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New Chief Executive joins Naval Families Federation

Sarah Clewes is to take up the role of interim Chief Executive of the Naval Families Federation (NFF) from 4 January 2022.

Having gained wide experience in the charity sector, following a long and successful career in the Royal Navy as both a rating and an officer, Sarah is well-positioned to continue the comprehensive development of the NFF that has been achieved under outgoing Chief Executive Anna Wright.

As Chief Executive, Sarah will be responsible for ensuring that the NFF continues to improve its support for Royal Navy and Royal Marines families, both by championing their cause with policymakers and senior officers, and by stepping in to help individual families when existing processes and guidance fall short.

Sarah, who is married to a Naval veteran – for a period they were a dual-serving couple – said:

“I am thrilled to be joining such a dynamic organisation as the NFF.

“The Federation is well-known for its role championing Naval families on the basis of their lived experience, and I look forward to working across a wide range of projects and initiatives to address both ongoing and emerging issues.”

Sarah spent 21 years in the Logistics Branch of the Royal Navy, serving in HM ships Coventry, Invincible and Argyll, and her last job was at the RN Leadership Academy at HMS Collingwood, where she taught leadership, management and coaching while also successfully undertaking a business degree.

After taking voluntary redundancy from the Royal Navy, Sarah embarked on a new career in the charity sector in a variety of roles, running events, projects and fundraising initiatives, and also running a successful virtual assistant business.

One of the projects for which Sarah was responsible, the Royal Naval Association’s Project Semaphore initiative to alleviate loneliness and digital isolation amongst Naval veterans through the provision of iPads, won a national award.

Sarah has also contributed to Naval charities in a voluntary capacity, as Chairman of the Royal Navy Royal Marines Widows’ Association (RNRMWA) and as Trustee for the Royal Naval Benevolent Trust.

Anna Wright, who leaves to take up the role of Chief Executive of the Armed Forces Covenant Trust Fund (AFCFT), said she is leaving the NFF in very safe hands.

“I am delighted that Sarah is taking up the reins at the Federation, because she has exactly the set of skills and experiences that will be of huge benefit to our families and her new colleagues,” said Anna. “Although I am honoured to be joining the AFCFT, and excited to build on the very strong foundations laid by my predecessor Melloney Poole, I will be sad to leave the excellent team at the NFF.

“But I leave Whale Island confident that Sarah will pick up where I left off, and she will have the pleasure of working with some extraordinary people.”

Chairman of the NFF Board of Trustees, Paul Quinn, said:

“I have had the pleasure of working with Sarah in the past, and am delighted to welcome her to the NFF team as our Chief Executive.

“Her experience within the Naval family and charity world ideally equips Sarah for her new and exciting role as chief advocate for Royal Navy and Royal Marines families.”

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