They say a week is a long time in politics, but on December 19th 2021, Sophie Hayes Foundation will complete 520 of them. Ten years will have passed and so much has happened in the interim. From its earliest beginnings, when the charity was little more than a positive reaction to Sophie’s harrowing experiences of trafficking, I am proud to say that the Foundation continues to grow into a mature organisation moving confidently into its next decade of existence.
From an initial intake of just four survivors, we are now on pace to deliver our ‘1000 Women in 1000 Days’ campaign promise. Survivors from over 50 nations, of all ages and desperate stories of abuse and exploitation, have shown us how great the need is for sustainable freedom.
A tiny cadre of part-time volunteers working from home and coffee shops is now a professional staff of 14 with offices in three cities, with a skilled and passionate board of Directors. What was a purely person to person survivor experience is now in-person and fully remote – a digital expansion that allows SHF to reach survivors anywhere in the country. Most importantly, amazing volunteer supporters, partners and funders now lend their assistance from all corners of the UK.
Ten years is a milestone and after 12 months of serious reflection and consideration, we have prepared for the next ten by defining our new PURPOSE – the heartfelt dedication to achieve a future where every women survivor is treated with respect and given the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Equally, our new VISION for the future is clear. With our new VALUES we will be courageous – inspired by the fearlessness of our survivors. We will act with integrity and respect – confidentiality and empathy are key. We will be open and inclusive – recognising that everyone has a voice and fair opinion. We will respond well to change – in an uncertain world, being a bedrock to our survivors.
Without doubt, 520 weeks is a long time in any profession. I also know the first ten years are just a glimpse of the greatness yet to come.
Chief Executive Officer