Hospice CEO Wins Top Charity Award

The boss of an Essex-wide charity has won a top award, recognising his transformational work for local hospice care.

Steve Smith, Chief Executive of Havens Hospices, won in the category of ‘Rising CEO’ at the prestigious Third Sector Awards which took place on Friday 17th September in London, acknowledging talent and achievement within charitable organisations.

‘Rising CEO’ is aimed at newly appointed Chief Executives who have made a considerable impact within their charity and community during the last two years. Steve, 48, came into post at Havens Hospices in August 2019, committing to ‘…putting patients and families at the heart of every decision’ the charity makes. Judges commented that Steve had achieved ‘…an impressive turnaround of a long-standing culture in a short time, particularly when it is sustained under the pressure of the pandemic.”

For two years, Steve has guided the charity through its most challenging period in its 38 year history by focusing on an inclusive culture, supporting staff’s mental health and building relationships with other local healthcare providers, helping lead to an 80% increase in care within its adult hospice.

Inclusivity was one of the top priorities when Steve became CEO. The requirement to be a practising Christian was lifted for Trustees, opening up the Board to welcome those with the right skills and experience, of all faiths or none. This then led to a review being conducted by the National Centre of Diversity, helping guide the charity to ensure it is welcoming to all – patients, families, supporters as well as employees. Havens Hospices now features in the NCFD Top 100 Most Inclusive Workplaces Index for 2021.

Support for staff was also top of the agenda, even more so because of the effects the pandemic has had on frontline workers’ physical and mental health. An Employee Assistance programme has been introduced alongside Mental Health First Aiders. The organisation is also committed to improving its carbon footprint – a personal passion of Steve’s – so has linked up with environmental sustainability charity Groundworks.

Steve, a former Vice-Principal at Belfairs School, says, “It’s an honour and a privilege to have won this award. Being shortlisted alongside people creating inspirational change for the good of others is a humbling experience.

“However, Havens Hospices isn’t just about one person. We couldn’t have achieved so much in a short amount of time without the belief, dedication and perseverance of our staff and volunteers, especially during the pandemic.”

Steve is now focusing on empowering staff and volunteers at Havens Hospices to diversify its care and adapt to the needs of its patients, whether that’s adults supported by Fair Havens in Southend, or children and young people across Essex under the care of Little Havens and The J’s.

Steve says, “Our Mission at Havens Hospices is about removing fear and barriers to accessing hospice care, and this journey certainly isn’t over. In some ways, we are just beginning.

“Whilst I am incredibly proud of the progress we have made in the last two years despite all the challenges we have been faced with – including a fall in our charitable income because of the pandemic – it’s time to now create a longer-term plan, building up our income again, reaching out and developing our services to benefit more people.”

A draft strategy will be released in early 2022 and shared with the community for their feedback.

“It’s likely all of us will know someone in our lifetime that could benefit from our hospice care. Ultimately we want to provide more care to more people, earlier in their diagnosis, and reach different groups of people that may not usually access hospice care. We can only do this because of the support of our community – those who work and volunteer for us, and those who make kind donations that make our free, specialist care possible.”

To find out more about Havens Hospices, its care and fundraising, please follow the charity on social media @HavensHospices

Published 21st September 2021

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