The outgoing Chief Executive of The Children’s Centre says the organisation is one of which the Island should be proud.

Fiona Dawson will step down at the end of November after almost four years with the charity during which time it has been completely restructured. However, she believes the future of the body is bright thanks to the combined efforts of her team of committed professionals.
Appointed in March 2015, Fiona has led a three-year transformation plan steering the charity through a major transition period following the loss of a number of government care contracts. ‘It’s been well documented that the charity had to change its structure and an important focus was to reposition and remodel ourselves ready for the future,’ she explained. ‘Thankfully the level of expertise, professionalism and passion of members of staff have helped significantly on this journey. ‘Our people know what children need to develop character, empathy, intelligence and resilience. I’m confident The Children’s Centre has a bright future in its hands which will continue to put children, young people and families first which will benefit the whole Island community.’
In the year it is marking its 150th anniversary, Fiona was well-placed to take active steps to refocus the charity’s activities back to its core charitable services. Her past experience, including working in Business Change, Operations and Marketing, and enthusiasm for the role fitted perfectly with the organisation’s requirements.
Long-time director Stuart Colligon said Fiona was the ideal person to provide focus to the charity's wide range of services to children, young people and families in the Island. ‘In its modern form, The Children’s Centre has enjoyed a successful start to the 21st century, and delivered enormous benefits to countless young people and families across the Isle of Man,’ he commented. ‘The loss of the Government residential contracts in 2014 had a huge financial impact on the charity. The subsequent reduction in the infrastructure meant that services had to be cut back or stopped altogether. This created a ‘domino effect’ internally, which could have signalled the end of the charity altogether.
‘Thankfully, we had appointed Fiona as the CEO and she showed strong leadership and change-management skills to steer the organisation through nearly four years of tough times.
‘Thanks to her determination to do what was necessary to keep the charity afloat, sometimes in the face of hostility, The Children’s Centre has survived and is ready to move onto its next chapter.’
Newly appointed Chair of the Trustees John Spellman added: ‘The Children’s Centre is a charity whose services impact every resident of the Island. ‘I would like to personally thank Fiona for her hard work and perseverance which has put us
in a position to face the future with optimism. ‘We wish her every success in her next role.’
Fiona will depart at the end of November and her successor is currently being recruited. During the period of transition, John Spellman will support the management team. She added: ‘It has been a pleasure to be involved with this fantastic organisation and I would like to thank staff both past and present who continued to focus on delivering the services to children and families during all the changes. ‘It is vital we remain relevant and able to operate sustainably in a challenging environment but children and young people will always be the greatest priority.’

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