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Our new Aspire Business Manager, Jane

19 January 2017

JaneJane became Business Manager for Aspire in July 2016, after many years of coordinating the social enterprise.

Jane is tasked with using her excellent customer service skills to grow the social enterprise further.  Jane also provides essential support to the team leaders as well as managing the day to day running of the business.

Jane says “Aspire is a fantastic social enterprise, providing excellent services to the public as well as work experience for people trying to get back on the feet. We are very proud of what we achieve, from sparkling windows to transforming rooms and gardens”.

Jane is working closely with the Employment and Support team to explore new ways to engage people furthest from the job market, developing new and meaningful work experience and volunteering opportunities.

You may also see Jane out and about at various Julian House and community events face painting and operating the Smoothie Bike!

Our new Employment Support Worker, Mai

19 January 2017

MaiMeet Mai Brillet, the new Employment Support Worker at Julian House Bristol.

Mai is based at the Aspire Property Maintenance and the Julian House Bike Workshop. Mai’s role is to develop the Build A Bike course, work experience and volunteer opportunities at the social enterprises, as well as providing one to one employment support to clients.

Mai’s previous role was in Brighton with Nightstop as a Project Support Worker. Brighton Nightstop provides emergency accommodation to 16-25 year olds through placements in the homes of voluntary hosts on a night by night basis.

Prior to working in the charity sector, Mai completed a Masters Degree in Literature and Philosophy. Mai is also a practicing visual and performance Artist.

Phil’s Story

19 January 2017

PhilPhil, 45 years old.  Previously a St Vincent’s resident, he is now full time Gardening Team Leader at Aspire.

“Before St Vincent’s I was languishing in a cycle of drink, drugs, crime, prison and my life was pretty much going nowhere.”

“I came to St Vincent’s because I was serving a prison sentence and I had to do something different with my life.”

“A few of the people I was associated with in prison had come to St Vincent’s and championed the cause and so in pursuit of the new life I craved I guess it was a logical choice.”

“I’d worked large parts of my life but a lot of those jobs had fell by the wayside because of my substance misuse and then the 5 years before my latest prison sentence, the one before I came to St Vincent’s, it was a case of I didn’t really want to work and I was happy in my oblivion.  I didn’t think that I was worthy of anything more than I had become so I didn’t even try to get work.”

“Realistically if I hadn’t got a place in any 2nd stage dry house, maybe I’d still be taking drugs, committing crime, going to prison, possibly dead, that’s as black and white as it was quite honestly.”

“Aspire, because they come under the umbrella of a social enterprise they are much more understanding of the issues associated with coming out the other side of substance misuse, for instance I’ve had quite a few hospital appointments and illnesses of late and they haven’t been anything other than supportive.  I think it’s amazingly encouraging for me.”

“What I’m learning more than anything at Aspire first and foremost is working with other people and leading other people. Some of the people there don’t have as much on hand experience as I have, so it’s kind of nice to teach and help other people.”

“My immediate goals are to find my own place and then work full time for Aspire, because I like the job, I like the people and the ethos of the company.”

“To anyone thinking about St Vincent’s, it has helped my immeasurably in turning what was a pretty bleak outlook for my life into something which today I have genuine aspirations and hope for the future.”

“Aspire do great things for people that wouldn’t otherwise necessarily have got a chance. I would absolutely champion the cause of both.”

Our new Social Enterprise Area Manager

19 January 2017

Esther Passingham joined Julian House 6 months ago as the Social Enterprise Area Manager, responsible for the Julian House Bike Workshops and Aspire Property Maintenance.

She moved to Bristol to join Julian House from Worcestershire where she had managed and developed charities and social enterprises since 2000.

Helen Bedser, Business Development Director said “we are delighted that Esther has joined the team. She has a wealth of experience in developing organisations, which I am sure will help to make the social enterprises even more successful”.

Esther said, “The challenge is to consistently achieve strong social outcomes, excellent customer service and robust finances within each of the social enterprises. To achieve this, the hard work and commitment of every staff member and volunteer is vital. It is a fantastic organisation to be part of, and I feel extremely excited about what we can all achieve together”.

Autumn Events Round Up

11 October 2016

A huge thank you to all the participants and volunteers who have taken part and helped at our most recent events. The success of our fundraising events lies with the amazing people who take part, raising vital funds for our projects, and the support from our fantastic volunteers who make everything run like clockwork. Thank you all!


Dragon Boat Festivaldragon-boats-julian-house-2016-q3

A fantastic 21 teams took part in this years Dragon Boat festival. It was a soggy September day, but it didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits. The team costumes were elaborate  and racing was nail biting, thank you to all the teams and volunteers who helped make the day a great one. So far the Dragon Boat festival has raised £18,000 with more to come which is fantastic, thank you for your help and support.



cob-q3-webCircuit of Bath Walk

Over 350 people took place on this popular annual event on Sunday 25th September, with nearly half of the walkers competing the full 20 miles. Families, friends, colleagues, four legged friends, and even a group of runners, enjoyed the wonderful scenery as they walked the pre-planned route around Bath’s beautiful countryside. We hope to know how much the walk raised by the beginning of November, so keep your eyes peeled!


The Colour Fun Run 

The weather was absolutely stunning again at this years Colour Fun Run and over 750 participants took to Oldbury Court Estate for a colourcolour-fun-run-2016-q3 crazy day. A huge thank you to everyone that helped set up the course from the crack of dawn, marshaled the route, threw paint and packed down at the end of the day. More than 100 volunteers made the day possible, many of whom were more paint covered than some of the runners!

Fun run makes a colourful splash

5 October 2016

750 people took part in our second Julian House Colour Fun Run, which was once again held in the beautiful Oldbury Court Estate.

We were blessed with glorious weather all day as the fun runners ran, walked and skipped around the 5km course whilst getting splashed with brightly coloured paint!

Lots of happy faces raising money for Julian House. Big thanks to all those who took part, cheered on the runners, volunteered to help make the day such a great success and fundraised for Julian House.

10 great reasons to volunteer

8 September 2016

Volunteering is a great way to help to make life better for homeless and vulnerable people in your local community. You also get to meet people, learn new skills & expand your horizons.

Jacqui, one of our volunteers, spoke to us and gave her top 10 reasons why she loves giving some of her time:

  1. I always come away with a smile on my face
  2. The events are great fun and very well organised
  3. There’s always a fantastic atmosphere on the day
  4. I know I’m supporting an extremely worthy cause
  5. The roles on the day are really varied so there’s something for everyone
  6. I know my time is appreciated whether I can offer 1 hour or 5 hours
  7. I get to meet lots of new people
  8. I see the commitment from the staff and other volunteers to help vulnerable people firsthand
  9. I have a birds eye view of some wonderful activities and events that I wouldn’t have otherwise seen
  10. I’ve learnt that homelessness can happen to anyone and through the support of Julian House many vulnerable people are given the guidance and support to get their lives back on track.

Mary’s story

23 August 2016

Motivated by wanting to be the best mum she could, Mary moved into Julian House in 2014 to get specialist help to overcome her addiction to alcohol and rebuilt a life for herself and her son.  “My son is staying with his dad while I’m at Julian House and I know I am in the right place to get the help I need.

I look forward to us spending normal quality time together, like helping him with his homework, eating pancakes for breakfast like we used to, watching The Simpsons or Dr Who, seeing him asleep, him telling me about cadet camp face to face, and dare he broach it those difficult things called girls.

I’m building trust with him again…I’ve been sober 14 months and he knows I am, and that I’m working hard for us to be a family again”

Mary left Julian House in having benefited from key working, counselling and specialist help to address her problematic drinking. She left us confident she could rebuild her life, and the life that she and her son wanted together.

Tony’s story

23 August 2016

I came to Julian House after three months in treatment. I’d heard about the support Julian House provides through others that had left treatment and had done well with their recovery and I was accepted in August.

The staff at Julian House offer lots of support, I know I can call the support workers whenever I need them and they will be there for me.

I heard about the Julian House Bike Workshop while I was doing my initial 12 week treatment programme, so once I finished this my 12 week programme my support worker suggested work experience to me.

I started volunteering in February doing 1 day a week. After a month I increased this to 2 days a week, and I am now considering extending this to 3 days.

I find volunteering there really therapeutic as well as learning a lot about cycle maintenance. Having a ‘rust bucket’, refurbishing and selling it is so satisfying.

Quite often I finish working on a bike and it goes up for sale and the next time I come back in, it’s sold. I know that that has been down to me and the money goes back to the charity- it’s great job satisfaction.

The project is helping me with my recovery and I’m learning transferrable skills. The people are good for me to be around and I’m getting great work experience.

There was a time I was agoraphobic because of my addiction. I was too afraid to leave the house and go outside. I’m now really enjoying the project and highly recommend the Bike Workshop, it’s helping me to get my confidence back and rejoin the community.

Lawrie’s story

23 August 2016

I’d worked large parts of my life but a lot of those jobs had fell by the wayside because of my substance misuse, it became a case of I didn’t really want to work and I was living in my oblivion.  I didn’t think I was worthy of anything more than I had become so I didn’t even try to get work.

Realistically if I hadn’t got a place in Julian House, maybe I’d still be taking drugs, possibly dead, that’s as black and white as it was quite honestly.

Now I’m working in one of the Julian House social enterprises, they are much more understanding of the issues associated with coming out the other side of substance misuse.

I worked on my own for several years, self employed so I’m getting used to working with other people, leading other people somewhat because some of the people there don’t have as much on hand experience as I have.  So it’s kind of nice to teach and help other people.

My immediate goals are to find my own place and then work full time for Julian House, because I like the job, I like the people and the ethos of the company.

Julian House has helped my immeasurably in turning what was a pretty bleak outlook for my life into something which today I have genuine aspirations and hope for the future.  Julian House do great things for people like me who wouldn’t otherwise necessarily have got a chance.”

Daniel’s story

23 August 2016

Daniel is 41. He left his home city of London 3 years ago and came to Bath with his girlfriend and their dog. Away from the fast-paced city, they looked forward to finding a more relaxed lifestyle.

Finding work in Bath proved to be difficult and Daniel took to labouring on building sites. Whilst this work looked promising, it turned out to be irregular and short-term. This situation added to other relationship tensions, which continued to mount until he broke up with his girlfriend.

The break up involved Daniel moving out of the home that the couple shared. As a short-term solution, he moved in with an acquaintance, sleeping on his sofa. The place was unclean and unstable: Alcohol often caused his host to become aggressive.

Suffering from these set-backs and running out of options, Daniel started drinking more and sleeping rough to get away from the anti-social behaviour.

Looking back, Daniel said ‘I was beginning to wallow in self-pity. This feeling only got worse and worse when I drank. I thought, “What’s happening to me?”’

Needing to find a safe place where he could get himself together, Daniel visited Julian House’s Hostel in Bath and was soon able to move into one of the private ‘pods’. This was a big step taking control of his situation, but there were still risks.

With reinforcement from Julian House staff, Daniel began to take more pride in himself. He came to see his experiences as a run of bad luck that almost spiralled out of control. He says, ‘If the hostel wasn’t there, I would have been stuffed.’

Daniel is now living at one of our supported accommodation projects, and loving the return to the normality of cooking and household chores.

‘I don’t want to give up. I want to help people and make a difference. The experience has opened my eyes to how helpful support work is, so in the next year, my ambition is to get into this line of work.’

He is a caring and aspirational guy who came on hard times, but found the help he needed to stay on his feet.

Saddleback Sodbury Sportive

2 August 2016

Organisers of the Saddleback Sodbury Sportive are calling for entries for the 2016 event that takes place on Sunday 21st August. We would love riders to sign up and raise funds for Julian House.

In just three years the cycling spectacular has raised tens of thousands of pounds for different charities. Organisers hope that this years Sportive will break its previous record for riders entered and profit made.

“Last year we exceeded our expectations when 960 riders took part, a 10% increase on the previous year,’ commented organiser Bill Bennett.

“If we can attract the same or more riders this year we should be on target to better the £20658 raised in 2015.”

With wonderful countryside as well as quiet lanes and breath taking views, the Sportive offers a choice of a 30 mile, 60 and 100 mile route catering for all levels of cycling ability.

“We want to make the Sodbury Sportive even better than before and to do so we need as many riders as possible to take part,” continued Bill. “If you have yet to enter please visit our web site for an entry form.”

100% of the profits made at each Sodbury Sportive are donated to good causes and entrants are promised;

  • A fully supported event with technical assistance and mechanical help provided by Bike Station of Yate and the Julian House Bike Workshop
  • A broom wagon to pick up struggling riders
  • Plenty of refreshment stations.
  • A children’s activity organised by Julian House to keep the children entertained throughout.

Starting and finishing in Chipping Sodbury the Sportive is organised by the members and friends of the Rotary Club of Chipping Sodbury.

The event is widely regarded as one of the top cycling sportives in the UK. Entry to the 2016 Saddleback Sodbury Sportive is now open and the organisers report that entries are already well ahead of this time last year.

The event takes place on Sunday 21 August and entry forms are available online at

If you’d like to take part and raise funds for Julian House at the same time then please get in touch We’d love to hear from you.