Third Sector Awards 2016: Charity Chief Executive - Winner: Claire Horton, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home

Awarded to the chief executive who has made an outstanding contribution to his or her organisation or the wider sector over the past year

Claire Horton
Claire Horton

Who is she?

Claire Horton joined Battersea Dogs & Cats Home in 2010, after spells as chief operating officer at the Variety Club of Great Britain and chief executive of the University of Warwick Students’ Union. In a career spanning both the private and voluntary sectors, Horton has spent 16 years in senior management positions, including the past 12 at chief executive/board level.

What has she done for the charity?

When Horton joined, the charity was operating at a significant deficit. Horton has transformed that into year-on-year growth, with non-legacy income increasing from £1.7m in 2010 to £24m by the end of 2015. Total turnover has increased by 173 per cent, from £13.2m in 2010 to £36m in 2015, and fundraising and trading has achieved a tenfold increase. The charity now has more than 100,000 regular givers, compared with 4,000 in 2010. A concerted effort to develop and use the skills of volunteers has led to an 11 per cent increase in the number of volunteers in 2015 and a 48 per cent increase in the number of foster carers. 

What else has she achieved?

Last year Horton brought together leading players from the veterinary, rescue and campaigning sectors to tackle welfare problems in the dog trade, and the charity’s campaign on back-street breeding forced a government U-turn and a consultation with Battersea to tackle the issue. Horton also sits on the Animal Health and Welfare Board for England and is chairman of the Association of Dogs and Cats Homes. 

What did the judges say?

Suzie Spooner, senior recruitment consultant at CF Appointments, said: "Claire's passion comes through, and it is great to see how much she has contributed to the charity and the wider sector."

Highly commended

Sarah Lindsell, Brain Tumour Charity


Amanda Batten, Contact a Family

Robert Music, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust

Jane Powell, Campaign Against Living Miserably

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