Community Matters appoints Graham Willmington as chief executive

Former director of operations (pictured) will take over from David Tyler, who is leaving as the organisation restructures after a proposed merger with Navca collapsed

Graham Willmington
Graham Willmington

- This article was amended on 6 March 2013

Community Matters, the national body for community organisations, has appointed Graham Willmington, its director of operations, as its new chief executive.

He will replace David Tyler, who announced that he would be leaving as part of a restructure triggered by the collapse of Community Matters’ merger with the local infrastructure body Navca because of concerns about pension deficits.

The charity confirmed that it would make six of its nine staff redundant; three because the funding for the programmes they were working on has come to an end and three as part of the restructure to enable it to continue as a stand-alone organisation.

Willmington told Third Sector that he intended to build up the charity’s existing membership base and increase its work with local authorities and housing associations, which use the charity to support their local community groups.

"Whenever a course of action closes, other opportunities open up," he said. "The trustees and the charity’s management have concluded that we should dust ourselves off and realise that we have a good model, with 1,000 members who need what we offer them."

The charity also intends to step up its work providing a voice and guidance for small community groups in the areas of governance, the law and health and safety, said Willmington.

He said the pension deficit worry that caused the merger to founder was no longer a pressing problem.

"It ceases to be a problem in current terms because the debt crystallises only if we wind up or cease trading," he said. "We have come up with a three-year plan to balance the budget."

Community Matters’ accounts for 2011/12 say its pensions deficit on withdrawal would have been £328,005 on 31 March 2012.

Tyler will remain at the charity for a fortnight to help his successor take over, but said he had no immediate plans for his next role.

"I have a soft spot for Community Matters and the movement, and I will continue to monitor how they develop," he said. "I have 13 years of accumulated experience, so I hope to use it while it’s still fresh."

- The original story said that the charity had confirmed that it would make three of its nine staff redundant because the funding for the programmes they were working on has come to an end.

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