Athol House located at 138 College Road has been providing excellent care to 21 local disabled people since the 1960s. The Home is for adults of any age with a range of disabilities which include severe physical disabilities and sensory impairments, some with acquired brain injury and mild learning difficulties. Situated on a quiet part of College Road, the Home through special equipment and specially trained staff and volunteers, enables residents to get the most out of life. We encourage residents to play a full part in the life and running of the service.
In the last five years we have developed a therapy programme for the residents. The therapies include music therapy, physiotherapy, massage and reflexology. Therapies such as massage and reflexology are greatly enjoyed by the residents and also provide the additional benefits of muscle relaxation, pain relief, improvements to breathing and circulation. Music therapy, which is run by a qualified and highly skilled music therapist, has proved to be extremely popular as many of our residents have impaired communication and music provides a way of expressing themselves and improving relationships.
We have participated in a course called Practice Development Unit (PDU) run by the University of Leeds over the last two years. The programme aims to develop good practice and assure quality. Assorted goals have been defined and developed by residents and staff including a recycling project, workshops for residents, staff, volunteers and family members and other general improvements in the Home. Following accreditation we hope to become a training centre for student nurses to learn of the needs of disabled people. We have become aware of this need from the negative experiences of our residents when they have had to spend time in hospital.
One of the aims of the PDU programme is to develop links with corporate groups of volunteers and this has been invaluable for one off projects such as decorating and garden improvements. Volunteers on these projects come away not only with an increased understanding of the needs of disabled people but also with team spirit and a sense of accomplishment from a vital task achieved.
Our events program is aimed not only to raise funds for any extras that the Home needs but also to maintain and develop relationships that the Home has with the local community. Such relationships are greatly valued by our residents, staff and volunteers.
Although the Home is part of a large charity, we have to raise the funds needed for any extra services ourselves. Such extras are not provided from statutory funding which can only provide for basic care costs. For example, the therapies mentioned currently cost in the region of £12,000 annually. In the current economic climate raising these much needed funds has become increasingly difficult and we are therefore taking a creative look at ways to improve facilities and raise funds.
The Home has a lovely garden which the residents very much enjoy; however, we have no official gardener, which is why we rely on the help of volunteers to maintain it. For this purpose a new gardening club will be starting this year and we are looking for volunteers to help with this. Any amount of time given would be greatly appreciated. In the long term we hope to improve the garden sufficiently to be able to open it and also to use it for more fundraising events.
We would also like to start an IT project to develop an online presence of the Home in social networking sites such as Facebook. The aim of this project is to improve the way the Home informs supporters and volunteers of any news and events and also to recruit new volunteers.
The Home’s current main fundraising event is the new ‘Funday Sunday’ on Sunday 13th September 2009 between 2-5pm. We aim to make this new event appealing to all ages as we will provide new activities, games and market stalls including a bouncy castle and an ice cream van. This event is very important for us as it has various aims in addition to fundraising. It is a great opportunity for the residents to mix with members of the community new and old and also to promote local music artists, dancers, businesses and performers. Jo Brand, a supporter of the Home, has kindly agreed to draw the raffle.
We welcome volunteers in particular we are looking for an Events Fundraiser and for volunteers for the Funday Sunday and other events. We are also in need of volunteers who have information technology, gardening or flower arranging skills. In addition, we always welcome people from the local community who might want to share their particular knowledge with the residents from time to time or even just once, for example sculpting, art, etc
For more about Leonard Cheshire Disability visit our website: www.lcdisability.org
Contact at Athol House:
Begona Mendez, Volunteer Coordinator/Finance Administrator:
Athol House 138 College Road, London SE19 1XE
Telephone: 020 8670 3740