Jack Keery – Page 2 – Humankind

National Work Life Week at Humankind

Jack Keery

Supporting our people to have a good work-life balance is a priority at Humankind. We want to make sure that everyone is able to lead happy, healthy and fulfilling lives, and we understand that a good work-life balance plays a key part in this.

For National Work Life Week 2021, we asked our staff: “what does work-life balance mean to you?”

The answers we received were diverse and many contained helpful tips for others on finding the right balance between work and leisure time, so we wanted to share them.

“For me, work-life balance is being able to give it my all at work, but then being able to disconnect and still have the time and energy to spend time with my family and friends, cook nice meals and take my dogs out for long walks.”
– Kerry Kirsopp, People Experience Manager

“Work-life balance to me is the ability to have the positive coping mechanisms outside of the working environment. The ability to engage in seeing friends, family, attending the gym, meditating, attending sport, playing my instruments. Although ultimate life is life the application of having time to do things you enjoy is very important, have a balance to me is the essence of that.”
Craig McMullen, BRiC Worker, South Tyneside Adult Recovery Service

“Work-life balance is being able to find the balance between work and family/leisure activities that is suitable to my current circumstances.”
– Colin Grainger, Support Coordinator

“Work-life balance for me is the ability to switch off work mode at the end of the working day and turn on home mode. As I am currently WFH, I feel it’s really important to put away all my work “stuff” when not working so the two don’t blur.”
– Mim Arbia, Regional Trainer, Learning & Development Team.

“Work-life balance for me is about focusing on time for myself and my wellbeing both inside and outside the work environment. This involves starting the day with a mindfulness audio, taking lunch breaks outside the building and mindful breathing when needed when I am at work. Outside work I spend time in the garden, take regular exercise, go for walks, and see friends and family.”
– Sara Langstaff, Recovery Coordinator, North Yorkshire Horizons

“Now more than ever, its vitally important to strike a good work life balance and I achieve this by working a 4 day week. I’m really grateful to Humankind for allowing me this flexibility as it enables me to spend precious time with my two boys”
– Manish Nanda, Executive Director, London & South

“Work-life balance to me is to have an interest outside work. I like walking my greyhound and do sea swims as well as pilates.”
– Francisca Veale, EDP

“I think it’s important to have a supportive and understanding employer that accepts and works with the ‘whole me’ and not just the ’employee me’. My ideal work-life balance is being able to switch off at the end of the working day whilst remaining flexible to personal and professional need.”
– Ann Hall, Volunteer Development Manager

“To me, work-life balance means having enough separation between work life and personal life in order to maintain my wellbeing, with an acceptance that we all have different circumstances and may need some flexibility to balance the two in a positive and healthy way.”
– Chantal Renn, Volunteer Coordinator

“I maintain a good work life balance by working a 4 day week.  Humankind agreed to this from my first day in my role, and this allows me to have 4 days focusing on being a People Director for the organisation, and 1 day a week where I can focus on my two girls and home life without worrying about work!”
Kathryn Summerfield, Director of People

So how exactly do we support our staff’s work-life balance?

We have many things in place to support wellbeing and to ensure our workforce are able to maintain a good work life balance:

Work Life Balance Policy – ensuring our employees are able to have meaningful discussions with their line manager about ways to work more flexibly to support a good work life balance and everyone can do this from their first day of employment with us.

Annual Leave Entitlement – we have a very generous annual leave entitlement – 27 days, increasing to 32 days after the first year of service.  We understand the importance of time off, whether this is to recharge your batteries or spend time doing things you love.

Annual Leave Purchase Scheme – we also offer the option to purchase an additional 5 days leave each year.

Happy Healthy You! – we have a very comprehensive wellbeing offer, which we call Happy Healthy You! This is full of information, support, guidance and campaigns to ensure that your health and wellbeing is prioritised and supported to lead happier, healthier lives.

Supportive Culture – we encourage people to have open and honest conversations about how they are feeling and to access the support that is available to them.

Talk to you – we actively seek feedback from our workforce about what works for them, and what else we can do as an employer to support work life balance and wellbeing.

Humankind publishes Impact Report for 2020/21 with outstanding satisfaction rates

Jack Keery

Humankind published a report on the impact we have had as a national charity on the lives of the 85,957 people who accessed our services, as well as our volunteers and staff, during the last year.

We are a national charity with over 1,300 staff and around 100 volunteers, providing specialist services located across the North East, Yorkshire and Humber, the North West, Staffordshire, London and the South West.

These include services aimed at improving peoples’ health, housing and living conditions, work and skills opportunities, and relationship with the criminal justice system, as well as services for young people and families.

An individual accessed our support services every 6 minutes during the last year, while 12 people per day completed treatment from our services drug or alcohol free.

Despite the sizeable challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have a lot to celebrate as an organisation, underlined by high satisfaction rates recorded from a survey of 2,014 people who access Humankind’s services, our staff, and volunteers:

  • 99% of people who accessed our services said that they felt respected by staff.
  • 99% of people who accessed our services said that staff had the right skills to support them to achieve their goals.
  • 98% of people who accessed our support said they felt safe within our services.
  • 98% of people who accessed our services said that they received the support they needed from us.
  • 96% of people who accessed our services felt their suggestions for improvement were taken on board.
  • 99% of staff surveyed felt they had good working relationships with people in their team.
  • 97% of staff surveyed felt valued within those teams.

During 2020/21 we successfully launched the North Yorkshire Young Persons Substance Use Service and Criminal Justice Diversionary Services (Men’s Services); Greater Manchester Housing First service; Thriving at Work (subcontracted to Your Consortium); and the Teesside Peer Mentor community peer support service.

Paul Townsley, CEO of Humankind, said: “I am incredibly proud of the scale and volume of the impact we have had over the last year, which is reinforced by the feedback received from people that we work with.

I would particularly like to thank staff and partners for working collaboratively and imaginatively to continue to deliver services during the Covid pandemic. We have learnt so much in the most challenging of times and we emerge from the last year much clearer on how we can further improve our services.”

A person who accessed our drug and alcohol support services said:

“It’s good for your recovery. The days fly by. It creates opportunities to have a chat with people about their health and wellbeing. And it takes as long as it takes. There’s no pressure.”

A young person who accessed our LGBT+ support services said:

“I like how everyone is so kind and accepting and how we share experiences. I have never felt as supported and cared about. Your services are vital.”

Humankind is now in Year 4 of a 5-year strategy and starting to prepare for our new 5-year strategy 2023-28.

Read Humankind’s full Impact Report for 2020/21 here.

Humankind launches new drug and alcohol recovery services across Cumbria

Jack Keery

A free and confidential service offering a range of support and interventions for people whose lives are affected by drug and alcohol use and other addictions is launching today in Cumbria.

Recovery Steps Cumbria is run by Humankind in partnership with The Well Communities and is funded by Cumbria County Council. It will offer a range of services including clinical, health and wellbeing support, access to work and skills opportunities, and connections to housing.

Ted Haughey, Executive Director of Operations for Humankind, said:

“As one of the biggest substance misuse charities in England, we are proud to be offering vital recovery services to people living in Cumbria. We are very excited to be working in partnership with The Well and feel that together we will have a positive impact across Cumbria where individuals, their families and communities have been affected by addiction. Sadly, in recent years Cumbria has followed the national trend of increasing drug and alcohol related deaths. We hope that by providing a comprehensive service that offers individualised recovery plans we can stop this worrying trend.”

Humankind and The Well Communities have been commissioned to deliver the service by Cumbria County Council.

Cllr Deborah Earl, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Communities, said:

“Humankind and The Well bring huge national and local experience to supporting people affected by drug, alcohol and other addictions and it’s this combination that is so exciting about this new service. Addiction can be devastating for individuals, but also for families and friends. Recovery Steps Cumbria will be able to provide the support that people need to move on and improve their lives, right across the county. I would encourage anyone who needs support to get in touch and find out about the services available.”

People will be able to access services from a range of sites across the county including Carlisle, Workington, Whitehaven and Barrow-in-Furness, as well as satellite offices in Penrith and Kendal. In addition, services will be delivered through community venues and in partnership with GPs and pharmacists. Support will be provided by trained professionals, including staff and volunteers who have lived experience of recovery from addictions.

Dave Higham, Founder and CEO of the Well Communities, said:

“We are so excited with this partnership and the opportunity to bring our already established service in South Cumbria to the rest of the county. We believe together we can bring about change for those that have been entrenched in addiction and want a new way of life. Within this partnership we will use lived experience as a flagship of hope, that people do and can recover.”

The previous service was provided through Unity, and any clients who were previously receiving support from Unity will be able to continue their recovery journey with Recovery Steps Cumbria.

More information about Recovery Steps Cumbria, including details of how to access the service, can be found at: www.humankindcharity.org.uk/service/recovery-steps-cumbria.

Humankind’s community members travel over 1,000 miles together in celebration of Recovery Month

Jack Keery

Barnsley Recovery Steps, a Humankind service, on a recovery walk through Barnsley

Humankind has been celebrating the successes of people recovering from addiction by holding events throughout September to mark Recovery Month.

Recovery Month is a national event that celebrates the achievements of people who have sought treatment for drug and alcohol use.

Staff, volunteers, and people who use our services have joined together at a range of events, including walks, bicycle rides, community litter picks, and step-challenges to recognise the achievements of close to 30,000 people who access our recovery services each year.

North Yorkshire Horizons hiking

Speaking about the events, Humankind’s CEO, Paul Townsley, said:

“National Recovery Month is always a hugely significant time in our charity’s calendar, not only because we are able to celebrate the fantastic achievements of people who have accessed our services and thrived within them, but because those people have the opportunity to show others who may be struggling that recovery from substance misuse is both real and achievable.

“The collective effort from participants to amass over 1,000 miles in walks, bike rides, and many other events sends a strong message that we must end the stigma surrounding drug and alcohol issues, and instead celebrate those in recovery who are taking life-changing steps and aiming to maintain their sobriety.”

In total, our Recovery Month participants collectively travelled over 1186.9 miles, representing more than three times the distance from our head office in Durham to the location of our service furthest in the south, EDP in Devon.

As well as events to get active, Humankind’s services have also hosted graduations for those who have achieved sobriety and parties for those in recovery.

Forward Leeds, one of our drug and alcohol recovery services, hosted a recovery graduation at Elland Road with former Leeds United football player Jermaine Beckford and professional boxer Maxi Hughes presenting the ceremony.

Professional boxer Maxi Hughes and Jermaine Beckford at the Forward Leeds Recovery Graduation

In Sheffield, The Greens Recovery Focused Accommodation hosted a garden party in recognition of the achievements of tenants such as Greg Goodwin, who in the space of a year went from being in intensive care as a result of alcoholism to going sober and taking part in a 170-mile bike ride.

Other events featured in Humankind’s Recovery Month calendar included:

  • Barnsley Recovery Steps – 10-mile ramble
  • Calderdale Recovery Steps – outreach event in Halifax Town Centre, with public speakers, bands, choirs, and stalls
  • EDP Drug and Alcohol Services – Mount Everest Steps Challenge
  • Forward Leeds – Waterfront Recovery Walk
  • North Yorkshire Horizons – Yorkshire Three Peaks hike
  • South Tyneside Adult Recovery Service – Recovery Walks
  • Staffordshire Adult Recovery Service – Recovery Walks
  • The Greens Recovery Focused Accommodation – 170-mile Way of the Roses bike ride
  • The Greens Recovery Focused Accommodation – weekly community litter picks

International Literacy Day 2021

Jack Keery

​​​​​​​A Humankind service in Merseyside have been actively helping their residents with literacy skills.

Lesley Campbell and Jennifer Ogden from Sefton Homeless Services have recently refurbished a meeting room on site to include a dedicated lending library and reading area which residents can use if they need a nice, quiet and comfortable space away from their own flats.

Residents use this space to read, reflect and even write poetry or use adult colouring books as a way of clearing their minds and to have some “Me Time”. This can often be useful before or after key sessions to allow them to relax.

Since 1967, International Literacy Day (ILD) celebrations have taken place annually around the world to remind the public of the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights, and to advance the literacy agenda towards a more literate and sustainable society.

Today, we celebrate, encourage and empower our residents, clients and staff to strengthen their own literacy skills. That can be something simple like making time to read a much-loved book or even taking those first steps in learning to read and write.

International Literacy Day provides an opportunity to reflect on and discuss how innovative and effective teaching methodologies can be used in youth and adult literacy programmes to face the pandemic and beyond. It also provides an opportunity to analyse the role of educators, as well as effective policies, systems, governance and measures that can support educators and learning.​​​​​​​

Further support and information for adult literacy

  • Visit the gov.uk site for improving your English skills, or call the National Careers Service helpline on 0800 100 900.
  • If the adult is employed and has access to a union, their union learning representative will be able to provide confidential advice. Information is on the Union Learn website.
  • You could also contact a local adult education college directly for information on courses, or your local library can provide support such as appropriate reading materials and reading groups.
  • Adults can also get literacy support in their role as parents, through family learning activity provided by colleges, libraries, schools and other organisations. Being able to become more involved in their children’s learning can be a powerful motivator to adults to improve their literacy skills.
  • Read Easy recruits, trains and supports volunteers to give one-to-one tuition to adults who struggle with reading.
  • The Learning and Work Institute aims to improve access to learning for adults.
  • The Reading Agency provides a number of free resources to help improve adult reading skills.
  • Learn Direct provides online courses and a network of learning centres. Call 0800 101 901 for advice and information on their adult literacy courses.
  • English My Way is a resource for tutors who support and teach adults with no or low levels of English, providing free teaching resources and tools to manage classes.


Humankind expands successful IPS service

Jack Keery

A worker lifts boxes onto a shelf in a warehouse

Funded by the Department for Work and Pensions and Department of Health and Social Care, and backed by Public Health England, the Humankind STARS (Staffordshire Treatment and Recovery Service) was one of the first areas to deliver IPS (Individual Placement and Support) in community drug and alcohol treatment, from 1st April 2020 – 31st March 2021. Humankind has subsequently been awarded new contracts to deliver IPS in Leeds, South Tyneside and Gateshead, and Cumbria, while continuing our work in Staffordshire.

IPS is a ground-breaking employment programme which provides people with intensive support to find stable employment tailored to their individual needs.

STARS oversaw 87 enrolments into the IPS service during this time, with 55% of those subsequently finding suitable employment, despite the extra challenges faced by jobseekers throughout the pandemic.

While warehouse logistics and customer service/retail positions comprised the majority of those obtained by STARS’s IPS participants over the last financial year, job starts also spanned industries like health and social care, driving, administration/legal, production, trade, and cleaning.

The Staffordshire scheme even secured a stable self-employment route for a participant who needed to fit working hours around their family life after years of being paid in beer and food working in the “grey economy” with no permanent address.

It is hoped that the successful rollout of the IPS scheme within Humankind’s drug and alcohol services in Leeds, South Tyneside and Gateshead, and Cumbria will have a transformative impact on our ability to provide employment support to people who access them, while underlining the need for a multifaceted approach to treatment.

Humankind CEO, Paul Townsley, said:

“The success of STARS’s IPS work embodies Humankind’s mission to help people tackle their drug and alcohol use, not just through treatment, but also by paying attention to the social and economic factors which may hamper their road to recovery.”

Rosanna O’Connor, Director of PHE’s Alcohol, Drugs, Tobacco and Inclusion Health Division, said:

“We’ve seen over the last few years the transformative effect of helping people into jobs that they want to do. This can include financial independence, improved health and wellbeing, and the chance to develop supportive social networks.

“The expansion of Individual Placement and Support will enable more people to access this intensive, skilled but, above all, client-led form of employment support.”

Minister for Welfare Delivery, Will Quince, said:

“We know that drug and alcohol users in existing treatment, along with other disadvantaged groups, can face additional barriers when looking for work.

“The IPS scheme clearly shows people’s prospects of finding work can be improved, which in turn can lead to sustained recovery from drug use.

“We are delighted to be working with Humankind STARS to increase the availability of this highly personalised and intensive employment support in Staffordshire, and across the UK.”

IPS has eight key characteristics that distinguish it from most other forms of employment support:

  1. Paid employment secured in the competitive job market is the goal.
  2. It is open to all those who want to work.
  3. It aims to support people to find work that matches their preferences and interests.
  4. Job search and contact with employers are initiated quickly, within 4 weeks.
  5. IPS is embedded in and integrated with the treatment services.
  6. The IPS specialists engage directly with employers, building relationships to benefit their clients.
  7. It provides individualised unlimited support to the participant and their employer.
  8. Participants are given expert advice around welfare benefits to enable them to make informed decisions about work.

If you are a jobseeker or an employer who wants to hire one of our IPS participants, read more about our IPS offer.