SJOG Homes for Ukraine Team celebrate project

Since September 2022, the SJOG Homes for Ukraine team has facilitated placements for families through the Homes for Ukraine scheme, connecting them with sponsors across the UK. The program offered a matching, training, and support services to both sponsors and guests. 

As an official provider to the Government scheme, SJOG Homes for Ukraine has supported over 300 individuals displaced by the war in Ukraine, both directly through matching and indirectly through information sessions and signposting.

Key achievements of the project:

  •  140 guests placed with sponsors in the UK. This included 44 children.
  •  96 guests have completed their 6-month placements.
  •  50 guests have transitioned to private rented accommodation.
  •  The HFU team conducted 35 information sessions for both sponsors and guests, reaching over 200 people.
  •  94% of guests and 90% of sponsors said that the team made the right match.
  •  90.3% of guests said the accommodation and location met expectations. 
  •  96.8% of our guests and 93.2% our sponsors said that their relationships with each other were excellent.

At an event on 19 June held in London, people came together to celebrate the achievements of the project.  Thanks were extended to funders of the project: the Albert Gubay Charitable Foundation, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and the Church Urban Fund, and acknowledgement was made to the project delivery team at SJOG and SCAN for their tireless work and dedication.  Not least, huge thanks were given to the sponsors who generously opened their homes and hearts to those displaced by the war.

To read the project's evaluation report, click here:

July 2024

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New web platform provides online resources

Here to Help – suicide prevention

Here to Help, SJOG’s new initiative focused on suicide prevention among autistic people in Teesside has officially been launched with an event at Stockton Football Club on Monday 1st July and welcomed autistic people, their family and friends to come and learn more about the project.

At the event, which hosted a number of activities, attendees were also able to see the newly-launched web platform which provides accessible information about suicide and autism.

Here to Help which is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care, aims to reduce the stigma around suicide and empower people to feel able to support individuals experiencing suicidality.

Autistic people are 9 times more likely to die by suicide than the general population, and autistic young people are 28 times more likely to think about or attempt suicide than their non-autistic peers.

Access the web platform here:

July 2024

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Pushing for hardship to a top priority..

From day one

SJOG stands with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) along with over 200 organisations who are committed to ending poverty, and have called on the people most likely to be the next prime minister to put tackling hardship at the top of their agenda from day one.

Frustrated by the ‘stark lack of focus’ from Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer during the campaign, the diverse network of organisations have placed their message that hardship must be at the top of the prime minister's to-do list in national newspapers with one week to go until the election result.

The leaders of UK's political parties have faced questions from the public on the campaign trail about levels of hardship in the UK, as JRF reveals the relentless reality of years-long hardship.  Their latest research finds:

7 million low-income families have gone without essentials like food, heating and adequate clothing in the last six months.

7 in 10 (71%) low-income households in the bottom 20% of incomes were going without essentials in May this year, the same as May last year.

Over the past five years, the number of people experiencing destitution more than doubled. Four million experienced destitution in 2022 including one million children and 2.4 million are people with a disability or limiting health condition. (Source: JRF Destitution in the UK 2023).

The letter signed by organisations including the Trussell Trust, Citizens Advice, Crisis, Age UK, Barnardo's, Mencap, Scope, Mental Health Foundation and many more, says, "It is clear [the public] want to see action and commitments to turn this situation around so that no one is forced to go without the essentials or need a food bank to survive.”

To read the full press release from JRF click here:


27 June 2024

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Learning Disability Week 17th – 23rd June 2024

“Do you see me?”

Learning Disability Week is celebrated annually in the third week of June, and aims to educate, spread awareness, and increase understanding of learning disabilities.

The theme for Learning Disability Week this year is “Do you see me?” and additionally through the week asking: Do you understand me?  Will you work with me? Do you hear me? Do you include me? Will you support me?

SJOG has a long history and vast experience in working with people with disabilities – learning disabilities, physical disabilities, autism and complex needs. Providing high quality services, we aim to support people to live how and where they choose, with expert care and support provided by experts in their fields.

People we serve are central to how we shape services and how people receive their support.  In 2020 we established an Advisory Council to better hear their voices and the group  have been involved in a number of initiatives including recruitment and policy-making.  Last year the Council were integral in creating the ‘People’s Charter’ consisting of 12 standards developed by and for the people we support.

1.     You must be happy to work with me and smile

2.     Understand me and my needs

3.     Respect me and my belongings

4.     Support my privacy

5.     Take time to get to know me

6.     You must have a good sense of humour and be patient

7.     Don’t bring problems to work – bring solutions!

8.     Listen and value everyone

9.     Less paperwork and more time with me

10.  Ask if I am ok – I will let you know

11.  Understand my health needs

12.  Advocate with me, not for me

This charter has been embedded into our recruitment and induction processes and is now part of quality auditing across our services.

Ken lives at the Minims in Hatfield tells us why being part of this group is important to him.  “I like speaking on behalf of everyone at the Minims.  I am their voice. It’s an important job and I take it very seriously.”

Follow us this week on our social media pages: 

June 2024

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Putting victims first: Renewing the UK commitment to the safety of victims of trafficking and modern slavery.’

The 100 day manifesto launched on Monday 10 June 2024, has been created between the 13 providers of support to survivors of modern slavery under the Modern Slavery Victims Care Contract (MSVCC).  This includes SJOG, the Salvation Army and 11 other contractors who together have supported over 20,000 potential victims.

Together we form the collective of professionals who interact and engage with all potential victims in the National Referral Mechanism. We have drawn on expertise and experience to share these five key calls on the next government which can be done with limited legislative change and expense.

The manifesto sets out five practical and deliverable recommendations from Modern Slavery experts to be implemented within the first 100 days of a new government:

1.       Return Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery to the Minister for Safeguarding’s brief, not the Minister for Immigration.

2.       Suspend clauses 22-25 of the Illegal Migration Act 2023.

3.       Prioritise decisions on the people in the National Referral Mechanism who have waited the longest.

4.       Ensure no Public Order Disqualifications occur where potential victims have no legal representation through a review of the Modern Slavery Statutory Guidance.

5.       Adopt a multi-disciplinary approach complemented by mechanisms for government accountability.

To read the full manifesto, click here:

June 2024

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Here to Help press launch 10 June 2024

Here to Help, SJOG’s new initiative focused on suicide prevention among autistic people in Teesside is being launched at a press event in Middlesbrough.

Since announcement of the funding award from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), the project has been developing to be able to provide:

A web-platform which has been co-produced with autistic individuals and their supporters. This platform provides accessible information and resources about suicidality and autism. The platform will be regularly updated to address community priorities.

  • An awareness roadshow using SJOG’s ‘Magic Space’ mobile sensory unit. The purpose of this is to visit communities within the Tees Valley and raise awareness of the campaign.
  • Workshops to support autistic individuals with their mental health.
  • Training for professionals and parents and carers on how to support autistic individuals with their mental health.

Rachael Smith, Here to Help Manager, said: “We believe that this project will reduce the stigma around suicide and empower people to feel able to support individuals experiencing suicidality. I am excited to lead on a project focused specifically in Teesside, and feel that it will add a lot of value to the local community.”

The ‘Here to Help’ project is of vital importance because autistic people are 9 times more likely to die by suicide than the general population, and autistic young people are 28 times more likely to think about or attempt suicide than their non-autistic peers. Furthermore, the Tees Valley has one of the highest prevalence rates of suicidality, demonstrating that this project is crucial for the region. 

The press launch for ‘Here to Help’ coincides with the start of Carers’ Week and comes ahead of a general public launch of the ‘Here to Help’ project on the 1st of July.

Listen to Rachael’s interview with BBC Radio Tees talking about the project and launch:  Gary Philipson - 05/06/2024 - BBC Sounds (from 18 minutes).

June 2024

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