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"I would walk 100 miles..."

Angus Cadwallader, a loyal Hammersley Homes volunteer and nature lover, is walking the 100 mile Beacons Way to raise funds for us. During his many years as a volunteer, Angus has had the opportunity to speak with those suffering from long-term mental illness and their loved ones. He has written some excellent and extremely moving blog posts that you can read on our website, which have cemented his belief in the work that we do, and inspired him to begin this fundraiser.

All donations will be going towards the expansion of our much in demand and well-received Outreach Programme, which offers home visits to those suffering with enduring mental health challenges. Our Outreach staff, working with teams of trained volunteers, help our clients with tasks such as shopping, cleaning, budgeting – or simply some socialising and a chance to explore their hobbies. The lives of some many people can be enriched with just a little kindness and we hope to spread plenty of this around as we visit our lovely clients.

Here are some photos Angus has sent us as he walks.

If you would like to donate to Angus’ fundraiser, please click on the link below. Every little offering you can make helps us reach more people in need of our support. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank Angus for his commitment to Hammersley Homes – we couldn’t do it without people like you Angus, so an ENORMOUS thank you from us 🙂

What a show!

We had a wonderful time exhibiting at the New Forest Show for the first time this July. It was a great opportunity to showcase the work that we are doing with our Hammersley Homes Project and celebrate the success that we have seen. We met so many great people who shared our vision and we will definitely be back next year!

We particularly enjoyed discussing our new Outreach Programme with you all which we are continuing to receive great feedback on. We are happy to announce that we are expanding the service into areas of Winchester and Portsmouth. It is our aim to make this service available across Hampshire and eventually across the nation. Thanks to you all, we are now one step closer to making that dream a reality. As we continue to grow, we are also recruiting more staff and volunteers as part of our Outreach Home Visitor team. We have 2 more paid Visitors on the team and are always looking for volunteers so if this sounds like something that you would be interested in, please press the button below for more information.

Out with the old, in with the new!

Our new offices are up and running! It’s very exciting to be working together again in our new set up which is looking lovely thanks to a very generous donation of Apple computers from Kevin Thatcher, one of our wonderful volunteers, and from Hallett Independent. Our staff and volunteers are very grateful and already putting them to good use. With Hammersley Homes offices being now fully operational, we look forward to what the future brings – onwards and upwards!

Office Hammersley Homes

Travel with kindness!

Charitable Travel are once again offering some incredible stays at holiday destinations across the globe. Indulge in a 7-day culture tour of Miami, a Florida Family Getaway or, if closer to home is more your style, why not check out the Game of Thrones Tour in Ireland.

In the News

Cambridge mental health services are deemed “ineffective” and “unsustainable” in a recent report following the death of 5 students since March this year, 1 of which was suicide, 4 of which were suspected suicides. Unfortunately, these tragic stories are becoming more and more common. Across England, 50% of students say that their mental health had a negative effect on their university experience. It is becoming painfully clear how inadequate mental health services are and how much more needs to be done to support the mental health of young people. 

Cahms deaths, poor staffing and a culture of self-harm expose the very real fears for young people relying on cahms services. Since 2019, at least 20 patients have died in units with a further 26 passing away within a year of returning home. This is a critical period in a person’s recovery and not enough is being done to support these children in their time of need. 

Clare Shrine tells her story of addiction, hoping to change people’s perspective on this issue and help them to realise that no one is immune to mental health struggles. 

The charity Shelter have shed further light on the relationship between housing issues and mental health. Their research shows that 1 in 5 adults have had housing issues negatively effect their mental health, 3/10 of which had never suffered with any mental health issues in the past. When referencing the cause of negative effects on their mental health, affordability was the issue most often referred to. This highlights the importance of the work that we are doing here at Hammersley Homes. With a permanent place of residence to call home, those suffering with long term mental illness can feel safe and secure and have the opportunity to get back on their feet. 

Finally, in some good news, Instagram influencer Coco has had her Instagram messages posted on billboards across the UK after receiving messages from followers reading, “”I wanted to end my life. I visited your page and it’s given me a reason to live,”. Her posts read “you are loved”, “you are worthy” and encourage people to send messages and share how they are feeling.

Meet the Team - Crystal Bloomfield, Outreach Programme Manager

Crystal Bloomfield

You have been working with us for over a year now, setting up and managing our Outreach Programme – can you tell us something about your role, what you do and how it works?

The first I would like to say about my role is that I absolutely love it! It is a role which I am passionate about! It allows me to utilise my skills while gaining new knowledge and understanding. Hammersley Homes has provided opportunities to meet some incredibly inspiring people – people with lived experience of mental illness, and people who are working towards bettering the lives of vulnerable adults. I am hugely grateful and proud to be part of the invaluable work that Hammersley Homes does. 

Our outreach service was set up to support people with long term mental illness who may be suffering from the debilitating effects of confused lifestyles, loneliness and/or social isolation.  We focus on increasing people’s quality of life, while decreasing the likelihood of relapse into a mental health crisis. Implementing on-going support provides an opportunity to notice if there is any notable decline in the persons mental health or wellbeing. 

During the last year my role has included: 
– Recruiting and inducting a team of caring and generous volunteers – a total of 21 people have given their time and energy to improve the wellbeing of vulnerable adults.
The application process has involved writing advertisements and role descriptions, connecting with local universities and volunteering networks, designing and delivering an induction training programme, providing on-going support, and creating information leaflets about the outreach service.
– Writing policies and procedures – these are reviewed and updated annually, or as and when required – ensuring always that these documents reflect best practice guidelines and implement any changes to legislations, or recommendations from professional guidelines. The most recent update has been the introduction of a “report portal”.  Our team can now communicate and record any concern, incident, or disclosure by completing an online form which is then read and responded to. This enables us to effectively store all reports separately and securely from general records, creating a case file to be shared with the relevant professionals on a need-to-know basis to protect the health, wellbeing, and safety of individuals and communities. From a management perspective, this portal enables a better allocation of time, by prioritising acting on report forms before reading general records. 
– Proposing Hammersley Homes outreach programme to services, such as Community Mental Health Teamss, who refer client to us. This has involved creating an informative presentation about our service, and the referral process. It is important that communication between our team and the CMHT’s is close and secure.
– Writing impact reports.
– Evaluating responses from client and volunteer satisfaction surveys, monitoring what is working and what can be improved. 
– Creating necessary documents and forms to gather information needed to deliver the Outreach service, including the referral form, satisfaction survey, support needs assessment, volunteer application form, report form and service agreement. 
– Setting up a PenPal project for young people to communicate with our clients, creating a connection, a sense of purpose and giving participants something to look forward to.  The project helps generate a better understanding of mental illness, and challenges stereotypes of different generations and perceptions of these conditions.

What are the parts that you most enjoy about your work?

Supporting people who help people to achieve their personal goals by providing encouragement, advice, information, and motivation. Being part of a friendly service, which empowers clients to maintain independence, develop new skills, and build a meaningful relationship with Outreach visitors and volunteers.    It is rewarding to see and hear the positive impacts the service has on helping reduce feelings of isolation and improve mental wellbeing.  Supporting people to help people brings me happiness and reassurance. Working alongside Louise is amazing – she is truly admirable and provides me with guidance and feedback to develop.  It is great to feel appreciated, and to work with enthusiastic hard-working people who share the same values.
Our services have a knock-on effect:  directly supporting vulnerable adults and setting the friends and relatives of our clients’ minds at rest, and lessens the strain on their own mental health. It also impacts the community, because we prevent people getting to the point of hospitalisation or on the wrong side of the law.  Hearing how our volunteers have benefited from giving their time to help others is heart-warming; one volunteer shared how what they learnt with us improved their relationship with their own relative who suffers from long term mental health challenges.

What are the bits that you least enjoy?

Sometimes there can be an overwhelming number of tasks that need to be completed.  I implement time-management and organisational skills to complete tasks in order of importance – the health and wellbeing of our clients and support team is paramount!  On occasions I have been unable deliver certain tasks or responses in a timely manner, and letting someone down is never enjoyable. Like the rest of the Hammersley Homes team, I really want to help make a positive difference to people’s lives. I am hugely thankful to our brilliant outreach admin volunteer; he has helped with researching tasks as requested by clients. I love creating engaging and informative resources for the service, including the research behind it, but my biggest weakness is spelling and grammar. I don’t enjoy spell checking! I find it difficult and frustrating. Luckily I am fortunate to have a volunteer to proof read documents I have written, and receive useful feedback from those I work with.

How would you like to see this programme develop?

From the initial launch of the outreach service, it has been clear that the demand for lifelong friendships and support is huge! I would love to see the service expand to support more people to achieve their personal goals and live their best life!  I hope to improve the service by actively reflecting on my work, responding to feedback, and engaging with continuous learning.  For me, it is important that all outreach visitors and remote volunteers are confidently enjoying their role – and all clients feel valued and listened to. I am excited to see the progress of Hammersley Homes long-term goal of opening up permeant lifelong housing for these vulnerable people.

Support our work

If you are able to make regular donations to Hammersley Homes, be that £1 or £10, the progress that we can make would be enormous. If you’re considering regular donations, please click the donate button below. As always, thank you for all of your support! We really couldn’t do it without you.

Please spread the word about our vital work OR DONATE just £3 a month to change a life, by texting 3HOMES to 70580.

Texts cost £3 plus two standard rate messages and you’ll be opting in to hear more about our work and fundraising via telephone and SMS. If you’d like to give £3 but do not wish to receive marketing communications, text 3HOMESNOINFO to 70580.

Hammersley Homes – Registered Charity Number 1180673