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Statement from Chair of Equinox Board

25th February 2015

Equinox logoRobert Branagh, Chair of Equinox Care:

Equinox Care exists to provide support, care and accommodation to people with multiple and complex needs, including mental ill health, drug dependence and alcohol dependence. We also work with people who have a history of homelessness or offending. In 2014, we worked with 1138 people across our services in London and the South East.

“You can read in this year’s Impact Report about many of the individual, service-level and organisation-wide achievements at Equinox Care. This report comprises our headline statistics and outcomes in 2014, as well as service-level outcomes and individual testimonies, which illustrate the unique impacts of our work.

“Our main organisational news took place in October 2014, when Equinox Care joined the Social Interest Group. This was a strategic move to build our organisation’s strength and development opportunities. The founder members of the Social Interest Group are Penrose Options, an organisation with similar specialisms and values to Equinox Care, and Penrose Works Ltd, a social enterprise providing maintenance and decorating services, employing former Penrose service users.

“It was a pleasure to welcome our incoming Chief Executive, Gill Arukpe, who is also Group Chief Executive of the Social Interest Group. We thanked and bid farewell to Bill Puddicombe, our outgoing Chief Executive, and Robert Foster our outgoing Chairman of Trustees, who were instrumental in leading us towards successfully joining the Social Interest Group.

“In addition to myself as Chair, the current Trustees are: Niazy Kioufi, who works as a Professional Services Director within the software industry. Esther Batterbee is a HR Business Partner for an Investment Bank, prior to this she worked in various roles within HR for several NHS Trusts. Helen Carter is an experienced interim, specialising in change management and performance improvement in voluntary and community sector organisations. Passionate about ensuring social inclusion, she has held a number of senior roles in the sector, including as Managing Director Enterprise & Innovation at Leonard Cheshire Disability.

“At service level in 2014, Equinox Brighton were awarded funding for their new Multiple and Complex Needs Team, funded by the Big Lottery and overseen in the South East region by Brighton Housing Trust. This work aims to improve services and outcomes for people with multiple and complex needs; the focus in Brighton is women with complex needs and people with a dual diagnosis.

“Again in Brighton, we were part of the successful bid in 2014, led by Cranstoun, to manage the city-wide drug and alcohol recovery service (contract commencement date: April 2015). The commitment and energy of the Equinox Brighton team, led by Jesse Wilde, has been inspirational in 2014.

“The service user involvement team at Equinox Care has been very creative and determined in 2014, headed up by service user involvement manager Vanessa Doidge. From the spirited production of the twice-yearly ‘Off the Press’ magazine, to innovative theatre trips and drama therapy at Equinox Care, to the excellent commitment and energy of the Equinox service user council to help shape our services, it’s been another great year for involvement.

“In terms of personal recovery, this report contains many first hand testimonies from all Equinox services about the achievements people have made in their recovery from mental ill health, alcohol dependence and drug dependence. This includes people with a history of homelessness or offending. Many people have achieved greater independence in terms of their accommodation and level of support they require in 2014. Many have made achievements in terms of living life to the full, taking on volunteering opportunities, achieving educational goals, finding ways back to work, achieving healthy pregnancy and giving birth. We are proud of all the changes people have made this year and we remain committed to those who need further support to grow and change.

“Special projects in 2014 included ‘Equinox Nine Lives‘, a mental health awareness campaign which involved 9 people who used Equinox’s mental health services in 2014. They took part in audio recording sessions in studios across London, professional photography and public-speaking. Highlights of the Equinox Nine Lives project included our City Hall launch on World Mental Health Day 2014, hosted by the Deputy Mayor of London, Victoria Borwick. We enjoyed a 3-week exhibition run at Holborn Library and a successful conference session at the GovKnow 3rd Annual Mental Health Conference in December 2014. The nationwide mental health campaign, Time to Change, distributed the Equinox Nine Lives film via their social media early in 2015.

“As always, it has been an interesting and fulfilling year at Equinox Care. Our service users often come to us, having experienced being written off by society, thought as too hard to reach. It’s our experience and privilege to discover, again and again, that extraordinary change is possible.”

Equinox Care
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Equinox Care