Connection Support CEO, Mark Thompson, to leave in February after 23 years

Mark Thompson has been the driving force behind Connection Support since joining in 1997 as a Co-ordinator leading a team of five with his own casework. Simply known as Connection at that time delivering support through a floating support pilot project. This grew from strength to strength and continues to provide support to a wide range of people facing difficult times.

Talking about his decision Mark said:

“It has been a privilege to put most of my working life into supporting vulnerable people through Connection Support. It will always have a great meaning for me. My passion for the work and my belief in Connection Support is as strong as ever, however, my progressive muscular dystrophy has an increasing effect on me. I reduced my hours earlier this year and we recruited an experienced Deputy CEO, Chris Keating, but my body is telling me that I need to make another step down.

The organisation is in a strong position with a committed management team and diverse services supporting people across Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and in Milton Keynes. I believe that Connection Support will benefit from having a new CEO to continue to drive the organisation forward. It’s a good time to make this life change.”

Mark has been instrumental in developing a range of partnerships with the local authorities in Oxfordshire, Bucks and Milton Keynes. He was a founding member of the Oxfordshire Mental Health Partnership (OMHP).

What has changed over this time?

Mark goes on to say, “Prevention has always been a central theme to our work. From the start, preventing homelessness which led us to outreach work with rough sleepers and supporting people living with mental illness and complex needs. We now encompass prevention work to tackle isolation as well as self-directed support, giving clients control of their care. The range of people we are now able to support has extended in recent years to include refugees and housing for homeless people as well as young people in both Buckinghamshire and a new service Young People’s Supported Accommodation (YPSA) in Oxfordshire.  We have also developed some excellent Housing First services.”

Expressing his thoughts on how the teams work with clients, “Our teams work alongside people facing difficult times and empower them to develop their strengths and find their place in society.”

What does the future hold for Mark?

He’s putting his skills to great use and working more manageable hours. He will be joining the ranks of strategic commissioners in a part-time role as County-Wide Homeless Strategy Officer in Oxfordshire in February which is a one year post.

Mark’s longer-term plan is to utilise his Masters in Consulting and Leading in Organisations at The Tavistock which he will finish next year.

All the best Mark, we will miss you!