A fond farewell to our Deputy Chief Executive as she moves onto new ventures

Posted on 22 October 2021

After 25 years at Southdown, Vikki Hayward-Cripps, our Deputy Chief Executive, has decided to move onto new ventures and will sadly be leaving Southdown today at the end of this week, on the 22 October.

Neil Blanchard, our Chief Executive, has worked alongside Vikki at Southdown for 20 years.

He said, “I have had the greatest privilege of my career to have worked in close partnership with Vikki for over 20 years. She has been a true role model and mentor, generously sharing her expertise and intellect, whilst also acting as a trusted and authentic critical friend. I have benefited so much from her support, guidance and wisdom, being fortunate to have had Vikki as my Deputy for the past 8 years, as we both took on the leadership of Southdown.

“Vikki’s commitment to Southdown, it’s staff and clients, has been inspiring to witness. Her passion to always do the right thing, with all decisions based on strong values and principles of fairness and kindness, has helped shape all areas of Southdown. Perhaps the greatest testament when you step away from an organisation, is the recognition not only that you made a positive impact during your tenure, but also that you leave a lasting legacy. This is so evidently true for Vikki and something she should be very proud of.

“Although always sad to see our work friends and colleagues move on, I am sure that myself and all at Southdown wish Vikki enormous success and fun in her next adventures.”

Vikki shares her memories of working at Southdown too…

She said, “Since I joined Southdown 25 years ago, nearly everything about it has changed. The people have changed several times over: the board, the directors, the staff, the clients. The name and logo has changed several times. Southdown has stood alone as a solo charity and also joined and left large Housing Association group structures. The types and locations of services we provide have changed too: new ones started, some ended, some joined from other providers, some that transferred out to other organisations. Our buildings have changed: we have had 3 head offices to date, we have taken on management or bought hundreds of new properties for centres and homes, and sold a few too.

“I think it is the same organisation though – the golden thread of Southdown’s charitable social purpose and values connect all the stages and activities and people together. I have had an amazing time being part of the journey and have been honoured to serve for all these years among you and the many hundreds of previous staff that have passed through. Working together in teams, and being compassionate and solution-focussed, we have helped to make a difference to so many vulnerable people in our communities.”

Having advance notice of Vikki’s plans, Neil and our Executive team has worked closely with our Board to consider how best to manage the portfolio of tasks Vikki holds responsibility for. The key initial recruitment is to a new role of Director of People and Culture, who through the management of existing senior managers, will lead on employee relations, HR services, organisational development, learning and talent management, diversity and inclusion, communications, corporate risk management, business assurance and people related Health and Safety.

Jo Raisey has successfully been appointed and took on the role on 11 October. Jo joined Southdown earlier this year as our Management Development Trainer. Prior to joining Southdown, she worked in a senior role reporting to the Board for the John Lewis Partnership, leading on culture, engagement and organisational effectiveness. She also has substantial experience in developing HR strategy and talent management.

We’ll miss you Vikki and wish you all the very best for the future.