I’m Loren Treisman and I’d like to introduce myself as the new CEO (National Leader) of L’Arche UK. I’m also a member of the leadership team at L’Arche International, helping to ensure that our national mission and activities align with those of the international federation, which supports over 10,000 members across 38 countries.

I’ve only been in role for two months and spent the first four weeks embedding myself at our London Community. What has struck me immediately is the quality of relationships that I witness. L’Arche goes so far beyond being just a service provider. Relationships are at the heart of everything we do. We eat together, celebrate together, laugh and cry together and take the time to get to know each other in a way that is authentic and creates a true sense of belonging.

I share L’Arche’s conviction in the power of relationships to transform the lives of those whose deepest suffering is not their disability, but their experience of loneliness and isolation.

Whilst L’Arche is a high quality service provider, it is our focus on building relationships and cultivating a sense of belonging that makes our communities different. We celebrate people with learning disabilities and in doing so create places of belonging where some of the most vulnerable people can lead full lives and contribute to society. L’Arche can also be a life changing experience for our many members who come to work, live and volunteer in our communities. Many join us from around the world at the beginning of their adult lives. They tell us that their intense experience of community and disability, embedded in a culture that fosters acceptance and celebrates radical diversity, has shaped the rest of their lives.

I join the organisation at a difficult time. The age of austerity has left budgets squeezed to unsustainable levels and frontline staff under enormous pressure. Uncompetitive wages and poor working conditions are negatively impacting on the whole care sector, making it hard to recruit and retain good-quality staff. The situation may well be amplified if Brexit makes it harder to recruit EU nationals.

Nonetheless, I feel optimistic about the future. At L’Arche I’ve experienced first-hand how people with and without disabilities can transform each other’s lives.

There’s still much to be done to build upon our current successes. We will continue to grow our fundraising to enable us to go the extra mile to support people beyond just their basic needs: to attend to their emotional and spiritual lives. We will do everything in our power to ensure that we attract and retain staff by offering them a transformative experience and support them to grow both personally and professionally. We will further deepen our commitment to welcoming people of all faiths and none. We will build clarity and unity around our identity and mission, and continue to improve our practices to become more inclusive, ensuring that people with learning disabilities are involved in all aspects of our work.

I look forward to sharing our journey with you.

Loren joins us with extensive leadership experience within the charity sector. She held the most senior position (Executive) of Indigo Trust, one of the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts for eight years. She has also provided senior consultancy to charities, businesses and charitable foundations including Comic Relief, One Campaign and the World Health Organization. Before her role at Indigo Trust, Loren held various senior positions in the third sector, including a role as a research associate at Demos and managing a £2.6 million health and well-being programme for the Foyer Federation. She has also sat on charitable boards as a non-executive Director. She has extensive expertise in international development, transparency and accountability, entrepreneurship/innovation, health and well-being, and the use of new technologies to stimulate social change.

She holds a PhD from Cambridge University and completed the Executive Programme for Not for Profit Leaders at Stanford University’s business school. She was recognised as one of 2014’s Powerful Women to Watch in the Huffington Post and regularly writes in the international Press including Al Jazeera, the Guardian, Huffington Post and CNN:

She is passionate about social justice, cycling, hiking, well-being, innovative and collaborative ways to address social issues, travel and conscious parenting (as a mother of twin boys).

As Aedan MacGreevy, the Chair of our Board explains, ‘We’re delighted to bring Loren on board to lead L’Arche in the UK . Her extensive and varied experience in executive roles across the charity sector combined with her commitment to the core values of L’Arche are exactly what we need as we begin to develop a new strategic plan to adapt to rapidly changing conditions in the sector.’