The CEO of local charity Broadening Choices for Older People, Helen Gore, which has provided high quality care for older people in Birmingham for 75 years, talks hopes, dreams – and a love of ear-blasting music!
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT
I worked in homeless services for years, starting out in a night shelter. I remember the first night we opened I was so anxious about who’d come through the door – whether they’d be hostile and dangerous or poorly and distressed. The years have taught me that people are people and if you’re decent to them usually they are decent back. After moving on to supported housing, running hostels, move-on houses and refuges, I worked on capital projects, learning about new builds and remodelling old hostels, before having a national role with a large housing association.
IT’S WHAT I DO
Broadening Choices for Older People (BCOP) provides accommodation and support for older people in Birmingham, as well as running nursing homes. I have oversight of the organisation and ensure the services are as good as they can be – and I have a fabulous team who are all incredibly skilled.
I ran a retirement village through the first year of Covid when there was no vaccine, no PPE and everyone was scared. We had no cases at all in my village and when I left, I was told that I’d made the village a happier place to live. That made all the tough days worthwhile.
BIGGEST LESSON LEARNED
I’ve always been humble, to the point of self-deprecation. All this did was give any competitors fuel for criticism. My lesson – don’t over-egg your skills (lies will always be found out) but don’t be afraid to be clear about your strengths and skills.
WHAT I’D LIKE TO SEE
A personal ambition would be visit China and walk the Great Wall. Professionally, I would love to lead BCOP to a point of replacing all its old stock with new, better fit-for-the-future properties. Small charities like BCOP can’t afford the costs of building these days. My wish would be for Homes England to look at larger grants for smaller agencies. For the wider community, I’d love to see an end to homelessness.
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT BRUM
The vibrancy and diversity of Birmingham – there’s always something to do.
I love nothing more than being at a festival with friends – for the ear-blasting music, cheeky portable tequila board, even the weary slog to the car with tents. For relaxation it’s a beach at sunset, listening to the waves.
There are so many wonderful people in the industry, trying to make others’ lives better. I’d like to think that one day the NHS and care industry will be properly funded so that all these amazing people get the salaries they deserve.