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Mayfield & Framfield — East Sussex 01435 872 201

Children’s First Award Winner

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Submission for an award – Leah Thompson, Director of PJL Healthcare LTD

“PJL is a small company with a BIG heart. The story of the home opening is one driven by love; a story of a committed group of people with a deep desire to stop the closure of a home and the children living there being uprooted and moved.

The Administrator at the time, Janis, recalls an emotional meeting in 2006 where the whole workforce were told the company was being sold and the children would all be relocated within one month. Janis remembers observing a child at the window asking if they were “having a nice chat” and she knew in that moment that she needed to do everything she could ensure the children stayed living in their home. Today, that administrator is one of the owners of our wonderful home and that child remained living at Mayfield House for a further 15 years!

Leah Thompson has worked at Mayfield House since 1999, long before PJL was founded. As a consistent figure, Leah has played a central role in PJL’s journey. Working her way through every role from support worker to Director and all the roles in between Leah has for 24 years been a beacon of strength, wisdom, and demonstrated total dedication for Mayfield House, the people who work here, and most importantly for the children, whom she relentlessly champions with her whole heart.

Long before care plans were even a thing, Leah made it her mission to truly know the children, connect with them and understand what they needed from her and the home. Her curiosity and passion for children in care having the best possible experiences and opportunities in life is contagious and this has created the conditions for PJL to flourish and make a meaningful and transformational difference to children’s lives.

Even in her role as Director, Leah has remained utterly connected to the simple aspects of day to day life in the home. Even though her role requires strategic planning and a huge workload, she still looks after the children and young people, has close relationships with the team of adults, and steps in to support whenever required. During the pandemic Leah was at the home looking after children and when the home was experiencing an outbreak, she emotionally ‘held’ staff who were terrified and experiencing considerable loss and disruption in their own lives. Her work throughout this time meant that this horrible period was made as fun as possible for children whose daily lives and routines had dramatically changed. Her love for others is unwavering and we do not know where we would be without her.

Leah is someone who is able to manage a team of 100 people, have difficult conversations, be a shoulder to cry on, and who can have you in tears of laughter. Everything Leah does is with compassion and even when faced with overwhelming workloads and the tribulations of life, she will always hold space for the children and the people looking after them. Without her leading the way, PJL would not be where it is today.”

Author – Amy Robinson, Responsible Individual

After this nomination Leah went on to win the first “Childrens Care First Award” out of a pool of many nominees. The host of the event said that all on the deciding panel took the nominations away to read in isolation and when they came back together their vote was unanimous for Leah. She said that she was the clear winner! We are thrilled and proud to say the least!