Here you’ll find a selection of news and stories reflecting the activities and events happening within SJOG.
Olallo House re-opens
Seven months ago, Olallo House, where we provide services for people who are homeless or who are victims of trafficking or modern day slavery, was flooded as a result of a burst mains water pipe. Everyone had to evacuate the building and 33 people for whom Olallo was their home were accommodated and supported in local hotels. During this time the building has undergone repair and a substantial renovation, taking advantage of the building being empty.
This week saw the re-opening of Olallo and people returning to a much-enhanced living environment conducive to them re-building their lives. There are many people we are grateful for making this happen and not least our colleagues and volunteers at Olallo who have worked so very hard from the date of the flood on 8 June to now, mid January. Olallo House is ready again to be part of transforming the lives and care outcomes of some of the most vulnerable people in London and beyond.
Our latest GEM (going the extra mile) award
SJOG's GEM awards were launched last year as a way of acknowledging and saying thank you to our colleagues for going the extra mile in the work that they do. We award them each quarter and the hard decision is made by a ‘GEM panel’ represented by all areas of the charity. We had nominations for a number of people and all were so very deserving. It was however Diane Akers who won December’s award. Diane works in our Intensive Housing Management Service in Enfield which provides support to people to enable them to manage their tenancy and live independently.
This is Diane’s story as told by her manager: “Diane, when visiting a person we support with housing, discovered the gentleman in a very poorly state due to not receiving his support from care providers.
Diane visited to carry out a health and safety inspection and was concerned that there was no response from the property. Instead of leaving, Diane had a gut feeling and made extra effort to see if the gentleman was in the property. She managed to gain entry to find the gentlemen showing signs of hypothermia, was becoming incoherent and was sitting smoking in an extremely drowsy state. This gentleman had been without electricity and gas for 2 weeks and had been sitting wrapped in a duvet.
The gentleman had been in hospital after a fall but had no recollection of where, or how he ended up in hospital, which hospital or for how long he was there. He had no food in his home. Diane left and brought 2 thermos flasks, filled one with coffee and one with soup and returned to stay with the gentleman. She also sorted out his electricity.
After finishing work and making sure her children were looked after, returned to perform a welfare check on him.
If it had not been for Diane’s actions, I believe we would have been dealing with an avoidable death.
Diane went over and beyond the expectation, and showed all of SJOG’s values. I have met the gentleman since the incident and his appreciation and thanks cannot be understated. He fully understood that Diane’s intervention was vital.”
A big thank you to John Lewis..
.. for making Christmas very special for some of the people we support in our supported living services in Hertfordshire and Enfield. SJOG’s housing management team was contacted by John Lewis to ask whether they would like a Christmas feast and party providing for the people we support. The answer was of course, ‘yes please’.
People enjoyed a three-course meal and drinks – food by Waitrose, cooked and served by staff from John Lewis - in the banquet hall in the local John Lewis store.
For some of the people we support who live independently in supported tenancies, this may be their only Christmas dinner and a real highlight of the year, particularly for those who do not have any family to spend the Christmas period with.
John Lewis’s generosity extended to giving a Christmas tree, lights, decorations and games. It was a very special day and really did “give a little more love this Christmas.”
New Apprentice at SJOG’s Head Office
Robert Mooney has recently joined SJOG in a new role for the charity: junior content producer. A large focus on Robert’s role will be around our social media presence and producing videos to provide more accessible information for the people we support.
Robert has studied journalism at Leeds Trinity University, focusing on two major pieces of work, including his public affairs portfolio and dissertation on issues around neurological and developmental conditions. These projects have given him the grounding for some of the work he hopes to get involved with at SJOG.
For many years, Robert has had an interest in content and media but also social and political issues. As a social issues correspondent for Shout Out UK, an independent news network and political literacy training provider, working for a charity which helps people who need support was important to him. While at Shout Out UK, Robert wrote about topics from zero-hours contracts to the challenges of higher education for those with disabilities.
“Having volunteered for a number of years, including as a member of Flying High, a group of young people with disabilities representing others in North Yorkshire similar to them, and also having epilepsy and hydrocephalus myself, I have a keen interest in the charity and its aims. Having previously been a team leader for vInspired (an independent charity dedicated to helping young people volunteer in their local communities), campaigning on a number of social issues, I am pleased to be bringing these experiences to a new role at SJOG. I’m looking forward to contributing positively to SJOG and working independently carrying on what I’ve done at Flying High in recent months and standing up for the voices of those we support through my role as junior content producer.”
Celebrating International Volunteers Day
5 December 2019 is International Volunteers Day, and not only are we acknowledging all the wonderful volunteers we have working throughout our services, we're appealing for more. Staff from our Enfield services attended a local event celebrating how valuable volunteers are, especially for charities and care organisations, and letting people know about the wide range of volunteering opportunities we have at SJOG - from supporting people with activities to hosting a health drop in, helping with IT or helping out in local offices with administration. Or if you like the outdoors, our community gardening project in Welwyn Garden City is the perfect place. For more information go to the volunteering section of our website or call 01325 373700.
Christmas has arrived at Digswell!
Digswell Community and Gardening Project in Welwyn Garden City is a unique space in Hertfordshire that provides people with opportunities in both garden related activities and social resources in the community. If you're local it's definitely the place to buy your Christmas tree and other lovely Christmas gifts. Digswell's Facebook page has lots more information https://www.facebook.com/digswellcommunityandgardeningproject/