Stonewall welcomes Simon Blake OBE as new CEO | Stonewall
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Stonewall welcomes Simon Blake OBE as new CEO

We are proud to announce Simon Blake OBE as our incoming Chief Executive.

Simon, who will begin his new role in September, brings to Stonewall a wealth of leadership experience in the charity and social justice space. He is currently Chief Executive at Mental Health First Aid England, a role he has held since October 2018, where he has been instrumental in setting the organisation’s strategic vision to improve the mental health of the nation through training and awareness.

Prior to this, Simon has been Chief Executive of the National Union of Students, Chief Executive of the young people’s sexual health charity Brook, and held a number of senior roles in education and health organisations including the Sex Education Forum. He is Chair of the Support After Suicide Partnership and a Non-Executive Director of the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. Simon is an ambassador for the Dying Matters Campaign, organised by Hospice UK, to change the way we talk about grieving. Simon is no stranger to the ongoing campaign for LGBTQ+ equality. Over 20 years ago whilst at the National Children’s Bureau he worked with Stonewall and others on the repeal of Section 28 and equalising the age of consent. Simon was Chair of Diversity Role Models from 2012 – 2015 and joined the Stonewall board as Deputy Chair in 2015 before retiring in 2021. Simon joins at a critical and exciting point in Stonewall’s history, as we prepare for the outcome of the UK General Election.

Stonewall has a proud 35 year history of being at the heart of progress for LGBTQ+ equality in law and policy, and for the last 20 years has supported thousands of leading workplaces to enable their LGBTQ+ colleagues to thrive. Simon’s impressive impact on policy and in communities across society will drive renewed energy behind LGBTQ+ equality in work, in policy, to make sure LGBTQ+ people are safe and free to be ourselves, everywhere we live our lives.

"We are incredibly proud to welcome our new CEO, Simon Blake OBE. LGBTQ+ people in the UK feel less safe and many no longer feel able to hold hands in public. Simon joins Stonewall at this pivotal and important time with a UK election in the coming weeks. Simon brings a deep understanding of the needs of LGBTQ+ people and communities, along with years of leadership experience and strong connections to Stonewall. After 35 years being at the heart of progress for LGBTQ+ we look forward to the future and our continued work to create a world where LGBTQ+ people are free to be who they are and feel safe."

- Cat Dixon (she/her), Chair of Trustees

"I was 15 years old when Stonewall was launched. A young gay man who grew up learning that at best, gay people were not good enough, and at worst we were dangerous and predatory. We were unequal in the eyes of the law and discrimination was blatant, expected and acceptable. 

Since then Stonewall has played an enormous role in creating legislative and culture change for LGBTQ+ people, and wider society.

But we still have so far to go. Every single person deserves to live safely and confidently, free from prejudice and harm. All the evidence shows how much still needs to be done. In over 60 countries around the world homosexuality is still criminalised. In the UK, hate crime against lesbian, gay, bi and trans people has risen exponentially. LGBTQ+ children and people are still being bullied at school and hurt in their communities, and too many LGBTQ+ people fear being out at work.

This has to change. We cannot allow another generation to grow up with the prejudice, discrimination and fear that so many of us did, or for prejudice to blight the lives of LGBTQ+ communities. In an increasingly polarised world, empathy is built and change created through conversation, dialogue and alliances. Stonewall has always been at the vanguard of change. I am honoured to have been appointed as CEO and I am excited to work with, for and on behalf of our diverse LGBTQ+ communities."

- Simon Blake OBE (he/him), incoming CEO