Developing and Supporting People Award Shortlist

A Skilled Civil Service

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Grief Cafe Image

Grief Café

Food Standards Agency

The Grief Café started with just two people having a coffee and connecting over grief. In just 2.5 years, it has grown to 3000 people on the mailing list, reaching 96 Departments and Agencies, and hosts Grief events every other week…all down to the power of volunteers. Within the café, we talk about types of bereavement, types of grief, we say the loved ones name, and we create a safe space to talk about their grief. Participants call it a ‘lifeline’, a great space for support, and attend Grief café alongside counselling.

James Stevens Headshot

James Stevens

Department for Education (DfE)

James Stevens has run the Department for Education (DfE) Positivity Wellbeing Group for over three years on his own initiative and almost entirely in his own time. He shows exemplary and selfless leadership researching material, designing, trialling and running staff training sessions. He runs a TEAMS site with channels on General; Exercise, Health and Nutrition; Gratitude and Social; and Running. James counsels staff as a trained mental health first aider. His work has impacted positively on staff mental health, physical fitness, healthy eating and a positive attitude to life, saving the department time lost to staff sickness, and increasing productivity.

Maureen Berry Headshot

Maureen Berry

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)

“The Autism Café is the best thing that has happened for my neurodiversity…this group feels like home and I love it.”

Since establishing the HMRC Autism Café in 2020, Maureen (Mo) Berry has touched the lives of hundreds of autistic colleagues and parent/caregivers. 

“Autistic people have so many difficulties being understood and it’s so important to feel heard.”

Whether it’s organising local events – of which there have been many – or upskilling colleagues to support individuals with autism, Mo has truly helped HMRC set the benchmark of how a modern Civil Service should approach, support, and invest in a neurodiverse workforce.