Become, the national charity for children in care and care leavers, has appointed former Sport England head of external affairs job-share partners, Lisa Watch and Rhiannon Clapperton, to the newly created role of director of policy, campaigns and communications.
The job-share duo worked together in separate roles briefly at NSPCC before reuniting to form a successful job-share partnership, building Sport England’s external affairs team and leading the public affairs strategy for the organisation’s flagship campaign, This Girl Can.
Become’s creation of the new senior-level role marks the charity’s move to increase its campaigning capacity and follows the appointment of new CEO, Katharine Sacks-Jones in July last year, and the recent appointment of communications manager Matt Rogers in April this year.
Watch and Clapperton return to the charity sector, with Watch previously leading campaigns teams at Barnardos, Diabetes UK and NSPCC, where she oversaw the development and delivery of the charity’s award-winning Order in Court and Flaw in the Law campaigns.
Prior to Sport England, Clapperton was responsible for a number of charity PR and public affairs clients at Stand Agency, and previously led a public affairs function at disabled children’s charity Whizz-Kidz, which saw her recognised by the PRCA with the Douglas Smith Prize for Young Public Affairs Practitioner.
The charity has seen a significant increase in demand for its support from young people in care during the COVID-19 pandemic, with calls to its helpline more than doubling as young people face increased isolation, mental health problems and hardship. An emergency appeal has already raised in excess of £20,000, which will enable Become to continue to support some of the country’s most vulnerable children and young people through an especially difficult period.
“I’m delighted to welcome Rhiannon and Lisa to the team,” Sacks-Jones said. "Their passion, innovative thinking and wide-ranging experience shines through their strong job share partnership. I’m confident that they will have a real impact in shifting issues affecting children in care and care leavers up the agenda."
“This is a crucial time for Become – demand from young people for our support has increased significantly, whilst emergency guidance on children’s social care introduced in the last few weeks by the Government has the potential to leave children and young people without the level of support and protection that they need.”