Meet our new Chair and CEO

This year, Larry Gold has joined us as our new Chief Executive, and we’ve also welcomed Matt Harrison as our new Chair of the Board.

A huge welcome to all the new employees and board members that have joined us this year. We’re looking forward to introducing you to some of them over the next few months.

We’d also like to share a big thank you to our outgoing chair and board members, and employees that have moved on to new roles and opportunities – we’re incredibly grateful for your brilliant work.

Find out more about our current vacancies.

Matthew Harrison and Larry Gold stood together in front of a white wall.

“I am truly delighted to be joining SYHA, an organisation with an excellent track record of commitment to customers. I look forward to building on this, and working with the board and Larry to put us in an excellent position to continue to deliver impact for customers and our region.”

Matt Harrison
Chair of the board

An update on our Race Action Plan

Our Race Action Plan shares our commitments to driving systematic change, listening to the experiences of our racially and ethnically diverse customers, colleagues and partners, and ensuring our services are welcoming, fair and effective. Here’s some of the progress we’ve made in the last 12 months.

New learning and processes

We trained our third Independent Panel Member (IPM) cohort. Our IPMs are employees that provide a diverse perspective during the recruitment process, share best practice, and support us to create an inclusive workforce. They have been involved in the recruitment of our new Chief Executive and Chair of the Board.

Our Race and Diversity Lead has worked with departments to create more localised operational Race Action Plans, and is supporting teams to track and deliver on their plans. This has included looking for gaps in data and reporting, and developing new training programmes.

One of new training courses is The Consciously Inclusive Manager, which supports our leaders to develop awareness of their own biases, appropriately challenge racism, discrimination and prejudice, and to identify the skills, actions and behaviours of an inclusive manager.

In this podcast, Mulima, our Race and Diversity Lead, and Arica, our Executive Assistant, share more about the IPM.


Events and workshops

For Black History Month, we invited ADIRA to lead a workshop about how people and workplaces can be great allies to our black colleagues and customers with mental health conditions. And, for Pride Month, we worked with SAYiT to host a talk on allyship, intersectionality and unconscious bias.

We’ve also held events with a focus on career progression and success – Uday Bola and Kam Urwin (two of our Board members) led a session about supporting colleagues to thrive in their career, and our senior leaders took part in a ‘speed mentoring’ session to connect with a group of our racially and ethnically diverse employees.

“It was an inspiring afternoon – thank you for taking the time out to share your wisdom with us.”

Speed mentoring participant

“It was amazing, brilliant, sensational – well done.”

Event attendee feedback

“The partners, speakers and attendees were knowledgeable and hugely useful to us in learning more about refugees’ lived experiences. We’d love to work together more in future.”

Event attendee feedback

“Very good – enjoyed the exercise!”

Event attendee feedback

“Really enjoyed the last event, great conversations, speeches and networking. Definitely up for future events to collaborate or support.”

Event attendee feedback

Building partnerships

Our Lettings Team have been working to equalise opportunities to access safe and quality places to live; they have partnered up with community organisations, including the Clifton Learning Partnership, to support racially and ethnically diverse customers apply for, settle in and maintain their SYHA home.

Chamber Business Awards

We were the South Yorkshire regional winner of The Equality Trailblazer – Diversity and Inclusion Award at the Chamber Business Awards 2022. We were recognised for actively working to achieve racial equity in our organisation. A big thank you to everyone that has supported our work and ambitions.

“By the end of secondment and being part of an association working hard to realize this culture, I felt hopeful and now eagerly look forward to contributing to the day when the belief in the Right to Beauty and Joy becomes the normal for all humans and for the betterment of our planet.”

Aya Elghandour

GiveWell events and fundraising

The GiveWell team is a group of employees who share a passion for bringing people together, raising money, and making a difference. We hosted a Pancake Day lunch to raise money for the Turkey-Syria Earthquake Appeal, took part in the British Red Cross’ Miles for Refugees, and have supported individual employees’ amazing fundraising efforts.

Our Winter Warmer event invited employees to join us for lunch and bring a small gift, donation, or to help us with some festive wrapping. We were so grateful for the kindness and generosity shown by our employees, partners and board members, and over 150 presents and gift vouchers were shared with our customers.

Matteo flipping pancakes at our GiveWell fundraising event.