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Ashford Place, Cricklewood: Weekly Update

Ashford Place and Faith Communities:
We are working with Brent Multi-Faith Forum  on hosting an event next week around mental health services within a faith context. You are very welcome to attend.
Safe and peaceful Cricklewood:
Happily all ended well and peacefully in Cricklewood.
Personal perspectives:
We held two customer group meetings this week. The first was made up of customers from a variety of homeless experiences e.g. some are currently on the streets, some in temporary accommodation and some are settled in rented flats and are working. It is amazing to hear their personal stories and how the public perception of homelessness is completely different from the reality as reported by this group.

These groups are a great opportunity for our staff and volunteers to learn about what homelessness actually is, how it impacts on the individual and how vital it is that we as providers respond in a caring, empathetic and professional manner. One of the key messages from the group this week is that Ashford Place gives people hope despite how awful their particular situations may be.
Our second customer group was made up of our older Irish customers who have been settled in their homes for some years but who still need a level of support to prevent future homelessness. Many in the group were delighted to hear that our dining room and social activity space will be opening in four or five weeks as they see Ashford Place as a place where they are welcome and where they get the support they need.
Community in action:
Ashford Place is arranging a joint outreach  at 9.00am this Saturday - 21st June - at Gladsome Park with local residents, parks council officers, police and other interested parties to see what are the issues and concerns regarding rough sleeping, anti-social behaviour and public health. It is imperative that our community and public sector agencies work together with us to resolve to share information and find solutions. We are meeting up at the Cricklewood Library building.
Commonwealth visit:
We were delighted to host a visit by a delegation of Commonwealth Parliamentarians this week arranged by MP Sarah Tether’s office. Having visited Brent Civic Centre in the morning we showed them our Cricklewood Improvement Programme improvements on the Bdwy and our work here at Ashford Place. The Parliamentarians came from countries such as Australia, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.
Work at last:
It is a tough world out there, particularly if you have nine children, never had paid work in your life and now having to work to keep your home. But it is possible. Over the last few weeks the team has helped a woman to find two part time jobs totalling 16 hours a week. This will make a big difference to her and her family. It took us 28 weeks in total to help the woman prepare for interviews, attend interviews and encouraging her to keep her spirits high and it eventually worked. Often the back story to successfully gaining employment can be a long hard road.
The Americans are coming:
We were delighted to welcome John Pacitii from Food Donation Convention A few weeks ago I wrote about Nandos and ourselves working together where we use food donations to support our customers.
Brent Intelligence Hub:
Very useful information here on Brent.
Spare a moment?
Part of the reason for our success is the wonderful team of volunteers we have at Ashford Place. If you have some spare time to volunteer then do contact us for a chat. We have vacancies for finance, fundraising, project management projects. We particularly need people with experience of film making, retail, project management, teaching and chatting! Many of our customers would love to have the opportunity to just chat to residents so as not to only just focus on their problems.
Danny Maher 

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