Parent organisation of Community Links, Foundation and Bridging the Gap

Celebrating Amazing Women Leaders -Jill Thorpe

International Women’s Day 2023
Celebrating Amazing Women Leaders -Jill Thorpe

International Women’s Day takes place on Wednesday 8th March. This is a global day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. It is a chance to call to action for gender equality and positive change to advance women.

This year the theme for International Women’s Day is ‘Embracing Equity.’ To truly embrace equity is to believe, value and seek out difference as a necessary and positive element of life. Equity is what can lead to equality; understanding that we are all different and providing the right resources and opportunities that can lead to an equal outcome.

From our frontline colleagues to senior leadership, our teams at Inspire North are full of wonderfully unique women who make us the empowering and dynamic organisation we strive to be.

To mark International Women’s Day this year we caught up with Jill Thorpe, Service Manager at Foundation Durham to talk about her time working with Foundation, her successes and celebrate her achievements as one of our amazing leaders.

When and what inspired you to join Foundation?

I joined Foundation over ten years ago as I really wanted to work in a role where I could support people to overcome barriers they were facing and to ensure that they had a voice. Foundation appealed to me as I really believed in the organisational values and their approach to supporting vulnerable clients.

Have you always been a Service Manager?

I joined the organisation as a Support Worker for young people, aged 16-17 who were homeless. I was in this role for a couple of years and then moved into a role where I coordinated a Through the Gate service, providing support for people leaving prison with an accommodation and support need. From there I moved into the Service Manager role, the role I currently have at Foundation Durham.

Can you tell us a little bit about your role and the work you do?

I am responsible for the day to day running of two services across County Durham. These services provide support to vulnerable adults with multiple support needs. We have a Domestic Abuse Navigator service and a Complex Needs Service in Durham. These services provide accommodation and person-centred support to address the individual needs of the client. Our services help vulnerable adults to develop, achieve, maximise, and maintain independence and we support them to work towards successfully moving into independent living and reducing social isolation.

What is your favourite aspect of the role?

Getting to see a client achieve their targets and goals and being part of that journey.

What advice would you give to younger women wanting to pursue a leadership or managerial role?

Look at managers or leaders who inspire you and don’t be afraid to approach them to ask for any advice or support. Look for any development or mentoring opportunities within your current role/organisation. Reflect on your own strengths and the areas you may need to develop if you were to move into a leadership role.

What does ‘Embracing Equity’ mean to you?

It means understanding that not everyone starts from the same place and that some people have an advantage over others.  Embracing Equity means treating people based on their individual needs to create equal outcomes.

To learn more about Foundation Durham, you can visit:


At Inspire North, we believe that improving diversity and inclusion starts from holding ourselves accountable. This International Women’s Day, we are pleased to announce our first-ever Gender and Ethnicity Pay Report. This report has helped us to be accountable and demonstrates our progress.

To read the full report, click here.