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Hidden Heroes Day 2022 – highlighting our own heroes

Events 29 September 2022

The 29th September marks the annual Hidden Heroes Day, celebrating people working in the UK custodial and community justice settings.

We asked our colleagues at Interventions Alliance to nominate their own hidden heroes, highlighting best practice and excellence from our teams and individuals who are supporting people with their rehabilitation journeys.

We’re proud of all the work our teams do, helping individuals build better lives. Below are some great examples of the variety of support, empathy and professionalism our colleagues show in the course of their day at work.

Professional Standards, Research and Development Team – Dawn Brace, Steph Glasscoo, Angharad Rees, Teresa Stevens, Micaela Joannou, Julia Barber, Chris Thomas, Mike Bramley, Ravina Chahal and Kerry Ellis-Devitt

Ellie MacCarter, Deputy Director, Professional Standards and Development, hailed the team for their work in supporting operational delivery across all Interventions Alliance contracts and their can-do attitudes.

“They’ve all shown dedication and commitment to gaining a full understanding of all our contracts, getting to know staff, understanding how they can help drive improvement across the business and providing additional support to all functions, from creating additional development workshops, to cooking meals for residents.” Ellie said.

“Not only have they developed robust quality assurance frameworks and developed and delivered high quality learning and development internally, they have also established excellent relationships with outside agencies. This has led to us delivering our services externally, sharing their knowledge and expertise with a wider audience and creating an excellent reputation for Interventions Alliance.”

Peter Obatre – Support Worker

CFO Hub Manager Nadia Hughes and Quality Development Officer Charlotte Bayne nominated Peter Obatre for his growth since he joined the Chatham CFO Activity Hub and the creativity he shows in his role.

They said: “Peter is the epitome of someone who meets participants where they are in their journey.

“With a strong skillset in counselling support, he has been able to engage some of our most challenging participants in the most creative of ways.

“Peter has now become a role model for employees in how to roll with resistance, whilst remaining supportive of those who are vulnerable – he is a great team member, and it has been a pleasure to witness his journey.

“He empowers participants to try new things and finds ways to link these to everyday life skills – Peter is a wonderful role model to not just participants but also employees.”

Abi Hems – Volunteer Co-ordinator

Abi was put forward by Cheryl Milner, Volunteer Unit Manager, for tirelessly supporting those who give up their time for Interventions Alliance.

Cheryl said: “Recently, she took on the challenge of recording introductory sessions with some of her volunteers – which showed how comfortable, engaged and included they feel with her.

“The work she has done will help operational staff and get better outcomes for the people who are being supported – Abi is a real team player.”

Residential Night Workers at Eden House – Tacita Baker, Toni Rickson, Victoria Street and Lily Godwood

Emma Vecchiolla nominated the Residential Night Workers at Eden House – a resettlement home in Bristol for women leaving prison.

She said: “They work diligently to deal with an unprecedented number of complex, traumatic and challenging scenarios.

“Supporting emotional and distressed residents who require intense support, they regularly deal with issues that require them to quickly assess and communicate information to manage risk.

“These employees recognise that for some of our residents, night time can be the loneliest, where they may be thinking of family they are not able to see, their own past experiences or worrying about their futures.

“They represent our organisation when having to work alongside partner agencies through the night to manage risk and the needs of individuals.”

Carl Trusler – Employment Training and Education (ETE) Coach

Carl’s nomination comes from ETE Co-Ordinator Julie Gurden, who praised his dedication and initiative while working with participants – including one who has credited him for rebuilding his self-esteem after a spell in prison.

In a letter to us, the participant described Carl as a credit to Interventions Alliance: “I was released from prison in April this year and one of my referrals from probation was to your service where I was allocated Carl as my employment coach.

“He has been unfailingly supportive and positive, professional and diligent in all our interactions.

“He made learning about the disclosure process and getting back into the mindset of interviews incredibly streamlined and after each of my job interviews contacted me to get feedback and to see how I had got on.

“I have found employment, and again, his positive reaction and support when I called to let him know hugely enthused and motivated me.”

Cynthia Allen – Director of Service Design

Nominated by Heads of Service and Deputy Directors who describe Cynthia as inspiring to her colleagues.

They said: “Cynthia’s wealth of experience and knowledge has been pivotal to the contract awards in Interventions Alliance from bid stage through mobilisation of the contracts to where we are today and influencing the future.

“Whatever the situation, Cynthia’s calm approach and humble nature keeps the show on the road, and she motivates us to give of our best and supports our development.

“Cynthia inspires those around her, both colleagues and participants whether this is the first time you meet her or if you have been fortunate enough to work with her for years.

“We’d like to thank Cynthia for everything she does and her dedication to the role which is often behind the scenes.”

Other colleagues recognised for their outstanding work include:

Alex Curry

Kim Whitehead

Bristol CFO Activity Hub Team

Liverpool CFO Activity Hub Team

Volunteer Unit

Charmaine Smart

Samantha Barnes

Mary Anne Pragnell

Tracey McAlpine

Polly Hardy

Nikki Strickland

Carrie Waite

Congratulations to everyone nominated.