Deirdre Toner Blakely

Deidre Blakely Independent Member

Independent Member

Deirdre is Chief Executive Officer of Samaritans Ireland and has worked supporting the Voluntary/Community and public sector for over 25 years, starting her career looking after businesses within the hospitality industry. Deirdre then worked as a Manager of ACE programmes delivering social enterprise initiatives, supporting young people and adults back to work and training.  After managing staff teams within adult and literacy projects within training organisations, she progressed to directing health board wide EU funded community mental health programmes. With a background in mental health and building capacity of adults and families, she took up post developing and directing Women and Family Health programmes across rural and border areas in NI. She is a graduate of Public Administration and Management, and Human Rights law with the University of Ulster and Transitional Justice Institute.

For the last 13 years, Deirdre has managed her own business, offering support to Voluntary, Community and Statutory sector developing capacity of SMTs and Boards to improve leadership and support skill based boards. In this time, she was Country Director for Alzheimer’s Society, Director with Belfast Healthy Cities and overlapping contracts as a NI/Cross Border Facilitator with NICVA Community Leadership programme working with challenging single identity and cross community groups, and facilitator across NI for BCPP Community Pharmacy programme. She has a particular interest in developing safe, effective governance within organisations, providing support to develop measurable, outcome based strategic plans. Currently, she is working across the UK and Ireland with health focused charitable boards, improving governance, business planning and evaluation processes. Deirdre lives outside Newry with her three children She is a volunteer mentor for SPORTED has been a Non-Executive Director with SHSCT for 8 years.