CEO’s Blog – Up and Running!

Six months since the public launch of the Foundation, our Chief Executive Jonathan Freeman has penned below the first of his regular blogs, reflecting on the achievements of the last few months.

“It is hard to believe that it has been six months since the public launch of the CareTech Foundation at the annual CareTech Care Awards last November! Where has the time gone? This is a timely opportunity to reflect on what the Foundation has achieved over the last half a year and, in particular, to highlight some of the amazing causes we have been able to help even in such a short time.”

Since the official launch, the Foundation team and trustees have been making sure that we have got all of the foundations properly in place to deliver our ambition:

  •  the trustees have established very clear powerful aims for our work and the ways in which we will deliver our ambitions;
  • we have an excellent trustee board in place now, with some fantastic input from our impressive new external trustees (Nicholas Cheffings and Karen Dukes) and great perspective provided by our two fantastic staff trustees (Jon Plummer and Lucy Arciuolo); and,
  • the staff team is fully in place now, with the recent arrival of Karishma Patel as Grants Officer.

As important as it is to get our governance and strategy right, the highlight of the last six months has been to get all three grant streams up-and-running and to provide financial and wider support to some stunning social causes.

Following the official launch of the Foundation’s strategic partnerships in Parliament earlier this year, we have seen positive strides taken in achieving our key impact areas:

  • Physical and learning disabilities and mental health;
  • Skills development for the care sector; and,
  • Supporting our communities and the CareTech family.

The £1m initiative with Barnardo’s to develop a digital source for care leavers has also kicked off to a good start. Following successful initial meetings with Barnardo’s and CareTech Holdings PLC and confirmation of match funding (yay!), both partners have teamed up to engage in digital workshops to discuss effective staff involvement in further detail. The ‘beta phase’ has been initiated following the completion of the ‘alpha build’. We’re all learning lots of fun new IT jargon and really enjoying bringing the teams together for such a powerful project.

The Foundation has engaged with Skills for Care to support young care leavers and those with learning disabilities to disabilities to become work ready for potential future careers in adult social care. Since the partnership’s launch, an initial diagnostic meeting between Skills for Care and staff at CareTech Holdings PLC has been successfully completed with both partners now collaborating on the existing proposal to ensure their strategies align. With Department of Health and Social Care funding now confirmed (yay again!), the tender opportunity for the “Recruiting for Potential” pilots is now live, so we very much look forward to working with the successful project partners selected shortly.

The Foundation is working with the British Asian Trust to raise awareness and reduce the stigma faced by those with Mental health issues in Pakistan. Following an intensive first quarter, the Mental Health and Wellbeing for All programme has made good progress. An in-country Health Manager has been successfully recruited by BAT to support the programme. BAT has worked with short-listed partners to co-design tailored interventions to reduce the stigma faced by people with mental health issues and improve the support and services they receive. The Foundation was also delighted to attend the iftar events and Eid reception hosted by BAT in both London and Manchester to help raise the match-funding for the programme through BAT’s impressive #ChangeMinds Ramadan appeal. The icing on the cake was the very gracious message of thanks from HRH The Prince of Wales, BAT’s Founding Royal Patron, for the Foundation’s support of the programme.

In addition to these major grants, the Foundation’s new small grant funds have become increasingly active. The Foundation has been able to support the charitable fundraising efforts of our CareTech Holding PLC colleagues through our Match Fund Grant. Already, over £2000 worth of match-funding has been provided to charities including the Wales Air AmbulanceLittle Princess Trust and Cancer Research UK!

For example, Thomas Wark, a residential child care worker from Spark of Genius (part of the CareTech Group), successfully completing the Swim22 challenge and raised funds for Diabetes UK. For swimming the equivalent of the English Channel (22 miles) in a 3-month period, Thomas raised an amazing £545 and, with the matched funding from the Foundation, donated almost £800 to a great cause!

Another great accomplishment was by Holly Turner, who completed the London Half Marathon on behalf of Tommy’s in March this year. Having run over 20km, Holly raised a commendable £950, including £250 match-funded by the Foundation, to help fund research into stillbirths, miscarriages and premature births.

Finally, the Foundation’s Family & Friends grants are picking up pace. The Foundation has been able to provide vital funds to support individuals dealing with some heart-breaking hardship, including helping one individual to secure a flat so that he was no longer homeless and another family struggling to meet the travel costs to take their daughter to far-flung hospitals for their daughter’s cancer treatment. The Foundation has also recently been able to provide some much-needed support for a local disabled swimming club and to a local charity supporting parents of children with living disabilities.

Whilst in many ways we are still finding our feet as a Foundation (and the support of the incredible team and resources of the Association of Charitable Foundations has been invaluable in this), all of us are really pleased with progress to date and very much looking forward to making even more of a positive difference in the months and years to come.

[This blog is the first of a series of blogs written by Jonathan Freeman in his capacity as CEO of the CareTech Foundation.  Original blog posted at]