Saint John of God Week 17-23 June 2019

Saint John of God Week serves to celebrate our founder and lets us focus on how the values are present in our work today. The following is a selection of stories and photographs from our services throughout the country and evidence one of more of our five values: Hospitality, Compassion, Justice, Respect and Trust.

Please click on a link below to jump to that section.

Terry Yorath House, Leeds

The people who live at TYH and staff regularly celebrate events (Halloween, Christmas, BBQs and bingo nights) and festive holidays together. Going to places they choose and having a great time. Families and friends are encouraged to come to these events and they feel part of the SJOG family.

Sandown Road, Billingham

We recently held a memorial for our residents who passed away. I believe this demonstrates compassion and hospitality.

Henry Nihill House

We were pleased to welcome Paul back for his return visit regarding the draft strategy. This is the photo for the value of hospitality – we do like visitors at our service!

Lindisfarne Court, Darlington

This photograph demonstrates the following core values of the organisation:

HOSPITALITY = inviting Claire Wilson, Epilepsy Nurse from James Cook Hospital to provide training for all staff. This invite was extended to Stephen’s two sisters Barbara and Judy. This training will enable them both to continue to support Stephen in the community and maintain his safety.

RESPECT = for Stephen and the support he requires to live here.

TRUST = the family members Barbara and Judy place within the service to keep their brother Stephen safe. Thank you to NHS and Claire for providing this training and development for all.

Bradford Supported Living Services - Alex

“I recently attended a strategy meeting with my support staff in May, chaired by Paul Bott, [Chief Executive]. In this meeting we talked about employment and jobs within Bradford Supported Living Services.

I shared with the group how I had a job when I was younger. I was a screw counter in a factory when I lived at Westwood Hospital in my early 20s. I had to pack up and box up screws.

I enjoyed this because it made me feel part of a team and I had an important purpose. I was contributing to the community.

This must have got Michella [Service Manager] thinking! Days later Michella asked if I would like the responsibility of office assistant at Park Lane.

Management gave me a job description, which I agreed too and signed straight away. I cannot wait to start my new post. I am very keen to wear my new badge.“ - Alex

Bradford Supported Living Services - Brendon

A few weeks ago my staff at Oakleigh attempted to do a fire evacuation at my house, to see how quickly I responded.

Unfortunately, I was not feeling myself that day and did not co-operate in evacuating the house.

The next day my support staff Mandi explained to me the importance of fire evacuations and the dangers if I did not act quickly!

A few days later, my other support staff Angela, accidently burnt our tea, setting the fire alarm off!!

I did not know this was an accident and thought it was as real fire! I ran from my room shouting, “Angela we need to get Alex out” I ran into Alex’s bedroom and grabbed his wheelchair.

My first reaction was to help my friend.

Angela quickly told me it was an accident and there wasn’t a real fire, but complimented me on my quick response and efforts to help Alex.

Because of my brave actions I have been appointed Fire Marshall of Oakleigh and have a special badge.

1 Bede’s Close, Bradford

Capturing compassion... The work in the garden has been driven by Terry Hague a support worker at our service, with support from myself to capture in words the story so far.

Our service is the home to three men who have severe learning disabilities but have very exciting and unique characters! We decided our boring old garden needed revamping and turning into their little sensory space.

So, we started by art-attacking the garden shed and table, as you can see. We promise the service users enjoyed it more than we did...

Staff and the service users started by using recycled paint to paint the shed base and then splattered different colours all over the front and top.

We then kindly had many bird feeders donated by Terry’s mum and dad. We hung these in the tree which faces the living room window. Our service users love to watch the birds and our new pet squirrel who is a regular visitor.

Terry then decided he wanted to copy an idea that he saw on television as he thought this would be a great feature for the garden. He started by visiting charity shops to collect materials and found three different sized copper wire spools, which he has used for the base of the garden stool. He then used cushions from old sofas to create the seats and covered them using recycled materials. The picture doesn’t show the finished product, however once finished they will feature things such as twigs and plastic cups around the bottoms as they’re meant to be insect friendly!

Tracy also found this vintage and reworked table set, which her neighbour kindly offered to donate to us. This really brightens up the garden.

We have many more ideas in mind and Terry is very actively progressing with implementing them. He has also spoke to different companies around West Yorkshire who are happily donating different things to us to carry on improving our little sensory garden. The long term plan is to create lots more sensory spaces throughout the service and the next target is the extension, which we’d like to turn into a chill out room. We have a wish list so watch out as Terry likes to ring staff out of hours to tell them about his new ideas!

We’ve also planted lots of different plants all around the garden and service users take part in watering and looking after them.

Resource Centre, Enfield

Compassion: At the day centre in Enfield, we as a staff team are very compassionate to the needs of the team. We support one another and appreciate each other.

The team at the day centre is genuinely concerned about the needs of the clients that we support. We include the clients in everything we do, encouraging interaction and making people feel valued within our day to day activities. We promote choice and independence and raise any concerns.

Staff will go the extra mile to deliver an excellent service. The service users have attended for many years and rely on the team to meet their needs. The team also reach out to the families with encouragement empathy and positivity. We continue to follow the values of our founder St John of God.

Bernie, Jacqui, Sandra, Michelle and Mathew

This is an example where we are empowering the service users at the daycentre and encouraging them to increase their life skills by assisting staff with day to day tasks.

Talking with Bernie, it was a day where a staff member was moving a bench with staff support in a “working together” way and involving our people. It shows trust and compassion.

Olallo House, London

This past almost 2 weeks at Olallo we have experienced a little of what our founder faced when he tried to find accommodation for the people he reached out to. He needed to look for a comfortable place to sleep for those who were sick, disabled or in need of respite. He also needed to find food, clothing and medical assistance so that the needs of all could be attended to. To do so he enlisted a wide range of people from the wealthiest to the poorest who all responded without complaint. The generosity of these people enabled him to offer Hospitality in the way he wanted so that the needs of everyone could be addressed.

We at Olallo have experienced something similar. Without exception everyone reacted to the flooding as if it happened to themselves. Staff swiftly put their skills into practice and gave 100 percent to ensure that our guests were safe and that their needs were addressed quickly. This has resulted in everyone settling into a temporary accommodation without too much pressure. Of course there were some difficulties but like St John of God these were attended to in a way I know he would be more than happy with.

The same can be said of others who have responded to our situation with sympathy and practical help. This includes the various organisations such as Thames Water, Aspect, the Poor Servants of the Mother of God, our local Church and many others. All were deeply concerned about the needs of our guests. We are grateful for their help. St John of God sought the help of many groups as I have said and we have experienced the same.

This to me is what Hospitality is about. We work together so that the needs of our guests are never reduced to numbers but instead to individuals who have very specific needs which we keep always to the fore and in such a way that no one is excluded. St John of God was committed to the God of love who he believed dwelt in each person. He gave his life to the most vulnerable because he believed that through his personal experience all could be treated in the way he would want to be treated himself.

St Paul’s, Selly Park

North Yorkshire Supported Living - The Big Meeting

We recently had a “Big Meeting” held for the tenants across our service. Nothing like this has been completed here before. We have three services here at North Yorkshire Supported Living: Scorton, Balmaclellan and Brentwood. These have been run as three separate services and will sometimes come together for a BBQ or the odd party. The tenants at their recent house meetings asked if they could have a big tenants meeting.

Lynn arranged the big meeting to be held in the meeting room called the smithy here at Aske Stables. Peter Moore one of the tenants from Brentwood, comes to the office to help Lynn every other week. Together Peter and Lynn designed an invitation and sent these out to the other services. Emma Porritt, Jennie MacRury and Lynn Aitken provided a buffet lunch at the big meeting.

At the meeting we asked four questions as follows: Who? When? Where? How often?

The meeting was a big success with the tenants wanting to hold one every three months with a meeting, fun time and food to finish. We are going to use this as an events planning time with a summer BBQ being arranged at Balmaclellan on the back of this meeting with the planning of this taking place at the next big meeting which is going to be held at Brentwood.

The tenants and staff really enjoyed a wet Saturday by all being together and meeting people they have never met before despite being part of the same service. Below are some photos from the day and we are all very much looking forward to the next big meeting and will vote on the suggestions of what to call the meeting and the arranging of the summer BBQ!

Enfield Supported Living Services

Please find below our contribution of the Enfield Supported Living Services showing our values of Hospitality, Respect and Compassion.

The photographs show us celebrating the life of St John of God, which we do every year on his birthday, 8th March, which also happens to be the day he died.

As you can see Colin Byrne is showing compassion to Les, a service user, by dancing to the music that Les was kindly supplying for the party.

The service users are given the option of coming along and joining in with the celebrations, which most of them do.

We offer them a buffet lunch and the chance of winning raffle prizes and an opportunity of showing off their dance moves.

Each year when this is held, a high percentage of the services users say that they are looking forward to next year’s celebrations.

The Minims, Hatfield


Every day we show compassion to the residents we care for, in everything we do. A small example of this, was taking the time out to share a moment with Dawn. By showing Dawn a friendly face, a smile and warmth her mood uplifted instantly; I used my body language to engage with her. I held her hand, while talking to her; showing Dawn that I care while nurturing our relationship and building a bond, that she can trust. While talking to her, I encouraged and motivated her and listened to what she wanted to say; allowing her to make her own contribution to the conversation. I wanted Dawn to feel included, safe, secure and cared for. The day to day things can wait, it is taking the time to share a moment with our residents that is most important, showing compassion and that we care.

Precious moments are small elements of time, we show and share love and kindness, with those we care about.

Intensive Housing Management, Enfield

One of our people we support has an obsessive sensitivity over people touching and moving his stuff in his flat. Very important maintenance work and checks were needed to be carried out in flat. The first time the external contractors came to his flat, the tenant refused entry and was upset about the experience. So we agree that when he was away for a while, we would have the external contractor coming in and do the checks that needed to be done.

As an organisation and a support worker, I made sure that I respected the tenant’s wish and I had compassion regarding his mental health.

Avila House, Worthing

Intensive Housing Management – Herts

Lilli Reynolds-Furr Intensive Housing Management Officer

In my day to day work, I arrange to meet tenants when is convenient for them. They trust that I am going to come round and help them with their housing needs. I have worked with the same tenants for many years so have built up a good working relationship with them. I always report any repairs that need to be done in their properties, and chase up any outstanding works. I respect every tenant has a different level of needs and would assist further if needed or asked to.

I currently have a tenant who is not getting her mail delivered to her flat. The tenant has to go out of her way to pick up her mail from the town, as well as the other three tenants in that block. We are currently in the process of complaining and trying to get her mail, back to being delivered to her door. This has been set up this way for over a year now. I am doing all I can to try and make this happen and for her complaints to be heard.

I am currently working with a tenant who has a terminal illness. We have spent the last two months putting an inventory in place of all of his items within their flat. This was used when drafting together their will. The tenant asked for support to label all of their Arsenal T-shirts for staff, friends and family for their funeral.

The tenant expressed their happiness in getting the last few things in order.

The tenant also asked for a birthday party buffet at our weekly coffee morning and they celebrated their birthday in style!

I am working with another tenant who is a hoarder and their property had become a fire risk. The tenant had asked for advice and support to clear their flat. We started this in November of last year and the tenant would get very anxious and stressed, they also required step by step support to understand why they have accumulated so much stuff within their flat. This tenant has made great progress and can now sort through boxes of items on their own and make the choices whether to bin or donate items.

The tenant has recognised the achievements they have made in nine months and has expressed that they feel safe and relaxed in their home and can have friends round without being embarrassed.

The tenant has expressed that they now feel they have a home not just a place to lay their head.

Leanne Smith – Intensive Housing Management Officer

Each week myself and Lilli run a tenants’ coffee morning where all tenants can drop in have a drink, play a game of pool and most importantly socialise.

We have seen the benefits of running coffee morning on a weekly basis.

We offer games of pool which encourage tenants to socialise with others, and a quiet area for colouring, board games and healthy food.

The tenants each week donate what they can to coffee morning and staff purchase items of food with this.

We also hold regular tenants’ meetings where we discuss housing related topics. We provide easy read leaflets for all tenants.

I have had a tenant who has been in rent arrears for several months, I supported the tenant along with the care company to put a budget plan together.

The tenant agreed to a plan and stuck to this, and asked each month for an updated rent statement. This was sent out and the tenant reminded staff each week how much rent arrears they have left to pay. Once this was paid the tenant was very happy and expressed they worked hard.

Digswell, Welwyn Garden City

From all involved at Digswell.

HOSPITALITY : Students and customers alike, always receive a warm welcome when they arrive, or simply acknowledged as they browse the nursery. The students say how welcome they feel at Digswell. They quickly remember staffs’ names as they make such an impact on the students. (Knightsfield School for Hearing Impaired Students.)

COMPASSION: People who use the service are encouraged to support each other emotionally and with tasks, that maybe more demanding than some students can manage on their own. Staff recently visited a volunteer in hospital, who has fallen down at flight of stairs at her home. Students from Knightsfield School are treated with understanding and willingness to accept them as individuals and difficulties are recognised and accepted.

JUSTICE: People who use the service and volunteers are never made to feel unimportant and everyone is treated equally and with consideration. A sense of equality and fairness pervades Digswell and any issues are dealt with sensitivity and positively.

RESPECT: The People who use the service feel valued and that the work they do makes a positive contribution. They are made to feel part of a team.

TRUST: Independence is encouraged amongst all, the people who use the service and volunteers are often trusted with tasks, and that inspires confidence.

Digswell Community and Gardening Project actively demonstrate the values each day through working alongside the people we support, our various partners and customers that visit to purchase our beautiful home grown plants. People always comment on the warm atmosphere, welcoming smiles and general feeling of hospitallity, of being very welcome. Our events at Digswell are always an opportunity to demonstrate the values of SJOG to the local community and the summer festival in September 2018 did just that when we to opened our doors to showcase all the wonderful work that happens each day at the project. A joining of resources brought together everyone involved in the creation of our Digswell community and proved to be a wonderful day of laughter, friendship and hospitallity.

Northern Supported Living

CB* has been successful for her first job role. CB has been appointed as kitchen assistant at Sandown Road [SJOG’s care home in Billingham] after she approached us and explained she would like to work at Sandown Road. She had an interview and was appointed the role. CB takes great pride in her name badge and her apron. This has built her self-worth massively and she received lots of praise from her family for successfully getting her first job role. Very positive for CB and also for Sandown Road to have a helper.

*CB receives outreach support from SJOG.

Head Office, Darlington

Here at our head office in Yarn, Lingfield Point in Darlington, we wanted to celebrate by doing something together as a team. We decided to extend the hand of hospitality out to our local community by donating to one of the local foodbanks. It didn’t take long for boxes and bags to be filled and now Anita and Jo are going to deliver these to Kings Church Food Bank in Darlington.