Richmond Fellowship in The Guardian: Change in the charity sector

Richmond Fellowship was asked to contribute to a recent article in The Guardian around creating a movement of change in the charity and social care sector.

Danny O’Donoghue, Area Manager for our West services was only too happy to take up the task and this is what he had to say:

Do you have relevant personal experience?

People often think in binaries: are you political or altruistic? Are you a person in need or a volunteer? When truthfully, we are all of these things. It’s time to collapse the distinction between the helper and the helped, something addiction and prison services have known for years: there is no more effective support than that which comes from someone who’s been there.

Danny said: “If you ever want to know total isolation, try hearing voices. Nothing is more alienating than something you can’t share. When clinicians ran these groups, they were poorly attended – sometimes the staff outnumbered the people. That never happens with volunteers with experience. I was struck by one saying, ‘The voices have always been the thing I hide, that I find some way to bury. The pleasure in this instance is being able to wear it as a uniquely qualifying asset, to apply it in support of someone else’s recovery.’”

You can read the full article on Guardian Online here.

If you’re a journalist and would like us to comment or contribute to future press or media articles, please contact our Communications and Marketing team here.

Radio Sparky: December 2020 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 December’s edition, Matt Webb, Communications and Marketing Officer speaks to Jessica Fish, Area Manager of Richmond Fellowship’s Lancashire services about her journey through the charity to becoming an Area Manager, how her services have been managing during the coronavirus pandemic and about a new Social Enterprise element to our Central Lancashire Haven.

‘The way in which the Service Managers and the Recovery Workers adapted, the way that they worked was incredible. Going from doing all face to face visits or support sessions to everything being virtual, learning how to use new platforms to delivering those sessions and also supporting people that use our services to access those virtual platforms’. – Jessica Fish, Area Manager.

Radio Sparky – Working Together Week transcript

Radio Sparky is the podcast shining a spotlight on the work happening on the ground in Richmond Fellowship and the wider Recovery Focus Group of charities  – talking direct to staff and people we support.  To mark Working Together Week our Communications and Marketing Officer Matt Webb spoke to Matt and Jordan who use our Supported Housing Service in Stowmarket, Suffolk and the service manager James.Working Together Week

We wanted to find out from them what co-production and Working Together really means in practice, and how they’ve made it part of the service.  You can listen to the episode in full here – but if you want to have a read instead or even as well, we’ve got a transcript for you below!

Matt W: As a member of staff, it is of course working together week, what does co-production mean to you?

James: it means that we are all equal, and we are responsible for running and developing the service.

Matt: How have you managed to instill a co-production model in your service? It must have been quite a tricky thing to do, because you have to get everyone together and plan. How have you been able to make that happen?

James: Back when working together came to fruition in around 2014-15 – we are really fortunate that we have a really good community link worker, Janet, who is able to really push getting people involved in the service. Also, I think leadership is really important, so I really wanted to be quite a role model for that for staff in our services, developing a plan for example about how we are going to implement working together on a practical level.

“For example, changes as a result of that I have seen is that we always include people in the recruitment/interview process, we have people who last year helped to set the annual budget, and we also involved people in the local ways of running the service.”

They have helped formulate our approach to recovery, they have also helped out in the running of groups, and also when we are doing promotional work for mental health day, they will help to do that and run it for the day. But it is really about ensuring that it is embedded in the service and that there is a culture of working together. But also that they have got the skills and feel confident and able to dip in and dip out as they see fit as well, because it is something that you are volunteering to do, so a lot of it really is about gathering that information on RF Connect but also making people aware of what opportunities are out there.

Matt W: Matt you have been heavily involved in the working together at Cricket Meadow, tell us about the things you have been doing when you were a service user to bolster support and get fellow people we support to get involved?

Matt: I was involved in the interview processes for staff, I have been to various meetings and discussions about co-production, which can be anything from advising on policy, correcting paperwork, maybe some grammar, and having an input on the whole idea of co-production and being around that.

Matt W: Jordan, what activities do you get up to at Cricket meadow? Obviously Covid-19 has probably resulted in some of them changing in how they are delivered but what sort of things do you get up to, and how many people are usually involved?

Jordan: it is mainly 1 to 1s, opportunities for support from the staff and having a chat. But most of the activities have actually stopped at the minute because of Covid. It has changed everything really.

Matt W: How has the working together approach impacted on your recovery journey?

Matt: It has been an absolutely vital in here, and there is quite a lot of reasons for that and I haven’t got time for all of them. But, for example, I am able to use my skills where I was previously, outside of mental health, outside of the involvement that I have had with Richmond Fellowship to do with my mental health. I had skills, I was working, I could bring a lot of things.

“So rather than it be led by, rather than having a dynamic of service user and staff, I found myself embracing the idea and feeling really empowered by the working together.”

My mental health issues, previously driving it all seemed to dissipate, and I was able to stand shoulder to shoulder with the staff as human beings and working together. So it is incredibly empowering, travelling around the country, attending meetings, making connections which is often quite an unspoken aspect of co-production. But for me it is making connections with different organisations and people, whether that be at Richmond Fellowship or other organisations that attach to them, has made a massive difference and a lot of these connections have led to further opportunities, and further opportunities for co-production. So working together has had a quite, albeit a lifelong impact, a very very positive impact and certainly on my recovery going forward and I am very proud to be part of it.

Matt W: that’s really good to hear, Jordan I will put that same question to you?

Jordan: It gives you an insight of who is caring for me, and how much effort they actually put into what they do for us. Like Matt said, it gives you a chance to travel around the country a bit, and meet new people. It is really good.

Matt W: Jordan how are you finding your support through Richmond Fellowship at the moment?

Jordan: Really good to be honest. I have come a long way since I have been here, and I have changed so much since I have been here. I really want to thank them for what they have done for me.

Matt W: And Matt?

Matt: I have been involved with Richmond Fellowship since 2013, and my support has always been outstanding. I have been discharged from their service for over a year now, and yet I am still supported and to a great level.

“Particularly during Covid we had some zoom meetings, phone calls, and the level of support that was still offered even though I was discharged has been amazing even though these times plays a significant role in keeping me positive.”

Matt W: That is a really inspiring story Matt and yours as well Jordan. James thank you very much for joining us on Radio sparky to talk about working together and what it means to you across Richmond Fellowship. Gentleman thank you.

 

Radio Sparky – Working Together Week Podcast

Welcome to the latest edition of Radio Sparky, the podcast which shines the spotlight on the excellent work happening at Richmond Fellowship.

To mark Working Together Week across the Recovery Focus group of charities, Communications and Marketing Officer Matt Webb speaks to James Dominiak, Service Manager at Richmond Fellowship’s 24 hour Supported Housing Service in Stowmarket, Suffolk and Matt and Jordan who use the service about how they’ve embedded co-production in their service at local level.

“I’ve been involved with interview processes for staff, discussions around co-production and policy making. I was able to stand shoulder to shoulder with staff”. – Matt, person we support.

Big White Wall: New name, continued support

We are excited to announce that our partners at Big White Wall are re-naming.

The service, which is available for free to all of our staff, people we support and volunteers provides a safe online community to support your mental health, 24/7.

Big White Wall has undergone significant transformation in past few years, and they feel that it is the right time to move the brand forward. Through research and open conversation, they have chosen a name that truly represents the company and their values of inclusivity, positivity and belonging, regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality or religion.

What’s next?

At the beginning of August the new name will be announced, and you will start seeing communications from the service that look different, including an updated URL and logo. Up until the beginning of August the service will continue to operate as Big White Wall.

The service name is changing, but the commitment to providing safe and accessible mental health support remains consistent.

If you aren’t yet a member, and you feel like you need a place to talk visit www.bigwhitewall.com today to find out more.

Gender Pay Gap Reporting 2019-2020

Richmond Fellowship’s gender pay gap currently stands at 0.7%. This is well below the UK gender pay gap of 8% for our sector.

Read the statement here.

Along with other companies in the UK, Richmond Fellowship’s gender pay gap has seen a decrease every year.

The table below shows the median pay gap for Richmond Fellowship for 2018 and 2019.

Median Gender Pay Gap
Hourly Pay 2018 4.54%
Hourly Pay 2019 0.70%

The ‘gender pay gap’ is a percentage which shows the difference between the full time equivalent average (median) earnings of men and women. Often there is a gender pay gap in companies because there are fewer women in senior positions.

There are many reasons for this but importantly figures show an increased gender pay gap over the age of 40 which indicate that life events such as having a child may negatively impact progression.

Women returning to work after leave are paid 4% less than their counterparts. Societal and political changes are required to combat these causes.

Gender Pay Gap vs Equal Pay

The Gender Pay Gap as a measure can be criticised as it does not account for age, experience or difference in job roles. It is not a comparison of like for like jobs and may not provide the information people need to challenge unequal pay.

Equal pay, on the other hand, is a measure where like for like jobs are compared. This can usually only be done within a company and not across companies. In Iceland, they have implemented a legal equal pay standard whereby each job is analysed for education requirements, physical strain, mental stress, and responsibility and given an overall score. Time in position or time out of work impacts the measure less.

Although the gender pay gap may not be the best measure it certainly provides a basis for organisations to identify the reasons for their pay gap and develop action plans to combat it such as Richmond Fellowship has done.

Coronavirus update (23 March 2020)

As a mental health and recovery focussed group of charities, we know how vital it is for people to look after their mental health during the current coronavirus pandemic.

We’ve put robust measures and contingency plans in place at both national and local level to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all staff and people we support during this time of uncertainty.

As of Monday 23 March, all our mental health services remain operational across England, but we are anticipating some disruption to our services over the coming weeks. We’re reviewing the situation on a constant basis in line with government advice and will publish any updates on our website accordingly.

In the meantime, we ask all individuals visiting our services to observe government and Public Health England advice and guidance, including:

– washing hands thoroughly for 20 seconds when arriving and leaving our services
– practicing the distancing measures of 2 metres between individuals
– not to attend face to face appointments if they’re showing signs of coronavirus and to self isolate.

We also ask if they’re unable to make an appointment, to let their Recovery Worker or Employment Advisor know.

Derek Caren, Chief Executive of Richmond Fellowship said:

‘As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to change rapidly, I’d like to pay tribute to our staff that are providing such an important service for people we support at the moment. The safety of both clients and staff remains our number one priority and we’re continually reviewing the situation in line with government recommendations. I’d also like to take the opportunity to remind both staff and people we support that they have access to Big White Wall, the online 24/7 mental health resource and to sign up if they haven’t done so already’.

Old Moat Garden Centre scoops Good Retail Award

Richmond Fellowship’s Old Moat Garden Centre in Surrey has won another prestigious award, this time competing against a range of retail organisations from all over the UK.

The Good Retail Awards are presented every year at the retail trade show Spring Fair at Birmingham NEC and celebrate retailers making a positive impact in the industry.

The Old Moat won the Community Award for companies who have gone above and beyond to transform and enhance the lives of others.

Judges commended the garden centre for its “lasting impact in the local community”.

The Old Moat is a hugely successful garden centre that provides a work-based program for local people living with mental health challenges, giving them the confidence and skills to get back into employment.

Each year the centre’s work impacts directly on about 150 people living with mental ill health, but the ripple effect touches hundreds more as their families and friends gain peace of mind, waiting lists in doctors’ surgeries and hospitals are reduced, employers gain qualified confident staff, and the community is enriched by their increased participation in it.

A person we supported said on his last day:

“It’s like a community here, everyone knows each other, I’ve had a lot of fun, and it’s really helped me out”.

To find out more about The Old Moat Garden Centre, visit www.theoldmoatgardencentre.org.uk.

On air with Radio Sparky!

We’re always looking for innovative ways to tell stories at Richmond Fellowship – so welcome to Radio Sparky, a new podcast pilot showcasing some of the great things happening at our services across the country.

In this first edition, Matt Webb from the Communications and Marketing team catches up with Olivia Green, Activities and Wellbeing Support Worker at Winston House, Richmond Fellowship’s Residential Care Home in Cambridge and a couple of the people they support to find out more about their play ‘Cleanarella’ which they staged on the run up to Christmas.

“I was good at drama at school, I got an A level in it. It brought back memories. I’m a recovering drug addict and alcoholic. It was an opportunity for me to shine.” – Andy, person we support.

Tameside service group enjoy Lakes challenge

A group of individuals from Richmond Fellowship’s supported housing service in Tameside recently enjoyed a fantastic 5 day outdoor challenge holiday in the Lake District, thanks to a grant provided by the National Lottery.

People using the service had the chance to participate in an array of different challenges including caving, scrambling, zip-wiring as well as piloting a boat.

After exploring the outdoors, the group enjoyed cooking together and showing off their talent in an impromptu song and dance.

They ended each day relaxing by Lake Windermere and a wonderful starlit sky.

All those who attended are currently receiving support from the service in Tameside to manage their own mental ill health.

Garry, one of the participants said:

“It was great to be in a team encouraging each other and relying on each other. It was hard pushing myself but very worthwhile. I know I can do more now.”

Chris Delderfield, Registered Manager at Richmond Fellowship’s Tameside supported housing service said:

“This was a fantastic opportunity for the people we support giving them the opportunity to experience a range of outdoor activities and spend 5 days in a very rural setting which, for most people, was a completely new experience. This holiday was only possible thanks to the generous grant that we received from the Big Lottery Fund.”