Carmel – a ‘beacon of kindness and compassion’ whose drive helped many

Friday, 9th July 2021 — By Helen Chapman

Carmel Littleton

Carmel Littleton

TOWN Hall chiefs have fondly recalled a senior staff member who was known as a “beacon of kindness and compassion” after she died of cancer.

Carmel Littleton had been made “corporate director of people” in 2019 heading up services for adult social care, children, employment and culture. Prior to that she had been director of children’s services since 2016.

Islington Council leader Councillor Kaya Comer-Schwartz said: “It was devastating news. I really enjoyed working with her so closely. She was a really exceptional, compassionate person and good at motivating others around the things she cared about – vulnerable children, equalities, and vulnerable people moreover – in a way that was really motivating without coming across as negative.”

Cllr Comer-Schwartz added: “She was that kind of person. She connected with those young people so passionately and worked right alongside them. That’s Carmel.

“Whether you worked with her, whether you were a young person or a vulnerable person, she had an excellent way of seeing everyone’s potential and she was really selfless with that.”

As a commissioner on Islington’s independent Fair Futures Commission in 2018, Carmel worked on an initiative to ensure all teenagers could secure work experience.

She also worked on the launch of Music Education Islington in 2018 and the 11 By 11 initiative offering free cultural experiences to young people.

During her time, the children’s social care services went from a “good” rating in 2016 to “outstanding” last year.

Andy Hull, a former councillor, said she was “a beacon of kindness and compassion in a world that needs more of both”, adding in his tribute: “The warmth in your smile helped even the most marginalised know that they mattered.”

Linzi Roberts-Egan, the council’s chief executive, said: “Carmel was the ultimate public sector leader, a professional of the highest calibre and integrity, heading a team of hundreds.

“We are all still coming to terms with this terribly sad news; it has been an emotional week for her team, and for so many others whose lives she touched.”

She added: “Carmel was a wonderful colleague and a remarkable woman; even as she neared the end of her life, she remained truly inspirational. She would never want the focus to be on her, but on our residents who depend on us. She would want us to remember her by celebrating life, doing the best we can, and making the most of every moment.”

Lesley Seary, the council’s former chief executive, said in a tweet: “Heartbreaking news and difficult to find words. You had such amazing warmth and kindness – it was a privilege to know you. Your passion and drive inspired us and changed so many lives.”

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