Head of U.K.’s Film and TV Charity, Which Played Crucial Role in Highlighting Mental Health Crisis, to Step Down
Alex Pumfrey, the CEO of the U.K.’s Film and TV Charity, is set to leave the organization after nearly six years in the post.
Pumfrey, who joined as CEO in October 2017, has overseen a major transformation of the charity, including a full rebrand (it was formerly known as the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund), and a shift in its focus from financial and later life support to mental health and wellbeing support for those working behind the scenes across the film and TV industry.
During Pumfrey’s tenure, the charity undertook its first Looking Glass survey, which revealed in early 2020 that nearly 90 percent of people working in the U.K.’s film, TV and cinema industries had experienced mental health issues, far above the national average. The survey — which claimed there was a “mental health crisis within the U.K. film and television industry” — prompted Pumfrey to lead the creation of a Mental Health Taskforce, featuring senior personnel from leading film and TV businesses, industry bodies, and wider stakeholder organizations, who worked together to deliver new initiatives such as an advice service for bullying and mental health toolkit for productions.
It wasn’t long after the first Looking Glass survey that the COVID pandemic hit, during which the Film and TV Charity helped raise from than £6 million ($7.2 million) to support more than 10,000 film and TV professionals who had lost their livelihoods due to the lockdown and ensuing restrictions on production. One in five of the 2,000 recipients of the Covid Emergency Relief fund said they would have lost their home without the charity’s intervention.
Since Pumfrey joined in 2017, the number of clients the charity serves has also grown more than 20-fold from 500 to more than 10,000 per year; and fundraising income has trebled.
“It has been the greatest privilege to lead the transformation of the Film and TV Charity and see the team’s phenomenal work make our reach and impact soar,” said Pumfrey. “Working in a purpose-driven organization amongst amazing colleagues is a huge pleasure, and I want to pay tribute to their achievements, since it truly is teamwork. My mission when I arrived in 2017 was to secure the charity’s relevance, impact and financial sustainability – and I will leave satisfied in a job done, but also excited that there is so much more the charity will go on achieve in its future.”
Pumfrey will remain at the charity until the end of May when an interim CEO will be announced. The recruitment of the next chair of trustees will open on March 6, with the new chair then expected to lead the recruitment of Pumfrey’s replacement.
“Over the last six years Alex has led the transformation of the charity, working with the team and the Board to develop the strategy to 2030,” said interim chair of the charity’s board of trustees Andrew Wilson-Mouasher. “As the organization faces into its hundredth year, it is now far better equipped to meaningfully help those working behind the scenes in film, TV and cinema with the challenges and barriers they face, and the strategy that Alex and her team are now implementing means it is well-placed to continue to meet those needs over the next hundred years. I would like to pay tribute to her tireless hard work, robust spirit, and to her compassion – she won’t be easy to replace but I, and all of the charity’s Trustees, wish her the very best for the future.”