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Chief Executive Society of St James (SSJ)

Are you seeking a leadership position that will play a key role in helping vulnerable people overcome challenges by empowering them to lead a fulfilling and rewarding life?

  • Location: Southampton, Hants
  • Salary: £91,000 (with pay review pending), plus benefits
  • Closing date: By 9 a.m. Monday 4th March

Who we are

Society of St James (SSJ) is a Southampton-based charity and housing association providing a wide range of support to people from all walks of life experiencing homelessness, problematic alcohol or substance use and mental health problems.

We are responsive to the ever-changing challenges facing vulnerable people. We believe that people can change their lives for the better with the right help, and that everyone deserves not just a second or third chance, but as many as it takes.

About the role

This is a hugely exciting and diverse leadership position. You will be responsible and accountable for the strategic leadership and delivery of SSJ, providing dynamic leadership in a continuously evolving external environment, often with many moving parts.

Although ultimately responsible for effective governance, financial growth and stability, you will work closely with the Chair, Trustees and members of the senior management team to secure long-term contracts and partnerships.

People are at the heart of our organisation and our community rely on us. As a collaborative leader, you will be skilled in working effectively and confidently across a broad range of stakeholders including: vulnerable people, colleagues, commissioners, strategic partners, policy makers, professional organisations, suppliers and contractors and commercial sectors.

Crucially, you will develop an ethos for SSJ with shared values and a positive and inclusive culture where everyone feels valued and respected.

About you

We seek a proven track record of success in a leadership role within the non profit or social impact sector, with an understanding of the complexities of homelessness and addictions and the lived experiences of those affected.

We want a leader who shares our values, has vision and who wants to work alongside vulnerable people and staff to continue to build on all that we’ve achieved.

We are looking for a can-do, inclusive and enabling individual — someone who will be open to embracing new ideas and is comfortable in taking risks.

We also seek strong commercial acumen and proven experience in growing and developing business opportunities and strategic partnerships.

You will be keen to develop SSJ as a leading homelessness charity in Hampshire, committed to helping the vulnerable people we support through strategic vision and have the ability to translate passion into measurable impact.

For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please email our advising consultants at Peridot Partners to arrange a call:

If you would like to know more about this role please contact Clare Chesworth

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Welcome from Paddy Hillary, Chair

Message from the Chair of SSJ

The Society of St James (SSJ), is a leading homelessness charity based in Southampton, working across Hampshire. As we look towards our  next exciting chapter, we seek an exceptional Chief Executive to lead our passionate and dedicated organisation in making a real difference to people’s lives.

This is no ordinary leadership role by any means, as we search for an ambitious leader to become the architect of change for our service users.  The impact you will have as Chief Executive of SSJ will be to empower those we serve to find stable housing and rebuild their lives.

We believe everyone deserves a second chance. As our new Chief Executive, you’ll lead a team dedicated to providing holistic support to individuals on their journey out of homelessness and towards sustained recovery.

As our Chief Executive, you will:

  • Shape the future of homelessness support: Develop and implement innovative strategies to tackle the root causes of homelessness and addiction, not just the symptoms.
  • Empower and inspire: Lead a passionate team of professionals and volunteers, igniting their dedication to our mission.
  • Forge powerful partnerships: Build bridges with government, businesses, and communities to create a united front against homelessness.
  • Be the voice of the unheard: Advocate for policy changes and systemic solutions that prioritise human dignity and social justice.
  • Build a legacy of impact: Measure and celebrate the lives transformed, the homes secured, and the futures empowered through your exceptional leadership.

You will possess:

  • A proven track record of success in a leadership role within the non-profit or social impact sector.
  • An understanding of the complexities of homelessness and addictions and the lived experiences of those affected.
  • Strategic vision and the ability to translate passion into measurable impact.

If this sounds like you, and you bring passion, drive, and dedication to helping the most vulnerable in society, then we welcome your application.

Paddy Hillary

About us

SSJ is a registered charitable housing association, working with adults with support needs in Southampton, Portsmouth and across Hampshire.

We provide housing, support, drug treatment, care, education and training to a range of people, including single people with backgrounds of homelessness and substance misuse, mental health issues and involvement with the criminal justice system. We also provide accommodation for homeless families, including refugees and asylum seekers.

These services are delivered by about 25 specialist teams that operate with high levels of autonomy, each delivering a particular project or service. We currently employ about 350 full or part-time staff and our budget next year will be over £17 million.

We accommodate over 550 people at any one time and support an additional 1000 people in the community.

Our strategy

Our strategy has been to develop a range of overlapping and interwoven projects to provide a range of services to our service users, rather than seeking to develop geographically across the south.

We have adopted a trauma-informed approach to our work with staff and the Board undertaking training and reflective practice being widely available.

We regularly and successfully bid for Homes England grants to acquire and refurbish more accommodation, in order to continue to meet the needs of our local communities.

We are currently seeking to increase our range of move-on accommodation, as well as acquiring accommodation for refugees under the LAHF programme.

We work closely and collaboratively with our local commissioners, seeking to be a responsive local provider with a good reputation for service delivery. This helps secure a stream of opportunities to develop and grow.

However, we also have a range of non-commissioned services, such as our care homes, sports and training projects and social enterprises which we run because of their intrinsic value.

Our diversity means that we fall under the remit of a number of regulators, who currently include The Regulator of Social Housing, Homes England, the Charity Commission and CQC.

Diversity statistics

SSJ is committed to developing and maintaining good working practices that promote equal opportunities, diversity and inclusion. Equality of opportunity refers to countering discrimination, including sub-conscious bias and diversity and is concerned with recognising that the needs and abilities of every individual are unique.

Gender – In the 2023 snapshot, SSJ was employing 265 or 66% (2022:64%) people identifying as female and 136 or 34% (2022:36%) people identifying as male and this distribution is fairly consistent across the age groups.

Disability – In 2023, about 7% of staff have declared a disability, which was a slight increase on previous years.

Ethnicity – Of those who have completed their details on the HR system, the ethnic origin category of White British is the largest ethnic group with 274 staff (79.65%).  This means that slightly over 20% of staff are from other backgrounds, including other white backgrounds.

The number of staff from Black, Asian, African or Caribbean backgrounds (excluding various “White” headings) is 55 out of the 344 who have disclosed, being 16% of the organisation.

We believe that people can change their lives for the better with the right help, and that everyone deserves not just a second or third chance, but as many as it takes.

Stories from SSJ

Natasha’s Story

Natasha’s journey with SSJ began as a client, marking the beginning of a transformative chapter in her life. Following her remarkable recovery, Natasha not only conquered personal challenges but also embraced a newfound purpose within the SSJ community. With unwavering dedication, she transitioned from being a client to an esteemed team member, bringing a wealth of experience and understanding to her role.

In her position at Patrick House, Natasha extends a helping hand to all clients, offering empathetic support and encouragement. Her journey from recovery to becoming an integral part of the team is not only inspiring but also a testament to Natasha’s commitment to our organisation, making her an invaluable member of the SSJ team!

Watch Natasha's full story here.

The Intersection of Mental Health, Addiction and Homelessness

Trauma can have a profound impact on an individual’s life, often serving as a catalyst for the triple crisis of mental health, addiction, and homelessness. Deep-seated emotional wounds may result in mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These conditions, in turn, can lead to individuals feeling the need to use substances as a form of self-medication, exacerbating the downward spiral. In some cases, the use of substances can progress to addiction, which has a significant impact on well-being.

Read on here.

Accessibility information

SSJ is committed to developing and maintaining good working practices that promote opportunities for all staff. SSJ recognises that all people are different and aims to ensure that we treat each individual with dignity and respect. SSJ values the diversity of all communities and wants its services, facilities and resources to be accessible.

We have the following amenities:

  • Accessibility dogs are welcome.
  • Papers and materials can be presented in a larger typeface.
  • A sign language interpreter can be accessed for interviews.
  • Working patterns can be adjusted.

Further information

We have made adjustments at some projects e.g. in the Jamie’s Computers building, a stairlift was installed for someone with MS; a ground floor office was built for a staff member who has crumbling vertebra; a home office with ergonomically suitable furniture was provided for someone with specific needs; office chairs, rising and falling desks etc. However, the Chief Executive’s office is up a flight of stairs and head office is a three-storey building.

Applicants with a disability are invited to contact us in confidence at any point during the recruitment process to discuss steps that could be taken to overcome operational difficulties presented by the role, or if any adjustments or support are required regarding the recruitment process.

    To access a full job description and application details,
    please fill out the form below.


    Thank you for your interest in this role. Please download the Job Pack.

    To formally apply, please submit a CV and supporting statement (ideally maximum 2 sides of A4 each) that clearly outlines your suitability for the role against the criteria provided in the person specification, including your interest and motivation in applying for this position.

    Please ensure that your application is emailed to response@peridotpartners.co.uk inserting “Application – Society of St James – Chief Executive” into the subject field.

    For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please email our advising consultants at Peridot Partners to arrange a call:

    As a sector-leading executive search consultancy, we know the importance of creating recruitment processes which are fair, inclusive and free from bias. We are committed to promoting equality and diversity and developing a process that values differences.

    If you have a disability that meets the definition set out in the Equality Act 2010, and you can show that you meet the ‘essential’ criteria described in the person specification, please let us know.

    If you experience any technical or accessibility difficulties, need help making an application, or have any additional support needs to be considered as part of the interview and selection process, please let us know.

    Recruitment selection processes are based on evidence of competence stated in the person specification and in relation to our values.


    Closing date: By 9 a.m. Monday 4th March 2024
    Candidates informed of outcome:  By close of business, Friday 8th March 2024
    First stage interviews (Southampton):  Monday 11th and Tuesday 12th March 2024
    Stakeholder sessions (Southampton):   Monday 18th March 2024
    Final stage interviews (Southampton): Monday 25th March 2024

    Equal Opportunities Monitoring

    Peridot and SSJ are committed to promoting equality and diversity. To help us raise awareness and support a culture that is diverse and recognises and develops the potential of all, we need to appreciate the profile of candidates who apply for positions. We will send you an equality monitoring survey at the point of receiving your application, in the interview phase and at the time of placement. This ensures that our processes remain inclusive and equitable throughout, and provides us with important data to help us showcase our impact. The information will be treated confidentially and anonymously and will help us to support our commitment to fair recruitment practices. All information provided will be held in the strictest confidence and will not be shared with anyone, in line with the Data Protection Act 2018. The information provided does not form part of the decision-making process and will not affect your application.

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