A champion of diversity and inclusion Thomas takes up the role from October 2021 having previously been Director of External Affairs at Citizens Advice Plymouth. This will allow for a significant handover before Steve Barriball retires at the end of the year following 15 years of distinguished service as Chief Executive.
Thomas takes the reins at a crucial time for the work of Citizens Advice Exeter and Citizens Advice Torbay as they continue to support thousands of people affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Volunteers and Staff at both charities are hard at work continuing to adapt services to help those who live, work and study in the region.
Trustees of Citizens Advice Exeter and Citizens Advice Torbay are delighted to announce the appointment of Thomas Godwin as Chief Executive. It follows an extensive recruitment process which involved staff and volunteers from both charities.
Dennis Mardon, Chair of the Board of Trustees at Citizens Advice Exeter, said:
“When Steve told me of his intention to retire at the end of the year, I, along with my fellow Trustees staff and volunteers, immediately realised that we had a very difficult task in replacing him. The appointment of Thomas, with his experience both within the Citizens Advice service and in other areas of his career, has allayed our fears and we are all looking forward to working with him in the years to come. We can’t thank Steve enough for his excellent work over the last 15 years and look forward to this being built on in the future with Thomas at the helm.”
Geoff Buck, Chair of the Board of Trustees at Citizens Advice Torbay, said:
“Our Board of Trustees, staff and volunteers are looking forward to Tom building on Steve Barriball’s successful leadership of Exeter Citizens Advice and ourselves. The experience he has had in Plymouth, and his local knowledge will enable him to do that. “
Thomas Godwin, incoming Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Exeter and Citizens Advice Torbay, said:
“I am thrilled to be joining the teams at Citizens Advice Exeter and Citizens Advice Torbay and succeeding Steve Barriball who has led both charities so ably and with such distinction.
“I am looking forward to working with volunteers, staff, trustees, and our partners in leading these two organisations which bring life changing impact to the people we help.
“Our volunteers, staff and trustees have worked tirelessly through the pandemic, and I am excited to ensure we continue to play a leading role in supporting and advocating for those who live, work and study in our region for many years to come.”
Over the past year Citizens Advice Exeter helped over 15,000 people through a mix of online services, self help facilities, telephone appointments giving advice on nearly 30,000 individual problems. Volunteers and Staff helped access over £4 million in financial gains for those who were seeking advice. This money has a huge impact on those people’s quality of life and is largely spent in the local economy.
In addition, Citizens Advice Exeter has saved government and public services some £1.76m in the last year, and provided wider economic and social benefits (social value) of some £13.84m per annum.
Citizens Advice Torbay helped nearly 6,000 people in the same period with over 16,000 problems leading to £0.75 million of extra income gain.
Furthermore, Citizens Advice Torbay has saved government and public services some £0.77m in the last year, and provided wider economic and social benefits (social value) of some £5.36m per annum.
Both charities sit in the top quartile nationally in terms of their advice quality, governance, management, finance and operational performance with client and workforce satisfaction remaining high despite the challenges of the pandemic.
Citizens Advice impact research shows people are equally satisfied with services across phones, chat and face to face, and that even during the pandemic over 80% of people found our services accessible. In the year ahead, work is being undertaken to deepen our understanding and adapt our service for those we do not reach.
Thomas Godwin Biography
Thomas joined Citizens Advice Plymouth in 2018 having moved back to the region where he grew up and has previously worked. Thomas is an experienced professional with a history of working in the performing arts, education, music, and entertainment industry.
At Citizens Advice Plymouth Thomas had been a key part of the leadership team responsible for 190 staff and volunteers across two sites in the city. Thomas led a particular focus on Bids and Grant Funding, Stakeholder Engagement, Research and Campaigns, Learning and Development and Marketing & Communications. Thomas also deputised as Acting CEO when required
In addition to extensive Media, TV and Radio appearances discussing the work of Citizens Advice across Devon, Thomas is a member of the Devon County Council Devon Recovery VCSE Task and Finish Group. A focus of this group is how the voluntary sector and Citizens Advice Devon offices can work more closely with local authorities, councils, the NHS and other organisations to deliver life changing outcomes for those who need help and support
A keen advocate of volunteering, Thomas is chair of governors for a secondary school, a trustee of a domestic abuse and sexual violence charity and a guest lecturer at Plymouth Marjon University.