Beardshaw gets top role at I CAN

Graham Willgoss

The Director of UK Services at the British Red Cross, Virginia Beardshaw, is to be the new chief executive of children's speech and language charity I CAN.

She will replace Gill Edelman, who is retiring. I CAN said Beardshaw's role would involve "extending the understanding of issues relating to children's language and communication difficulties and developing effective responses to address them".

Beardshaw played a key role in last year's successful campaign by the Red Cross, Salvation Army, St John Ambulance and the WRVS to get the role of charities in civil emergencies recognised in the Civil Contingencies Act.

This year, in partnership with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, she directed the Red Cross's work supporting UK nationals affected by the Asian tsunami.

She joined the Red Cross in April 2002 after 10 years at the NHS, latterly as its director of modernisation in London. She takes up the I CAN post on 6 June.

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