Mike Ward takes up CEO mantle at KM Charity Team

Former CEO Simon Dolby (left) shakes hands with KM Charity Team’s new leader Mike Ward.

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KM Charity Team, the independent charity helping children to develop their knowledge and motivation to reach their full potential, has appointed Mike Ward as Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Mike succeeds Simon Dolby who founded the organisation in 2000 to introduce and support walking buses in Kent and Medway schools.

Twenty years later the charity’s remit includes services to help schools promote eco-friendly behaviour, reading for pleasure, cooking and healthy eating, and STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and maths). Currently 194 schools use the KM Charity Team’s walk to school and literacy programmes Active Wow and Buster’s Book Club.

Before joining the charity, Mike had a long career in the young people’s charity sector in a variety of roles including joint CEO of Young Lewisham Project, providing alternative vocational programmes to young people who are not succeeding in mainstream education for a variety of reasons; Head of Youth Services for Castlehaven Community Association; and Head of Fundraising at Fitzrovia Youth in Action.

In addition, Mike was a founding board member of the Young Camden Foundation, an organisation set up to assist youth service providers across Camden to help identify and address the ever-changing needs of the young people in the borough.

Mike said of his move to KM Charity Team: “I have recently returned to Kent, where I spent my childhood and where several members of my family are involved in the education system of the county – from teaching to being taught – and so it was an easy decision to make.

“I have a lot of experience with organisations working to ‘fix’ young people and this experience has taught me that if those young people had been given the help they needed earlier there would be nothing to ‘fix’. KM Charity Team’s programmes aim to not only help develop basic skills such as reading but also help to develop a sense of achievement and self-worth that is so important for future aspirations and positive futures. ‘Early intervention’ has finally been recognised as an important component in a child’s development process; KM Charity Team has been doing it for 20 years!”

Simon, who is now Communications Manager for construction company Streetspace Group, said: “Leaving the charity was a major decision for me and very emotional after two decades at the helm, so to have a chance to meet the new CEO and to hear his exciting ideas to take the charity forward was a real pleasure.

“Mike’s vision and approach is exciting and refreshing and I have every confidence he will be able to build on the strong foundations created here in Kent to take the charity forward.”

New plans for the charity will be revealed in the coming months, but in the meantime KM Charity Team continues its work with schools alongside three annual Teacher of the Year Awards events – in Kent, Sussex, and London – which are now open to nominations from schools, colleges, and members of the public. Find out more, or nominate, at www.KmCharityTeam.co.uk/TeacheroftheYear

Added to this the charity is running a calendar of collaborative fundraising events, starting with the Medway heat of the KM Big Charity Quiz in February, Maidstone Abseil in March, and KM Big Bike Ride in April. For more information, or to book, visit www.KmCharityTeam.co.uk/Booking

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