Our CEO's one year anniversaryA look back on the last 12 months
One year ago this week, our CEO Sanja Kalik joined Gilgal Birmingham. To mark the occasion, Sanja takes a look back over her incredible achievements in the last 12 months.
Sanja has always been someone who fights for justice and helps those in need. After spending two decades working in charity finance and learning from incredible figures within the not-for-profit sector, she became restless and wanted to do more hands-on work to help. The opportunity came up with Gilgal, and Sanja recognised the chance to give overworked, undervalued, abused and tired women a better life.
A lot of 2023 was about developing our physical assets. We renovated 11 rooms at our Jasmine’s House location, creating comfortable, bright, and cheerful spaces for our residents to live in. Our lounge and wellbeing rooms got a makeover, and we created both a children’s room and a gaming room for the younger inhabitants. Both have been very popular! Additionally, we opened the brand-new Holly’s House location, and increased our capacity with five beautiful self-contained flats.
At Gilgal, we firmly believe that everyone deserves not just a safe place to live, but an empowering one. With this in mind, we increased the number of activity programmes delivered from 50 to 67, and increased the number of support sessions delivered from 217 to 365 – every day of the year, our residents have the opportunity to take part in activities from jewellery making workshops to movie nights. The results have been wonderful to watch, with more residents spending time interacting with each other and creating one big Gilgal family.
We’ve also helped our beneficiaries with access to college, university, and employment opportunities, and started pilot trading – engaging with craft fairs and indoor markets to promote Gilgal, raise awareness, and give our beneficiaries even more chances to engage with the community. Our efficiency has increased year-on-year, with our void rate halved (8% compared to 16%), and our acceptance rate increased from 13% to 47%.
Our staff at Gilgal are incredibly important to us, working tirelessly to ensure that every resident is given the best possible chance at a better life. In return we have been growing together with training sessions, conferences, improved digital equipment and infrastructure and – we are very pleased to say – salary increases. Along with our fantastic staff base, we have gained new partners and friends – including our first corporate partnership with Barret Homes who, amongst other amazing things, delivered Christmas presents for all of our residents.
After such a fantastic 2023, we are determined to continue this success long into the future and so have created a Strategic Plan that will take us to 2029. The Plan includes intentions to increase our refuge capacity, and hopefully own the building ourselves so that we can really optimise and improve our residents’ facilities. We intend to create more opportunities for our beneficiaries, facilitating successful next steps when the time comes for them to move on from Gilgal. We will continue to network within the local community and with our partners, and with the recent addition of a Digital Communications Officer to the staff, develop our PR and Marketing output.
We’re very grateful for everything we are able to offer our residents, but this is just the start; there is so much more to come, and we look forward to a happy and healthy 2024 for the whole Gilgal family.
– Sanja Kalik, CEO