Local Face: Ian Sansbury

Ian lives in Wendover Dean, with his wife Kyla and two children Adam (10) and Emma (8).

Ian’s background is really quite varied; some might say chequered, he jokes. He is originally from the West Country and was born and bred in Bath, before moving north to study a business degree at Lancaster University. He then lived and worked in London, at first for an accounting firm (where he met Kyla) and then for a number of investment banks, spending twelve years with the American firm Goldman Sachs. Immediately before moving to Wendover, Ian and Kyla were lucky enough to live in New York for three years. “We had a fantastic time in New York,” says Ian, “but when we came back to the UK, we felt that we had ‘done’ cities and we were really keen to find a friendlier, more rural community to live in. Wendover was the perfect find – and we have loved the last twelve years here.”

Although Ian continued to work in the city for a while after coming to Wendover, he made a significant career change in 2011, moving to the Aylesbury-based cerebral palsy charity PACE to be their Director of Finance & Resources. “I had been hoping to work for a charity for some time,” says Ian. “I had been a trustee at PACE for a couple of years and had the opportunity to become a full-time member of the team, helping PACE to grow and develop while learning a huge amount personally about the charity sector”. At PACE, Ian led the development of their new Early Years Centre on the Wendover Road and helped to set up the campaign consortium Action Cerebral Palsy. “PACE is a fantastic local charity and a leader in its field, nationally and internationally,” says Ian, “It was great to have been able to be a part of an organisation that genuinely transforms the lives of so many children with complex disabilities and I would recommend everyone to support PACE if they can.”

After three years at PACE, and eager for a new challenge, Ian joined the international Christian charity Oasis at the beginning of 2015, as their Director of Strategy. Oasis works with and within 51 vulnerable communities across 11 countries around the world, providing a ground-breaking model of integrated local service delivery, focused around an innovative and very inclusive model of church. In the UK, Oasis is the second largest multi-academy trust, with 47 schools in deprived inner-city communities, serving over 25,000 students and their families. But most importantly, those 47 schools sit within 35 Oasis community hubs which serve the local neighbourhood through the provision of youth work, adult education, family support, food banks, debt advice and a great deal more. Ian’s role spans strategy, fundraising and communications and he is currently planning the launch of Oasis’ new venture, a research and policy vehicle called the Oasis Foundation. “Oasis’ model is so innovative and so effective, and the statutory alternatives are under so much pressure nationally, that we want to share generously our learning from the last thirty years,” says Ian. “The Oasis Foundation is our way of giving that learning back to society so that others can replicate what Oasis has achieved”.

Ian’s role at Oasis also fits with his life outside work, given that the Sansburys are all active members of St Mary’s Church in Wendover. Ian co-leads one of St Mary’s new all age services called Explore (the next one is on Mothering Sunday, March 6th, at 10.30 am), he sits on the PCC and chairs the Global Church group (through which St Mary’s provides support to other churches and charities around the world). Other than that, Ian is a keen singer, both with the St Mary’s music group and with Wendover Choral Society, an enthusiastic but not particularly capable cricketer and a fanatical Bath rugby fan.