Growing Points News

Press release September 2017:
2017 Health Service Journal Awards


Dick Stockford, Chair of Growing Points , walked from Hull to Liverpool from 14 – 29 September to raise funds for Growing Points…


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Read Dick’s daily blog about his experience!

The Crowdfunding campaign total so far is given below:


Raised of £20,000 (updated Friday 29 September 2017)

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To make a donation, link to the crowdfunding site here:

Dick Stockford is celebrating his 70th birthday by walking over 200 miles to raise money for Growing Points as part of a crowd-funding campaign called “From-the-margins-to-the-mainstream”.

Dick will be marking the start of his walk at the Minerva Pub in Hull on 14 September between 6pm and 8pm where he will be joined by local supporters of Growing Points. He will be ending his journey on 28 September at Liverpool at lunchtime and will have visited a number of places including Leeds, Sheffield, Holmfirth, and Manchester.

Growing Points is a cause dear to the 70 year old’s heart. Dick started the charity in 2012 when he was assisting refugees in Huddersfield and was struck by the number of people who had been doctors, lawyers or teachers in their country of origin but were unable to continue in their profession in their UK. “What they needed was access to professional networks which they had been forced to leave behind in their country of origin. Our volunteers, or Guardians as we call them, share their professional networks with their customers and help them achieve their ambitions here.”


Download our latest newsletter here:

May Newsletter 2017 (pdf)

May Newsletter 2017 (word)


Another satisfied customer

Feedback from Tom* about his Guardian

I have found David incredibly supportive. The fact that he never stopped believing in me and guided me to opportunities that played to my strengths and talents has meant that I have ended up where I needed to be!

I am extremely grateful to have been referred to Growing Points from the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies Service I was accessing for cognitive behavioural therapy.

Having worked in the mental health field for over twenty years I can honestly say I have not come across anything quite like the Guardian mentoring approach that Growing Points provides.

Please extent my warmest thanks to all at Growing Points in bringing David and I together.

Kindest regards


•not his real name


The NHS Apprentice Programme is… everything!

To some of us, getting onto the NHS apprentice programme may not be such a great deal. But to someone who has faced years of rejection and discrimination as a refugee, it’s….. everything!
Please join us in our bid to offer self confidence and great outcomes through our Hidden Talents (and other) programmes to 2000 people from excluded communities nationwide, and train 400 more nurses a year for the NHS.
A good outcome for everyone!
Please donate, join us as a Guardian or contribute to one of the 20 Growing Points Communities we are setting up nationwide.

Calling you all you wannabe Spielbergs!
Growing Points knows that it’s pictures and people that tell our story the best.
So we’re delighted that a TV producer has offered us the use of their services (and a camera) for a weekend, to make and edit a short film.
But we need someone with some experience of film directing to pull this together, so if you have that experience, or would like to have a go, we want to hear from you…
To find out more, please contact Dick Stockford.
Further details can be found on this page: Calling all you wannabe Spielbergs.


The Brits helping refugees help Britain

Yehayes, 35, is one of eight women who have got jobs as apprentice or qualified healthcare assistants at Leeds teaching hospitals NHS trust with the help of the Hidden Talents programme. Photograph copyright Leeds NHS Trust

This is the headline from an article from the Guardian on 11 October that brings some much needed attention to the work being done in Britain to help refugees help themselves, and mentions our exciting project, Hidden Talents; an initiative that utilises the skills and ambition of refugees working in the NHS.

Read the full article here:
The Guardian: The Brits helping refugees help Britain – 11 October 2016

Hidden Talents!
Hidden Talents was successfully launched earlier this year – the first project of its kind in the UK – to work with the skills and ambitions of refugees in the NHS at a time when there is a national shortage of skilled health professionals in the UK.

We have been working in partnership with the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust,
Health Education England (HEE) and City of Sanctuary (CofS) to recruit 7 women onto
an apprenticeship scheme for Clinical Support Workers. One other woman has been
recruited directly as a Clinical Support Worker at the Trust. The ultimate aim is for them to
train as nurses.

We are so proud of these women and are immensely grateful to Dean Royles and his
team at the Trust; Rose McCarthy at CoS and Mike Curtis at HEE for getting us to this

We hope to roll out this project with other NHS Trusts in 2017.


Pen Pictures

Our customers are people with ambition but they sometimes get stuck in the system – they do not have the professional networks where they can get advice and support to realise their dreams.
Our Guardians have these networks and willingly share them to support their customers.
Here is a brief illustration of what we do to support people to realise their dreams!

All of the above have one thing in common – Ambition- and we have taken Action to support them!

EA came from Africa where she had been a teacher and needed to get a recognised qualification here. The university wanted to charge the overseas tuition fees which were prohibitive! Through our networks Growing Points intervened and had her fees reduced in line with her correct entitlement as a UK resident. She went on the course…

SA wants to become a doctor but has not been successful in his applications. Through our networks we have put him in touch with a GP who sits on a University selection panel to practise his interview skills and a medical consultant has worked with him to review his personal statement. He is in a much better to position to get in this year and in the meantime he has a job at a hospital in clinical research.

YA and AD were doctors in their own countries – we have put them in touch with contacts at Hull and London universities who are helping them to convert their qualifications so they can practise here as doctors.

ZW was a teacher in China – she is working with a Guardian, who is a head teacher, to get her on the right path to teaching here. This has included helping her to obtain a voluntary position at a local school and a paid role as a teaching assistant.

MA and TY wanted advice on what degree to obtain in this country. A Guardian has helped them to clarify their options and given them help with their applications.

ID came from Africa where he had a degree in Law but was working as a care assistant in nursing homes. His Guardian arranged meetings with solicitors here to see what work he might do here. Through his networks the Guardian also arranged a meeting with the Director of Nursing at a large chain of nursing homes to see whether his qualifications and experience could be useful to the organisation. They have given him a job as a care practitioner so he now has a career path.

ZF and EW are just two of eleven women in Leeds who aspire to be nurses here. We have set up a project, Hidden Talents, in collaboration with Leeds Hospital and Health Education England to offer apprenticeships – at a fair wage – for clinical support workers. After a year successful applicants will be offered work and will be one step forward to achieving their dreams.

Deidre, one of our Guardians, says this:
“I just want to thank you for getting me involved in such a fantastic project at Leeds, with all those inspiring women! From a selfish point of view, it was just the right thing at the right time for me, and I really feel very privileged to be involved, after you have done the groundwork of setting it all up. Very exciting project, and I shall enjoy being part of it as it progresses.”


Growing Points recognises the valuable contribution that people from excluded communities wish to make.

Some of our clients are refugees who have qualified as doctors and nurses in their country of origin and we support them in their ambition to work in the NHS. We are working with NHS Trusts and Health Education England to enable this to happen at a time when there is a national shortage of skilled professionals in this country.

Across the country we have a wide range of professional people who are talented and well connected in all sorts of fields and we match them to refugees so they can support them to achieve their ambitions in many other fields.

The response in the UK to the plight of refugees, particularly from Syria, demonstrates that people want to help. Some people are meeting refugees’ immediate needs through the offer of food and clothing and others are offering accommodation.  We think that there are other  longer term ways to help. Why not offer your professional networks to our customers to help them achieve their ambitions in the UK?

We take referrals from organisations who have great experience of working with refugess for example the City of Sanctuary and we want to work with more of the same.

For more information please contact the Director, Jane Rennie, on 07809151595

Growing Points is a charity with ambition! Launched in 2013 we offer support to people from excluded communities to realise their ambitions.
Working with a variety of organisations we match our customers to people who have great networks which give them the opportunity to flourish.

Patrons:  Marina Lewycka  Lord Philip Hunt  Elisabeth Bayliss

Registered charity no: 1148487

Director: Jane Rennie 07809 151595   Chair: Dick Stockford