Meet our Panellists – Nigel Poulton, Chief Executive Officer of The Island

The second panellist we’re featuring for our Careers In… event is Nigel Poulton. Nigel is the Chief Executive Officer of the charity, The Island, in York and he’ll be on our panel for careers in Social Mission.

If you missed our last post, Careers In… is an an event we’re running which focuses on three different job sectors and features people working in those sectors. At the event on 19th February we’ll be exploring careers in…

  • Social Mission
  • Professional Business Services
  • Journalism, Publishing & Writing

Over the next few weeks in the lead up to the event, we’ll be sharing the profiles of our speakers so that you can find out a little bit more about them and how they got to where they are today.

Read on to find out about Nigel’s career in Social Mission

Nigel’s initial training was in graphic design which he pursued to the level of studio manager for a publishing company before moving to South-East Asia to work in relief and development for fifteen years.  This involvement began with refugee camps in Thailand where he worked for several years before moving on to work with marginalised groups in a variety of settings including Bangladesh, Uganda, Mozambique and Laos over the next ten years. The main focus of this work was income generation, small loans schemes and the development of a resilient, skilled local staff.

Nigel became increasingly aware of the isolation and neglect of children with disabilities in rural Laos.  This, coupled with an experience of work in a secure psychiatric setting in the UK gave him a desire to study social work.  He took a Masters in Social Work at the University of York, gaining a distinction for his dissertation on homelessness in York.  He worked initially in community mental health before moving to specialist palliative community social work with terminally ill patients and their families in Leeds.

Throughout his experiences of social work in a variety of settings both in the UK and around the world Nigel has been aware of the crucial role of adult role models in impacting a child’s future development and wellbeing.  In 2009 he began work with The Island, a voluntary agency in York which links volunteer mentors with children aged 8 and over who are facing additional challenges either due to family circumstances or disability. Over the past eleven years The Island has grown considerably and now plays such an important part in provision for children and young people in York that a major expansion is planned in 2020.

Nigel has seven children and lives with his wife in York.  They have been foster carers for many years, caring particularly for children with additional needs and those belonging to minority ethnic groups. For the past three and a half years they have been caring for newly arrived, unaccompanied young refugees in their home.  Currently three teenage refugees live with them and also an elderly friend of 98 who has no family or living relatives.  Their own children (all adopted) play a significant part in this care also.

Meet our Panellists (Previous posts)

Helen Barton, Commissioning Editor