First Visitors to SJOG Visitor Pod

Graham lives at Lindisfarne Court, our residential care service in Darlington and like so many others during the pandemic, has so missed the visits of his family.  Creating a ‘pod’ to keep everyone safe has meant visits can take place again and in the words of service manager, Amanda, “Graham was over the moon to see his parents today.”  And likewise so were Graham’s parents, Jan and Ged who have badly missed being able to see their son.

“It was lovely to see Graham close up and for him to be able to see us with his limited vision.  The pod was lovely and warm as well as safe and secure.  We really appreciate the effort you and your team have made to enable us to visit Graham.” 

More pods like this - safe spaces that separate visitors and people we support, are now being built in other services around the country to enable visits between loved ones to take place. 

We are pleased to report that Terry Yorath House in Leeds is the latest service to announce the opening of ther pod and everyone there is looking forward to welcoming visitors once again.

Leading Effective Change in Charities: A Case Study

On 3 November Shoosmiths broadcasted, to a live audience, a conversation between Robert Nieri and SJOG’s Chief Executive, Paul Bott.

The wide ranging conversation covers the cultural and systemic changes that SJOG has undergone in the last two years; a transformation recently recognised by the award of ‘Change Project of the Year’ at the National Charity Times Awards and in receiving four nominations (including one award for Finance Team of the Year) at the Third Sector Awards.  

Paul talks about the changes and the importance of using the genius of everyone involved in SJOG in achieving its turnaround. The importance of purpose, living our values of Hospitality, Compassion and Respect and what the future holds for the charity.

You can hear more here 

Or access the recording through on Shoosmiths website here  

SJOG's Finance Teams Wins Third Sector Award

At last night’s (7 October) Third Sector Awards ceremony, our brilliant finance team scooped the award for Finance Team of the Year.

Wendy Cotton, Technical Line Manager – Social Welfare, Markel announced the award:  “The award went to a team who took time to understand all of the issues before implementing changes which were ultimately responsible for securing the long-term future of the organisation.”

The small team of eight - Leanne, Rachel, Jenny, Jo, Sam, Louie, Carole and Joan (and joined recently by Lynne) have been instrumental in transforming the financial health of the charity so that it can continue to change the lives of the people we serve.  They have led on improving financial skills across the charity, putting tools in the hands of all of our staff so that we can evidence the impact of what the charity does.  

Better evidence has meant improved relationships with funders, a financial modelling process that supports growth, and better decisions being made across the charity. 

Leanne Welford, SJOG’s Chief Finance Officer said, “I’m delighted that the efforts of the finance team have been recognised by Third Sector this year.  They’ve worked extremely hard, achieved some amazing outcomes and I’m very proud of them!”

Everyone at SJOG is very proud – they are a great team!

GEM – Going the Extra Mile Award for SJOG’s Karen Hannigan

Acknowledging our colleagues who have gone the extra mile, we were pleased to present a GEM award to:

Karen HanniganAdministration Assistant – St Paul’s Nursing Home, Selly Park 

Nominated by Sylvia Hughes, Service Manager and Donna Moore, Deputy Service Manager for her above and beyond commitment, and not least for being the ‘main stay’ of St Paul’s during recent years with a number of changes in personnel.  She’s the absolute ‘go to’ person and until Sylvia and Donna came on board, ‘owned’ their respective responsibilities. 

“Karen has been the kindest most supportive admin person I have ever had the privilege to work with.  She is often taking time out of her own roles and responsibilities to support all the staff in the home and also gets to know the sisters we care for personally which I have not found in an admin person before. She is always running around supporting everyone. 

She is the oracle of knowledge, incredibly supportive both personally and professionally and in a service like St Paul’s is a breath of fresh air.   She absolutely goes the extra mile (well more like marathon) to support everyone with patience, perseverance and passion.”

Well done and thank you to Karen.

SJOG signs Time to Change Pledge 

SJOG has taken another step in supporting our colleagues' mental health with the signing of the Time to Change Pledge.

The Time to Change Pledge commits SJOG and our 600 colleagues to ensuring that we provide a safe environment where mental health can be discussed openly without fear of discrimination. The pledge is not just a promise, but builds on the work that has been undertaken through training and developing Mental Health First Aiders and launched Bright Line with funding from BUPA – a dedicated confidential line provided by SJOG and run by our colleagues to offer signposting, advice and a friendly ear should people feel in crisis with their mental health. 

SJOG already facilitates access to mental health counsellors and the next step is the development of a supportive mental health network within SJOG.  

Paul Bott, Chief Executive of SJOG said, “With our core values of Hospitality, Compassion and Respect, it is only right that we support all of our colleagues, and both their mental and physical health.  We know it can be hard to talk about mental health, but we want to encourage people to feel asking for help is seen as a sign of strength and not of weakness.   We want to help to end mental health discrimination and are therefore very proud to sign up to the Time to Change Employer Pledge.” 

Time to Change is led by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness. 


SJOG shortlisted for ‘Charity of the Year’ in national award

The National Third Sector Excellence awards recognise the achievements of charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. SJOG has been recognised in four categories including the prestigious ‘Charity of the Year’:

  • Finance Team of the Year
  • Fundraising Team of the Year
  • Charity Chief Executive
  • Charity of the Year

We’re really pleased that the hard work of all of our colleagues over the past year has been recognised. To be shortlisted in one category would have been great, to be shortlisted in four (no other charity has more nominations) just goes to show the talent and dedication we have at SJOG.

The other charities and individuals named in the awards are an impressive bunch, with many household names. It’s an illustrious group to be a part of and to be picked out as a charity that is doing really good work is fantastic.

The awards will be announced over a two-day virtual event on the 7th and 8th of October.

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