Sunday, 21 April 2024
Sunday, 21 April 2024

Transformation Ahead: Percy Hedley Foundation’s Growth Plans Under New Leadership

ONE of the north east’s largest charities has announced it is working on major plans to transform and grow its offer following the appointment of a new CEO and three new senior professionals to its executive team. 

The new chief executive of The Percy Hedley Foundation, Rob McDonald, has hailed a ‘new beginning’ for the organisation and today reveals plans to expand, optimise and update its services as well as highlight issues impacting its service users to help shape government policy.

The Foundation, which celebrated its 70th year in 2023, has appointed John Preston as chief financial officer, Andrew McGreevy as business development director and John Steward, who is head teacher at Percy Hedley School, as director of education – to the executive team.

The new senior leaders will work alongside director of health and wellbeing, Charlotte Jones, director of corporate services, Alison Williams and company secretary, Lynsey Dawson, to drive forward change.

The Percy Hedley Foundation has two schools, one college, an adult day service called Horizons and four specialist residential care homes in the north east which support people with physical and learning disabilities.

New plans include introducing brand-new residential services in line with the organisation’s strong social conscience which ensures any surplus income is reinvested back into new services for north east communities. The Foundation will also increase corporate partnerships with north east businesses and invest heavily in the implementation of a new, innovative Positive Behaviour Support Strategy which will improve the quality of learning and life for its 650 disabled pupils, students and residents.

CEO, Rob McDonald, who lives in South Shields and was born and bred in the north east, has been a senior leader for many years in both the public and private sectors and has chaired several organisations including South Tyneside College.

He said:

“The Percy Hedley Foundation has changed the lives of thousands of people and their families over its 70 years and that is a proud legacy. However, under my leadership, the board of trustees and the executive team are not looking to the past – but to the future.

“Our objectives are to sustain what we have and to grow the organisation by making sure our services are the very best and most innovative they can be; opening new services in the north east via new partnerships with funders and sponsors; investing in our staff; and advocating and lobbying in the best interests of our services users. This is a new beginning for the organisation and I’m excited to see what we can achieve.”

Chief financial officer, John Preston, a chartered management accountant, was formerly CEO at Allied Healthcare and CRG Homecare and has a wealth of experience in the care sector. Following the sale of his business in 2021, he decided to try retirement but was tempted back to the workplace by the opportunity to work at The Percy Hedley Foundation.

He said:

“The role at the Foundation appealed because, given my experience, I understand the importance of and the satisfaction gained from providing high-quality services and the positive impacts they have on individuals and their families, other stakeholders, and the wider community. I believe we can make a significant difference to the strategic direction of the Foundation and improve its future service provision.”

Business development director, Andrew McGreevy, has a career spanning various industries including leisure, professional sport, social care and health care.

Andrew commented:

“My role is to develop new services by working collaboratively with local stakeholders and to help fulfil a growing demand for our offer against a backdrop of incredible pressures on our region. I have a keen focus on ensuring there is tangible re-investment back into the communities we serve.”

John Steward, director of Education, and headteacher at Percy Hedley School was motivated to work for the Foundation because he wants to make a real difference to people’s lives in the area.

John has a wealth of experience in specialist schools, homes and health services and has worked all over the country.

He said:

“Like all of us, I want the Foundation to do proactive, modern, progressive work that is fully focused on our mission, and be there to help the most vulnerable people and support their families. It’s rewarding to do this kind of work!”

The Percy Hedley Foundation was founded in 1953 and supports people with physical and learning disabilities to reach their goals in life, as well as providing their families with support.


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