Director of Services Sheila Thomson retires after 16 years

After a game-changing 16 years as Director of Services at Perennial, Sheila Thomson retired earlier this month. In her time Perennial has extended its reach to include all branches of horticulture and has moved to a comprehensive and highly professional outreach model of service delivery, a model of which Sheila has been chief architect.

Speaking about her contribution to Perennial, Peter Newman said:

“Sheila is a true legend in the recent history of Perennial. She was employed to transform the way in which Perennial delivered services to horticulturists and their families and she has, categorically, fulfilled the brief. But not only has she been responsible for overseeing the biggest service-delivery change in the history of the organisation, she has helped build a team of professionals that will continue to make a difference for manyyears to come. In her time with Perennial, Sheila has shown an unwavering focus on and commitment to the horticulturists and their families whom Perennial helps. On behalf of trustees, staff, supporters, volunteers and the many thousands of people our services have made a difference to during her time, I would like to say a huge thank you. She leaves with our deep appreciation, admiration, love and gratitude for all that she has achieved, and our warmest wishes for a long and fulfilling retirement.”

Looking ahead to the next phase in her life, Sheila says:

“It has been a real pleasure to be given the task of planning and implementing the help offered by the charity to horticulturists. The core of what we now do is based on a person-centred service and it has been a privilege to work with such a dedicated group of staff who share the common purpose of wanting to help people build better futures for themselves and their families. I will be very sad to leave but will follow Perennial’s progress with interest and I look forward to a little less motorway driving and a little more time for personal interests.”

Taking up the Director of Services role this month is Julia Hayne, who comes to Perennial from the Youth Hostel Association where she has been Head of Community since 2016. Before that she spent 10 years at Caudwell Children, also as Head of Community.

Peter Newman said:

“I am delighted to welcome Julia to our team here at Perennial. Her experience of leading a dispersed, home-based team, of advising and supporting vulnerable individuals and families, and her strong track record of working with partners to create and establish support programmes, will enable us to maintain the highest standards of advice and support to our clients and also to shape the new ‘prevent’ strand of our future strategy.”