Changing Lives

Hidden mission statement
http://www.changing-lives.org.uk

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THE OPENING OF Changing Lives' first vintage thrift store in Newcastle upon Tyne in October last year added another strand to its fundraising activities and a fresh opportunity to employ some of those it helps. Founded in 1970 as the Cyrenians and renamed in 2013, the Gateshead-based charity offers outreach and support to the homeless and vulnerable, and people with addiction and mental health problems. The charity gives assistance to more than 4,000 a year with everything from housing to recovery programmes, counselling to employability skills. Partnerships with companies such as Waitrose, Proctor & Gamble and Greggs provide mentors and practical experience that often lead to permanent jobs. Changing Lives' own social enterprises include charity shops, a furniture store and a property-maintenance and refurbishment operation that is turning 50 empty buildings into long-term affordable housing. More than a quarter of the 366-strong workforce at its 38 sites are former clients. Working here is an important part of everyone's lives, an 87% positive score, ranking first among mid-size not-for-profits in our survey. The organisation's openness to ideas at all levels also means they believe they can make a worthwhile contribution to its success (87%, second). Learning opportunities range from core training for new recruits to a programme to augment the skills of project leaders. Coaching is available on topics that offer wider benefits, such as money management and mindfulness. Employment here is good for personal growth (80%, fourth) and the experience gained valuable for the future (81%, fourth). Stephen Bell, the group chief executive, and his senior leadership team spend at least two days a year on the front line to enhance their understanding of the challenges encountered there. Individual employees are invited to every executive meeting to provide feedback. Bell's willingness to listen and learn is an inspiration to others (79%, third), who say his stewardship is based on sound moral principles (86%, fourth). Services for women, families and children, including victims of domestic abuse, are a specialism. In November 2013 the transfer of six centres from Platform 51, formerly YWCA England and Wales, extended this provision from the northeast of England to the whole country. Team members took charge of restructuring the staff council to accommodate these acquisitions, and in May 2014 a conference was convened to bring together colleagues old and new. There, a new set of values was unveiled emphasising the importance of putting a human face on all activities. You'd expect nothing less from an outfit where even the intranet has a name: Clive. www.thecyrenians.org

Featured Workplace Factors

My Company

94% of staff agreed

I believe I can make a valuable contribution to the success of this organisation

During transition, Stephen Bell, the Chief Executive, has managed to maintain a consistent leadership style. Time is prioritised to attend every corporate induction not only to outline his vision but also to engage with new starters about their previous experiences and feelings about joining Changing Lives. He also attends every national staff council meeting. He champions the involvement of all employees in generating ideas and suggesting improvements. Stephen Bell remains highly visible, visiting each of their 38 projects at least once a year and spends time with not only managers, but also colleagues and service users. He also takes retiring employees for lunch. Stephen Bell is highly committed to encouraging the employment of ex service users into employment aiming to increase the levels from 26% to 33% in the next three years.

Giving Something Back

91% of staff agreed

My organisation encourages charitable activities

During transition, Stephen Bell, the Chief Executive, has managed to maintain a consistent leadership style. Time is prioritised to attend every corporate induction not only to outline his vision but also to engage with new starters about their previous experiences and feelings about joining Changing Lives. He also attends every national staff council meeting. He champions the involvement of all employees in generating ideas and suggesting improvements. Stephen Bell remains highly visible, visiting each of their 38 projects at least once a year and spends time with not only managers, but also colleagues and service users. He also takes retiring employees for lunch. Stephen Bell is highly committed to encouraging the employment of ex service users into employment aiming to increase the levels from 26% to 33% in the next three years.

Leadership

90% of staff agreed

This organisation is run on strong values / principles

In order to consolidate in times of change, as well as prepare for future growth, Changing Lives recognised the need to develop the senior leadership team to become more strategic in the running of the organisation. They therefore embarked upon a journey to develop their leadership capability. This involved a number of key initiatives. Firstly, they recognised the need to clarify exactly what skills, knowledge and behaviours are required at every level of management. So, they developed a Management Skills Matrix setting these out from the level of executive director to team leader. They also redefined the authority levels that each level of management should have in the various facets of their work. Recognising that to enable their senior people to progress, they needed to upskill the managers below them, Changing Lives are now in the process of developing a Project Manager Development Programme which will be launched in January 2015. Each of their senior team has had a personal profile completed through Insights, aiding greater self awareness and enhancing understanding of others to assist in really effective team working. They are also taking part in individual development reviews, involving 360 degree feedback from a range of both internal and external colleagues. Each will then have a personal development plan, which will encourage the use of coaches and mentors, shadowing, taking on projects out of their usual remit as well as formal training.

Quick Facts

Organisation established in
Total number of employees
Number of UK locations
Employee average age
Male : Female employee ratio
Employees earning £35k+
Employee turnover (voluntary)

Benefits

Women in Senior Management

At least 40% of senior managers are women.

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