Dame Clare’s work to combat child abuse recognised by honorary degree
Press release issued: 14 February 2012
A University of Bristol alumna, who is now the Chief Executive of one of the UK’s leading children’s charities, is today [14 February] being honoured for her work to safeguard youngsters. Dame Clare Tickell, who heads up Action for Children, will receive an honorary degree in recognition of her efforts to ensure the safety and welfare of children throughout the country.
Her career path from the Avon Probation Service to one of the most admired chief executives in the third sector will serve to inspire social work students who are also graduating today.
Clare began her working life in secretarial roles after dropping out of school halfway through her A-Levels. She then joined the Avon probation Service, which encouraged her to have professional training in the 1980s and saw her embark on the Certificate of Qualification in Social Work Course [the predecessor to the present Masters in Social Care] at the University of Bristol.
As part of the course, she undertook a student placement with Shelter, the housing and homelessness charity, and was offered a job with the organisation when she left university. Soon Clare was appointed Deputy Director of Centrepoint in Soho, responsible for five projects for homeless young people in central London.
Her housing and support services extended for 18 years as Chief Executive for some of the best known and most significant housing charities and organisations in the UK – Stonham, Phoenix and Riverpoint.
In 2004, Clare was head-hunted to lead Action for Children, one of the biggest children’s charities in the UK, employing some 6,000 paid staff, working with 5,000 volunteers, running 480 projects and supporting over 180,000 vulnerable children, young people and their families every year.
Clare also lobbies politicians and policy makers, using her senior position to speak out on behalf of children. Her contribution and expertise have been recognised by invitations to undertake a variety of high-level tasks for government and others.
All of these achievements were recognised with the award of a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2010 New Year Honours for services to young people.
Professor David Berridge, Professor of Child and Family Welfare, is delivering the oration at the ceremony and said: “Two years ago Clare was voted by her peers as the most admired chief executive in the third sector, a major achievement.
“A senior figure in the voluntary sector at the time described Clare as ‘a sector superstar who combines passion and commitment with a strong intellect, as well as a good sense of humour and fun’. I can think of no better qualities that this university should recognise.”
- Dame Clare Tickell will be one of the panellists at a Bristol Alumni Forum in London. She will be discussing ‘What does poverty look like today and how can we eradicate it?’ on 21 March at the RSA where she will be joined by Dr Eldin Fahmy, a Research Fellow at the University of Bristol and Gillian Guy, the Chief Executive of Citizens Advice.