Since 2007, Francesca Roberts has united the construction industry to help homelessness charities and hospices with their building projects.

CRASH, the construction industry charity’s longstanding Chief Executive, Francesca Roberts, is to retire at the end of May after 16 years with the charity. 

An influential figure in both the charitable sector and the construction industry, Roberts started her career with BBC Television before moving into the charitable sector where her passion for helping people flourished. As CEO at International Refugee Trust, she worked tirelessly for 13 years supporting refugees in a number of countries. Roberts then embarked on a career with CRASH, uniting the construction industry to help homelessness charities and hospices with their building projects.

Since her appointment in 2007, Roberts has been instrumental in shaping CRASH into the unique and thriving charity it is today. Visiting homelessness charities and hospices from Penzance to Perth, and many places in between, she has sought to understand the challenges faced by charities who rely on their buildings to deliver essential services and involved the construction industry to help them.

In 2014, under Robert's leadership, CRASH was awarded ‘The Big Society Award’ by the then Prime Minister, David Cameron who said: “The innovative approach CRASH takes harnesses the world-class skills and products of our construction industry to tackle the issue of homelessness. This Big Society Award recognises the remarkable achievements of everyone involved.”

Roberts was the key driver in expanding the charity’s remit to include hospices in 2015, enabling hospices across the UK to benefit from CRASH’s guidance and support, alongside homelessness organisations. Since then, the charity and its Patron Companies has supported 52 hospice projects and saved these charities over £1 million-pounds - savings that they can channel back into delivering their outstanding care to children and adults with life limiting illnesses.

As a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Constructors Roberts has been passionate about fostering intelligent partnerships between the construction industry and charities.

“Serving CRASH has been a privilege. Uniting the construction industry so we could construct buildings that care for people, whether they are homeless or have life limiting illnesses, has been challenging, rewarding, and inspiring," said Roberts. "I have had the support of committed Trustees and great colleagues who have worked so hard, and together with the industry we have helped thousands of people in the 16 years I’ve been at CRASH. 

"The range of construction problems we have solved has been vast and fascinating, and the impact of that work on people’s lives is profound. CRASH is an extraordinary charity that everyone in the industry can be part of, and be proud of. It has taught me so much about people and buildings, and the immense positive impact the construction industry can have on the lives of people who need help. I have quite simply loved being part of CRASH and it has been an honour to lead and develop the charity”.

The Board of Trustees together with Francesca, is delighted to announce the appointment of the incoming Chief Executive, Trisha Pickersgill, current Director of Business Development, Operations & Performance at Rennie Grove Hospice Care – a benefitting charity of CRASH’s work, who will join the charity this May.

John O’Grady, Chairman at CRASH, added: “I’m confident that I stand with the whole construction industry in extending my thanks to Francesca Roberts for her devoted service as Chief Executive of the industry’s charity, CRASH, for the past 16 years. Francesca’s passion and determination to help people who are homeless and those in need of hospice care, has brought together our industry and inspired our people to construct places that care for people."