On Saturday it was announced that David Graham, who has been National Director of The Care Leavers Association (CLA) since 2010, has been awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List.

David’s award is richly merited. The official notification records that the award is ‘For services for care leavers’. This clearly reflects David’s hard work, commitment and steadiness throughout his years with the CLA. It also reflects his immense resourcefulness in helping us achieve so much in that time with relatively meagre resources. This includes the years of the pandemic, which were very challenging for us as well as for many others. And for the last 18 months David has been the only full-time worker at the CLA which has presented its own challenges.

The CLA has developed a very strong profile and reputation in our sector of the charity world. More importantly, we’ve been able to help thousands of care leavers of all ages during the period of David’s leadership. As others will know, keeping a small charity such as ours going often presents major challenges. David has risen to all of those challenges. That’s why it is such a pleasure see his work being recognized outside the CLA in this way.

As well as his work with the CLA, David has worked in the voluntary sector since 1994 supporting a wide range of individuals and communities.

On behalf of the Board of The Care Leavers Association and of its membership, I’d like to congratulate David on this award. I know that many others, in the wider policy and campaigning world the CLA inhabits, will understand how much this award is deserved.

Jim Goddard (Chair of the Board of Trustees)

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