Former government minister to lead loneliness charity

Jenny Willott, who served as a government minister in the coalition government, has been appointed as chief executive of Re-engage, which tackles loneliness among older people.

She joins in January 2024 and replaces Meryl Davies who has stepped down after five years at the charity.

Willott spent a decade as Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central and was minister for women and equalities, employment relations and consumer affairs from 2013 to 2014, covering Jo Swinson MP's maternity leave.

She was also a government whip during the Liberal Democrat and Conservative Party coalition government.

Her shadow roles as a backbench MP included covering the voluntary sector and youth affairs, work and pensions and justice briefs. She is also a former member of the House of Commons work and pensions select committee.

After losing her seat to Labour in 2015 her roles have included chairing the Civil Aviation Authority’s consumer panel.

She joins the charity from St Mary’s University Twickenham, where she has been its director of enterprise and innovation since 2017.

Prior to becoming an MP she spent two years as head of advocacy for Unicef UK and is a former chief executive of Victim Support South Wales.

“We’re thrilled Jenny accepted our offer of the role,” said Re-engage chair Jonathan Upton.

“Her varied experience across the education, voluntary and political sectors will be invaluable to us as we move forward with our ambitious growth plans.”

Willott added: “I’m delighted to be to be joining Re-engage. I love what they do and am impressed with what they have achieved over the last few years. I’m excited to be a part of their next chapter of growth.” 

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