Second anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine

Two years on and the war continues

24th February 2024 marks the second anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.  The impact on Ukrainians over these two years has been immense, with millions fleeing their homes to find refuge throughout Europe.  The estimated figure is 10+ million people (source UN).  Over 300,000 have sought refuge here in the UK (source Home Office).

The government’s Homes for Ukraine Scheme in the UK was established to match people willing to take Ukrainians into their homes, with those in need. 

SJOG became an official partner of this scheme in the summer of 2022, and in partnership with Caritas Social Action Network, offer a matching pathway, training and support programme for sponsors and guests.

To-date the project has supported over 250 individuals with 110 guests having been placed with hosts in the UK. 

Support includes online training and information resources for both hosts and guests, transfers from the Ukrainian border to the city nearest to their future home, and a ‘belonging’ box is given to make families welcome when they arrive.  The programme also ensures that support from the team and local communities is available to make the experience as seamless and fulfilling as possible. 

For many, both hosts and guests have found their experiences positive and complimentary of the work and support provided by SJOG’s Homes for Ukraine team – Mariia, Sofiia, Anastazia and Michael. 

“I would like to thank all the organisers and team members of SJOG for this incredible program. My experience in the UK has been extremely positive, with the country proving to be exceptionally hospitable.   The sponsors turned out to be unbelievably wonderful people who not only helped me with integration but also shared valuable insights about the area, making life easier and more comfortable.”   Vira (guest)

“Thank you for your support at every stage, we almost didn't feel any great difficulties connected to this process, from beginning to end..  There was a feeling of communication with you that it's not just a job for you; it is a mission. That is very precious.”  Valentyna (guest)

As the war enters its third year, the need for hosts in the UK continues.  For more information on how to sponsor a family or an individual, go to:

February 2024

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Bede’s Close achieves NAS accreditation

SJOG service recognised once again for good autism practice

SJOG’s care home in Bradford has been awarded Autism Accreditation by the National Autistic Society, the UK’s leading charity for people with autism.  This is SJOG's second service to achieve this accreditation, with Sandown Road in Billingham having received the award in January 2022.

The Specialist Accredited Award recognises our good autism practice, with particular recognition by the Accreditation Committee given for the staff team’s application of specialist approaches that support person-centred support that is tailored to each person’s individual abilities, interests, preferences and challenges. The team’s proactive and preventative strategies employed to help each person avoid anxiety or distress, and help them understand and regulate their emotions, were also commended.

Autism Accreditation is an autism-specific quality assurance programme. It was set up by the National Autistic Society in 1992 to improve the support available to autistic people in organisations throughout the UK and across the world, including local authorities, NHS trusts, education authorities, schools, colleges and more. To gain accreditation, organisations have to meet a standard of excellence and follow a framework for continuous self-examination and development.

Ashley Wilson, SJOG’s Head of Service Development and Quality said, “We are absolutely delighted to receive this second award by NAS, and that our expertise in good autism practice continues to be recognised.   The team at Bede’s Close were acknowledged for being highly proactive, keen to develop and outward looking.  We are extremely proud, and we will continue to develop this learning and expertise in more of our services going forward to benefit people with autism supported by SJOG both now and in the future.

February 2024

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The Good Shepherd - being of more help to more people in Wolverhampton

Pomegranate Café and Community Shop open their doors

After many months and years in the planning, the official launch of the Central Community Shop and Pomegranate Café took place on Friday 2 February.   This innovative new project, a partnership between the Good Shepherd, Wolverhampton Foundation and the City of Wolverhampton Council, will provide affordable food for people who are still facing challenging circumstances and enable people to access services around training and employability. 

The café and shop are situated within the historic Queens Building, which has a city-centre location and near the city’s bus and train stations - ideally placed to attract commuters, shoppers and office workers to enjoy the café’s coffee and cakes, and unique environment.

SJOG has supported the project by funding the café in its start-up and initial running costs.

“We are delighted to have supported the start-up of Pomegranate.  Sharing the heritage that we do with the Good Shepherd, it’s a proud moment that our shared working has helped deliver such a worthy project for the city.

The design of the project means it will have real impact on people who are beginning their journey back into employment through the support of the Good Shepherd.”  Jamie Mackrill, Head of Opportunities

Read more about the project at:

February 2024

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Investing in our greatest assets – our colleagues

Welcome to Dàire Fitzgerald

As a charity of people supporting people, we recognise that the investment in our colleagues is one of the best investments we can make – for the individual who can grow and flourish in their role; for each person we support who will benefit from a skilled and well-trained workforce, and for the wider community.

As part of this investment, we have created a new role to focus on workforce development and improve colleague engagement across all aspects of learning and development, and ensuring our LOVED programme is accessible to all colleagues. 

Welcome to Dàire Fitzgerald, Colleague Engagement and Organisation Development Lead who comes with a wealth of health and wellbeing experience.

Dàire’s plans over the next few months will be to reinforce our current learning and development offering and introduce a more streamlined, accessible and internal approach to our training. As part of this, Daire plans to assemble a training team to harness the knowledge and expertise that exists among colleagues. 

“We will help everyone who comes to SJOG to achieve their personal best and are committed to giving our colleagues every opportunity to grow both personally and professionally, with provision for training, upskilling and continuous learning opportunities.  Our aim is to have a pathway of learning for each person that aligns with their career goals ensuring their growth within the organisation.” Dàire

For further information go to:

January 2024

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A new partnership..

and welcoming new colleagues

As we begin a new year, we welcome a new partnership with the Sisters of Mercy at Oaklea Convent in Sunderland.

As part of this, SJOG is welcoming 39 colleagues to the SJOG family as we begin working together to provide domiciliary care and support to members of the Sisters’ community.

SJOG has a long history of providing specialist dementia care and nursing care for older people and we currently work in partnership with a number of religious orders and congregations to support them in the care of their elderly members and the management of their care homes.

The service was founded to respond to the issues facing many orders today, particularly in relation to the implications of care standards legislation, and is underpinned by our commitment to work with each individual order or congregation to maintain the charism and founding ethos of that particular religious organisation.

“SJOG understands our values and mission and the need for us to continue to share this.  God sent SJOG to us at a time when we needed it the most.”  Sister Josepha

January 2024



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International Day for Persons with Disabilities – 3rd December 2023

Recognising the contribution of people with disabilities

International Day of Persons with Disabilities is an annual event established by the United Nations (UN) to raise awareness about the challenges faced by people with disabilities and to promote their full and equal participation in all aspects of society.  It serves as a poignant reminder of the global commitment to promoting people’s rights, dignity and well-being.

SJOG has a very long (over 140 years!) and successful history of working with people with disabilities; we work alongside the people we support, delivering individualised services that are defined by each person we work with.  Being guests in people’s lives, we hear their voices and respect their decisions. 

This year a significant piece of work has been completed with the people we support –people with lived experiences – in the development of the People’s Framework and roadmap, ‘making things happen together’ – which underpins our co-production policy and exactly how we work – together..

Paul who lives at Terry Yorath House in Leeds, is one of the team who worked on the Framework and has lots of expertise through lived experience.  In addition to working with us, he helps to train the next generation of nurses and occupational therapists by sharing his experience of disability and mental health. 

There are other areas Paul is addressing – follow us on Facebook to see a series of short videos that feature Paul on his journey:     

December 2023


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