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Meet our Partners - Q&A with Craig Dearden-Phillips

We’re delighted to welcome Craig to the Juno team as Chair of the Juno board! We sat down with Craig to learn more about his experience, what attracted him to Juno and his ambitions for Juno’s future.

Tell us a bit about your career path so far – what experience are you bringing?

My career splits into two halves:  being a social entrepreneur and then helping social entrepreneurs.  In the first half, I founded and grew a brilliant organisation called VoiceAbility which worked with people with mental health challenges and learning disabilities. 

In the second, I helped others to stand up new businesses in the fields of social care, health, technology, and rehabilitation from prison.

While I will draw on both with Juno as Chair, it is perhaps the second, more recent set of experiences, that is the most relevant: getting alongside the executives of Juno to build a new venture from scratch so that it is not only fantastic at delivering for children but also a really robust business too.

What has attracted you to Juno?

Three things.  Firstly, the mission. Juno is working in a broken sector and wants to change it by example and influence. I love that. Secondly, the people. Juno already has a very strong group of leaders and partners upon which to build and achieve something extraordinary. The third is that my own adverse experiences in childhood make me very aware of the effects of trauma on the lives of young people and the need for a loving and supportive response that attempts to undo some of that damage.

What excites you most about working with Juno?

Many things. The prospect of opening ten new homes and working with 40 amazing young people over the coming years is very exciting to me. I have also joined a really strong Board and leadership team who are exceptionally talented, and values-driven.  I am also excited about working with all our incredible partners on the Project Advisory Board.   Finally, I am very excited about the possibility of bringing young people and staff into roles on our Board over the coming years. This will make Juno even more special than it already is now.  

How would you describe what we’re looking to achieve?

At the most ambitious level, I would say “system change”. What I mean by this is that we are new entrants in a children’s care system that is terribly broken. We can change this by example and, as time goes by, help others to adopt our model to the point where we are the norm, not the exception. We may also want to expand what we do in time, but only if we can do so at the highest level of quality.

My second ambition is to be the best in everything we do. To deliver for young people, we need to look to be the best organisation in the UK for children in care. My small role in this is to ensure we have a board that supports the staff and young people to be the best they can be.

What will be the main challenges for Juno?

I would point to three.  The first is to move from being an amazing idea to an amazing reality. This is never easy. The second is to create and maintain the culture – the attitudes, values, and behaviours – that makes Juno special. This is easy when you are small but gets harder when you grow. Thirdly, we must learn from what goes badly and what goes well. Often organisations lose confidence and heart when things go wrong. Instead, we must use this as a springboard to get better. This isn’t easy, and one of my jobs is to help set a climate in which we can learn as we move through the journey.

Do you want to be a part of the future of Juno? Maybe a career in Children’s residential care is the right move for you? Download the job pack to find out more:

Job Pack - Juno Team Jan23
Download PDF • 2.50MB

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