When I interviewed Caroline and Paul about our plans for Stand at the beginning of the year, we didn’t expect to be an award winning team six months into it.
Paul and Caroline are very modest about the work that they do, but given what they’ve achieved in two years, I decided to enter Stand for an award. In April, I received a call to say we were shortlisted for the Newcomer of the Year award for the North East Business Awards’ Durham, Sunderland and South Tyneside heat. I immediately rang Caroline and Paul to tell them the good news and we were jumping with joy – literally!
We joined the other finalists last week at Ramside Hall. Just to be celebrating with the other regional businesses was enough for us. When our category came up and they said our name, you may have heard our scream in the next village. Wow! We couldn’t believe it. We were straight on the phone to the team to share the good news with them before it was announced on social media.
To have recognition for our achievements gives us the message that what we are doing is right. What started with just two directors two years ago is now a team of twelve, and we are without doubt a happy and energised team.
As Paul said, when he was interviewed by Journal Business Live, “This is for the team – they are so amazing. We’ve got a great group of people and we’re lucky to work for people who really appreciate us and who keep coming back for more.”
Paul and Caroline launched Stand in March 2020. They have a great shared history, both as colleagues and as friends. Their respect for each other and passion for what they do is truly inspiring. They wanted to specialise in patient, public and citizen involvement from the start.
However, only days after the company launched in March 2020, the NHS announced it was suspending all work on service change projects, to deal with COVID-19. Lockdown came a week later.
The timing of the launch of Stand meant Caroline and Paul had to adapt to huge changes. Like everyone, they had no time to ponder and were immediately thrown into what response COVID needed. They leaned hard on their values and the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme is a good illustration of this. Stand joined the programme (hosted by Newcastle Hospitals) six months into the pandemic. As Caroline states in her blog The wider learnings of the COVID-19 vaccination rollout, “We knew that relationships would be the key to the success of the programme. Building and sustaining relationships through trust and open communication was made a priority in our strategy. Time and again in the tight spots, when it looked like our attempts were proving impossible, those relationships delivered.”
Winning Newcomer of the Year was a very proud moment for us. We do our jobs because we passionately believe in the public informing decisions. We will go head-to-head with other heat finalists at the North East Business Awards’ grand final in September and we can’t wait!
Blog by: Michelle Bainbridge