Community Action Norfolk Chief Executive Officer to step down

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Jon Clemo, Chief Executive Officer of Community Action Norfolk (CAN) has announced he is standing down after six years in the role.

Jon will be taking on a new position as Associate Director – East of England for Marie Curie.  

Jon Clemo

Jon led CAN through its first very successful six years, substantial Covid response work, and has been a significant figure in the local voluntary and community sector over the last 15 years. When he started with Norfolk Rural Community Council (CAN’s precursor organisation), he was originally working with community assets and on projects to improve access and address deprivation.  However, Jon’s more recent activity has included Chairing the VCSE Sector Leadership Group and working strategically with the NHS and other public sector partners.  

Under Jon’s leadership CAN has, over the past 6 years, helped more than 2,500 VCSE (Voluntary, community and social enterprise) organisations through its community development work. A further 4,000, ranging from the smallest grassroots group to the largest VCSE providers, receive our regular information updates and newsletters. Jon has pioneered partnership-based approaches to Social Prescribing and social isolation which saw over 3,300 people supported with 93% seeing an improvement in their wellbeing. Jon has been a staunch advocate for the VCSE sector, strategically championing it to ensure the sector is treated as an equal partner, that the voices of organisations and service users are effectively heard, and that resources reach where they are needed most. He has also spearheaded initiatives to address rural fuel poverty and broadband access.   

Throughout the pandemic, Jon led the CAN team in reaching out directly to both established VCSE organisations and newly formed mutual aid groups, helping to gather intelligence, keep people informed, and get support to where it was needed most.  In doing this, Jon worked closely with local NHS and Community Resilience Cell colleagues and nationally through the Voluntary Sector Emergencies Partnership.  

The Trustees of CAN have asked Rik Martin, Development Manager at CAN to take on the role of Acting CEO. Rik has also been with CAN since its inception, leading the development of some of its most innovative areas of work as well as managing some of our most significant partnership programmes.  

Rik and the Trustees, supported by the rest of the highly skilled CAN team, will continue to ensure we work closely with partners to understand and respond in the best way possible to the needs of the VCSE sector and our communities over the period to come.  

Jon Clemo said: 

“It has been a huge privilege to lead Community Action Norfolk. It has been an incredibly varied and enjoyable role. 

“The local sector’s passion, commitment and expertise has been a huge source of inspiration. I’m incredibly grateful for everyone who has supported me and our work with communities. 

“The sector has responded magnificently over the last 12 months – a demonstration of its value, expertise, and levels of innovation – things we need to hold onto going forward. 

“I leave behind an excellent team who have stepped up time and time again to respond to the needs of our communities. They are more than capable of taking on the challenges and opportunities ahead.” 

Marion ColemanMarion Coleman, Chair of Trustees said:  

“Jon has done a phenomenal job in leading the organisation over the years, supporting many different changes and challenges both internally and across our wider system. 

“It is incredibly challenging to balance the needs of such a diverse sector and deliver on our wider strategic role whilst managing the organisation effectively from day to day – Jon has been exemplary in doing this. 

“Whilst we are sad to see Jon go, we wish him the best of luck in the future.  

“We have an excellent team at Community Action Norfolk, along with some excellent partners. We will be building on these huge assets as we continue the organisation’s mission to build a “Stronger, Fairer Norfolk”.  

“We see this as a great opportunity to take some time to explore the best solutions to meet the needs of the sector going forward.” 

Rik MartinRik Martin, Acting CEO said: 

“I was delighted to be asked by the Trustees to take on the role of Acting Chief Executive. Jon has made a huge contribution to the success of Community Action Norfolk.  

“I will be working closely with Jon to ensure a smooth handover. My priorities over the coming months will be to ensure that CAN’s services continue to operate smoothly, as well as working with the wider sector to help organisations navigate both the worst impacts, and the best innovations, of the pandemic. I will also be engaging with partners and communities to help shape our longer-term strategy.“