A local charity boss has been shortlisted for a prestigious award following his work in transforming the organisation to achieve his ambition of ‘…providing more care for more patients.’
Steve Smith, CEO of Havens Hospices, has been given a nod in the Third Sector Awards, acknowledging talent within charitable organisations. The ‘Rising CEO’ category recognises CEOs who have been in post less than two years, that have already made a considerable impact during that time.
The 47 year old came into post on 12th August 2019 and committed to ‘…putting patients and families at the heart of every decision’ the charity makes.
Steve, a former Vice-Principal at Belfairs School, says, “It’s an honour to have been shortlisted alongside some really inspirational leaders who are also changing the landscape for their own charitable causes.
“Havens Hospices couldn’t have achieved as much as it has in the last 24 months without the belief, dedication and perseverance of our staff and volunteers, especially during the pandemic.
“We’ve also built and strengthened relationships with our local healthcare partners, which was one of my priorities to increase and improve patient care. We’d had some positive discussions about joint working, which Coronavirus hastened, so I’m thankful to those colleagues too for their support of our hospice care.”
Before becoming CEO, Steve was in charge of the ‘New Fair Havens’ project, overseeing the move of its entire healthcare facility.
Fair Havens moved to its new £17.2 million, purpose-built facility in Prittlewell in March 2020, and cared for its first patient just weeks before the Covid lockdown measures. Despite these challenges, Fair Havens and the other care services of Havens Hospices – Little Havens, Fair Havens Hospice at Home, The J’s and supportive care through the Wellbeing Team – all continued throughout the pandemic and the various lockdowns, but sometimes with adaptations.
For example, the charity supported some adults and children to stay at home at the end of their life. Many of the therapies and activities were taken online so patients could access them whilst shielding.
Considerable developments have also been made within the charity itself under Steve’s tenure. 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 an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion 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 and volunteers 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.
The Third Sector Awards take place in September. Whatever the outcome, Steve has his sights set on the future for Havens Hospices.
“The journey certainly doesn’t stop here. Our Mission is to provide the best possible palliative and supportive care, free from fear and barriers, where the patient and those important to them are always put first.
“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.”
Published 26th July 2021