Category Archive: News

Finchale Group awarded Gold Employer Recognition Award.

August 22, 2019, saw Finchale Group as one of a hundred employers recognised by Defence Minister Ben Wallace for their outstanding support for the Armed Forces community by being awarded an Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award.

The MOD’s Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Awards represent the highest badge of honour available to those that employ and support those who serve, veterans, and their families. The scheme continues to grow year on year with awardees doubling in the last 12 months taking the total to 228.

Employers have won awards for initiatives such as employing veterans, supporting individuals transitioning out of the armed forces into a new career and providing flexibility for Reservists. Included are 23 Local Authorities, 13 NHS Hospitals and Trusts and 29 SMEs.

The 100 winners have been recognised for their long-term commitment to the Armed Forces, with companies from the public and private sector achieving the top grade. Each has signed the Armed Forces Covenant, and where possible, engages with the Career Transition Partnership (CTP) to promote the recruitment of service leavers, as well as honouring individual pledges of support.

Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace said:
“These awards recognise the outstanding support for our armed forces from employers across Britain and I would like to thank and congratulate each and every one.
“Regardless of size, location or sector, employing ex-forces personnel is good for business and this year we have doubled the number of awards in recognition of the fantastic support they give.”
Minister for Defence People and Veterans Johnny Mercer said:
“Veterans make a huge contribution to businesses across the country and it’s fantastic to see a record breaking number of organisations recognised for their support.
“We’re working closely with businesses to help them further understand the huge value that veterans, reservists and military spouses can bring to their organisation.”
Amazon UK have a dedicated Military Talent Acquisition team as well as hosting Military Insight Days. Doug Gurr, their UK Country Manager said:
“We are delighted to have been awarded Gold in the UK Defence Employer Recognition Scheme, which is recognition of the huge contribution hundreds of UK ex-Service personnel make every day here at Amazon. The transferable skills of veterans and reservists are a great fit for a company made up of builders, innovators and inventors. So as we continue to invent on behalf of our customers, we hope to see more come build the future with us.” – Doug Gurr, UK Country Manager, Amazon.
Georgina Yellowlees, Director Talent Acquisition Amazon EMEA comments:
“Amazon UK are exceptionally proud to receive the ERS Gold Award in recognition of our support to the Armed Forces. Veterans, Reservists and Military Spouses form an extremely important part of our ever-growing workforce. Their leadership and management skills, honed during military service, are second to none, driving our ability to keep our customer promise everyday.”
IED Training Solutions Ltd was set up in 2015 by two former Royal Marines and has a strong reputation in the field of risk and trauma management, drawing heavily on the team’s military training and expertise. Ian Clark the Managing Director said:
“We feel honoured and incredibly proud to receive this recognition for our work and continued commitment to the Armed Forces community and supporting this community is a primary focus for IED.
The company is wholly owned and operated by former full career Royal Marines and ‘the Commando Distinction’ characteristics, [versatility, value, excellence], very much underpin our business strategy.
As a national business which provides training and consultancy, we’re well placed to advocate the benefits of Reservists and service leavers. We believe the leadership and technical skills that military personnel develop during their service, prepare them well for career transition”

For a full list of Employer Recognition Scheme Gold, Silver and Bronze award winners:

Finchale Group has moved to Belmont Business Park Durham

We have moved… Find us in our newly purpose-built premises in Belmont Business Park Durham –

Our new home Richard Annand VC House,  named after war hero Captain Richard Annand, who was awarded the Victoria Cross in 1940, and worked for 30 years as a personnel officer at Finchale Training College after the Second World War.

Close to public transport, leisure and sporting facilities, a wide range of training and employment opportunities and incorporating training suites, a drop-in centre, fantastic I.T facilities and easily accessible office and parking space the high-quality build and bespoke fit-out is the result of many months of planning – Come and visit us, we can’t wait to show you around! It’s all positive

Our new address is:

Richard Annand VC House
Unit 18 Mandale Park
Belmont Industrial Estate
T: 0191 386 2634 | E:

New appointment strengthens Veterans Services

We are delighted to welcome Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Mark Steed to Finchale Group.


Mark, who has thirty seven years’ experience in the British Army, has joined Finchale Group at a time of increased growth. He joins the team as Veterans Services Manager.


The former Commander of Catterick Garrison has already started working with Finchale Group’s key clients – including major military charities, government departments, Jobcentre Plus and community organisations.


He said: “It’s a great time to join Finchale Group as the team is working on such a wide portfolio of projects across the North East that support those who are serving or have served our country.


“My role is in supporting the day to day management of the Veterans Services Team, making sure that clients get the first class support that they’re accustomed to from Finchale Group, as well as continuing to grow, develop and deliver specialist support to those from the armed forces community who need us most.”


“I’m really looking forward to working with the experienced and professional team at Finchale Group to expand the services available across the North East.”


After training at RMA Sandhurst and holding senior positions including Commanding Officer of the Scottish Personnel Recovery Unit during the founding years of the Army’s Recovery Capability and most recently, Commander of Catterick Garrison, Mark is well equipped to take on the job.


Mark’s appointment comes at a busy time for Finchale Group thanks to recent investment in brand new, purpose-built headquarters in Durham – placing it at the heart of the community it serves.


Mel Pears MBE, CEO at Finchale Group, said: “Mark’s appointment represents our continued commitment to further develop Finchale Group’s Veterans services capability to provide support to even more people and their families across the North East.”


“Many of our professional case managers have a military background giving confidence to the ex-forces personnel we support and Mark is no exception”


“Mark’s appointment comes at a strategically important time to the charity as we continue to enhance the range and quality of support available.”

Finchale Group appoints new Operations Director

We are delighted to announce that we’ve made an important appointment to our Senior Team.


Diane Watson joins Finchale Group as Operations Director, following more than 20 years in the adult education sector, most recently as Offender Learning and Skills Manager with Novus.


She will lead on operational and delivery excellence, across Finchale Group. Driving business development and continuous improvement to enhance the support provided to veterans, their families, ex-offenders and other disadvantaged groups across the North East.


Diane said: “I’m delighted to join Finchale Group and look forward to playing a significant role in shaping the future for our clients, staff and partners.


Finchale Group’s expanding portfolio of projects and plans to grow its range of services make it a truly exciting time to be joining the charity and it’s dedicated, professional team.”


Diane’s appointment comes at a busy time for Finchale Group thanks to recent investment in brand new, purpose-built headquarters in Durham – placing it at the heart of the community it serves.


Mel Pears MBE, chief executive of Finchale Group, added: “Diane is a fantastic addition to the Finchale Group team.


Her appointment represents our commitment to build on 75 years of expertise and knowledge by developing new ways to help people and their families who are facing a complex mix of issues.


Our operations are the backbone of our business and the experience and expertise she brings will be invaluable as we move forward with our ambitious plans that will reach even more people in communities across the region.”

Veterans Allotment receives £5,000 investment to help local ex-service men and women

We are delighted to announce that our veterans allotment that helps North East ex-service men and women and provides food to local foodbanks is being revived thanks to new funding.

Finchale Group Veterans Allotment


Finchale Group ran sessions at the allotment in Newcastle until last year, when a lack of funding meant it fell into disrepair.

Now Sir James Knott Trust has provided a £5,000 grant, allowing us to re-start the programme designed to relieve isolation of ex-service men and women.

The money will cover transport costs for groups of veterans to attend weekly sessions at the allotment for a year.

Finchale Group staff took on the challenge of clearing the overgrown plot ready for the volunteers to start work – with some young helpers lending a hand.

And it’s not just veterans who will reap the rewards – in previous years Finchale Group has donated fruits and vegetables grown on the plot to County Durham Foodbank.

Roger Guy, Head of Operations at Finchale Group, said: “Sir James Knott Trust’s generous donation gives us the chance to continue offering this important programme to veterans.

“The veterans we work with suffer from a range of emotional challenges, such as anxiety, depression and PTSD, which can leave them feeling isolated.

“Volunteering at the allotment gives them a chance to get outside and talk to likeminded people – as well as giving back to the community through our produce donations.”

Would you like to get involved?


The project is open to all Finchale Group clients; If you’d like to get involved you can contact us here

Finchale Group recognised as Investors in People

We are proud to announce that Finchale Group has been re-accredited with the prestigious Investors in People (IIP) Standard – the most successful framework for business improvement through people in the UK.

This award recognises a true commitment to our employees, and demonstrates a solid foundation of good practice which remains challenging and aspirational for many organisations.


Mel Pears MBE, Chief Executive Finchale Group said:

“We are incredibly proud that we have achieved the Investors in People Standard. This is a fantastic achievement for the charity. I’m delighted that we continue to be recognised as a great place to work.”

“The whole team work hard to continually build on the positive, on-going relationship between management, staff, our clients and the wider community. This achievement recognises the strengths of Finchale Group as a ‘people’ organisation.”


Commenting on the award, Paul Lund, Quality and Compliance Manager at Finchale Group said:

“Investors in People is all about valuing and listening to our staff and as a result making Finchale Group an outstanding organisation to work for.”

“This award marks a notable milestone in the on-going success of Finchale Group and I’m really looking forward to continuing to improve the way we operate.”


Find out more about our staff in our team section here


About Investors in People


Since 1991 Investors in People (IIP) has set the standard for better people management.

IIP is the standard for people management. The international people management Standard defines what it takes to lead, support and manage people well for sustainable results.


For more information about Investors in People please visit


Finchale Group is getting bigger, growing stronger…and moving home

Our charity which supports communities, former service personnel, ex-offenders and other disadvantaged groups is investing £2m in brand new headquarters in Durham – placing it at the heart of the community it serves.

County Durham based – Finchale Group works to support people in their own homes who need help to manage money problems, confidence and mental health issues, address drug and alcohol misuse and resolve issues with housing. The charity also delivers vocational training courses.

Finchale Group has signed an agreement with property developer Mandale to build a purpose-built headquarters at Belmont Business Park, which will be ready for occupation in November 2018. The new base will support the professional team as it delivers new services.

The new premises will be named Richard Annand VC House after war hero Captain Richard Annand, who was awarded the Victoria Cross in 1940, and worked for 30 years as a personnel officer at Finchale Training College after the Second World War. Given Finchale Group’s strong links to the armed forces, the building will be opened by a distinguished dignitary.

Melvin Pears MBE, CEO of Finchale Group, said:

“I believe our relocation will make Finchale Group stronger than ever and provide us with the foundation to reach more people across the North East delivering one-to-one support in their homes and communities.”

“We’re incredibly proud of the work we do for people in the North East and our ambition is to expand that work even further afield.

“Our new home is being created close to public transport, leisure and sporting facilities, a wide range of training and employment opportunities, incorporating training suites, (available for hire) a drop-in centre, fantastic I.T facilities and suite and easily accessible office space (for lease and hire) and parking space all to enhance our clients and our community experiences.”

The new base will accommodate the professionally trained team as they deliver new services designed to address complex needs.

Finchale Group has invested in a future-proofed strategy that means it can deliver professional help to even more people in the region.

The build will be overseen by property developers Mandale Group.

Mandale’s estates director Joe Darragh said:

“Mandale is incredibly proud to be part of this hugely significant project. Richard Annand VC House will be a truly first class facility for those who most need and deserve support.

“The high-quality build and bespoke fit-out will be the result of many months of planning between ourselves and Finchale Group.

“As local property experts, Mandale has been involved in larger-scale projects but this will be one of the most prestigious we’ve been involved in due to the building’s future use. It’s a privilege to be part of it.”

Finchale Group’s current premises, Finchale Training College, was founded in 1943 as a rehabilitation and resettlement centre for Service personnel returning from active service – now to be developed by Story Homes Ltd.

Finchale Group welcomes first Charity Ambassador

Finchale Group is proud to announce our first charity ambassador, Invictus Games Athlete, Captain (Retd.) Ken Hargreaves.

Medically retired Army veteran, Captain Ken Hargreaves along with his faithful assistance dog Fred, was today, 26 April 2018, announced as our first charity Ambassador.
Serving as an Army nurse, specialising in trauma on the front-lines in Iraq, Captain Ken Hargreaves was seriously wounded in 2003 suffering spinal injury, hearing loss and organ damage, forcing him to medically retire.

Since then, Ken has taken up archery, saying that he enjoys the challenge of the individual sport as well as the competitiveness of the team events and has competed in the sport at the Invictus Games, where he finished a respectable fourth in both the individual and team events. Ken is also Cumbria County Champion and has won medals regionally.

Having experienced social isolation first hand, and without realising it, Ken is keen to encourage other ex-service men and women to get involved in the raft of activities and access the range support provided by Finchale Group.

Ken said:

“I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of Finchale Group. I know myself how difficult it can be when you leave the forces, especially when wounded, and I’m looking forward to helping promote its mission.”

Mel Pears MBE, Chief Executive at Finchale Group, said:

“We are extremely grateful to have Ken’s support and we are delighted that Ken has chosen to help us to raise awareness of our work.”

Spring-ing into action! Gardening at Grace House Children’s Charity garden project

Jim, Paul and Katharine put their gardening skills to the test this month alongside volunteers from The Holiday Inn Washington and Washington Rotary Club to help create a new ‘Nest and Rest’ sensory garden for Sunderland based children’s charity, Grace House.

Grace House provides support for children and young people from across the North East living with challenging illnesses. Providing specialist services that support the whole family, the new garden will offer a fun, secure and safe place not only for respite and relaxation, but through the integration of stimulating features, opportunity for therapies and reflection.

The teams spent the day helping with a variety of tasks including; levelling and raking topsoil ready for the arrival of the new plants, weeding some of the existing beds and helping the project team with the laying of the paths that form part of the new garden’s design.

“It was an absolute privilege to spend the day helping out in the garden and to gain an insight into the fantastic work that Grace House does. It was clear just how much this garden will mean to the children that come and stay there, their families and the staff at Grace House and we were delighted to be able to help.” Katharine Hawking

The team thoroughly enjoyed the day working hard alongside the project team from Bespoke Outdoor Spaces who are carrying out the work and learned a lot about the work that Grace House does and how volunteering like this makes a big difference!

Finchale Group receives funding from ABF The Soldiers’ Charity to deliver an innovative programme of support for Army veterans from across the North East

Finchale Group is thrilled to have received a substantial grant from ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, the British Army’s national charity, which will enable us to provide support to an additional 70 Ex-Forces personnel across the North East throughout 2018.

The grant funds individualised, professional case management that will enable veterans from the North East to access support in areas such as personal finance, housing, relationships, mental and physical health, training and education, whilst learning the necessary skills to get back into employment.

As part of the project, we’ll also be providing additional employability support focussed on translating acquired military knowledge, skills and experience into language recognised by commercial employers whilst providing the opportunity to work directly with our Recruitment team who match individuals with North East businesses looking to take advantage of Ex-forces personnel as assets to their organisations. We thank The Soldiers’ Charity for their continued support!

Andy Wildish, Veterans Services and Operations Manager at Finchale said:

“We are absolutely committed to helping our ex-forces personnel and are delighted to have been awarded this grant. We’re really grateful for The Soldiers’ Charity’s continued support which will enable us to help even more Army veterans on an individual basis to obtain the support, skills, and qualifications they need, to gain the employment they want.

When you leave the Army, it can be a significant challenge to adapt to the pressures and demands of everyday civilian life, especially for those who may be suffering from the added burden of mental health problems or long-term injury. We continue year on year to see increases in the demand for support from the Ex-forces community in the North East and the awarded funds will go some way to ensuring that each individual receives the support they need so that they can access the opportunities they deserve. Without the support of charities such as ABF The Soldiers’ Charity none of this would be possible“

Brigadier (Ret’d) Robin Bacon, Chief of Staff, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity adds: “It is essential that our veterans can access help when they need it. Finchale provides support across a range of areas including education and training, housing and physical and mental health with great outcomes for our veterans in the North East. Thank you for all of your hard work.”

If you would like more information about how we can support you please contact the team on 0191 386 2634 or email

Two new appointments for Finchale Group

Please help us say hello to Louise and Beverley!

Louise Tindill – Employer Relationship Manager

Louise is joining the Operations team as an Employer Relationship Manager. She will work closely with Finchale Groups’s rapidly growing network of employers across the North East linking directly with our front-line team to match individuals to suitable vacancies first time!

“I’m very excited to join the team here at Finchale Group and look forward to developing the great relations we already have with employers, as well as establishing new connections”.

Louise has a background in print, procurement, client services and commercial account management.

Beverley Ellis – Operational Admin and Support Officer

Beverley is Finchale Group’s new Operational Administrative Support Officer, and will be working with the operational teams to ensure that all contractual administrative requirements are met and that our clients receive the highest level of customer service.

“I’m really proud to join the team here at Finchale; my partner is Ex-forces and I really understand some of the challenges.

It’s amazing to see first-hand the work that goes on behind the scenes to help people transform their lives and I’m really enjoying getting stuck into all of the paperwork helping the team to achieve even more.”

Beverley joins Finchale Group with a strong background in customer service and administrative management gained across a wide range of industry sectors.

Please help us give a warm welcome to our new staff members. It’s great to have you on board!