Our International Women’s Day award winners


International Women's Day award winner


On 8th March we marked the incredible achievements of women across our organisation as part of International Women’s Day.

Staff, customers, volunteers and partners joined us for a celebratory event at The Circle at Voluntary Action Sheffield, where we recognised their achievements with a series of awards.

The stories shared by our winners and nominees moved us all and you can take a look at the list of winners and their inspiring work below.

If you missed out on the Facebook Live stream of the awards you can catch up by clicking here.


  • Marie Beech – Woman of the Year 2017 – Marie received many nominations across several different award categories for her lifetime of incredible work. Marie was a much loved part of the SYHA family and sadly passed away in January. She was a woman who set an example of how to live courageously and care deeply. We presented this award to her family and celebrated Marie as our Woman of the Year for everything she stood for and all the incredible work she did.
  • Pat Myrie (SYHA Employee) – Woman of Influence (BME) – Since 1995 Pat has been running a charity sending clothes to children and families in Jamaica. She has also spent lots of time raising money for books and hospital equipment for places across Jamaica. She also organised SYHA’s Christmas toy appeal for many years and always cooks her amazing mutton curry for SYHA fundraisers.
  • Kedrh Hadibeh (SYHA customer) – Woman of Influence (Disability) – Kedrh has overcome lots of her own personal challenges and strives to help others in similar positions. She volunteers at The Mental Health Recovery Group and the Sunlight Group, helping people by sharing her own personal experiences and listening to theirs. She also involved in the Moving On Group at Forest Close where she supports people by sharing her positive experience of moving on from hospital.
  • Francine Wright – Woman of Influence (Children & Families) – Francine has done an incredible amount for her local community. She does huge amounts of fundraising to buy Christmas presents for children in need. She helps families feeling from domestic violence to furnish their homes by providing free furniture from her community shop. Francine also cares deeply about people who are experiencing homelessness and regularly goes out to give warm clothing to people sleeping on the streets.
  • Kath Housley (Age Better Volunteer) – Woman of Influence (LGBT) – Kath is chair of LGBT Sheffield charity and has previous been the chair of Sheffield Pride for two years. Kath works hard to eradicate homophobia and has been involved in various campaign groups to raise awareness of the issues of homophobia and transphobia. Kath also goes into schools to talk to children and LGBT rights and to answer questions children and young people might have.
  • Gracie Butler (SYHA Employee) – Woman of Influence (Younger People) – As a teenager, Gracie was diagnosed with cancer and while still undergoing treatment, she started fundraising for the Teenage Cancer Trust and Weston Park Hospital. Since then, Gracie has raised around £25,000 for those organisations to ensure other people like her get the best possible care they can.
  • Natasha Wilson – Woman of Influence (Older People) – Natasha has done an incredible amount to improve care for people with dementia. Natasha works incredibly hard at Age UK Sheffield’s Wellbeing Centre where she determinedly challenges perceptions of ageing and of dementia. Natasha is also constantly pushing for better services and support for people with dementia, through her passionate and determined Tweeting or through speaking at events.
  • Kath Chambers (SYHA Board Member and Tenant) – Woman of Achievement (Leadership) – Kath has been a committed SYHA Board member for many years; championing the rights and voices of SYHA customers and driving SYHA to always do our best. Kath received multiple nominations where people described Kath as a role model and an invaluable critical friend. Kath gives all this to SYHA whilst also taking on demanding roles at home and in her community.
  • Vera Mawby – Woman of Achievement (Community) – Vera has been working tirelessly in her community for over 20 years. Vera has been determined to get the best for her local area, working with every organisation she could involve to get the best services and support for the community. She has worked tirelessly on the regeneration of Worsborough; when the local community centre was at risk of closure,81 year old Vera stepped up and took responsibility for the centre. The centre is thriving with parenting classing, yoga, etc.
  • Terry Proudfoot (SYHA Board Member and customer) – Woman of Courage – Terry has shown incredible courage, overcoming many personal challenges to take on important roles including becoming a Governor at Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, and a Board member at SYHA. Terry has taken on many different role championing the need for high quality, personalised care for everyone. She has shown great courage in sharing her personal stories and experiences to help in training mental health support staff so that they can provide better care.

Special recognition awards

  • Brooke Leigh (SYHA Employee) – For showing incredible commitment to working with older people in Sheffield and reducing loneliness and social isolation.
  • Sophia Arthurs-Hartnett (SYHA Employee) – For showing incredible commitment to working with older people in Sheffield and reducing loneliness and social isolation.
  • Hannah Thornton (SYHA Employee) – For showing incredible commitment to working with older people in Sheffield and reducing loneliness and social isolation.
  • Gloria Stewart – For showing incredible commitment to working with older people in Sheffield and reducing loneliness and social isolation.
  • Karen Smart (SYHA Employee) – For showing great leadership to children and young people and being committed to improving the lives of others
  • Jenny Goodall – For showing great leadership to children and young people and being committed to improving the lives of others.
  • Claire Barker (SYHA Employee) – For consistently going over and above for the people she works with, seeing disability as no barrier to people having the best possible life.
  • Anokhee Parikh (SYHA Employee) – For incredible voluntary work and showing great determination and commitment to improving the lives of others.
  • Sarah Smith (SYHA Employee) – For outstanding commitment to local community, giving boundless time and effort to local scouts groups and supporting activities for children.
  • Rhi Allison (SYHA Employee) – For commitment to volunteering and fundraising for international charities and being a brilliant role model to others.
  • Jo Henderson (SYHA Volunteer) – For showing great leadership as a commissioner and now as a volunteer in shaping public services across Sheffield, putting people at the heart of services.
  • Morwenna Foden (SYHA Employee) – For brilliant leadership at SYHA, and South Yorkshire Eating Disorder Association; being a great role model and giving time to important causes like Archer Project, a community garden and S & 4C’s.
  • Lisa Softley (SYHA Employee) – For showing kind and generous leadership at SYHA; supporting employees through their personal and professional challenges to allow them to thrive at work.
  • Helen Spooner (SYHA Employee) – For incredible service over 35 years to communities in south Yorkshire; developing new housing, regenerating older areas, taking on difficult community challenges.
  • Pauleen Heaps – For being a community champion in Maltby, coordinating litter picks, community sports days and volunteering her time generously to support others.
  • Pam Daniel – For giving her time and energy to her local community at the Terminus initiative as an employee and volunteer, being a beacon of positive change in Lowedges, Batemore and Jordanthorpe.

Photos from the day



Nominate someone for our International Women’s Day awards

International Women’s Day is being held on 8th March this year, and we want to celebrate the achievements of the incredible women living and working in our region.

We’re looking for nominations that celebrate the achievements of our customers, members of staff or volunteers in a range of categories, including:

  • Woman of Influence (BME) – A woman from a BME background who has made a brilliant contribution to South Yorkshire.
  • Woman of Influence (Younger people) – A woman who has made a brilliant contribution to younger people in South Yorkshire.
  • Woman of Influence (Older people) – A woman who has made a brilliant contribution to older people in South Yorkshire.
  • Woman of Influence (Disability) – A woman who has made a brilliant contribution to people with disabilities in South Yorkshire.
  • Woman of Influence (LGBT) – A woman who has made a brilliant contribution to the LGBT community in South Yorkshire.
  • Woman of Influence (Transgender) – A woman who has made a brilliant contribution to the transgender community in South Yorkshire.
  • Woman of Influence (Children and families) – A woman who has made a brilliant contribution to children and families in South Yorkshire.
  • Woman of Achievement (Leadership) – A woman who has shown incredible leadership in South Yorkshire.
  • Woman of Achievement (Community) – A woman who has made an incredible contribution to their community.
  • Woman of Courage – A woman who has shown incredible courage, in anyway shape or form.
  • Woman of The Year – A woman who has made fantastic achievements in 2017.

To make a nomination it’s really simple, just fill in the form below and tell us why you think the person you have nominated deserves the award.

The deadline for nominations is 5pm on the 21st February 2018.

The winners will be announced at a special ceremony at our Wellington Street offices on International Women’s Day (8th March 2018) at 5pm. To book a place at the event email r.smith@syha.co.uk

International Women's Day

  • (Please choose only one category.)
  • (Please give the reason for your nomination in no more than 300 words.)

Two awards for SYHA staff in Queen’s Birthday honours list

We’re delighted to announce the exciting news that two members of staff at South Yorkshire Housing Association have been named in the Queen’s Birthday honours list.

Our Chief Executive, Tony Stacey, has been awarded an OBE for services to social housing – a career which began back in 1979

Head of Co-design and Improvement, Ruby Smith, has been awarded an MBE for services to her local community of South Anston, and is one of the youngest recipients of the award this year.

Tony Stacey OBE

Tony was appointed as Chief Executive of SYHA in 1995 and during his time leading the organisation it has grown to become one of the highest performing social landlords in the country.

Recognised as a leading figure on housing nationally, Tony has championed the rights of the most vulnerable people and fought to make sure that everyone has access to genuinely affordable housing.

Recently he has led national campaigns to fight against the compulsory Right to Buy, as well as the proposed Local Housing Allowance cap.

He has also been instrumental in bringing together local authorities, housing associations and other landlords locally to form the Sheffield City Region Housing Compact, a unique partnership which will focus the efforts of organisations in the Sheffield City Region to work together to end the housing crisis.

In his 22 years as Chief Executive of SYHA, Tony has overseen a huge expansion and diversification of SYHA business, including:

  • The growth of SYHA’s assets to be worth nearly a third of a billion pounds.
  • Expanding the organisation’s portfolio of homes to 6,000.
  • Support for 16,592 customers in SYHA’s LiveWell services – which include support for mental health, learning disabilities, homelessness, older people and substance misuse.
  • SYHA being named the 40th best not-for-profit organisation to work for in the Sunday Times Best 100 List 2017.

Tony Stacey has featured consistently in the 24 Housing PowerPlayers lists; in 2015 he finished second, higher than leading politicians, other housing leaders and even the Prime Minister.

Speaking about the award, Tony said: “I am delighted to receive this award. I saw Ken Loach’s Cathy Come Home when I was 10 and I decided there and then that I wanted to work in housing and do something to tackle homelessness.

“Good quality housing makes such a difference to people’s lives. SYHA has been at the forefront of ensuring excellent housing services really do sustain communities and help people to realise their full potential. SYHA is a great organisation and I have been very privileged to lead it.”

Ruby Smith MBE

As an active figure in her community, and regular volunteer with a range of local organisations, Ruby has worked tirelessly to make sure older people in Sheffield never feel isolated or lonely.

In 2013 she launched Crackers and Company, who provide a Christmas Day meal for anyone on their own at Christmas in the South Anston area. The group has grown every year and last year welcomed nearly 100 people who enjoyed a meal and drinks, met new people and all left with gifts.

In her role as Head of Co-design and Improvement at SYHA, Ruby has transformed the organisation’s approach to co-design and quality. Ruby’s work has enabled the organisation to win funding for new services like Age Better in Sheffield, a £6 million Big Lottery funded scheme that aims to tackle isolation and loneliness in Sheffield.

Her passion about the link between health, housing and social care, and that people who use these services should help design them, has led to successful services like Over2You, EatWell and Co:Create being formed in the past five years alone.

Ruby has travelled the world with UNICEF and co-ordinates the Sheffield branch of the organisation. In 2012 she became the youngest person ever to receive an honorary fellowship from UNICEF, and in 2013 was named UNICEF fundraiser of the year.

In her short career Ruby has already amassed an incredible list of achievements, including:

  • Former member of the British Youth Parliament
  • Carried the Olympic Torch in 2012 in recognition of her fundraising work
  • Part of the Age Better in Sheffield team who won the UK Housing Campaign of the Year award in 2015
  • Finalist in 24 Housing’s Young Leaders 2016

Speaking about the award, Ruby said: “To know that people from my community, organisations I work and volunteer for, have come together to nominate me for this is just so heart-warming. Lots of people have already said to me ‘you must be so proud’ and I am, but not of myself; all the things I do, I do with wonderful people around me.

“I’m proud of all of them and all the things we achieve together; all the team that work together at South Yorkshire Housing Association, all the volunteers who give their time to make Crackers and Company possible, and all the people who donate to UNICEF. I could go on!

“Lots of people have commented saying it’s great for me to get an MBE as a woman and as a young person. So, to young women, I would say we need you to lead, now, so that a young woman receiving an MBE isn’t surprising news. There’s no shortage of problems in the world, just find one you care about and do something about it today, don’t wait. Trust that if you start, and you start with heart, people will follow.”


South Yorkshire Housing Association make Best 100 Companies list

For the second year running, South Yorkshire Housing Association (SYHA) has been named as one of the Sunday Times Best 100 Companies (Not-For-Profit) To Work For.

The housing association, which has 6,000 properties across South Yorkshire and employs over 550 people, placed in 40th place on the list, up 22 places from 62nd last year. SYHA also placed in 20th in a separate Best 25 Housing Associations list, up five places from last year.

On top of the listing, the organisation has also maintained our Best 100 Companies 1-star accreditation status which represents outstanding levels of employee engagement.

This is the fourth time SYHA has featured on this list since 2013, with their overall score increasing every year.

The list is compiled based on detailed feedback from staff at every organisation surveyed. The ‘B heard’ survey asks staff for an honest assessment on a range of topics, from what they think about leadership, managers and their team, to rating their wellbeing, personal growth opportunities and how engaged they feel.

South Yorkshire Housing Association was recognised for enabling staff to shape their own training, as well as the various opportunities to develop as an individual.

Tony Stacey, Chief Executive at South Yorkshire Housing Association, said: “I am delighted that we continue to do so well on staff engagement. We all know that a happy workforce, who believe in where the organisation is going, is essential to provide the best possible services for customers and to grow our business.

“The announcement also comes hot on the heels of our Investors in People Gold award which strengthens our belief that our people see SYHA as a friendly place, driven by strong values and are empowered to do the best work of their lives.”

“The award is a fitting testament to the amazing work being done by staff across the organisation on a daily basis. I’d like to thank each and every one of them for making us one of the best places to work in the country.”

If you’re interesting in working with us at SYHA, why not take a look at our current vacancies by clicking here.

NEAT team short listed for 24 Housing Awards

We’re delighted to announce that our Neighbourhood Environmental Action Team, or NEAT team for short, have been short listed in the 24 Housing Awards ‘Best Green Scheme category.

Our amazing NEAT team have been short listed for a 24 Housing award

Our amazing NEAT team!

The team have been recognised for their amazing work over the past two years, where they’ve made huge changes in the way they work. And the changes they’ve made have made a huge difference, resulting in:

  • 46% reduction in fuel costs
  • 28% reduction in diesel use
  • 27% reduction in mileage
  • 13% improvement in MPG
  • 13% reduction in vehicle numbers
  • 8 tonne reduction in carbon emissions

These amazing results were achieved through a range of projects, including:

The team are also using their experiences to share best practice with staff across the organisation, such as offering fuel economy advice to employees. The team also help people return to employment by offering work experience and volunteering placements.

So, what’s next for NEAT? They’re continuing to make people ‘green with envy’ by:

  • Reducing food miles by growing organic fruit and vegetable plants for customers and staff
  • Diverting more waste from landfill via a dedicated on-site waste transfer station
  • Boosting local biodiversity by converting grassland into meadows

The team may be small in size, but they’re big in everything green!

Who are the NEAT team?

The NEAT team is a small group of professionals who range from caretakers and gardeners, to cleaners and maintenance staff, who keep all of our neighbourhoods in tip top condition.

Their job is to keep communal areas tidy, and if your service charge includes services like window cleaning and gardening, it’s probably our NEAT team who do it. The team also look after general things like removing graffiti and clearing fly-tipped rubbish, and they often take on other projects like improving areas of land.

Vote for EatWell in the final of Enabling State

South Yorkshire Housing Association has been awarded a £5,000 funding boost by the Carnegie UK Trust following the success of their customer-led healthy eating project.

Our EatWell initiative was inspired by recent Government figures which revealed that 60% of people in Sheffield are obese or overweight.

To help reduce this figure EatWell gives customers practical advice on simple healthier choices they can make. The project has also seen us team up with local healthy takeaway chain, Nourish, to inspire creativity in the kitchen.

Take a look at our video explaining more about EatWell

The £5,000 funding for the project comes on the back of the housing association entering a country wide ‘Enabling State’ competition run by the Carnegie UK Trust.

The competition was set up to celebrate groups and organisations that empower communities and put wellbeing at the heart of their work.

Ruby Smith, Head of Personalisation at South Yorkshire Housing Association, said: “We’re delighted to have been recognised by Enabling State for our EatWell project. The funding we’ve received will help us to grow the project and reach even more of our customers and staff.

“I’d like to thank our friends at Nourish who have lent their expertise to the project and have helped make healthy food exciting. We’re really excited about where this could lead us and it really will make a big difference to our local communities.”

South Yorkshire Housing Association will have another opportunity to win additional £5,000 funding for the EatWell project when an overall winner for the competition is announced in November.

The winner will be decided by a public vote which closes on Friday 2nd October. To register your support for EatWell visit click here.

National Recognition for Age Better in Sheffield

We’ve been awarded UK Housing’s ‘Outstanding Campaign of the Year’ award for our Age Better in Sheffield campaign.

Organised by The Chartered Institute of Housing and Inside Housing the awards are one of the most sought after in the housing industry.

Over the past year, SYHA has led a campaign to reduce loneliness and social isolation across the city by holding a range of events including spoken word nights and cocktail parties in care homes.

The aim of the project is to engage older people in conversations about how we can end social isolation and loneliness.

As a result of the Age Better in Sheffield campaign, SYHA was awarded £6m from the Big Lottery Fund’s ‘Fulfilling Lives Ageing Better’ initiative. The money will be spent across Sheffield over the next six years to continue the campaign and spark individual and community action against social isolation and loneliness.

Ruby Smith, Head of Personalisation said, “We know that isolation and loneliness has the same impact on health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and we know that half of all older people say that TV is their main source of company.

“Sheffield isn’t the kind of city that sits back and lets facts like these continue to affect our communities; we’re a city determined to create change, to drive innovation, to foster neighbourliness, to change the experience of ageing in Sheffield to be a positive one for everyone.

“The Outstanding Campaign of the Year award recognises this; it recognises that we’re a city of passionate campaigners, affecting real and meaningful change. Here at SYHA we’re so proud to have led this campaign for Sheffield.”

Find out how you can get involved in the Age Better in Sheffield campaign by visiting www.agebettersheff.co.ukor by following @AgeBetterSheffon Twitter or liking them on Facebook.