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SAYiT welcomes appointment of new CEO

A message from our departing CEO, Heather Paterson….

Following my recent announcement that I will be stepping down as CEO, I can confirm that my last working day at SAYiT will be Thursday 18th July. The position of CEO will be taken over by Nicola Fearnley-Hill. I am confident with Nic’s appointment that the organisation will continue to flourish under her leadership.

Nic brings a wealth of experience to the role. She was one of the original Youth Workers at the LGB Youth Initiative more years ago than she would probably like me to disclose, and has since gone on to a career working in substance misuse and most recently as the centre manager for Together Women Project working with women in the criminal justice system before joining us at SAYiT as our Charity Manager in 2020.

We will therefore be advertising the Charity Manager role shortly.

I know as colleagues, friends, and supporters that Nic can count on your continued support for SAYiT and our vital programmes of work – which will undoubtedly continue to be even more necessary in the current highly politicised lives of LGBTQ+ young people.

I know that while I am sad to be leaving SAYiT, I do so safe in the knowledge that it is in exceptionally good hands. I have absolute belief in the work and the ability and commitment of the staff team, trustees and volunteers to continue to provide much needed, high quality and professional services for young LGBTQ+ people in Sheffield.

For me personally the last five years have been an absolute privilege to lead such a wonderful organisation and I am immensely proud of the achievements we have made during that time despite the pandemic and increasingly difficult political climate in which we have been operating. Most importantly has been seeing the positive impact we have on the lives of some of the most vulnerable young people in our society.

I am leaving SAYiT to move to a role with a national organisation where I will continue to promote the rights of LGBTQ+ communities. There is still much to do to fully achieve LGBTQ+ equality and in particular the rights of trans, non-binary, intersex and more marginalised members of our communities. I may no longer be CEO of SAYiT, but my passion for championing our communities remains and I will continue to advocate for equality and stand against injustice and discrimination.

Finally, many sincere thanks to all of you for your support and for allowing me the opportunity to go on what has been an amazing journey. Without the unwavering and generous support of so many of you the organisation would cease to exist. It has been a huge pleasure and a privilege to work with so many of you and to work alongside such inspirational staff, trustees, volunteers and amazing young people and parents over the past five years. I have been very fortunate – and I will always remain indebted to you all. Thank you.

Best wishes and much love,


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