Mayor puts Avenues on the map - Avenues Group
30 - 1993-2023

Mayor puts Avenues on the map

Friday 28th of April 2023

The Mayor of Bexley has vowed to give Avenues ‘the recognition it deserves’ after visiting one of its’ supported living services in Bexleyheath.

Mayor Nick O’Hare chose to support Avenues when he took office for a year in Bexley. In a challenging time for social care, he is determined to help put the organisation on the map.

“Bexley is trying to do it’s best to support social care. A lot of people didn’t know about Avenues and I’m trying to make sure it gets  recognition” he said.

The Mayor and Mayoress, his daughter Natalie Ford, were welcomed to the Emerton Close supported living service by Manager Gladys Ajembu. The residence is comprised of three bungalows which are home to 10 people with severe learning disabilities and complex needs.

Mayor Nick O’Hare and Mayoress Natalie Ford greeted by Service Manager Gladys Ajembu

The Mayor and Mayoress observed and took part in a variety of activities, from a lively music and sensory session to cake baking and arts and crafts, all of which take place in the service on a regular basis.

It was an opportunity for the pair to meet staff, people Avenues supports and family members. In Bungalow Two the Mayor talked to resident Debbie while she shook a tambourine in the music and sensory activity session provided by Julie Noden (ACT). The Mayor also met Martin whose brother Paul is supported by Avenues. “It’s great what they have done here in the garden, with the covered area and the swing (adaptive). It’s a great place to get together” said Martin.

The Mayor and Mayoress spent time talking to Avenues London Regional Director Mickey Gray who thanked them for their support of Avenues “I want them to know how much we appreciate what they are doing. It’s really beneficial that they come and see things first-hand” said Mickey.

The Mayor enjoyed the music and sensory session provided

It was a sentiment echoed by support staff. Sasha Traynor, Support Worker, who busy decorating mugs, welcomed the visit “I think it’s good that the Mayor sees the amount of care that goes into these activities and also the amount of funding that is needed. Without funding we can’t have any of this” she said.

The Mayor and Mayoress meet Support Workers Vanessa and Connie

Mayoress Natalie Ford, Avenues Chief Executive Jo Land and Mayor Nick O’Hare

Avenues Chief Executive Jo Land was impressed by the Mayor’s commitment to Avenues charity and grateful for the support “He’s really interested in what we do. The money that he’s raising will make a really big difference” she said.

The Mayor’s visit ended with a demonstration of the adaptive swing in Emerton’s gardens with resident Paul Carlton “I enjoyed meeting him. He asked how I was and about the cake I baked” Paul said.

Emerton resident Paul Carlton enjoys the adaptive swing with Mayor Nick O’Hare

For Service Manager Gladys Ajembu and Assistant Service Manager Aicha Koulibaly the visit was a resounding success.

“His engagement with people we support was great. He was really doing his best to interact with everyone. Staff involvement was good too and it’s great to have the recognition because it’s a hard job. It was great to have Jo here too. It was a real boost for staff morale” said Aicha.

For Gladys it was great to have family members here too “It went really well and it was great that families could come and everyone could be together. It was good the Mayor talked to family members and people we support. I didn’t want him to visit and not even know their names because this is their home” she said.

Gladys was proud of how her team pulled together and thinks it was a real learning experience for the Mayor “He asked about the difficulties we face, for example we don’t currently have any transport. We would love a mini-bus and to do some improvements in the garden.” She said.

“I think it was a real eye-opener for him.” said Gladys smiling.

Mayoress Natalie Ford, Assistant Service Manager Aicha Koulibaly and Service Manager Gladys Ajembu