We are delighted that The Hon James Ramsbotham D.L has been appointed Chair of Changing Lives, replacing Baroness Hilary Armstrong who retired from the Board in December.

James has been Chief Executive of the North East Chamber of Commerce since 2006. He is responsible for promoting and championing the North East business community locally, nationally and internationally. Prior to this James was Vice Chairman of the Esh Group and holds over 14 years of experience in corporate banking and strategic marketing in Barclays.

After leaving school he spent 12 years as a soldier in the Royal Green Jackets (now The Rifles) and travelled all around the world.

As the Chair of Changing Lives James will be responsible for overall governance of the organisation, including its policy, strategy, direction and risk.

James said: “I have been a long term supporter of the work of Changing Lives ever since the self-build project at Elliott House in 2006, when I was working for the construction company (Esh Group) that helped build the unit.

“I believe that the passion shown by the staff at Changing Lives towards the people that need our help the most is commendable and shows the utmost professionalism. I look forward to meeting as many of the team as possible in the coming months.’

We know that this year will present great challenges, but with the expertise and guidance from James, as well as the rest of the board, we are confident we will continue to deliver high quality services to the people and communities who need them most.

CEO of Changing Lives Stephen Bell said: “This is a great appointment for Changing Lives. Hilary was brilliant for over eight years and she had big shoes to fill, but we are confident James will succeed.

“He not only brings a business perspective to the charity, but as a long term serving soldier he has first-hand experiences of some of the issues the people who use our services have.

“It’s an exciting time for the charity and we are fortunate that we can attract people such as James to help us in these turbulent times.”

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