Radio Sparky: May 2022 Mental Health Awareness Week podcast

Listen to our latest edition of Radio Sparky, the podcast which shines the spotlight on the excellent work happening at Richmond Fellowship services across the country.

In this special edition to mark Mental Health Awareness Week 2022, Matt Webb Communications and Marketing Officer speaks to Nicholas Barnes, Peer Support Coordinator at our Crawley Staying Well service about his experience of year’s theme ‘loneliness’ and how he uses his lived experience to support others along their recovery journeys.

“I felt lonely even though she was still around at that time. She was sleeping a lot and not really talkative when she was awake. She just wanted to be by herself a lot. I was quite lonely because I couldn’t express myself. I had no one I could talk to in front of, because of her illness it would upset her.” Nicholas, Peer Support Coordinator.

Mental Health Awareness Week 2022 – #WeAreHere

This year Mental Health Awareness Week is tackling loneliness. As a provider of mental health support across England, we see day in and day out the impact that social isolation and loneliness can have on people’s mental health. The pandemic has only made this worse. 

All our services across Richmond Fellowship work to combat loneliness. Whether you’re having an at-home visit from someone in our community service team or gathering for lunch living in one of our supported housing services, our staff are there building safe spaces for the people we support. Throughout the pandemic all our services made sure they continued delivering this support at a time it was needed most. Our services helped people feel less alone. 

So, what can you expect from us this week?  

This year we wanted to keep things simple and recognise the important work of our amazing staff and services – not just for delivering high quality support throughout the pandemic, but also for all they do to help people feel less alone.  

So, on our social media we’ll be showing how our services, staff and people we support combat loneliness. Some of our staff will be sharing their experiences with loneliness to help break the stigma and encourage people to seek support for their mental health. 

We’ll also be sharing a RadioSparky Podcast featuring Nicholas, Peer Support Coordinator at Crawley Staying Well, one of our Crisis Havens in Surrey about his experience with loneliness and how the service supports people in their local area. 

How do our models to support recovery tackle loneliness? 

At Richmond Fellowship we have various models to support recovery including Employment Services, Residential Recovery (including Supported Housing and CQC Registered Care Homes), Community Based Services, Crisis Services and Domestic Abuse Services. Each working in their own specialised way to make recovery reality for the people we support.  

  • Models like our Crisis Services are a lifeline for people experiencing a mental health crisis, acting as a sanctuary when people feel most alone. People can find respite either within our Crisis Houses, or peer and professional support in our Crisis Havens. 
  • Our Community-based Services bring people together to connect. They give people the confidence to get back into society through community groups and at-home support with shopping, finances and independent living. These services are essential in reaching people who are isolated and feeling lonely. 
  • As for our housing services, living around likeminded people and having a safe space to grow and recover is hugely beneficial in tackling loneliness and isolation. Our housing services deliver either 24-hour or 12-hour support. Our staff, as well as the other residents, are there to support people on their recovery journeys and to ensure they never feel alone. 
  • Our Employment Services keep in regular contact with the people we support, checking in on their job applications and CV writing, but also their mental health and any other difficulties they might be having. Our employment services work hard to get the people we support into employment that is right for and interests them.  
  • Our Domestic Abuse Services are there for people affected by domestic abuse who are in situations that can leave them feeling entirely alone and isolated. 

Make sure you are following us on our Facebook and Twitter. Don’t forget, we are here, a safe space is available for you to also feel less alone. Find out about your local Richmond Fellowship services here.  

Gender Pay Gap Reporting (2021-2022)

Richmond Fellowship’s mean 2021 to 2022 Gender Pay Gap (GPG) is 5.39% and its median 2021 to 2022 GPG is 3.55%. These GPGs have increased from 4.30% and 2.95% respectively in 2020 to 2021.

Two key reasons for Richmond Fellowship’s higher GPG are the gender composition of its upper pay quartile and the colleagues who have availed of its salary sacrifice schemes (childcare vouchers, cycle to work scheme and season ticket loans). Males represent 32.26% of the upper quartile, compared to 28.8% of the overall full pay relevant employee cohort. This means that the organisation’s higher earners are more likely to be male, and this will thus exacerbate its overall GPG. In regards to salary sacrifice schemes, these have generally been used by higher earning female employees and lower earning male employees, which has artificially increased Richmond Fellowship’s GPG by reducing the countable earnings from higher paid females, which has had less of an impact on the overall GPG results than the reduction of countable earnings from lower paid males.

Another reason for Richmond Fellowship’s higher GPG is the rostering of employees who worked on call shifts on the snapshot date. 44.4% of such staff were male and 55.6% were female, which contrasts with the split in the overall full pay relevant employee cohort of 28.8% males and 71.2% females. This significantly higher proportion of male staff who worked on call shifts has increased the overall GPG, as these earnings are taken into account when calculating the GPG. As the snapshot date was Easter Monday, this may have led to a different cohort of staff being available to work in our 24-hour services than may have been the case had the snapshot date been on a working day.

Six of the top 10 hourly earners in the organisation are female in 2021 to 2022, compared to 5 in 2020 to 2021. Furthermore, Richmond Fellowship now only has 1 quartile where there is a positive GPG (upper), compared to it having had 2 such quartiles (upper and upper middle) in 2020 to 2021.

28.71% of Richmond Fellowship’s relevant employees in 2021 to 2022 were male and 71.29% were female. This cohort is used to calculate Richmond Fellowship’s 2021 to 2022 bonus GPG.

Richmond Fellowship paid a £50 Christmas voucher to all employees in December 2020. It also paid a cash recognition bonus to all staff who worked in front-line services and who could not work from home during the initial wave of the Covid pandemic. This bonus was paid in November 2020 and was pro-rated by colleagues’ weekly working hours. Other payments which are deemed bonus payments include long service awards, “golden hello” payments (awarded for joining the organisation during specific recruitment campaigns). Both the long service awards and “golden hello” payments are flat rate payments.

The £50 flat payment to all employees in December 2020 accounts for Richmond Fellowship not having a median bonus GPG for 2021 to 2022. The 9.79% mean bonus GPG for 2021 to 2022 can be accounted for by the recipients of the flat rate long service award payments and the Covid cash recognition bonus payments. 31.58% of the long service award payments were male, compared to 28.71% of the organisational relevant employees. Furthermore, the 2 highest recipients of long service award payments were male, which has increased the organisational mean GPG. Of the 373 recipients of the Covid cash recognition bonus, 112 were male (30%) and 70 of the 202 employees who received the full Covid cash recognition bonus (34.65%) were male. This therefore shows that Richmond Fellowship had more female staff who worked on site in front-line services on a part time basis, which has caused its overall mean GPG to have increased due to more males working in such a situation on a full time basis and thus qualifying for the full bonus payment.

To view the breakdowns, see here and here.

Richmond Fellowship remains committed to being an equal opportunities employer and it encourages all employees to avail of career development opportunities and employee incentive schemes.

Richmond Fellowship Castle service becomes part of Young Futures Partnership in Cambridge

Young Futures Partnership (YFP) is pleased to share that we have been awarded the Young People’s Housing Related Support service, which provides support and accommodation for young people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness, in Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire, by Cambridgeshire County Council.

Richmond Fellowship’s Castle service in Cambridge city is proud to be part of the partnership which also includes CHS Group, Orwell Housing Association and Riverside.

Each provider has a long history of supporting homeless young people in Cambridgeshire.

YFP will be run by a Partnership Board and an Operational Team. It will also include the Young People’s Voice to act as a sounding board for the evolution of the service model, oversee client outcomes and review local policies and procedures.

This new partnership will make a difference to the lives of many young people in Cambridge, drawing on our collective experience, expertise and resources to offer a consistent and quality service.

The partnership will work together closely to ensure the service develops and evolves in line with any changes in the operating environment, by pooling information and resources and working directly with Commissioners as members of the Partnership Board. YFP will have a ‘helicopter’ view of current provision, identify emerging gaps and trends and seek out opportunities to innovate in response.

The key service developments that are currently being worked on include:

  • A new referral process; with a single point of access for referrals
  • A new delivery model, consisting of a ‘Hub and Spoke’ approach
  • Community support
  • A broad range of accommodation-based services.

Kerry Stiles, Area Manager for Richmond Fellowship’s East Anglia services said:

“We’re thrilled to be working alongside other providers within the Young Futures Partnership to ensure some of the most vulnerable people with mental ill health are supported in Cambridge. The Castle service has a long and rich history of providing supported housing in the city for 16 to 25-year-olds and we’re pleased to be able to continue offering that level of support”.

The partnership will be sharing more details in the near future, but in the meantime, if you have any questions or would just like to find out more, please contact Kerry Stiles, Area Manager (East Anglia) at Richmond Fellowship. (kerry.stiles@richmondfellowship.co.uk).

World Autism Acceptance Week blog

To mark World Autism Acceptance Week, Laura Whitehouse, Autism and Asperger’s Employment Advisor at our Cambridgeshire Employment service has written this blog to share her experiences of working with people on the autism spectrum.

Who am I?

In 2015-2016, I trained with Teach East to become a Primary School Teacher. I completed my training and got a job as a Classroom Teacher, teaching in Year 4 at the school I trained in. I left teaching in 2018 as I found that it was not the role for me. Having left the profession, I secured my current role working with autistic adults to find and stay in work. But my experience of working with children on the autism spectrum as a Teaching Assistant, Trainee Teacher and Class Teacher continues to help me in my current work.

What is Autism?

Autism is a lifelong, developmental condition that affects about 1 in 100 people. It is a condition that affects the way in which people communicate and interact with the world around them. It is also a spectrum condition, which means that every individual is affected in a different way and have their own strengths and challenges. This definition has come from the National Autistic Society website, and this is a good place to start if you want to find out more at www.autism.org.uk. Also, local libraries have a good range of material on the subject including those written by people with autism.

My Experience and Top Tips

Working with and talking to people on the autism spectrum on daily basis allows me to learn something new every day. It has also highlighted the fact that each person is unique with their own strengths and challenges and so the best way of supporting them is by working in a person-centred way.

Now, I would like to share some of my top tips to supporting adults and children on the autism spectrum:

  • Increase your own knowledge of the condition and how it might affect an individual, this way you will have a better understanding of why they might be acting in a certain way.

  • Take time to get to know them, what are their interests, strengths and challenges, that way you can tailor support to suit their needs. The importance is that they are listened to and heard.

  • Routine is important to those on the spectrum as they know what is happening and it reduces anxiety. So, use of timetables written or visual can be beneficial.

  • Sudden changes can be difficult for some people on the autism spectrum. So, spending time preparing for it, explaining what the changes is and why it is happening can help manage the stress around it.

  • Avoid figurative and ambiguous language instead be clear in what you say and mean and check for understanding.

  • Be specific with expectations of work and behaviour.

  • If they have a sensory need or challenge, try to find ways to manage this. For example, if they are sensitive to noise then use noise cancelling headphones.

To find out more information about our Cambridgeshire Employment service, click here.

Being a Recovery Worker at Richmond Fellowship

Restrictions may have eased but the impact of the pandemic continues to bite, with recent figures showing that mental ill health has increased amongst adults and young people. We know that people will need support and services like ours ahead more than ever and we are proudly able to deliver that support and be part of the solution ahead to mental health.  

However, without our Recovery Workers, this support wouldn’t exist. They are our frontline staff, providing the direct support that makes recovery a reality for many people every year. We are proud of our recovery workers and the important work they put in to make recovery reality for the people we support. We want to send out a huge thank you to all our recovery workers for their dedication to continue delivering this needed support to people experiencing mental ill health.  

So, what is it like to be a recovery worker at Richmond Fellowship and what does the role actually involve? This week you’re going to be hearing from staff in a whole range of different services and models to support recovery. People we support will be sharing their stories and how the support they received from their Recovery Workers made a real difference in their lives. And this month’s Radio Sparky will be talking to staff at Holder House about their work, and what being a Recovery Worker with Richmond Fellowship has led to for them. 

You won’t want to miss out on the week, and we can’t wait to share some of the stories of our recovery workers. Make sure you follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and check out #RFRecoveryWorkers to stay up to date! 

Our recovery workers are inspiring individuals that make a real difference in people’s lives every day. Much of their work can be very challenging but equally rewarding. You could also be a part of our team of recovery workers across England. Why not see if there are vacancies in your area and start your journey with us as a recovery worker? See our vacancies here.

Radio Sparky: February 2022 podcast

Listen to our latest edition of Radio Sparky, the podcast which shines the spotlight on the excellent work happening at Richmond Fellowship services across the country.

In this edition we’re focussing on our Employment services as part of our Employment services week on social media. Matt Webb, Communications and Marketing Officer speaks to Becky Ballentyne from our Bath, North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire (BANeS) Employment service about what her role as an Employment Advisor involves, her journey to becoming an Employment Advisor and how she finds working for a national mental health charity.

“Honestly, every day is completely different. On a Monday morning it’s admin, checking emails. We have a group meeting every Monday morning to catch up on our case loads, discuss any clients that are potentially in crisis, employer engagement which is going round to chat to various employers discussing any potential job vacancies, meeting clients face-to-face in the community, discussing their needs and expectations of the service, what kind of roles they’re looking for.” – Becky, Employment Advisor, BANeS Employment service.

 

Inspired by Becky? You can also make a difference by joining us at a leading mental health charity. Check out our latest vacancies on our online jobs portal at richmondfellowship.org.uk/jobs.

Opening the doors to our Kirklees Employment Service

This week we have been hearing from staff and people we support all about what it’s like to work within and be supported by one of our Employment Services. Our employment services help people to maintain or gain meaningful employment, training, education or volunteering opportunities that are right for and tailored to them. We deliver 38 employment services across England – and one of them is Kirklees Employment Service. We’ve already heard this week from some of our Employment Advisors at Kirklees over on our social media. Today we’ll be getting even more insight into the support that the service delivers, as well as hearing from our Kirklees Service Manager about what’s coming up next for the service.

So, what does the support look like at our Kirklees Employment Service? Their team of staff let us know…

Our employment advisors work with individuals aged 18 and over experiencing mental ill health and/or hidden disabilities. We work on a 1-2-1 basis to form an individual plan on how we can work together to achieve their goals. We provide practical employment advice and support around identifying skills, finding the right job for that person, creating CVs, interview preparation and much more, including retaining employment.

There’s so much more we do in between as well; we listen to people’s worries around employment and their confidence and skills, and we really focus on empowering people to see their own value and strength – there’s really nothing better than watching someone learn to realise that they can do these things and achieve their goals.

Without a doubt Kirklees Employment Service has a huge impact on the people they support – but what do they have to say about it?

“I was given so much support and encouragement that I considered a career in mental health support to try and help people as much as I was helped. I’m now a support worker feeling very satisfied in a job I might not even have considered if not for my advisor.” Person we support

“I have been able to find new volunteering opportunities which will strengthen my CV and have applied for jobs with the help of my employment advisor. Without her it would have been an impossible task.” Person we support

“The support that I have received from my employment advisor has enabled me to live a more confident and happy life. She has provided me with support and encouragement.” Person we support

“I felt like I was alone and back to square one, but my employment advisor made me feel like I mattered and always called at precisely the right time when I needed some help and guidance the most. I would definitely recommend the Richmond Fellowship for anyone going through difficulty with mental health.” Person we support

Kirklees Employment Service very recently won their contract to continue delivering this important support in their area. So, what’s coming up for service as they continue delivering support? Our Service Manager at Kirklees gave us an update.

“We recently won our contract to continue delivering our employment service in Kirklees. Towards the end of last year, I was lucky to be involved with the retendering of the service, working alongside our central service team. To support with this process we involved all staff, volunteers, customers, referrers and partners. We supported commissioners with consultation sessions, and made sure to use the feedback of people we support to help with identifying the needs of our service users to create a vision of a new employment service from April 2022. I was happy to see commissioners had taken on board people’s feedback from the consultation process, and the new service specification reflected the feedback of people we support.

We are always striving to increase the support we can offer to the community. As we begin a new year, and new contract, we are going to be increasing our offer to employers which will show us providing tailored support to organisations around mental health in the workplace, and support with the retention of employees.

We are linking up with far more organisations across Kirklees to provide our peer workshops around mental health and wellbeing into the community. We are also going to be providing community transition and integration workshops to minority groups.

We are excited about our new website that is currently under construction. The website will help us to reach even more people across Kirklees. The website will host some online guides to developing employability like a CV builder and interview tips. People we support will be able to seamlessly book onto peer support sessions and find out which service is best for them. The website will also host our new online referral system to services.

I feel lucky and privileged to be a part of shaping the future Kirklees Employment Service and supporting people across Kirklees.”

In 2021 our Kirklees Employment Service supported 472 people to find new employment, training, education or volunteering opportunities, as well as retain their current work. We can’t wait to see the impact they make this year – congratulations to the Kirklees team!

All our Employment Services put in important and necessary work to help people with mental ill health access employment opportunities. We are proud of the work they put in to inspire recovery. Check out employment services in your local area here, or find out more about Kirklees Employment Service here, as well as how to be referred to the service. 

Stay tuned to hear more from our other Employment Services across England this week. Including our Bath, North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire IPS Employment Service in this month’s Radio Sparky Podcast. Follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page to keep up to date.

A hat trick of awards for The Old Moat Garden Centre and Cafe

Richmond Fellowship’s Old Moat Garden Centre and Cafe in Epsom, Surrey has pulled off the extraordinary feat of winning The Good Retail Awards Community Award for the third year in a row.

The Community Award recognises retailers who have made an effort to give back to their community, honouring companies who have gone above and beyond to transform and enhance the lives of others.

The Old Moat was judged in competition with retailers of all kinds from across the UK.

The Awards are organised by Modern Retail, with the results announced at the massive trade show Spring Fair at the NEC.

Matt Ellis, Garden Centre Manager said:

“To win this award once in 2020 was a huge achievement – to be now picking it up for the third time in 2022 is little short of miraculous! It is a massive tribute to everyone involved in making The Old Moat what it is – the people we support who also contribute so much as they work alongside our team, our invaluable volunteers without whom we couldn’t survive, our hardworking and hugely committed staff and our incredibly loyal and generous customers and supporters, and we thank every single one of them for making it possible”.

The judges all had very high praise for The Old Moat, their comments included:

“The Old Moat continue to show that they put their community first. They have adapted and made sure that despite significant challenges (not just the pandemic, but also a fire on their premises) they continue to offer outstanding support for those in need”.

“It’s always so uplifting to read about the Old Moat – the work they do is so important to so many. I think what impresses me the most is the resilience they have displayed, and how their connection with the community has really allowed them to bounce back as best they can”.

“The Old Moat Garden Centre and Cafe has not only provided an incredible service to so many in the local community, but their team has turned challenges into opportunities, focusing continuously on transforming the lives and futures of those with mental ill health”.

The Old Moat is a social enterprise which helps local people living with mental ill health to gain confidence, skills and qualifications working alongside staff and volunteers in a safe, supportive environment that encourages them to overcome challenges and obstacles and move on to the next step in their recovery.

To find out more about The Good Retail Awards, click here.