Meet Gill Trevor, Founder of Leeds-Based Phoenix Health and Wellbeing
In 2013, Gill founded the Leeds-based charity and social enterprise Phoenix Health and Wellbeing, which offers complementary health support for those who have chronic health issues on low incomes
Why did you set up Phoenix Health and Wellbeing?
I started caring for a family member who was diagnosed with terminal cancer and it made me aware of the power of touch. When they passed away, I went on to study complementary therapies and then went on to volunteer at a hospice and in nursing homes. I began to notice just how powerful these therapies were and that they were most powerful to those who were unable to access them because of the cost. I worked in various charity projects to get a background in the third sector and how it works which made me realise that I didn’t want the organisation to be purely reliant on government funding, but instead I wanted it to be free standing, and that’s why we set up the social enterprise.
What kind of treatments do you offer?
We provide a range of services such as counselling, acupuncture and massage therapies to patients who are referred to us from medical health care professionals, and they could be referred due to chronic health issues such as depression, chronic anxiety or it could be a physical condition such as cancer or MS. We’re about making those treatments accessible and we generate the funds to do this by offering the same services to members of the public who are fit and well – they can come along and benefit from our services by paying the market rate, knowing the proceeds will go to a charitable fund.
You recently won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the sustainability category, tell us more.
I stumbled across the Queen’s Award in lockdown one and I believe that sustainability should be a philosophy not just a business model – it’s not just about reducing the amount of paper you use, but should be the way business is conducted. I felt that we provide a sustainable approach to complementary healthcare, in that we exist outside of statutory funding but we provide this service to people who really benefit from the healthcare that we provide. We found out that we’d been shortlisted in November last year and we thought that was fantastic as we are such a small organisation. I was bowled over when we received the news that we had won.
How have you found running and developing a charity in Yorkshire?
It’s been my best job. It’s challenging – but that’s a good thing because from challenge you identify opportunity and you can push yourself and become creative. I think one of the main challenges we have faced has been spreading the word about complementary healthcare to the existing status-quo, which tends to be very pharmacologically-based.
How do you spend your downtime?
I love walking my dogs with my husband at the coast.
Is there a particular place in Yorkshire which makes you smile?
I love Staithes on the North Yorkshire coast and there are some real personalities who live there. It’s a place which always makes me smile because somebody there will say something which will really lift your spirits.
Your favourite restaurant recommendation?
There’s a place called Restaurant Number 20 in Port Mulgrave and it’s a tiny restaurant run by a husband and wife team – the food is absolutely fantastic.