team will miss Beckie hugely but are thankful for her exceptional leadership and wish her the very best of luck in her new position.

From February the Foundation is looking forward to welcoming its new Interim Chief Executive, Justin Irwin. Justin brings a wealth of charity experience including from the early years and mental health sectors. He has been an interim CEO with Bliss, Bipolar UK, The Family and Childcare Trust, Director of Fundraising at Sane and held senior roles at Childline and the Young Women’s Trust to name a few.  Justin will be joining the Foundation whilst also enjoying the COVID home-schooling juggle, much like many other members of the team.

Justin said:

“I know how vital it is to lay the foundation for lifelong mental and physical good health, so am delighted to have the opportunity to steer such an important organisation through the next few months.  I am particularly looking forward to working with the staff team and learning more about parent-infant relationship teams across the UK.”

With Justin taking the helm on an interim basis, this means the Foundation is now searching for its next permanent CEO and is pleased to be working with Prospectus on this endeavour. Recruitment details will be available from Tuesday 26th January with the closing date on February 14th. Find out more on the Prospectus website – 

Beckie Lang said:

“Although I will be sad to leave this wonderful organisation and team behind, I am delighted to be handing over the reins to Justin who has a wealth of experience which I know will help him guide the team and support the Foundation’s onward progress. The Foundation is such a force for good for babies’ mental health and the team is incredible group of skilled and passionate people. I leave the charity in excellent hands and will remain a firm champion of its work from elsewhere in the early years sector.”

The image in this article shows (Top L to R): Beckie Lang & Justin Irwin. (Below L to R): Verona Blackford & Emma Francis

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