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VOICE Celebrating the Diamond Jubilee pages 2-4

2012 will be a summer to remember! The weather may not have been as sunny as we’d hoped for, but there was so much going on to brighten up our customers’ lives. The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee gave many of you the perfect excuse to party and our photographer snapped away at some of the celebrations held around Midland Heart. I know many of you are looking forward to the London Olympics and enjoyed the torch procession as it made its way around the Midlands. Muirhead House opened its garden to all Inclusion Services customers in May when it held its own Summer Olympics, complete with glorious sunshine. Read more about the event on pages 22 and 23. To round the season off in style the Magic Moments team is hosting the first ever Future Festival at Calthorpe Park on 15 September. It’s free to all Midland Heart customers so we hope to see lots of you there. Turn to page 29 to find out more information. Also in this issue is coverage of the newlook Snow Hill, our flagship development in the heart of Birmingham, and Oasis House, the brand new homeless service in Northamptonshire. We take a closer look at new Learning Disabilities services in Coventry and Hereford and catch up with some of the work our keen gardeners have been doing on their allotments and vegetable patches. There are also plenty of interviews with customers, good advice from agony aunt Fay and all the regular features. Please keep your stories and letters coming in - we couldn’t put Future Voice together without your help. Chris Munday Managing Director of Midland Heart Care and Support

Jubilee celebratio get in the royal sw Customers and staff across Midland Heart were caught up in the Jubilee joy which swept across the nation. Services across the Midlands hung bunting and balloons and got together to mark the historic event. The Future Voice team were out and about to see how you celebrated the Diamond Jubilee...

“I really enjoyed the cream tea.” Flint Green House customer

“I enjoyed celebrating the Jubilee with other Midland Heart customers.” Mental Health floating support customer Richmond Road Jubliee Celebrations

ns as services ing of things Flint Green House Midland Heart’s Mental Health Services joined together to celebrate at a Jubilee party hosted by Flint Green House. Around 80 customers from across the service, staff and people from the local community turned out to enjoy the very British day, which included a traditional cream tea with home-made scones and tea served in china cups.

Music, karaoke, a quiz and games in the garden were also arranged to ensure there was plenty for customers to enjoy. Roz Ratcliffe, project manager at Flint Green House, said: “The day went really well and was the perfect opportunity for everyone across Mental Health Services to come together. “Customers were involved in organising the event and on the day. It was a real team effort.”

Contents Ask Fay


Oasis offers refuge


Digging for victory

14 & 15

Snow Hill welcomes customers

16 – 19

Food glorious food


Going for gold

22 & 23

New Learning Disabilities Services for Coventry 24 & 25 Festival fun


One key focus for 2012 is to ‘Make a real

difference to peoples lives’. Using this icon (pictured below) we’ll highlight some of the articles about customers whose lives have been transformed thanks to the dedicated work and encouragement of the Midland Heart team.

Correction The Anti-Human Trafficking article in Issue 19 should have made clear that it was the Salvation Army rather than Midland Heart which won the government funding. Midland Heart hopes that any other references made within the article did not cause offence.


Jubilee celebrations around our services

The Radleys

Murdock Road

Southbank, Hereford The garden at Hereford’s Southbank service was packed with around 100 people keen to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee. The service, which provides residential care and short breaks for people living with family carers, organised a barbecue, music and activities for customers, their families and staff. “There was a really good atmosphere,” said Leon Davies, registered care manager. “We were delighted that so many people were able to come. “Some of the customers with higher support needs were not as able to get involved in the planning but everyone worked incredibly hard to make sure the day was a success and everyone had a great time.” Southbank

Lozells Road


Dear Fay

Our agony aunt Fay has managed to pack a lot in to her life including 18 months as a customer at the Midland Heart Foyer. She seized the opportunity to become an apprentice and after working across two services, she was offered a full-time position as support worker at the Midland Heart Foyer. If you have a question for Fay contact her at: Fay, Future Voice magazine, Midland Heart, 44 Bradford Street, Digbeth, Birmingham. B5 6HX. Alternatively you can email her at: Editor.future.voice@

A problem shared... If you have a problem you need help solving, write in to our very own agony aunt, Fay. The topic can be about anything you like, including relationships. If your letter is suitable for publishing, she will respond in her own inimitable style. Send your letter to: Fay, Future Voice magazine, Midland Heart, 44 Bradford Street, Digbeth, Birmingham. B5 6HX. Alternatively you can email her at: Editor.future.voice@ Your letter/email will be treated in the strictest confidence but please include your name. All letters will be published anonymously. Q. Dear Fay, I really want to work and move out into my own place but if I work too many hours then my rent at the service where I live goes up by so much so it seems like it isn’t worth bothering.

A. Firstly, thank you for sending in your question. Working whilst living at a service may seem pointless however, you could work under 16 hours and this will not affect your benefit, housing benefit etc but if unsure please ask for advice from your support worker. This will enable you to gain the skills of working and managing money so you can make sure all bills, rent, etc, are paid and you can still afford to do the things you like to do with your money. If you feel you would like to work full-time, paying the full rent is part of gaining the independence you require. It can be really hard but in the long run you will see the benefits when you do eventually move into your own property and you will have the skills and knowledge of living and being responsible in your own tenancy. If you still feel its pointless maybe try a training /volunteer programme to have something to do where you can still afford to live at the service you are in but gain new skills.

• For money advice contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau or check out their website at: • For customers in Birmingham, the Birmingham Settlement organisation also offers money advice. Call 0121 250 3000 or visit the website at: http//


New ‘Oasis’ for Northamptonshire’s homeless Midland Heart’s dream for the new £5.5 million pound Oasis House was to be an “inspirational rather than institutional place to live.” The stunning landmark building in the heart of Northampton has certainly achieved that aim... and more. Oasis House offers 9 emergency rooms for homeless people, and 39 apartments, IT, arts, training, catering, laundry, and meeting spaces, all within a spacious and light contemporary design. The building, designed by architects Bm3, even has a BREEAM Excellent rating, meaning it is one of our most environmentally sustainable services. Midland Heart manages Oasis House, which includes a range of partner organisations dedicated to


getting homeless people back on their feet. These include the Hope Daycentre, NAASH Support, medical services provided by the Maple Access Partnership, Housing Advice through Northampton Borough Council’s Gateway Housing Solutions, and Hope Enterprises developing a number of social enterprise businesses. “Everything is about enabling people to be self-sufficient,” said Steve Philpott, manager of Midland Heart’s Places of Change programme. “There is 24-hour support on offer but there is also support to learn new skills, manage money, and move on. Social enterprise businesses are there to enable training and create jobs. Businesses so far include buffets, garden tool refurbishment, and PAT testing.”

Steve added: “Part of our brief was to provide that wow factor. People respond to their environments and if they feel of little worth, then a second rate building just perpetuates that. “We had many meetings with homeless customers about what they wanted and consulted with them on everything. One example of this is where we have provided four dog units because some people who sleep rough have a dog. We aren’t promoting dog ownership but we don’t want dog owners to feel they have nowhere to go either. “Oasis House is a new landmark for Northampton, it is at the leading edge of accommodation and services for homeless people, and will make a significant contribution to transforming lives.”

New start for Brady “I was really pleased to come here. I’ve got a beautiful flat and when I first saw it I was amazed. At the previous hostel everyone was in an eight-bed dormitory. “People are settling down at Oasis House now and are accepting the rules. You can feel isolated when you first have space of your own but you get used to it. That’s what life is like when you have your own place. “I am getting my head down and doing what I need to do. There are so many pathways here to help us. “I’m using my time here as time for me and to get myself ready to move on. I’m doing music at college and hope to stay on to do an HND.” Brady Wilson, customer

Shane and his Shadow “Oasis House is very nice and it is the first place I’ve heard of which allows pets. It feels like a brand new start for me. “Some of the other customers look after her for me when I’m at work selling the Big Issue. “I got Shadow as a puppy nine years ago and we’ve been together ever since. We’ve lived on the streets, at my sister’s and at a partner’s place, but it’s getting harder to find somewhere to go with her. “I haven’t got my own children so Shadow is like a daughter to me and I wouldn’t give her up for love nor money.” Shane Thomas, customer in 28-day stay emergency accommodation at Oasis House


Pedal power makes it a day to remember

Birmingham Inclusion Services staff joined forces with customers to tackle a marathon bike ride to raise funds for the city’s Acorns Children’s Hospice. The team of eight tackled the 150-mile route from Blackpool Tower to the Birmingham Foyer in relay style on 28 May, with staff and customers covering at least 30 miles in each leg of the journey. Their tough trip included stops at Blackpool FC, Manchester City and Midlands clubs - Aston Villa FC, Birmingham City FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers FC – where they picked up gifts to be raffled off for the Hospice. The challenge was part of the Foyer PRIDE initiative which encourages customers and staff to take pride in their workplace, home and local community. Support worker Fay Tomlin, who was part of the team, said: “It was a brilliant day and we completed the ride in less than 12 hours. “I didn’t expect it to be so hard though. It was really hot in the early stages and the hills were really tough. I could hardly walk the next day.”


Foyer customer Jannick Asso, added: “I had trained hard, virtually everyday for the last couple of weeks and I hope we have raised as much as possible for a great cause.” David Kinnair, Acting Operations Manager, said: “It was a fantastic day and I am so proud of the customers and staff who took part. They all gave everything they had for a superb cause. “I was so pleased to see customers and staff work hand in hand to hopefully improve the quality of life of children who are very ill. “They did show Pride in themselves, in the Foyer and definitely within the local community. Thank you to you all.” Saddle up for next year’s ride Fay and colleague Duane Derry are planning a second Midland Heart cycle challenge. The 2013 event will take place from Snow Hill and they hope to form an organising committee. Any customers who would like to get involved should contact Fay or Duane at The Snow Hill.

Teams battle for top spot Staff volunteers and customers came together to battle it out in a thrilling seven-a-side football tournament. The event, part of Volunteering Week in June, saw six teams compete in the roll-on, roll-off matches, each lasting five minutes. The play was fast and furious and saw Midland Heart Rangers, a team made up of staff and customers, finish overall winners. Christine Morris, volunteer co-ordinator at Midland Heart, organised the tournament at the Tally Ho police training ground in Edgbaston, which saw 27 staff and 24 customers take part. She said: “It was a really good evening and the feedback was really positive. “We were pleased so

many staff gave up their own free time to get involved by either playing or supporting the teams. Some of them are officebased and only have contact with customers over the phone, so they enjoyed the chance to get out and meet them face-to-face.” The teams were made of staff and customers from Gibbs Road House, The Foyer, Bradford Street and Bath Row. Christine added: “We’d like to organise another event, perhaps doing a sport which might appeal to more women. “They were invited to take part but only Fay Tomlin was keen to play and Simi Chopra from Corporate Communications volunteered to referee all the matches. “Our thanks to everyone who took part.”

Herefordshire showcases options for people with learning disabilities A special event highlighted housing and employment options for people with learning disabilities in Hereford. The showcase, held in May, was organised by Midland Heart on behalf of Herefordshire Council, which is working alongside several partners to improve the delivery of learning disability services to people living in the region. Open to people with learning disabilities, their carers, care providers, local businesses and council representatives, the event featured a range of workshops outlining housing, training and employment opportunities and information about independent living and the people that can provide support. Vanessa Waymouth, Service Manager for Herefordshire who organised the day, said: “The aim was to help people with learning disabilities to have greater choice and control by being aware of their housing support and employment opportunities and from this information make an informed decision on how they would like to live their lives as independently as possible.”


Cafe is the icing on the cake for Frost & Snow After many months of working from a variety of locations, the Frost & Snow social enterprise has launched its own cafe and bakery at Snow Hill. The stylish cafe, situated at the front of the building, is open to the public and customers alike, serving up a range of drinks as well as the cute cupcakes the firm has become well known for. Now Sarah Frost, the figurehead of the business, which supports previously homeless people in getting back into work, is keen to expand the scope of its work. “It is so exciting to actually be in here after seeing the plans and watching the site develop for so many months,” she said.


“The cafe backs up the brand that we have all worked hard to develop over the last two years, and gives us opportunities to expand our training programme. “Before we had to work over several locations so having a proper base will make us more efficient and improve communication. “Now we’re here I want everyone to feel happy and supported, and part of a big family.” The bakery, which has trained an average of six people every 12 weeks, can expand its work to take on 8 – 10 people on a rolling 12week programme, teaching customers all aspects of the business. Sarah added: “It is great to train up customers and watch them develop new skills. We have recently linked up with a local college who are offering our trainees a course running alongside their work here to give them pre-employment skills.”

Craig Finch is a former trainee now employed at Frost & Snow on a full-time basis. He said: ““Frost and Snow have opened the doors to a normal life for me. After going through a hard time in my life and coming out of prison feeling worthless, Sarah gave me the confidence and support to lead a normal life. She has helped me be the dad I want to be to my children. I will be forever grateful.”

Cupcake queen Sarah lives the dream If you meet Sarah Frost you’d never imagine that she got into the business by accident. The entrepreneur started baking five years ago when she found making cakes brought her comfort at a difficult time in her life. “I was baking so many cakes I started giving them away to family and friends,” she said. “As I began to feel better I didn’t bake so much but people started asking if they could buy cakes from me, which I thought was ridiculous at first.” After the first order for a birthday cake Sarah had three further orders for wedding cakes... and that was just the start. She explained: “I had a full-time job at Birmingham City University so I couldn’t sustain the baking. I quit my job and took another, which was just four days a week to give me time to fulfil the orders.”

By a lucky stroke of fate, an acquaintance mentioned her name to Steve Philpott, Midland Heart’s Places of Change manager, who was hoping to launch a social enterprise cupcake bakery. After going through the official recruitment procedures, Sarah was offered the role of managing the project, and she hasn’t looked back since. She added: “I didn’t ever have a plan; I just went with the flow and learned a massive amount as I went along. “It has been a huge learning curve for me and I have faced a lot of challenges. Sometimes I can’t believe that it all started from baking cakes by hand in my tiny kitchen at home.”


All change for Heads of Service In April Midland Heart launched a number of changes to the Heads of Service within Care and Support. Under the lead of Chris Munday, Managing Director, Midland Heart Care & Support are: Raj Shroff – Head of Inclusion Services, Agencies and Transformation Lydia Bailey – Head of Learning Disabilities and Mental Health Services Sara Beamand – Head of Older Person’s Services Neil Tryner – Head of New Business Development Elaine Le Montais - Head of Worklessness

Ruth takes up the helm Midland Heart new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ruth Cooke officially took up her new role on 16 April following Tom Murtha’s planned retirement. Ruth, the former Finance Director, said: “I am keen to drive Midland Heart’s ambition for growth in housing and care. My priority is to do this and deliver truly excellent services: to make Midland Heart the top choice for customers, commissioners and as an employer.”


Planning ahead Online networking system going live Midland Heart is piloting a new online service to help customers manage their formal and informal support networks. The organisation is trialling the Tyze system of networking which enables the individual, family, friends and care professionals to work together more efficiently. The confidential online system will allow everyone on the individual’s network to organise appointments, plan events, ask for help, send messages and add updates. Midland Heart is initially looking at supporting 100 networks across the organisation and the aim is to develop 30 of these within Mental Health and Learning Disability services. Lydia Bailey, Head of Learning Disabilities and Mental Health Services, said: “This is a really exciting opportunity which we believe will give customers more control of their lives and the support they receive.”

Enterprising venture Midland Heart’s vision to boost social enterprise has taken a step in the right direction following the launch of a joint venture with the Young Foundation. The project kicked off with a meeting in May where the partners met up to discuss social innovation in areas of: inclusion; mental health; learning disabilities and older people. By pooling the collective resources, the organisations, together with NHS and local authority partners, hope to find solutions and create sustainable, successful programmes.

Hooked on a new hobby Keen anglers and novices were fishing for a good time on a trip to Albrighton Moat and Gardens. The group of 15 customers from across Midland Heart’s Care and Support Mental Health Services enjoyed their day out in June and are keen to cast their lines again. Wellington Road customer Attila Azucs said: “The day was very good and I really enjoyed myself catching so many fish. “It has been a long time since I went fishing and that was when I was at home in Hungary.” Susan Moss, Customer Involvement and Magic Moments Coordinator, said: “It was an excellent day for the customers and the weather was kind to us.”

Summer fun at Shoemaker When the sun finally emerged from behind the clouds, Shoemaker Court was determined to make the most of every minute. Staff and customers at the service in Rushden, which caters for homeless families, spent the afternoon relaxing in the garden and making the most of the new play equipment. Project worker Rona Sawyerr said: “The children enjoyed our new jungle gym and some sand & water play. “The mums had a go at badminton... but the kids kept running off with the shuttlecocks!”

Putting on a good display Staff at the Foleshill 396 advice centre in Coventry created a fabulous window display to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee. Abtar Sanga, Employment and Skills Advisor at the centre, which provides free confidential and impartial information and advice on education, employment, training and welfare benefits, said: “Our display received very good feedback from customers.” Pictured are: Simon Goodchap, Domiciliary Manager, Donna Jarrett, Project Manager atFoleshill 396, and Ernest Marara, administration/ advice officer.


Down on the plot The weather may not have been perfect for veggie growing, but that hasn’t stopped Midland Heart’s green fingered customers from pulling on their wellies and getting into the garden. What a difference an afternoon makes! The garden at Lichfield Foyer was looking neglected until new team member Donna Foster motivated customers to get out and tackle the weeds. She approached her local farmer, who kindly donated some seeds, young vegetable plants and flowers. With borrowed tools, on a sunny weekend in May Donna encouraged eight of the young people to help her with the make-over. Within a few hours the garden was transformed. The weeds were cleared, pots planted up and a range of vegetables – from broccoli and onions to runner beans and cauliflower – were planted.


Donna said: “We had a really good afternoon and more customers came out into garden to get involved. “Everyone was really motivated when they saw what they were achieving and they have since organised themselves to make sure everything is well watered in dry spells.”


Keeping up the good work An enthusiastic team at Helen Dixon House is continuing to tend the four vegetable patches created with the help of Kraft volunteers last autumn. The team of gardeners led by support worker Denise Ashmore recently cleared the plots and put in a selection of plants ready for a late harvest. Denise said: “We have quite a lot of choice this year as we’re promoting healthy eating. We have planted peas, sprouts (for Christmas dinner for the customers) sweet potatoes, corn, lollo rosso lettuce, chilli plants, chard, salad lettuce, potatoes and aubergines. “Customers use the garden daily and enjoy tending them. A lot of customers get involved but the main gardeners are Michelle Crozier, Claire Griffin and Miachila Dwyer.”

Gardening’s good for the soul

Health professionals have long acknowledged that gardening is good for the body and mind, and that has certainly been true for Lancaster Street customer Dominic Weston. Dominic, who has worked hard to give up alcohol, has been a keen member of gardening team tending the vegetables on the Multiple Needs allotment. His support worker, Semiu Apanishile, said: “Dominic has made significant improvements and has been committed to doing DIY and playing a leading role at the allotment. “He has worked really hard in abstaining from alcohol and everyone at Lancaster Street is very proud of him.” Team effort brings success Tending the Multiple Needs allotment at Holliday Road has become a real team effort. Customers from Holliday Road, Lancaster Street and the floating support service are all working together towards a bumper harvest. Holliday Road’s project assistant/support worker

Dominic has listed some of the possible long-term effects of alcohol abuse... • Constant sweating and shaking • Loss of family, job and accommodation • Becoming very vulnerable • Neglect of appearance • Lack of sleep and no appetite Claire Street, who is leading the gardening project, said everyone was enjoying working on the plot. “It’s a large allotment so it does take a lot of work to keep it tidy, “she said. “We get out every Wednesday and we’ve been busy putting in potatoes, onions, strawberries, herbs, carrots and beans. “Enthusiasm is high and we

• Always no money • Shut down of pancreas, liver, kidneys • Choking on own vomit • No confidence, low self esteem • Irrational thinking • Constant paramedics • Finally Death!



Katiya & Christine make great strides together Christine Smith’s life has been turned around since she began receiving floating support from Midland Heart in January. Mental Health support worker, Katiya Nunes, herself a former Midland Heart customer and apprentice, supported Christine with a range of issues including housing, work and debt. And when Katiya heard that the TLC team at Snow Hill were recruiting, she encouraged Christine to apply. Katiya was keen to get involved with Future Voice so we invited her to write the report herself...

The Snow Hill, the flagship for Homelessness Services, has re-opened its doors in the heart of Birmingham following a multi- million pound refurbishment programme. The building, situated opposite the Midland Heart Foyer, closed in 2009 so work


A little TLC brings a fresh start for Christine By Katiya Nunes Christine has progressed immensely in such a short space of time. She had been in the same job for five years and desperately wanted to move but didn’t know how or where to get help from. When I heard that there

on the extensive revamp could begin. The design is light and spacious with an open plan reception area featuring glass-walled meeting rooms and an internet hub area for customers. In a radical departure from segregation that housing often creates, the service is

were TLC (Touchstone Laundering & Cleaning) vacancies at Snow Hill I supported Christine to fill out the application and supported her through the service. She was overjoyed to be offered the position and this success has boosted her confidence. Christine said: “Since I’ve had Katiya as my support worker my life has turned around. a new model of supported housing, catering for people who have experienced homelessness as well as those seeking affordable city centre accommodation through the private rental market. Inclusion Services manager Rebecca Lee said: “It’s very exciting here now. Many of the apartments are occupied and the building has a real buzz. I can feel it every time I walk in. After the months of waiting it’s all finally happening.” Carl Larter, Midland Heart’s Director of New Business and Development commented: “We are delighted that the

“It’s the little things that make a big difference. She’s there at the end of the phone so I feel I have someone to turn to, something I’ve never had before. “I felt very nervous before my interview but having Katiya there was a big help. Sometimes I can’t explain things well so I was able to turn to her to give me a push in the right direction.” Christine added: “My job is a fresh start. I get on very well with my colleagues and everybody’s really friendly. It’s a nice working atmosphere. “I use to dread going to work in the mornings but now I look forward to waking up in the morning. There’s never a dull moment.” building has been brought back to life. “The Snow Hill is a bustling hive of activity at the centre of its community, but most importantly, it will once again be able to fulfil its purpose: providing a home and a chance for a better future to those who live there.” The customers The Snow Hill has 92 studio and one-bedroom apartments. 46 of these are for supported housing customers who can stay for a maximum of 6 months. The 46 for private let are available for up to two years

Christine Smith to people on a low wage or in education. “The Snow Hill isn’t a home for customers, it is a temporary accommodation measure, explained Rebecca Lee. “For supported customers it is the final six months before they move into the community. “The criteria is very clear on both sides. Supported customers, for example, need to be in education, volunteer training or employment. They must be over the age of 21 with no recent history of anti-social behaviour.” The Snow Hill was developed in partnership with the Homes and Communities Agency and Birmingham City Council.


Former customers and an apprentice join Snow Hill team Two former Inclusion Service customers and a Back-on-Track apprentice are relishing their new roles as part of the Snow Hill team. Duane Derry, Shaquille Robinson and Fay Tomlin have all received support in a variety of forms from Midland Heart. Chris Munday, Midland Heart’s Director of Care and Support, said: “The Snow Hill is pioneering the way forward for homeless services. “Our staff play an active role in transforming our customers’ lives by providing personalised support that meets the specific needs of individuals.” Here they talk to Future Voice about how their lives have changed. Duane Derry Only 18 months ago Duane was unemployed and homeless – now he works as a full-time support worker with the Snow Hill team. Duane, who was living at South Road, signed up to the Venture Project where he gained six months work experience as a volunteer support worker.


The experience proved invaluable and Duane, a former sheet metal worker, was offered a full-time support position. Duane said: “I would never have considered support worker jobs before coming to Midland Heart. Now I can’t imagine doing anything else. “In the last 18 months my life has been transformed. Everything is working out really well.” Shaquille Robinson Shaquille started work at Snow Hill as an apprentice support worker in July after his 18th birthday. He is engaged on Midland Heart’s new Back-on-Track programme which was set up to provide employment opportunities and training for local young people. Shaquille said: “My life has completely changed because of Back-on-Track. I never thought I would be able to get a job but here I am working. “My Mum is delighted and my relationship with her has improved. I’m working hard for her as well as myself because I want her to be proud of me.

“I still have the same group of friends but I don’t do the things I used to do. I think I’ve been a good influence on the people around me because most of them work now since I went on my course.” Fay Tomlin Future Voice’s own Agony Aunt, support worker Fay Tomlin, has also joined The Snow Hill staff. Fay, a former customer, said: “I was really looking forward to starting at Snow Hill as it will be a new challenge for me; I’m looking forward to supporting my customers and fellow colleagues. “My role will be very different from when I worked at The Foyer. I will be supporting and encouraging customers to do things for themselves to make sure they are ready to move into the community after six months here. “Being part of a new project is exciting and will help with my development within my job role and career. “I am really keen to learn and get on to more training courses. There’s a real focus here which I love.”

Inspirational mural unveiled

Duane Derry

Shaquille Robinson

The portrait of Snow Hill customer Damien Ferris is visible across Birmingham city centre. His image features on the landmark piece of artwork created on one side of the new-look Snow Hill building to symbolise ‘hope for the future’. The impressive 22m high x 43m wide mural was designed by artists Urban Canvas, a public art collective led by Peter Barber and Anthony Donnelly. Chris Munday, Director of Care and Support, said: “The mural reflects our vision for the future - breaking down the barriers and stigmas associated with homelessness.” Damien, 24, told Future Voice: “A couple of us were asked if we would mind being included in the mural and we had our photographs taken.

“It wasn’t until a few weeks later that Steve Philpott called me and said that I’d been chosen. “It is amazing and a bit unreal to see my face up there on the mural but I’ve lived in Birmingham all my life so I’m very happy to be part of the city. I’d like it to be around when I’m 82 so I can bring my grandchildren along to see it.”

“I love it here and moving in has given me a real lift. I feel like I am flying at the moment. I know it isn’t permanent though so I’m working and saving towards getting somewhere I can call home.” Damien Ferris, customer

Fay Tomlin


Cooking up a storm Customers from four Birmingham services are brushing up their culinary skills following a change to catering services. Zambesi, South Road, Trinity House and Hanwood House originally had catering services provided but following a £1 million investment programme, the accommodation is now selfcontained with communal kitchens. Derek Douglas, a life skills chef from the catering services team, has been working with

Winner of £10 menu competition Congratulations to the winner of our £10 Challenge. Sonia Baker from Benham Court in Northampton sent in her menu and shopping receipts to prove she had managed to eat well all week on a tenner. Sonia wins £50 in supermarket vouchers.


customers to help them plan their meals, shop and cook for themselves. Mel Davis Operations Manager for Catering services worked with Derek and devised a programme for customers to work to and enjoy Chef Paul Roe told Future Voice: “We’ve been giving the customers a range of support and advice which included basic kitchen hygiene and planning healthy meals.” At South Road, team leader Alex Narchuk said some customers would prefer to have their meals cooked

for them, “but there haven’t been any complaints.” He added: “Everyone is managing well with help from the life skills chef who has been motivating them in the kitchen. Staff are always happy to assist if customers have any problems.” Paulina Korgol, Acting Operations Manager for Inclusion Services, said: “The kitchen restructuring is giving customers more control and independence as they can choose what meals they want to cook and eat. They are also developing independent living skills which they can use when living in they own tenancy.”

A taste of good health Simple ideas for healthy eating are being promoted at St Eugene’s to persuade customers that simple, fresh foods are the best. The move is part of the programme promoting health and well being to the customers at the Digbeth-based service. The catering team are cooking up tasty healthy eating options to add to the menu variations that the customers already enjoy. At a recent customer meeting, chef Paul Roe cooked up a mouthwatering Irish stew, made on the premises from fresh ingredients. He said: “We have to cook the sort of foods the customers already enjoy as many of them won’t try anything new. “We’re working to prove that fresh, healthy food tastes really good, and hopefully some of the aromas will entice them to try the new options.”

Thomas Lowe and Angus Keen

Hereford service offers the best of both worlds Six people with a Learning Disability have been supported to move into stylish new accommodation to enjoy more independence. Angus, Andrew and Cathie, who had previously lived in supported accommodation at Ivy Close, are now enjoying more independence at a brand new service in the city. The Furlongs offers six one-bedroom apartments where customers can live independently, with support from the Midland Heart team. Maintaining excellent communication was a key factor in the design of the building and the flats have been built in a cluster, to reduce the sense of isolation. All six customers also have their own Skype units to ensure they can maintain easy contact with family and friends. Andrea Hackley, Manager Herefordshire Housing Move on Team, said: “It has been a very exciting time for our staff team and customers. “The Furlongs is a beautiful brand new build

and from there we can offer support to customers who are ready for independent living. “Having Skype, which all three customers used at Ivy Close, will help to prevent them feeing isolated and will enable staff to provide face to face support.”

Skype’s the limit for Angus Angus Keen moved into his new apartment at The Furlongs on 30 April... and he’s thrilled with his new home. “I really like it here and I settled in really quickly,” he told Future Voice. “I have my independence but still receive support from Midland Heart to help me learn cooking skills and help me with my shopping and chores.” After living in shared supported accommodation for four years Angus, who is a volunteer with the National Trust and Nature Trust in Hereford, was eager to enjoy more freedom and live in his own place. He added: “Having Skype does make me feel more secure and it makes it easy to keep in touch with everyone.”



Fun in the sun

The Midland Heart Summer Olympics event, organised by team leaders from Inclusion Services, took place in the gardens of Muirhead House in Edgbaston on a perfect summer day in May. The sun shone down on customers from the ten Inclusion Services in the city who took part in fun events, made new friends and enjoyed lunch. Muirhead staff were helped by a team of 25 volunteers from Kraft and each of the services in attendace organised one event ranging from Tug of War to a Hop & Hoop race, a real joint effort. Leon Cousins, Acting Inclusion Manager, said: “The day was a real team effort and we’re all delighted to have such a large turnout. Hopefully we’ll be able to do something similar again. “Inclusion Services appreciated all the terrific help from the Kraft volunteers who worked very hard to make sure everyone had a great time.” Paulina Korgol, Acting Operations Manager for Inclusion Services, said: “It was fantastic to see everyone from Inclusion Services working together in order to make this event such a great success.”


“I’m really enjoying myself. It’s good to mingle.” Miachila Dwyer, Helen Dixon House

“Everything has been put together really well and there’s a good turnout. It’s a good day.” Alan Gethings, Muirhead House “It’s a beautiful day and I’m having a good time. You only live once, so enjoy it, that’s my motto!” Jenny, Muirhead House

“I’m enjoying myself. I’ve had a few goes on the bungee run and I’m unbeaten so far!!” Matthew Wicket, Zambesi “I’m having a good time – Midland Heart should do this more often. I’ve been at Muirhead for three months and it’s been the best thing I’ve been involved in.” Lisa Anderson, Muirhead House “It’s been a brilliant day. Days like this are good for getting everyone together and it is a great opportunity for different services to come together and get involved.” Bryony, R & D department, Kraft

“It has been a fun thing to do. Volunteering at events like this is good for us and good for the community.” Philippa, R & D department, Kraft “I’m having a really good time. It’s a great day and everyone is really friendly.” Michelle Crozier, Helen Dixon House “I’m having a good time today. I’m happy and am enjoying everything.” Rahib Sabouhi, Muirhead House

“It’s a great day with nice food... and I won a pineapple! I’m having a good time.” Bianca Reid, Midland Heart Foyer

“I’m having a brilliant time. It’s been lovely.” Simon Fradley, Zambesi “I’m enjoying myself. It’s a good day and I’ve met lots of new people.” Linley Maynard, Trinity Close “It’s a good day and I’ve met up with quite a few old faces too.” Joseph Slattery, Muirhead House


Lee Gordon House – a real “home from home” Residents quickly settled into their new home at a new Learning Disabilities service which opened its doors in Coventry in May. Lee Gordon House in Tile Hill, a vacant Midland Heart property, underwent major renovation and refurbishment earlier this year. It now offers a high standard of residential care accommodation for a maximum of six people with learning disabilities who have high support needs. Manager Sacha Thomas said: “We had two residential services in Coventry but neither were meeting the needs of all the customers any longer as they were getting older and

less mobile. “Midland Heart worked with Coventry commissioners in reassessing all customers’ needs and identifying the best way forward in a long term solution.” The service, which provides round-theclock care, includes Janice Ashby & Paula Tedds with Geoffrey six units plus a self-contained flat “It was a massive move for for two for independent or everyone because they had supported living. all lived at the same place for many years. Sacha added: “Three of our customers came from our “Staff worked hard to settle Longford Road property everyone in and customers which has closed down and seem very relaxed and happy the other three moved over here. It’s a real home from from Narbeth Way. home.”

Geoffrey’s the cat’s whiskers No house is a home without a pet and the arrival of Geoffrey the kitten put the finishing touch to Lee Gordon House. Manager Sacha Thomas was determined to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere and introduced Geoffrey to the customers. Sacha explained: “When I was manager at Narbeth Way we had a cat called Holly. Everyone loved her but sadly she passed away


last year at the age of 19. “I promised Wendy, one of our customers, that we would get another cat at some stage, and moving into Lee Gordon House was the perfect opportunity. “Everyone adores him, but Wendy loves him the most and he can often be found curled up fast asleep on her lap.”

More housing choice for Learning Disabilities customers Midland Heart is working with Housing Options to offer people with learning disabilities more housing and support choices across the region. The organisations worked together in Coventry on the transition and development of a new supported living service at Narbeth Way in Coventry. In June a group of four men with a Learning Disability were supported to move from residential care to supported living with their own tenancies. This was the result of lengthy consultation with staff and the customers about the changes. Each of the customers has been supported with an accessible tenancy and involved in decisions that relate to their home and support. Simon Goodchap, Domiciliary Care Manager, said: “Setting up the service for these customers has presented some challenges but I have worked closely with the team in Coventry who now support the four men.” “There is more work to be done to ensure the service provides what the men want but this ongoing and they are already developing new skills and making more choices. It is great to see the changes this move has made to the customers and their lives.” What is Housing Options? Housing Options is an independent advice and information service for people with learning disabilities. It helps people with learning disabilities to achieve greater control over aspects of their life and to provide more housing and support choices by providing practical help, advice and information. For more information go to

Midland Heart joins new national mental health network Midland Heart has been awarded the prestigious honour of becoming the first social housing provider member in the NHS Confederation’s Mental Health Network. The new network is part of the NHS strategy, ‘No Health without Mental Health’, which sets out the challenges that must be addressed to improve health and wellbeing. It aims to bring together all those parts of the system working together to improve mental health. Chris Munday, Director for Care and Support added: “At Midland Heart we have a passion for ensuring that individuals experiencing mental health issues have access to the right housing, the right care/ support and the highest standard of service possible. Our involvement with the Network will help to put housing at the very heart of improvements to mental health services.”


Volunteering leads to job for James The value of volunteering was proved once more when James Kendrick, a customer at Gibbs Road, was offered a full-time position. James, a former monk, moved into the Stourbridge service in May last year and signed up to Midland Heart’s Venture Volunteer programme in January 2012. His talent for the role quickly showed and he was encouraged to apply for a full-time position as support worker with Care and Support Inclusion Services. Here James talks about how his life has changed... “I returned from Greece as a monk after being away for over ten years. Everything had changed. “I found myself confused, in a new environment, homeless and without any possessions. Dudley Council referred me to the Midland Heart Homeless Resettlement Unit in Gibbs Road. “I saw nothing but selfless service, passion and commitment from the support workers who with kindness helped me to regain independent life skills, rebuild my confidence and foster a vision of what I am capable of achieving. During my final week at Gibbs Road, after I had just signed for a flat, I heard about the Venture Project.


“I was determined to gain a placement because I wanted to give back to Midland Heart and its customers something of that precious gift which I had received. “I did a three month placement at Muirhead House where I found my experience of the problems of being homeless was complemented by thorough training. “I successfully applied for a permanent full time job at Midland Heart Foyer and was seconded to Muirhead House where I started work on 28 May. “I can’t recommend the project more highly - it really opens new gateways for its volunteers.”

Midland Heart is inviting applications for the next intake on its Venture volunteering programme. Closing date for applications is 3 August. To apply, speak to your support worker or attend the Open Day at the Snow Hill on 3 August - from 10am-1pm and complete your application there.

Richard has something to sing about The chatter and laughter from the crowds at the Inclusion Services Summer Olympics faded away as the Choir with No Name took centre stage and entertained the crowds with a variety of popular tracks. The Birmingham-based group, made up of men and women who have experienced homelessness, included Trinity Close’s Richard Cairney among its ranks.

Richard, who has lived at the Handsworth service since October, said he signed up to get out and meet new people. “I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks, but I really wanted to try it so I went along to have a look.” And he hasn’t looked back. He said, “Bethan, the lady who leads it, is lovely and makes everyone feel welcome. She says anyone can sing something. When I

am singing my anxiety goes and I really look forward to the practice nights.” The choir meets every Thursday at 6.30pm at Carrs Lane Church Centre in Carrs Lane, Birmingham, near Moor Street station. For more information call choir manager Bethan Rand on 07794 100938 or email her at: bethan@

(and under What’s on and where to go for free a tenner) We’ve come up with a few suggestions to get you started. Northampton – Free concerts. Relax in the park and enjoy this summer’s season of Sunday free concerts. Bring family and friends - even a picnic. Where: Abington Park bandstand When: Every Sunday, 2 – 5pm Cost: Free For more info: Birmingham - BBC Big Screen Live Site - London 2012 Olympic Games. From the wonder of the Opening Ceremony to the thrills of the sporting action, see it all on the Big Screen. Where: Victoria Square, Birmingham Starts: 27 July 11:48am Ends: 12 August 11:54am Cost: Admission free

Leicester is also hosting a BBC Big Where: Moors Meadow Gardens, Screen Live Site at Humberstone Gate, Collington, Bromyard, Herefordshire, Leicester. Same details apply. HR7 4LZ For more info: Call 01885 410318 or Leicester - Caribbean Carnival go to: When: 4 August 2012, procession Cost: Adults £5. Children 4-16yrs £1 starts at 1pm Where: Victoria Park & City Centre, Leicester Cost: Free admission For more info:

Bag yourself a bargain We all like a bargain and something for nothing is even better! Check out these useful websites... Herefordshire – Garden Festival 2012 Freecycle Network presents “A Hot Day in August”. A lazy Sunday music Festival with a garden Gumtree party atmosphere with Blacksmith Demonstrations, refreshments, stalls Money Saving Expert and more set in the enchanting organic 7-acres of Moors Meadow Preloved Gardens & Nursery When: 5 August 2012, 11am - 5pm


Viewpoint As Future Voice went to press the final preparations were being made for the long-awaited London 2012 Olympics. Our roving reporters went out and about to see what Midland Heart customers thought about the Games. We asked: “Will you be watching the Olympics or do you think it’s all a waste of money?” This is what you said... “I’ll probably watch a few events. I think the Olympics will be good for the country but it won’t help people on Job Seekers around here. I haven’t seen any new jobs being created.” Miss C, Rolfe House Foyer “The Olympics are good for the environment and I am looking forward to the 100m and the running events.” Clifton Channer, Holliday Road “I think it’s a yes and a no. Yes because it’s a good way of exercising and no because I think that all athletes are a bunch of overpaid maniacs.” Ben, Murdock Road


“The Olympics are worth having. They are good for the country and will bring in a lot more trade and temporary employment.” Witold Nawojczyk, Holliday Road “The Olympics are good and will help some people in the recession, especially everyone selling all the merchandise. I will watch some of it, probably the gymnastics, the swimming and the running.” Canan, Rolfe House Foyer “I’m happy to see the Olympics being held in London and it’s my dream to see my country (Iran) do well.” Rahim Sabouhi, Muirhead House “Yes as it gives people ambition to exercise and become an athlete.” Michael, Murdock Road “I think the Olympics will be totally good for England and the world too. I’ll definitely be watching.” Scott, Rolfe House Foyer

“The Olympics will be good, especially for children who may be inspired by the Games. But I don’t like the way it will be on TV 24/7 – not everyone will want to watch it. I’ll put the athletics on but that’s it.” Tiarna, Rolfe House Foyer “Yes, because I want England to be known for something good. Why does it have to be other countries all the time?” Jamie, Murdock Road “No, because I do not feel that Britain is in the financial or economic position with the recession to host such an event. The Olympics has already cost us seven times more than it was supposed to.” Martin, Murdock Road “I am not really bothered about the Olympics.” Jordan, Murdock Road “I am very proud that the Olympics are coming to the U.K It makes me feel proud to be British and I’m looking forward to watching the opening ceremony.” Reg Hamer, L.D Birmingham Domiciliary Care customer “I will be watching the games on the T.V. but I would like to go to London to see it! I’m looking forward to the athletics and the swimming events.” Norman Breillat, L.D Birmingham Domiciliary Care customer

Festival of Fun What a summer we’re having. First the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, then the Olympics and, to round it all off... the Future Festival! The exciting event, which takes place at Calthorpe Park, Pershore Road, Edgbaston on Saturday 15 September, is open to all our customers from across the regions. Posters giving the final details will be displayed shortly, so make sure you save the date. Attractions include: • Vegetable stalls, where services can display their home-grown produce • Tug of War and other sports • Face painters and balloon model • Tea Tent • Crafts • Bouncy castle • Health Exchange Tour Bus • Midland Heart Food stand


Fancy joining the Editorial Board – everyone’s welcome

Meet Scott... When we met Scott he had been living at Rolfe House for four weeks and was keen to “get the life I Our Editorial Board is an ever-changing had before.” mix of customers and staff who make sure Scott, 23, is a qualified Future Voice is all about our customers vehicle body repair and the issues that you want to read about. technician but after being We enjoyed a lively meeting at Rolfe House made redundant was unable to keep his flat. Foyer in May where we met some of the young He said: “I felt I had reached rock bottom people to find out what makes them tick. when I came here but it has really helped me. The editorial meetings are friendly and informal “Being here has taken the pressure off me and you can get involved as much or as little as a bit and I can see more clearly where I’d you want. like to go with my life. I’ve met some great If you’d like to come along and see for yourself people too. what it’s all about, speak to your service “I am trying really hard to find a job so I can manager or support worker. Alternatively have my own place again.” you can email us at Editor.future.voice@ Meet Canan... “I’ve wanted to be a beautician for a while and I’ve now been offered a place on a two-year beauty course at Birmingham Metropolitan College which I start in September. It’s my dream to have my own Future Voice is a quarterly magazine for salon in the centre of Birmingham.” customers of Midland Heart supported housing – Inclusion – Homeless & Youth Meet Raul... services, Mental Health services and Raul, who is originally Learning Disability services. from Portugal, is Each issue features a wide range of stories setting up a web-based that are relevant to our customers and are furniture company and aimed at helping them move forward to a hopes business will take brighter future. off. To make sure Future Voice is bursting with “My uncle has two things you want to read about we need to furniture shops and I hear your news and ideas. helped him for a while, Contact us at: Editor.future.voice@ getting to know the business and getting to or write to: David know suppliers. Kinnair or Susan Moss, Future Voice “My furniture business will be the start magazine, Midland Heart, 44 Bradford for me; my real aim is to have a chain of Street, Digbeth, Birmingham B5 6HX. restaurants.”



Issue 19 w inner...

Congratula tions to the winner of the word search com petition in Issue 19 Row, Birmingham. from R . The winner, Canan olfe House Foyer, will B15 1LZ. receive £50 .00 in H & M vo u Please note the chers. Her w inning entr picked out competition is of the hat b y was y Ca Evans from only open to Lozells Road rol . Midland Heart

Word Search

Our word search competition this time is based on the London 2012 Olympics... what other topic could we choose! There’s a £50 voucher of your choice for the first correct entry out of the bag, so make sure you send in your entry to be in the running... it’ll give customers with only one entry per a useful boost to your finances. customer. Post your entry to: FREEPOST, RRAL-ZTXB-SJXT, Final deadline for entries is: 14 September 2012 Future Voice Word search, Midland Heart, Bath Diving Boxing C D K R D L S K F Z A G O O E H H S T I D Y O T Cycling Archery D Z T X G C M Y X B C T P E U H E O Z A F B G F Swimming Judo P Y W Y C Y J Q N V K Y X M F I F R C G N F H W Gymnastics Sailing V C M T E Z M T L B C C G T E O P B U K D A E S Football Athletics Q T O A R J G N I X O B A T V V A J O D E K C A L W X A X J G V A M Z Y T A X T Y G M U G Y I F Hockey Name Address

Telephone High Street coupon of choice


First Point of Contact Baseline Stimulant Service A client-led drop service to meet the needs of stimulant drug users which provides information, advice and harm reduction services. Tel: 0116 222 9555 Unlock - supports reformed offenders in breaking down barriers to reintegration by offering practical advice, support, information, knowledge and skills. Futures Unlocked, Leicester - supports ex-offenders to lead crime-free lives 9 Newarke Street, Leicester. Tel: 0116 255 3742

SOVA - national volunteer mentoring organisation. Help and support for those who are socially and economically disadvantaged Midlands Office Tel : 0121 643 7400 Start Again Project - a Social Enterprise that is committed to understanding, encouraging and empowering young people aged 13 to 30 in their search for a better life. Depression Alliance - help & information about depression; depression and self help groups.

The Samaritans Do you need someone to talk to? Tel: 0845 790 9090 (local rate) Mind - a leading mental health charity. MindinfoLine Monday – Friday, 9.15am – 5.15pm Tel: 0845 766 0163 SANE - provides practical help, emotional support and specialist information to individuals affected by mental health problems, their family, friends and carers. Helpline: 0845 767 8000 (6pm – 11pm) Support Forum:


No Panic - advice, counselling and selfhelp for people who experience anxiety, panic attacks, phobias or compulsive disorders. FREEPHONE 0808 808 0545 (10am–10pm every day) National Debtline Free confidential and independent advice on how to deal with debt problems. Call 0808 808 4000 Monday to Friday 9am-9pm and Saturday 9.30am-1pm Talk to Frank Information and advice on drugs Tel: 0800 776 600 (freephone) Aquarius - Full range of help for people affected by alcohol and drug problems. Northamptonshire - tel: 01604 632421 Birmingham North - tel: 0121 685 6340 Birmingham South - tel: 0121 414 0888 Sandwell - tel: 0121 525 9292

Leicester Drugs Advice Centre 96 New Walk, Leicester Tel: 0116 222 9555 Northampton Women’s Aid 0845 123 2311 (Mon-Fri 9am-4.30pm) Citizens Advice Bureau Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid 0121 685 8687 (Mon-Fri 10am – 5pm) UK National Domestic Violence Tel: 0808 2000 247 (24hr freephone) Victim Support’s Male Helpline 0800 328 3623 (12 noon to 2 pm, Mon-Fri) Alcoholics Anonymous 0845 769 7555 Brook Advisory Confidential sex advice for the under 25s

We are happy to make the contents available on tape, large print, braille or in a different language. We also subscribe to the Language Line interpretation service. If you need help communicating with us or understanding any of our documents, we can arrange for a Language Line interpreter or translator to help you. If any of these services would benefit you please contact us.

Contact us: 0345 60 20 540 32

Tel: 0800 0185 023 (freephone) Shelter housing advice helpline Lines are open daily from 8am to midnight. Tel: 0808 800 4444 Runaway Advice for under 18s who have run away from home Tel: 0808 800 7070 (freephone) DECCA (Drug Education, Counselling and Confidential Advice) is the Sandwell young people’s drug service. Tel: 0845 835 5317 NHS Direct Health Advice Tel: 0845 4647 (local call)

Future Voice Summer 2012 Issue 20  
Future Voice Summer 2012 Issue 20  

The Magazine for Midland Heart's supported housing customers. In This Issue - Celebrating the Diamond Jubilee, Oasis for Homeless, Frost & S...