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National Numeracy appoints Perdita Fraser as Chair

30 Apr 2021

National Numeracy is delighted to announce the appointment of Perdita Fraser as our new Chair of the Board of Trustees

Perdita Fraser brings a wealth of experience across business, government and the not-for-profit sector to the UK’s only charity dedicated to everyday number skills. 

Perdita Fraser

Perdita has been involved with education and social mobility charities for nearly 30 years, and is a passionate believer in bringing together business, charities and government to solve the big issues facing society.  

She has 20+ years board experience across private, public and third sectors with specific focus on innovation, sustainability, data science and building partnerships. A former JP Morgan investment banker, she is a board member of the National Lottery Community Fund, the University of Edinburgh, and has a variety of advisory roles with the Cabinet Office, BEIS, Women on Boards and Changing the Chemistry.  

Named as one of the “100 Women to Watch” on the female FTSE Board Report 2015, Perdita is also a Fellow of the RSA. 

Perdita takes over from outgoing Chair Belinda Vernon, who has worked tirelessly on the Board of National Numeracy since the charity was founded in 2012.  

Perdita says: “I am delighted to be appointed as Chair of National Numeracy. It is an honour to be asked to lead such a brilliant board and a talented organisation. I want to pay tribute to the huge contribution of my predecessor Belinda Vernon, and thank her for her outstanding contribution.  

“National Numeracy has an extraordinary and important mission to support children and adults get on with numbers, so that they can get on at work, home and school. I am very much looking to working with the team, as well as all those we support and work in partnership with across the country, to help achieve this.”  

Belinda has dedicated an incredible amount of expertise, energy and enthusiasm – not to mention time – to National Numeracy over the past nine years, for which we are incredibly grateful. 

Belinda says: “It has been a great privilege and hugely rewarding to have been part of National Numeracy’s extraordinary journey from the very beginning. By helping people to ‘get on with numbers’ the charity is improving the lives and opportunities for thousands of individuals every year. But this has only been possible with the hard work of countless people - trustees, staff and funders - and I would like to take this opportunity to express my deep thanks to every one of them.  

“However, there is much more to be done to make a transformational impact on numeracy in the UK and I wish my successor, Perdy Fraser, all the very best in continuing this journey.  I hope she enjoys it as much as I have.” 

Perdita will work closely with CEO Sam Sims on the charity’s exciting new three-year strategy that puts a focus on helping people with low confidence or competence with numbers in disadvantaged communities, where the need is greatest. 

Sam says: “National Numeracy’s growing impact since 2012 owes so much to Belinda’s passion for the cause, unwavering commitment to the charity and skilful stewardship as a trustee and Chair of the Board.  On behalf of everyone who has been part of National Numeracy’s journey to date, I would like to offer Belinda a huge and heartfelt thank you.  

With an ambitious new strategy now in place, I am delighted to welcome Perdita to National Numeracy. Perdita brings a wealth of skills and experience, as well as a deep belief in the importance of numeracy, to leading the Board of Trustees. I look forward to working closely with Perdita as we transform our impact over the next, crucial stage of the charity’s development”. 

National Numeracy is the only charity in the UK focused exclusively on improving the everyday number skills of adults and children. In the UK, numeracy levels are significantly below the average for developed countries; and as individuals, nearly half the working-age population has the expected numeracy level of a primary school child. ​ 

Not getting on with numbers blights lives and livelihoods, contributing to pervasive problems from unemployment to poor health and debt. And it costs the UK economy up to a staggering £25 billion a year, according to new research from Pro Bono Economics

Low numeracy disproportionately affects disadvantaged communities and holds millions of people back from fulfilling their potential and from getting on in life. With anxiety about numbers passing on from one generation to the next, we need to stop this cycle now, particularly as the UK seeks to build back better after the pandemic.