Society Diary interviews... Steve Veevers

01 Mar 2024 Interviews

The CEO of social care charity Hft, Steve Veevers, tells our satirical columnist about his mountain dog Bronte and his dream dinner guests...

Steve Veevers, CEO of Hft, and his biscuit-eating mountain dog Bronte


Welcome back, dearest readers. Society Diary’s latest interview is with Hft chief executive Steve Veevers, who is the owner of mountain dog Bronte and an undying love of biscuits. 

Veevers shares his rather lenient view on the five-second rule, his favourite biscuit (unprompted) and his four dream dinner party guests.

You can read our exchange below. 

How are you? 

“I’m really good, thank you for asking, and really looking forward to unpacking a little bit of the trials and tribulations of working in the charitable adult care sector – while at the same time working out what my favorite biscuit is, and anything in between.

“As I write this, it’s something like day 37 into my new role at Hft so I am still very much in the ‘steep learning curve’ phase, wanting to make sure that I am adding value, making an impact and applying my sector experience into a new organisation with its own ethos and values.”

If you could choose one song to be your entrance music whenever you entered a room, what would it be?

“I take it a play list is out of the question? I always find music questions so hard; I’ve got such an eclectic taste in music and really struggle to have a single song to settle on and, if you’d ask me on a different day, you would most probably get a totally different answer. Pushed to answer, I’m going to say; Foo Fighters, Best of You. Oh, hang on, maybe Ludovico Einaudi’s I Giorni. Oh, or maybe…”

That’s plenty, thank you. Are you a tea or coffee-drinker? 

“It’s coffee in the morning and then tea in the afternoon, liberally spaced with cups of hot water in between. With coffee, I’m a bit of a fussy so and so, so it has to be nice ‘proper’ coffee. Thinking about it, I’m quite particular about which tea I drink as well… Dorset teabags only or, at a push, Yorkshire.” 

Who would be your four dream dinner party guests?

“Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, ex Social Care Institute of Excellence chief exec and chief inspector of social care at CQC. I’ve heard her speak at a couple of conferences and she has some of the greatest insights on the state of health and social care. Keanu Reeves – I think if we had to put someone forward as a representative of the human race to meet alien visitors, I’d be nominating him as a wonderful demonstration of our humanity and decency.

“Barack Obama – because why wouldn’t you! My final guest would be Marte Wexelsen Goksøyr, who is an exceptionally powerful public speaker, writer, public debater and actress who takes a strong stance against stigmatisation of disabled people. I imagine that it would be a very lively dinner.” 

On the topic of food, do you believe in the five-second rule? 

“I’m at heart a little bit of a risk taker, so I might even accept a seven or eight-second rule for something really special like a Viennese whirl. Saying that, I’ve got a 58kg Bernese Mountain Dog called Bronte, and anything that hits the floor is lucky to survive more than .047 seconds with her around.”

Which skill do you wish you were better at? 

“Languages; I’ve been trying to learn Italian for about a decade now and a lack of time, as well as a lack of general aptitude at it, mean that I’m not entirely confident I ever will get any further than ‘Ad Maggio andrò a Venezia’.

“Also patience, which is defined as “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble or suffering without getting angry or upset’ – a definition with several elements. Some of these I could not be without. For example, I cannot abide suffering in any form, and other elements I wish and try to be much better at every day, like trying to get everything done yesterday.” 

What is your TV guilty pleasure?

“I love a bit of foreign language or Nordic noir crime dramas, the more thoughtful and abstract, the better. I’ve recently been watching Astrid, the Bridge and Bordertown.” 

Which is your favourite pastime? 

“Definitely books, finding or rescuing them, predominately from charity shops or National Trust book barns and the reading of them. I don’t think there is a more satisfying feeling than coming across a hardback copy of a book in a series that you haven’t got, or something with an amazing cover and tactile to hold. I’ve also generally got about three or four books that I’m reading on the go at one time.”

What was your first job?

“I left home very early, so had a few first jobs all at the same time to make ends meet. Lifeguard, swimming teacher and care worker, plus a bit of bar work – all very people focused, thinking about it now, and all of which certainly defined my career pathway.”

Would you rather have telekinesis or telepathy?

“Definitely, definitely telepathy. I need no further excuses to lead a sedentary lifestyle and the temptation to not get up and walk over to get something would be too great with telekinesis. I think many of us sometimes don’t share what we really want with those we know and those we’ve only just met, the (limited) ability to pick through that and really understand what someone wants or needs would be great to have, but with some healthy sized safeguards on that for telepathy.

“A PS – I’m mildly disappointed that I didn’t have a question on biscuits; it’s a choccy hobnob, just in case you wanted to know my favourite and it would definitely come in the eight-second rule category.” 

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