Jean honoured for her work with homeless and vulnerable

A PROMISING young actor from Rotherham is playing for his biggest audience yet this month as he appears on millions of TV screens around the country.

A CHAMPION of the excluded who has spent 30 years helping the homeless and vulnerable has been recognised with a royal honour.

Jean Makin (73), also known as Jean McVann, was awarded the MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours.

Awarded for services to the community in Rotherham, the gong acknowledges how Jean established The Gate Surgery in Rotherham.

She is the chief executive of Gateway Primary Care, a social enterprise which also includes Canklow and Rosehill surgeries.

Of the award, Jean said: “I think it’s marvellous. It’s a great honour. I’m very surprised but it is wonderful.

“It is nice to be acknowledged for the work I’ve done.

“I found out three weeks ago by email from the Cabinet Office and I could not believe it. I just thought: ‘Gosh!’

“I have no idea who nominated me, but I do appreciate them — they must have confidence in me.”

Described as “dynamic and passionate about helping others, setting up services from scratch and on a voluntary basis”, Jean secured funding for the launch in 2011 of Gateway, which provides outreach medical services to those who may otherwise miss out.

For over a decade, The Gate has specialised in providing care for socially excluded and vulnerable groups, including running a service helping the homeless by providing healthcare on the streets for those in need.

Jean’s nomination notes how “along with nurse-led clinics which include initial medical assessments, cervical screening, contraception, baby immunisations, ear care and chronic disease management, The Gate provides confidential HIV testing, TB testing, sexually transmitted infection screening and counselling and psychologist sessions.

“The Gate now plays an important role in the public life of Rotherham and Jean is the driving force behind its success.

“It is a social enterprise, which means surplus monies are reinvested into patient care, but also into community-focused services such as exercise classes, gardening projects, and providing food for the homeless in winter.

“The Gate also offers shared care for patients with drug misuse and alcohol problems and has an outreach health clinic — Looking beyond the Label — every week for the homeless.”

Jean said: “I’ve been working in general practice since 1989 and understand addressing and tackling inequalities requires the courage to work in different ways.

“With the Gate, there was no blueprint for us to follow and it was accepted and understood that a ‘one size fits all’ approach was not suitable for tackling these health inequalities.

“We’ve offered care over the years to some of the borough’s most vulnerable and deprived people.

“We’ve had to think outside of the box to reach people and were able to have a flexible service. I have always tried to use as my mantra ‘look beyond the label’.

“I’ve never asked for or expected more for my patients, but I’ve never accepted any less.

“And I have to say that you can have a vision, but I’ve been extremely lucky that the teams I’ve had both past and present have been marvellous.”

Jean’s honour means there are two members of Bramley Parish Council with honours, as Cllr Jim Moore received the BEM a few years ago.

Clerk Rob Foulds said: “It’s a bit of good news for Bramley, and particularly the parish council.

“Not many parish councils can boast two honoured councillors within their ranks!

“All of our members are very hard-working and her majesty the Queen has seen fit to honour two of them.”

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