Long-serving Voluntary Norfolk CEO to retire

Alan Hopley in front of Voluntary Norfolk logo

Alan Hopley, the long-serving CEO of Voluntary Norfolk, has announced he is set to retire at the end of May. He has headed the organisation for the last nine years.

Under his leadership, the charity has repositioned itself in response to challenges faced by communities across Norfolk. It now provides a variety of services that support people when they need help the most. The charity’s work has focused particularly on supporting unpaid carers, those struggling with loneliness and social isolation, and people using local health services. At the same time it has remained committed to its long-standing roots of promoting volunteering in the county and strengthening the wider Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector.

Alan Hopley spent much of his career working in the charity sector. Before he joined Voluntary Norfolk as CEO, Alan Hopley worked for the drug and alcohol charity Addaction, now called We Are With You, as director of Marketing, Fundraising and Communications. Before that he worked for the Youth Hostel Association.

Alan Hopley thanks staff and volunteers

In announcing his decision to retire later this year, Alan Hopley thanked staff and volunteers within Voluntary Norfolk. He said that without them the many successes and the delivery of support for individuals, communities and VCSE organisations in Norfolk, would not have been possible.

He said:

“I feel very privileged to have spent the last nine years with Voluntary Norfolk. I retain that passion that drives so many of us to try and tackle the inequalities we witness too often. It inspires us all to make Norfolk a better place to live for everyone.

“Voluntary Norfolk is in great shape, with a fabulous team of staff, volunteers and trustees. So now is a good time to leave and start some new adventures of my own, including volunteering at home and abroad.

“Whoever is the fortunate person to replace me will be taking on a challenging but hugely rewarding position. I am sure they will continue to achieve so much with such support in place and opportunities ahead.”

The importance of charities like Voluntary Norfolk came to the fore during the pandemic when there was a massive demand for volunteers to check up on people in their communities as well as support the vaccine rollout programme.

Response from Voluntary Norfolk Chair

John Archibald (the Chair of Voluntary Norfolk) highlighted how Alan Hopley led the organisation through some of the greatest challenges faced by the county and the country in recent years.

He said: “Serving as a Chief Executive of a voluntary organisation is a tough job at the best of times. Add in a Covid epidemic, with a huge extra demand on services, together with a cost-of-living crisis and you have a real challenge. Alan rose to that challenge and has navigated Voluntary Norfolk safely through many choppy seas. With Alan at the helm, Voluntary Norfolk has played a vital role improving lives and strengthening communities. Alan’s legacy will be an organisation that is well placed to meet the challenges of the future.

“Voluntary Norfolk will say farewell to a first-class chief executive. The voluntary sector will say farewell to a very able ambassador, with a wealth of knowledge, who has championed the role and importance of the VCSE sector in Norfolk.”