Benita Refson

Benita Refson, OBE is the President and Founding Trustee of Place2Be.   Place2Be is an award-winning national charity providing integrated mental health services to school that reaches children, teachers and parents. The charity supports 75,000 children in over 200 UK schools and helps to build children’s resilience so they can start to thrive and achieve at school.   Place2Be is regarded as “a pioneer in the field of children’s emotional health” (New Philanthropy Capital). In March 2013 Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cambridge chose to become a Royal Patron to the charity, adding her voice to the many who value and champion the charity’s work.  In her role as Chief Executive, Benita dedicated 19 years to shaping and steering Place2Be and worked full-time for the organisation in a voluntary capacity. Under her leadership, Place2Be has been recognised for the high quality and measurability of its results and demonstrable impact. Under Benita’s guardianship the organisation is proud to say that they know their services work: children are happier; have better relationships; and do better at school, and the schools themselves are calmer more productive places. In June 2007 Benita was awarded an OBE ‘for services to Children and Families’ and since then has received many awards including an Honorary Doctor of Law from the University East London; The Beacon Judges’ Special Prize for Outstanding Philanthropic Achievement; and most recently in May 2014 an Hon. Doctorate of Literature Education, from the Institute of Education. In January 2014 Benita stepped down as CEO and took up the role of President and Founding Trustee, a non-executive position but remains actively involved. Benita has also recently taken on several other trusteeships: RAPt (Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust); Children of Success Schools Trust, in Greater Manchester; and she is also a member of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s Education and Learning Committee.