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It’s never too late to start again

2018 December 10 by

After nearly 30 years of drug abuse Phil turned his life around – now he has a full-time job at Julian House and says every day is a reminder of how far he’s come.

“My parents divorced when I was 13. I started hanging out with the wrong crowd, drinking and smoking dope. Before I knew it, things got out of control and I’d moved on to heroin and crack cocaine.”

The first of Phil’s three sons was born when he was just 19. “I was barely more than a child myself. I lived a double life for years; holding down jobs as a painter/decorator to support my family – in between spells in prison for burglary, theft, fighting and dealing to support my drug habit.”

In 2012 Phil was locked up for another four years – and he finally decided enough’s enough. “I was sick of going to prison. Sick of being estranged from everyone I cared about.” Especially his boys who he’d not seen for years. “So I enrolled in a drug free wing. It was easy to stay clean in prison – but I knew the test would come when I was back on the street.”

And that’s when Julian House stepped in; Phil applied to See Change – one of our addiction recovery houses. “I thought I’d give myself a fighting chance, and I haven’t looked back. See Change is a safe environment – from 1-2-1 counselling sessions, to peer support groups, a dedicated keyworker to encouragement on tap – I can’t blow their trumpet enough.”

After a few months Phil started volunteering, which turned into a part time position with a local social enterprise. “I wanted to get back on my feet – buy a car so I could start rebuilding my relationship with my family in Cambridge.” And when Julian House offered him a full-time position as a maintenance man he jumped at the chance.

“I really like the ethos of working for a charity, and the variety of what I do on a day to day basis; One week I can be fitting a new kitchen, gardening the next. But the best thing about my position at Julian House is the reminder of the life I don’t want to go back to.”

Until six years ago Phil hadn’t lived more than three consecutive days as an adult man without substance misuse. “Drugs cuddled me when I was down, and celebrated with me when I was up. I thought I couldn’t cope without them. What I didn’t realise back then is that I was just existing…. today I live.”

Phil admits he has lots of regrets, but after years of not feeling at home in his six-foot skin he’s finally happy. “I just take it one day at a time, talk to people rather than trying to undo all the knots myself, and don’t look for escapism anymore. I’m grateful for everything I have – job, house, car, partner, kids, grandkids.”

“And now when people ask me to tell them about myself, I’m not Phil the ex-criminal, or Phil or ex-drug addict anymore – I’m just Phil.

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Nightstop Success

2018 December 6 by

Before we met Ben he was living with his mother but unfortunately their relationship broke down due to his mental health issues and behaviour. He was diagnosed with Rage Disorder after becoming verbally aggressive and breaking objects in her home. The police had been called after incidents leading to him receiving a restraining order and having to attend probation. He could not live at the family home and became homeless. 

Ben sofa surfed with friends and family, and even stayed with his mother against the restraining order which put him at risk of prosecution, until his options ran out. He got in contact with his father which led him to leaving his county and moving to Exeter. However, he had no options of having a safe place to stay and was at serious risk of becoming street homeless. Ben had started to become low of mood and was concerned his behaviour would become problematic.  

After completing a risk assessment of Ben, we placed him with experienced hosts where he behaved and interacted with hosts well. Hosts stated they did not experience any of the diagnosis given to Ben as he was polite and conscientious.  The feedback was important as it meant hosts with less experience and unsure about higher risk issues could host him, giving him more options of different hosts to stay with. 

As time went on, we helped Ben apply for different supported accommodation but also had concerns about his mental health issues. Nightstop was able to give him a reference and show the diagnosis was in the context of his mother’s home. Before he could be accepted, his girlfriend from his original county came to Exeter and asked to stay with Nightstop. However, she was too high risk to stay with hosts and Ben choose to stay in a tent with her as felt he needed to look after her. 

Ben continued to engage with Nightstop staff and he could still stay with hosts in supported accommodation but chose to stay in the tent with his girlfriend.  

He turned up one morning with cuts and bruises after being bitten and hit with a hammer after an argument with his girlfriend. We were able to place him with a host that night and support him to engage with the police whist charges were being pressed. Ben was extremely vulnerable with hosts able to provide emotional support and appropriate advice. 

Ben eventually moved into temporary accommodation provided by the council. However, this only lasted until the threat of violence ended, his ex-girlfriend left the area, and Ben sofa surfed with a friend until he came back to Nightstop.  

He applied to move into the supported housing and was accepted, Ben has lived in the flat since July 18 and engaged with staff well. He has completed the Outcome Star, a coaching tool that helps young people recognise issues in a structured method. He has applied for a music production course and wants to start his old hobbies again. Also, Ben has supported Nightstop at promotional events and he stated could never have been able to talk to people he did not know and felt staying with people he did not know helped his confidence.  

Find out more about Nightstop here.

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Extra Beds Available

2018 November 21 by

Over the winter months Julian House will be providing 20 extra bed spaces for rough sleepers.

Extra Government funding has allowed Julian House to provide 20 extra bed spaces during the most difficult period of the year for rough sleepers.  These will be based in the basement of Manvers St Baptist Church – next door to the existing Julian House Hostel.

The SafeSleep facility will open from 8pm every evening and clients will be able to stay until 9.30 the next morning.  After then they will be able to access the day centre next door.

Julian House Operations Director, Roanne Wootten, is delighted that the charity will be able to provide this extra capacity: “Living on the streets is tough and dangerous, particularly over the winter months.  Although our outreach team does a terrific job in connecting with rough sleepers it is much easier to do identify needs and support them if they are inside and away from the rigours of the street.  We are hopeful that over the coming months we’ll be able to move more people on into some sort of settled accommodation.

It is good that the Government has recognised the issue and listened to the concerns of organisations across the country, including Julian House.  We are also indebted to our long-time supporters, Manvers St Baptist Church, for making SafeSleep happen.”

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Auction of Promises success

2018 November 5 by

The Julian House Auction of Promises was held on Thursday 1st November and was a great success. The event started with canapes from The Mint Rooms and music by Ben Cipolla as well as a raffle.

The auction itself raised an impressive £30,000 with lots including holidays, experiences and meals out. The funds raised will go towards providing vital services for our clients.

Thank you very much to everyone who attended, donated lots, volunteered and supported the event.

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Team takes on Bike challenge for the homeless

2018 October 18 by

Staff from a Chippenham firm are taking on the world’s longest one-day road cycling event in support of  Julian House.

The Red Bull Time Laps event takes place on 27/28 October – a challenge which will be even tougher than normal because of the winter clock change which happens that weekend.  This means that the 24 hour challenge will actually run for 25 hours!

The team from leading aircraft components firm, Executive Jet Support, have been training hard over the past few months – building up their stamina and trying to replicate the physical and mental stretch that this unique event puts on participants.  Having made the decision to take part the team thought that it made sense to try and support a charity on the back of their efforts.

Cecil Weir is the charity’s Fundraising and PR Director – “Over the years I have seen some amazing endeavours in support of our work but this has to be one of the most challenging.  In addition to the obvious physical demands of taking part the fatigue of competing over a 24 hour period makes this really tough.  We really appreciate and respect their commitment.

In addition of to the financial benefit of what they are doing, almost of equal value is the increased awareness that they’ll generate.  Promoting to a wider audience that homelessness isn’t a lifestyle of choice and that positive change isn’t just possible it’s a daily reality across much of what we do.”

Executive Jet Support is a world leading provider of commercial aircraft, engines and airframe components to almost 200 operators in over 40 countries across the globe.

You can support the EJS team here. 

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An Evening of Magic and Illusion

2018 October 4 by

Huge thanks to Bristol Society of Magic for kindly staging an evening of magic and illusion on Thursday 11th October in aid of See Change/Julian House.

Tickets available at the Julian House charity shop in Thornbury or the Bristol Julian House Bike Workshop.

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Circuit of Bath Walk success

2018 September 24 by

Congratulations and thank you to all the walkers who braved the rain and mud and took part in the Circuit of Bath Walk on Sun 23rd. Despite the rain it was great to see such amazing spirit and smiley faces (especially when the sun came out).

Thank you and also to all the wonderful volunteers,  Thermae Bath Spa and Bathscape Walking Festival for making the day such a great success.

Check out our Twitter and Facebook page for more photos – winners of the photo competition to be announced shortly.

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Bath Fireworks Display supports Julian House

2018 September 24 by

This years Bath Firework display, organised by the Rotary Club of Bath will be held at the recreation ground on Saturday 3rd November.

Julian House, alongside Bath City Farm, are this years chosen charities to benefit from the spectacular event. You can buy tickets here, or from one of the outlets listed below.

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Recruitment & Volunteering open evening

2018 August 28 by

Tuesday 11th September 4pm -7pm

Colab, Exeter.

Are you interested in opportunities to work or volunteer in supporting people who are experiencing homelessness or rough sleeping?

BCHA and Julian House are jointly developing exciting new projects and initiatives for people who are homeless in Exeter.

Experience of this type of work is not essential but a smile, enthusiasm and a willingness to be flexible are!A variety of opportunities are available from volunteering and mentoring to sessional and full time work.

Please telephone 01392 258899 for further information, to book on, or just pop along on the night!

Colab Exeter, Wat Tyler House King William Street, Exeter, EX4 6PD

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Spokes the Minerva Owl

2018 June 26 by

Julian House Bike Workshop is really pleased to welcome Spokes the Minerva Owl to their nest for the summer.

Unfortunately there is no room for Spokes outside the Bath Bike Workshop, so Therme Bath Spa have kindly let him roost with them (where we are sure he enjoying a relaxing dip now and again.)

Spokes is being sponsored by Deloitte, and has been hand-painted by Bath’s own artist Perry Harris.

Minerva Owls

Minerva’s Owls is a major public art sculpture trail featuring a giant flock of 85 individually decorated, super-sized owl sculptures displayed across the city and surrounding region from 25 June–10 September 2018.

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Open day success

2018 June 25 by

We held an open day for our services in Basingstoke to celebrate the opening of our new office and to make organisations and clients aware of it’s location.

The day not only showed off the new space but reminded other organisations and clients in the area the services we provide. It was a great success with many people in attendance including the Mayor, Cllr Keating.

There was a Dr Bike stall present as this is a new service that we hope to bring to Basingstoke for the clients to benefit from, there was also an opportunity for current clients to showcase some of their artwork completed in our art therapy sessions.








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The Big Bike Revival

2018 June 18 by

The Big Bike Revival is a UK wide series of events that aims to inspire people who own bikes, but who don’t cycle, to start riding.

We have got a range of events going on at our Bike Workshop that you can come and get involved in.

 

Big Bike Check

 

This is a series over events run over a few locations where you can pop in for a free bike check.

On the day we will carry out a free commuter check on your bike, provide information about the cycle to work scheme, give advice on getting back on the bike and we will even have Orbea and Katu demo bikes you can take for a quick spin!

Cyclists, commuters and anyone interested in riding a bike is invited to come and see us- you can leave your bike with us and we will text you when it is done!

21st June – Exeter University, Streatham Campus, outside the Library – 10am -3pm

23rd June –  Exeter
Bike Workshop – 9am-10am

30th June – Bristol Bike Workshop – 10am-4pm

7th July –  Exeter Bike Workshop 9am-10am

7th July –  Trowbridge Bike Workshop 10am-4pm

10th July – RD&E hospital, outside the RILD building – 8am-3pm

14th July – Exeter Bike Workshop – 9am-10am

 

Beauty in the Bike

 

Julian House would like to invite you to join us on Tuesday 3rd July in Bedford Square in Princesshay between 8am – 3pm for our Beauty in the Bike event.

On the day we will carry out a free commuter check on your bike, provide information about the cycle to work scheme, give advice on getting back on the bike and we will even have Orbea and Katu demo bikes you can take for a quick spin!

Cyclists, commuters, in fact anyone interested in riding a bike is welcome to come and have a chat to find out more about the fantastic health benefits of cycling and the exciting work we do at Julian House. You can even leave your bike with us for a safety check and we will text you when it is done!

Ride Devon have all the information you need to cycle to work and the lovely network of cycling routes available in and around Exeter and further a field.

 

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Christmas Appeal Success

2018 February 8 by

We want to say a huge thanks to everyone who supported our best ever Christmas Appeal, which has been rounded off with an amazing gift.

Over the months of December and January we ran our annual Christmas Appeal – once again supported by the Bath Chronicle. The target for the campaign was an ambitious one, £120,000. Funds raised now help to ensure that we can operate our life changing and sometimes lifesaving services, throughout the year.

Monkton Combe School has supported Julian House for over 20 years and has risen to the challenge again by presenting an amazing donation of £2,107 – almost the final gift of the campaign. This impressive gift took the total raised to £138,830 – the highest amount ever raised for Julian House Christmas Appeal.

Cecil Weir is the charity’s Fundraising Director and has led the campaign for the past 17 years – “Every year the public and the wider community rally to support our work, particularly at this time of year. The harsh weather brings into sharp focus just how dreadful is for our clients to be homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

Even though I have been organising it for some time it never ceases to humble me when I see the goodwill that is shown and the generosity. We had a 14 year old girl bake 500 cupcakes, herself, and raise £550 in the process. Winter fuel payments were forwarded to us because the donors thought that our clients needed it more than them. It is rather fitting that Monkton Combe School, who have supported us for over 20 years should make provide almost the final gift of the appeal which helped us to reach such an impressive total.”

The Monkton gift was raised at the school’s annual Christmas carol service in Bath Abbey and was one of many events which helped to support the charity’s campaign. Cecil Weir acknowledges the wider benefit that such events bring – “Although things have improved there are still awareness issues around homeless – both the scale of the problem and the complex issues which impact upon it. Every event that is organised and every article that is written helps to make people realise that it isn’t a lifestyle of choice and that with the right support we can really make a difference. To everyone who supported the campaign a huge thank you from everyone at Julian House and particularly our clients. Likewise to all our volunteers and not forgetting the Bath Chronicle.”

Julian House provides range of services to homeless and vulnerable individuals including: supported housing (general and specialised), domestic abuse services, social enterprises and an assertive outreach service. In all the charity operates 132 bed spaces. However, its direct access hostel provision remains one of the most important – providing as it does, very often, the first stage in the process of moving people off the street and reconnecting them back into their local community.

The charity’s work doesn’t stop now that the Christmas campaign is over. Over the course of this week the sharp drop in temperature has forced it to open up extra emergency bed spaces – offering rough sleepers respite from sub-zero conditions.

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Bike Bath 2017

2017 May 4 by

A day of marked rides of 25, 50 and 80 miles taking in the best scenery of Bath and the surrounding countryside.

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