Archive News & Press Releases
More than 75 young people have been supported by Mayday Trust to maintain their own tenancies over the past twelve months thanks to the Trust’s new Young People’s Floating Support Service.
The service was commissioned by Northamptonshire County Council in November 2010. By September 2011 the service had supported 75 vulnerable individuals aged between 16-25 within the Borough to gain and/or maintain a tenancy and address various other support needs. Mayday Trust has supported these young people, who have come to us for a variety of reasons, to successfully maintain tenancies and prevent repeat homelessness. None of those supported by Mayday lost their homes.
Pat McArdle, Chief Executive said: “The greatest success of this new project is in the young people seeing their own successes and achievements and progressing in ways that they previously did not see possible.”
She added: “This service provides evidence that even the most challenging young people can turn their lives around: get into training and employment, become active citizens and reduce harmful and destructive behaviours with minimum support from a professional team using a proven assertive outreach approach.”
The service was showcased during a special celebration at The Guildhall, Northampton on Wednesday 7 December. Guest Speaker Andrew Jepps (Assistant Director of Adult’s and Children’s Commissioning at Northamptonshire County Council) congratulated Mayday Trust on its work over the past twelve months, commenting that "the new delivery model was a great example of the services Northamptonshire County Council will be looking to develop in the future".
Building Futures: Four young people from Northampton have recently starred in a short film, highlighting the new service. The film, which was formally unveiled at The Guildhall, is also available to view at http://vimeo.com/channels/maydaytrust#32666465
During the film, Hannah comments: “I feel like I’m getting more independent. If I look back to two years ago I wouldn’t really have done anything for myself. I didn’t really want to do anything at all. I wanted everyone to do stuff for me whereas now I will do stuff for myself.”
Another client, Chris, added: “I wouldn’t have learnt about bills that well. I’d get the letter; I’d put it in the cupboard and forget about it until I got another one. Since living on my own I’ve come to grips with that you have to pay your bills, you have to keep up to date with your bills. Now my paperwork’s all up to date, it’s all sorted and in order.”
On 12 May Mayday Trust announced the latest round of Michael Varah & Jim Higgins Award winners. The award scheme recognises and rewards the achievements of our most outstanding clients. This year, with support from The Michael Varah Memorial Fund, the Trust has awarded more than £2,000. The awards were presented during the Trust's 51st Art Exhibition preview in Leamington.
Aaron Deacon, 18, was presented with the Shining Light Award 2011. Aaron, who has been with Mayday for just under a year, joined the Trust’s Wellingborough Scheme when circumstances at home left him unable to stay there. He is currently in his third year of a VRQ (Vocationally Recognised Qualification) chef training course and aspires to become a chef.
Aaron received a special trophy and a grant for £600 to fund a set of chef’s knives, a bus pass to college and other costs attached to his college course.
Ian Pollock was only 19 years old when he arrived at Mayday Trust’s Leamington & Warwick Scheme. Ian left home due to a family breakdown without any experience of living independently. Despite the pressures and upheaval Ian has persevered with college and has demonstrated a real commitment to his BTEC Business and IT Studies course.
Ian, who has since inspired fellow Mayday clients to begin college, has been awarded £600 to purchase a high-specification laptop to aid his studies.
Daniel Warr has suffered from paranoia and anxiety for a number of years. After a lot of soul searching he decided to move away from the area he was living, his family and children in order to regain some control. Daniel joined Mayday Trust’s Northampton Scheme in early 2010 and has slowly grown in confidence.
Daniel has been awarded £100 to purchase chain, lock, lights, repair kit and insurance.
Ashley Stone was forced to live on his own at the age of 17. He then became unemployed and got into trouble with his rent. Soon after, in early 2008, he joined Mayday’s Leighton Buzzard Scheme. Ashley, who already holds a Fork Lift Truck driving qualification hopes to further improve his job prospects by learning to drive. He is aware that, due to shift patterns and employer locations, the ability to drive would greatly increase his chances of finding industrial work in the region.
Ashley will receive £241 to fund a provisional licence and his first eight lessons.
Ron Lenton spent over fifteen years sleeping rough and several months living with Coventry charity Open House before moving to Mayday Trust’s Leamington & Warwick Scheme. During his time with Mayday staff have seen his self esteem and confidence grow. Ron is currently preparing to move on from Mayday Trust into sheltered accommodation.
Scheme Manager Anne Forde commented: “Ron has come to rely on Mayday to support him not only in daily living skills but also for social inclusion. Recently he has been involved in a joint project between with the Community Arts Workshop. We are delighted Ron has built a relationship with Fran Goodwin and others from the art group, which he has attended without prompting from staff. The project has now finished, however, CAW runs a group on Wednesday afternoons, catering for a client group in which Ron would feel comfortable and could reap the benefits from. Importantly, this would give him a link outside of Mayday, which he could build on once he leaves and help smooth a huge transition in his life.”
Ron has been awarded £200 to fund further art sessions with the Community Arts Workshop.
Tom Lees, 18, has lived at Mayday since December 2009. He moved to Mayday Trust’s Wellingborough Scheme after a breakdown in family relationships led to his being made homeless. Tom, who begins a Sport BTEC Level 3 Diploma in September, has been awarded £230 towards his BTEC sports kit and a bus pass to college.
Dane Clarke has been in and out of prison for a number of years. After his release in 2010, he found himself living on the streets and was referred to Mayday Trust’s Northampton Scheme. For many years Dane’s main focus in life was his drug habit. Looking back, he described his former life as “very chaotic and focused on drugs”.
Scheme Manager Susan Mallender commented: “Ideally Dane would love to follow his father’s footsteps into forestry and garden maintenance. For this he would need his driving licence. For the meantime though, Dane is looking for whatever work he can find. He recently worked for an agency firm and was cycling seven miles to and from work. What with completing a twelve hour shift in between this was exhausting Dane but he still kept it up until the contract ended”.
Dane has been awarded £195 to pay for his theory test and his first eight lessons.
An innovative new art project has been opened in Leamington. Clients from Mayday Trust, have been working in partnership with Leamington-based Community Arts Workshop, to run a series of art sessions, focusing around the theme of ‘Home’ – an emotive and powerful subject for self-expression.
Participants from Rugby, Leamington and Daventry have been working together since February to create a home structure, fixtures and furnishings. The ‘Home’, which features a wide range of art and craft forms, will be accessible for people to walk around and explore.
Mayday Trust’s outgoing Chief Executive, Caroline Ward said: “A key focus of Mayday’s work is to provide new opportunities for our clients. Art sessions offer an excellent opportunity to learn new skills and widen horizons. By nurturing hidden talents our clients have discovered new ways of expressing themselves, and a chance to be heard.”
The preview event was formally opened by Mr Tim Cox, High Sheriff of Warwickshire 2011-12 and coincided with the Trust's Excellence Awards ceremony and its 51st Art Exhibition, showcasing a variety of media ranging from digital photography to paintings to textile pieces. Visitors were also be invited to view a documentary about the Trust within the exhibition space.
Her replacement, Pat McArdle will start on Monday 20th June. Pat has 23 years experience in the social care/housing sector, with the last 13 years working at Director/Senior Executive level. Pat currently works for the YWCA/Platform 51, working with disadvantaged women and girls in 15 centres across England and Wales.
Pat has previously worked for the Foyer Federation, The House of St Barnabas (homeless hostel), Cork Simon Community, Sandwell Rape Crisis Centre, HARP (homeless mens and women with alcohol problems) and Handsworth Community Care Centre (clients with mental health issues). Pat has also been a Board Member at several registered charities. Pat will bring extensive knowledge and experience to Mayday Trust. Pat will take the Trust forward on the next stage of the "journey".
In addition, Chair of Trustees Lyn Stacey and Vice Chair Jim Arnold have decided to reverse roles. Jim Arnold will take up his role as Chair with immediate effect.
Mayday Trust named of the best companies to work for
Commenting on the accolade Caroline Ward, Chief Executive said: “Mayday Trust is overjoyed to have gained a place on the list. This is a fantastic accolade and demonstrates the strong partnership between our organisation and its employees.
She added: “Our staff are committed to fulfilling Mayday’s vision of enabling vulnerable people to maximise their potential for independence. This award demonstrates how the Trust’s dedication to staff and volunteers is comparable to the support we provide to clients."
The Best Companies inaugural public and charity sector list has been established to recognise best practice across the sector. Awards focus on eight key areas including: Leadership, Staff Wellbeing, Personal Growth and Giving Something Back.
Best Companies accreditation follows the elite Michelin style star rating system for organisations that demonstrate high levels of employee engagement. Based on staff feedback, organisations receive an index score which determines their star rating. Organisations are then awarded one of the following ratings: one to watch, first class (one star), outstanding (two stars) and extraordinary (three stars).
The full list will be released as a glossy supplement, on Sunday 13 March.
This photograph is used with the express permission of copyright owner Sunday Times.
Clients and staff enjoyed a trip to Westminster on Tuesday 14 December. The visit included a private tour sponsored by Mark Pawsey, Member of Parliament for Rugby, followed by a meeting with several of the charity’s constituency MPs.
The event was arranged as an extension of Mayday Trust’s ROMS (Residents Of Mayday Speak) Forum to offer members an opportunity to see democracy in action and find out more about the role of each individual within society. The ROMS Forum was established to give clients a say in how the charity operates. Forum members, who are ‘elected’ to represent their Scheme, attend regular meetings to discuss and influence policies and decision making. The group recently worked together to develop a series of quality expectations now known as Mayday’s Service Standards.
Caroline Ward, Chief Executive commented: “Mayday Trust are very passionate about giving our clients a voice. Through our ROMS Forum Mayday clients have a say in how the charity operates. The trip to Westminster was a fantastic opportunity and has given all of us a greater insight into parliament and the democratic process”.
Mark Pawsey said: “I was recently invited to visit one of my local Mayday Trust schemes in Rugby. I particularly enjoyed meeting clients who invited me into their homes and told me about the support that Mayday is providing. More than once people said to me that without Mayday they would still be on the street, suffering great personal difficulty and worse. I was also interested to learn that Mayday is quite sensibly preparing for a new financial environment, and it will be important to ensure that the organisation continues to provide services within our community which are of great value. By inviting the charity to visit my colleagues and I in Westminster, I hope that the links between Mayday Trust and their local MPs will be strengthened.”
Getting to know our representatives and shouting about our work. Immediately after Mayday’s tour, Mark Pawsey hosted a meeting with MPs from across the charity’s area of operation. Caroline Ward gave an update on a number business developments in the wake of the current economic and social changes. These included: plans to diversify operations; improved outcomes based recording; an increased marketing focus and a Social Return on Investment study.
Clients and staff then had an opportunity to ‘interview’ MPs and find out more about their work. Feedback and interviews from the visit will be compiled to create a review of the day. Lisa-Marie Bunting, a client at the charity’s Ashwood Court Scheme said: “I enjoyed the meeting with MPs to hear what the answers were to our questions. I had the best time ever and liked the tour of parliament.”
Caroline Ward, concluded: “As 2010 draws to a close and we reflect back on the achievements made by Mayday Trust, the charity is now ideally positioned to deal with the challenges in 2011. The MPs all seemed to be genuinely impressed by the caliber of questions put to them by Mayday Trust clients”.
The members of parliament present at the meeting were: Mark Pawsey (Rugby), Michael Ellis (Northampton, North), Andrew Selous (Leighton Buzzard) and Richard Fuller (Bedford).
On Sunday 23 May Mayday Trust joined Needham & James solicitors to enter a fundraising Dragon Boat race. The event was a huge success which, including gift aid, raised a total of £3,206.78.
Caroline Ward, Chief Executive of Mayday Trust and a Dragon Boat Paddler said: "We would like to say a huge thank you to all participants and to Needham & James for all their support. The team-spirit on the day was fantastic and everybody enjoyed a fantastic day out."
Launched in 2008, in honour of the charity’s founders, “The Michael Varah and Jim Higgins Award For Excellence” celebrates the achievements of Mayday Trust’s most outstanding clients. With support from The Michael Varah Memorial Fund, Mayday Trust has this year awarded over £2,000 to seven individuals from across the Trust.
The awards were presented during the preview of the charity’s 50th Art Exhibition at Leighton Buzzard Theatre on Wednesday 5 May.
Shining Light Award - In addition to the main award scheme 2010 sees the introduction of the Shining Light Award. The winner of this prize has demonstrated that they are an inspiration to others. He has been presented with a special trophy and a grant of £650.
Mark Powell, a resident at Mayday's Leamington & Warwick Scheme, impressed judges with his ability to turn his life around following a custodial sentence. Awards panel member, and daughter of Mayday’s co-founder, Kate Varah said: “The judges were so impressed with Mark’s determination to succeed despite the odds and wanted to give him this award to show him that others are proud of his achievements.”
Mark, who will soon be moving into his own flat, started work for DHL immediately after his release from prison. His employers have been so impressed with his work that he was recently put on a fast-track to management scheme. Mark’s grant will help him to study during his management training course – taking place at sites across the country. This funding will help to pay for Mark’s wireless internet connection, allowing him to study wherever he is.
Gary Smith, a former resident at Mayday Trust’s Wellingborough Scheme, has made a remarkable recovery following a breakdown. The awards panel were moved by Gary’s story and his subsequent decision to help others overcome their problems.
Gary has become the second ex-client to become a Mayday Trust employee. He has recently started work as an Apprentice Support Worker at Mayday’s Bedford Scheme, thanks to funding from the Future Jobs Fund. Chief Executive Caroline Ward said: “This is an amazing achievement for Gary. He has proved himself to be a great asset to Mayday and we all wish him every success in his new career.” Gary has been awarded £200 towards clothing and travel expenses.
Nicky Wylde was homeless before he joined Mayday’s Leighton Buzzard Scheme in early 2009. Soon after he decided to join the Conservation group, which operates in conjunction with Greensands Trust. Scheme Manager Julie Bailey said: “Nicky has been a really good resident. He has fully engaged with the service and has encouraged others to attend Conservation Group.” Nicky recently started working with Greensands for 15 hours a week. He hopes to study for a specialist chainsaw course to improve his qualifications. He has been awarded £284 to purchase protective clothing and footwear.
Martin Dyson joined Mayday’s Ashwood Court Scheme in September last year. Since then he has worked hard to address his problem with depression. Project Worker Ray Scott explained: “Martin, through hard work and perseverance has effected some major changes in his life. He has demonstrated that positive actions can gain rewards.” Martin will shortly begin a level 3 counselling skills course at Rugby College funded by Rugby Connexions. The awards panel have agreed a £120 grant to purchase books and materials for his course.
Tom Lees moved into our Wellingborough Scheme in January. He is in full time college and is working towards his GCSEs. Project Worker Grace Kague said: “Tom deserves a chance. There are a few things which are essential for youngsters of Thomas’ age that he has to manage without.” Tom has been awarded £300 to assist with studies including the purchase of a bike and insurance.
Rose Bell has been living at Mayday Trust’s Ashwood Court Scheme in Rugby for a little over a year. Her positive attitude and involvement continues to be an inspiration to others. Scheme Manager Jenny Johns said: “Rose has shown others that it is possible to overcome problems and move on to an independent life.” In Rose’s application she told of her plans to set up her own dress-making business. She has been awarded £275 to purchase a sewing machine, tailors dummy and materials.
Stephen Medforth joined Mayday’s Daventry Scheme in December 2008 before later moving to the Northampton Scheme. Before he arrived Stephen had lost his job and his home. His relationship had ended and his confidence had begun to falter. He has slowly rebuilt his self esteem and recently found full time employment with Working Links. Project Worker Amanda Hamp said: “Stephen has done incredibly well and was selected from over 20 applicants for the position. He has inspired others to believe that no matter how low they are, the possibilities are endless.”
Mayday Trust's legal team, Needham & James Solicitors, have agreed to join forces with us to enter a fundraising Dragon Boat Festival. Teams of 16 paddlers plus a drummer will race in Chinese-style Dragon Boats over a 250 metre course.
Help us raise sponsorship - Thanks to our participants for agreeing to take part. Please click on the names to enter their justgiving sponsorship pages: Nigel Banister, Amanda Bruce, Gemma Clark, David Clayton, Lyn Stacey, Caroline Ward
Support us on the day - The event will take place at St Nicholas Park, Warwick on Sunday 23 May between 10am and 4pm. We'd love you to pop along and show your support.
Caroline Ward, Mayday Trust Chief Executive, will be taking part on the day. She sends this message to would-be supporters: "When they arrive, many of our clients feel ‘worthless’ or ‘different’ and often have incredibly low opinions of themselves. With your support we can provide new opportunities, develop skills and raise self-esteem.”
Did you know??? The ‘Waking the Dragon’ ceremony is over 2000 years old and involved raising the Dragon spirits to bring good fortune and rain! True to its roots, the Warwick Dragon Boat Festival is still to raise spirits but of a very different kind by having fun and helping those who need it.
Mayday Trust’s AGM and Conference took place at Cranfield University on November 17. Speakers at the Conference included Jean Templeton, CEO of St Basil’s Charity, Birmingham; Sally Varah widow of Mayday's co-founder Michael Varah and former client Amy Robinson who provided an amazing insight into her life during and since her time at Mayday.
Jean spoke about the Challenges of a Changing Sector although in her opening address she joked that it could just as easily been titled 'Changes of a Challenging Sector'. She added: "In order to thrive in the future, organisations like Mayday and St Basils must learn to dance on flying carpets. It is not enough to merely react to changes - we need to embrace them."
Sally Varah, widow of the charity’s co-founder Michael Varah, gave a heartfelt presentation about the formative days of Mayday Trust, the memorial fund set up in memory of Michael and the continuing link between Mayday Trust and it's founders families.
Sally commented: "Michael Varah, my husband of almost 40 years, and his good friend Jim Higgins – had they been standing where I am today – would, without doubt, have bowled you over with their passion and their zeal for supporting the vulnerable and marginalised in our society... And... with their twinkling humour … also had you laughing in the aisles as they recalled – as Co-Founders – the formative days of the Mayday Trust back in the mid 1970s".
Many in the audience were amazed to learn that Mayday began from a Soup Kitchen in the back of Jim's van. Michael, a newly qualified Probation Officer and Jim, Chairman of the local Probation Volunteers Group soon realised that there was a high percentage of homeless in Rugby - many of whom had a history of offending. It was through this Soup Kitchen that the pair identified a need for supported housing in the town and ultimately Mayday Trust was created.
Sally concluded that: "Both of these men – who started all this with their Heinz tomato Soup and begged bread rolls – would have been so incredibly proud of everyone associated with the charity who is here today, and – I know – richly satisfied to have founded such an outstanding, astonishingly life changing organisation."
The highlight of the event was the unveiling of a documentary about Mayday Trust. Producer and Director Barry Fitzgerald (cre8ivday) gave a passionate introduction to the film before thanking every participant for enriching the documentary with their "colourful stories and humbling honesty".
During the 45 minute showing it would have been possible to hear a pin drop as delegates sat in utter silence. Immediately afterwards outgoing Chairman, Chris Holman, was noticeably moved as he told the conference how proud he was to be a part of Mayday. Later, during the AGM, Mr Holman added: "This film is the highlight of Mayday's 30th Anniversary Year - and quite possibly my time as Mayday Trust's Chairman."
Staff and stakeholders were equally as moved by the event. Senior Project Worker Daniel Dunne commented: "The AGM at Cranfield was without question the most interesting and informative yet. When I got home that evening I watched the Mayday Film again, something I would recommend to everyone as it reminded me why I am here. The film reminded me how strongly I feel about the work I do and reflect on the very real difference the whole Mayday staff teams make. All the staff and service users who spoke on the film spoke with genuine feeling and knowledge. It was obvious to me that a lot of work went into organising the AGM as well as the making of the film. Thank you for a memorable day."
In 2009 Mayday Trust commissioned film-makers cre8ivday to produce a film to showcase our work. Producer and director Barry Fitzgerald fused ideas and concepts with innovative production to convey stories from Mayday clients and staff.
Commenting about the film, Chief Executive Caroline Ward said: “Barry has spent several months filming clients and staff to capture the ethos of the Trust and demonstrate how Mayday Trust makes a real difference. His dynamic personality and remarkable ability to remember ‘anything and everything’ has culminated in a unique and very powerful documentary about our work.”
In honour of its 30th anniversary, Mayday Trust have enjoyed a year-long programme of celebrations. Throughout 2009 each of the charity’s eight housing schemes held special Open Days. The Trust also held a month-long art exhibition (Northampton Art Gallery & Museum, May 2009) providing an opportunity for clients to showcase their artwork. Mayor of Northampton, Councillor Brian Markham, attended the preview event and presented certificates to participants.
Cllr Markham commented: “I would like to congratulate Mayday Trust on its 30th Anniversary and all the artists for such a wonderful display.”
Following this, Mayday Trust organised a Picnic In The Park at Coombe Abbey Country Park in Coventry. More than 130 people, including former and current clients, staff, trustees and stakeholders took part in the celebrations. Countryside Rangers led a Shelter Building task and Treasure Hunt around the site.
Chief Executive Caroline Ward and Leighton Buzzard Scheme Manager Julie Bailey were invited to attend the Michael Varah Memorial Fund (MVMF) Annual Ball on Saturday 16 May 2009.
Caroline and Julie were invited to represent Mayday Trust following the success of the Michael Varah & Jim Higgins Award For Excellence which has been part-funded by the MVMF.
The event attracted 400 guests with representatives from other funded organisations including: Amnesty International, Vision Aid, Guildford Action, St Giles Trust,
The Pitstop Centre for Homelessness, Shelter, Fine Cell Work, Surrey Crimestoppers, Watts Gallery, Only Connect, Surrey Care Trust and Voice joining the party.
Caroline and Julie felt very proud when Kate Varah and James Varah (Michael Varah's children) gave a presentation on charities the MVMF had supported, including the Mayday Trust success stories.
There were several fundraisers throughout the event to raise funds for the MVMF. Freya Mitton of Sotheby's ran a very competitive auction. Caroline commented: "Sadly Julie and I were unlucky in the auction although I was very tempted by the couture Jimmy Choo shoes and tickets for X Factor!
Caroline concluded: "It was a very memorable event and a great opportunity to promote Mayday Trust and its association with the MVMF. Michael Varah's memory lives on with the MVMF, which raised £92,000 for charities in 2008!"
The preview of Mayday Trust's 30th Anniversary Art Exhibition has been hailed a huge success. Certificates were presented to artists by the Worshipful Mayor of Northampton, Councillor Brian Markham. Speaking during the presentations Cllr Markham said: "I would like to congratulate Mayday Trust on its 30th Anniversary and all the artists for such a wonderful display."
Five Mayday Trust clients were also presented with special awards in recognition of their efforts to turn their lives around. The Michael Varah and Jim Higgins Award For Excellence was launched in 2008, in honour of the charity’s founders. With support from The Michael Varah Memorial Fund, Mayday Trust has this year awarded prizes worth over £2,000 to help five individuals towards their vocational goals.
A special, fifth, award was presented to Sharlene from
Bill's son James, widow Felicity and Daughter-In-Law Alison attended the exhibition as our special guests and participated in the awards presentations.
Commenting on the awards, Chief Executive Caroline Ward said: “Everyone is very proud of our winners. They have all excelled during their stay with the Trust and I wish each of them well in their chosen courses.”
The work, on display until 30 May, will include a variety of medias ranging from digital photography, to more traditional paintings. Museum opening times are Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm and Sunday 2pm to 5pm
Captain Bellamy wrote to the Trust a month before his death to resign his membership of the charity. In his letter he commented: “By now I am more of a ‘piece of history’ than a member of my much loved Mayday. I admire all that has and is being done – at all levels – but my health is such that I am unable to take part in any activities”
He added: “My heartfelt good wishes to the whole team, so many of whom gave me such sterling support during my time with the Trust.”
Bill, who has been described as a “True British Gentleman” by his friends at Mayday Trust, first joined the Board of Trustees in 1994, later becoming Chairman. He finally retired from the Board in 2005 to pursue other interests.
His son, James, aged 56, said: "We have had a lot of very nice letters about how positive he was. He was heavily involved with village matters and charities. He did a lot for Cynthia Spencer Hospice."
Bill, whose real name was Lionel, was born in Northampton on December 1, 1923, and lived most of his childhood in Kettering. He joined the army straight from school in his late teens. He was then commissioned as a royal officer and served in the Middle East. He also fought throughout the North West Europe Campaign in 1944 and 1945, which is where he was awarded his Military Cross.
Bill, who was one of the few men to walk through Hitler's study and see his personal possessions after he committed suicide, kept a diary and snapshots of his war experiences. It was only after 40 years gathering dust in his attic that he rediscovered these written records and photographs and decided to put them together in a book. He originally intended the book, to be called a School Boy’s War, as a personal account for his children. However, following a chance call from a publisher his vivid, firsthand account of tank life made it into print. The book was eventually called ‘Troop Leader: A Tank Commander's Story’. It was first published in hardback in 2005 where it quickly sold out and had to be republished the same year. The book proved so successful that it was reprinted as a paperback in 2007.
Captain Bellamy married Ann in 1950 and went on to have five children and 17 grandchildren. He was also the ‘adopted’ grandfather to two Palestinian students after financing a trip to England as part of their studies. ‘Grandpa Bill’ put them up at his Northampton home before taking them on a sightseeing tour of London and Wales. Ann died in 2001 and Bill remarried Felicity in 2007.
He organised and took part in a 10-day trek across Cuba, raising over £30,000 for Cynthia Spencer Hospice in 2005, when he was 81.
Felicity met Captain Bellamy on a fundraising lunch to support Bill and six ladies from the Hospice, raise funds for the Cuba trek. During the lunch Bill asked if anyone would like to go on a research trip to Venice with him. Felicity jokingly said she should go as she spoke fluent Italian. A few months later the pair did indeed travel to Venice with Felicity providing a lot of the translation. After their return the pair decided that something had changed. Two years later, in December 2007 the pair were married.
Mayday Trust is holding Exhibition at Northampton Art Gallery & Museum to mark the charity's 30th Anniversary. This exhibition will take place in Bill’s memory. To download a copy of the inviation please click here>>
Mayday Trust is celebrating the 30th Anniversary of its charity status during 2009. To mark this acheivement the charity has announces a calendar of events running from April to November. Further details will be added in due course.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information about any of these events.
Wednesday 29 April: Art Exhibition Preview at Northampton Art Gallery & Museum. Winners of the 2009 Michael Varah & Jim Higgins Award For Excellence will also be announced.
Thursday 28 May: Leamington & Warwick Open Day
Saturday 30 May: Art Exhibition closes
Wednesday 22 July: Wellingborough Open Day
Wednesday 5 August: Mayday House Open Day
Thursday 20 August: Daventry Open Day
Wednesday 16 September: Mayday Picnic - flagship celebration with staff, residents, stakeholders and supporters invited to attend.
Wednesday 23 September: Northampton Open Day
Thursday 1 October: Leighton Buzzard Open Day
Thursday 29 October: Bedford Open Day
Mid November: AGM - date to be confirmed
Michael Varah & Jim Higgins Award For Excellence: Winners Announced
In recognition of its founders, Mayday Trust has introduced an award scheme to celebrate the achievements of its most outstanding residents. With support from The Michael Varah Memorial Fund, Mayday Trust has awarded almost £1,000 to help three of its service users towards their vocational goals. Following a rigorous selection process three Mayday clients were chosen to receive awards.
Winner, Paul Gayle has lived at Kilgour Court, Leighton Buzzard, for 16 months. Before joining us, Paul was homeless and trying hard to address his drug addiction. Paul also suffers from Hepatitis C and is undergoing a course of intensive treatment. In order to do this he has to remain drug free. He is tested weekly and is very proud that they have all been clear. Paul is aware that the treatment will make him feel very ill. Despite this, he has enrolled onto a plumbing course, which allows him to work at home and send his assignments via the internet. Once completed, he will be a fully qualified plumber.
Two further residents, Kim Watts from The Post House, Daventry and Keith Collins, also from Kilgour Court, Leighton Buzzard were both presented with Highly Commended Awards.
High Sheriff of Warwickshire, Anna Trye, and Jim’s widow, Margaret Higgins, presented the awards at the Trust’s 2008 AGM on Thursday 13 November. Mrs Trye, a close friend of Michael’s widow, Sally Varah, represented the Varah family. Commenting after the awards, Chief Executive Caroline Ward said: “Everyone is very proud of our winners. The trio have excelled during their stay with the Trust and I wish each of them every success with their chosen courses.”
To read the full story please click here >
World Class Visitor
Rugby union star and World Cup Winner Ben Cohen visited Broadmead Court, Northampton. During his visit, Ben officially opened a new kitchen as well as chatting with residents and staff about our work.
The Scheme also welcomed representatives from Supporting People, the Youth Offending Team and YMCA. This proved a huge success with opportunities for informal chats and updates between organisations.
Commenting after the visit, Scheme Manager Susan Mallender said: “Ben was really down to earth and very keen to chat to as many people as possible. Lots of residents came to meet him and everyone has given brilliant feedback.” She added: “People are still talking about his visit, with one resident vowing not to wash her hand since Ben shook it!!”
The main focus of the exhibition was work produced by the ‘In The Frame’ art group which, thanks to funding from Warwickshire County Council, had been meeting for the previous 12 months at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum. Participants, experienced a wide variety of artforms, from photography and dressing up to becoming the artwork themselves, to wood turning and contemporary dance.
The exhibition, which also included artwork from other Schemes across Mayday Trust, was very well received by everyone who attended including a number of residents who made trips from as far away as Bedford!
From Small Acorns: Mayday's Expansion and Diversification
In August 2007 Mayday Trust published an article about the charity's formation in the late 70's and early 80's. The second chapter in our history tells of our expansion and diversification across three counties:
Mayday Trust's inaugural Chief Executive, Brian Lomax was working for the Rugby Probation Service when he volunteered to join the committee of the Rugby Mayday Trust. This first connection with the charity took place at a pivotal time in the Trust’s history. Having trialled their first housing project, and met with strong opposition from local residents, the Trustees were regrouping in order to plan their next move. Mr Lomax recalls: “My first meeting was something of a surprise. It was the AGM, attended by just four people in a crowded and noisy bar at the Rugby Union club in Webb Ellis Road. There had been a brief hostel project in Rugby, staffed by volunteers, which had closed after 12 months. The members present at the meeting were uncertain of their next step. I was asked to take on the job of Secretary and agreed with some trepidation.”
With the support of Chief Probation Officer, John Pendleton, the group created a development team and recruited six part-time workers. The development team included John Atkins, who is now the Trust’s Warwickshire Regional Manager. Commenting on the Trust’s early days John said: “It was a really exciting and challenging time for the whole team. I never dreamt that Mayday would grow into such an influential organisation within such a short space of time. It has been a real privilege to be involved in the transformation.”
In 1983, the Trust opened its first project, two group homes in Leamington followed by two Rugby projects in 1984. The Trust’s major year of growth was 1986, with new projects opening in Northampton, Wellingborough, Bedford and Dunchurch. Following this expansion, the Management Team opted for a period of consolidation, before expanding into Leighton Buzzard, Daventry and Long Buckby. Over the years, the philosophy of Mayday Trust evolved and expanded. The charity, which was initially established to support homeless offenders, began to realise that the needs of homeless non-offenders were very similar and that through widening our client-group it could help ex-offenders to avoid the labelling process. The charity also acknowledged that homelessness was not the same as “houselessness”, and that clients needed help, support and training just as much as accommodation.
Commenting on his time at the helm, Brian concluded: “I look back with great pleasure and pride on my 19 years in charge of Mayday. Pride not in myself, but in the superb team of colleagues with whom I had the privilege to serve during that period; and in the people with whom we helped.”
To read the full article please click here >
In At The Deep End Again!
Caroline Ward enjoyed an eventful day at Leighton Buzzard when she took part in the second leg of her Day At The Deep End challenge. In the morning she joined Project Worker Amanda Deady to carry out the scheme's weekly Room Checks. These checks are designed to identify any repairs needed to maintain our accommodation as well as offering our clients the opportunity to discuss any concerns, which they may have. Caroline commented: "Taking part in the Room Checks really helped me to appreciate the importance of regular maintenance and refurbishment at our housing schemes. I was also very pleased to have such open and frank discussions with our residents' about the services we provide."
Following the room checks, Caroline helped the cookery group serve lunch for around 20 staff and residents before taking her place at the washing up bowl. Not one to miss an opportunity, Scheme Manager Julie Bailey then put the Chief Exec to work manning the office where she dealt with a range of enquiries from residents. Unfortunately the bike ride was postponed due to the weather with the group opting to take part in a marathon board game session instead. Still keen to take part in the cycling trip, Miss Ward has agreed to don her cycling gear during her next quarterly visit, as staff and residents get into shape for the Headway bike ride.
Following Caroline Ward’s example, Head of Corporate Services Gill Jackson will be spending a day at the Trust’s Wellingborough scheme later this year.
Help Vulnerable Adults - Become A Trustee
Do you care strongly about the needs of vulnerable people in our community and have the skills to make this happen? Mayday Trust is looking to recruit additional Trustees to join our committed team.
Chief Executive Caroline Ward was appointed to the Trust twelve months to accelerate a period of significant change at the charity. Following her appointment, Miss Ward worked closely with the Board of Trustees to implement a thorough restructure of the organisation. Additional Trustees were recruited to support the new Senior Management Team as they continued to strengthen and ‘future proof’ operations.
As the charity prepares to grow and diversify into new areas, the Board and Senior Management Team feel the time is now right to support the existing members. Applicants with knowledge and experience in the following areas are particularly welcomed: finance, fundraising, law, housing, property development, physical and social regeneration, marketing, human resources and business planning.
For more information click here >
Mayday Trust Employees And Volunteers Add Festive Touch
Mayday clients from across the Trust marked Christmas 2007 with a series of activities. Schemes enjoyed a range of festive buffets, traditional Christmas dinners and meals out at local restaurants with many clients receiving token gifts or food parcels.
In Bedford, Scheme Manager Cara Passfield dressed as Father Christmas to distribute diaries and calendars to everyone during their Christmas meal. Steve, pictured with Cara, said: “It was really funny to see Cara dressed as Father Christmas. She even gave us a HO HO HO!”
The Leighton Buzzard festivities were supported by members of Voluntary and Community Action South Bedfordshire who helped to prepare and serve food at both events. Project Worker Amanda Deady said: “We always try and make Christmas special for our clients as it can be quite a lonely time. We’d like to thank the volunteers who helped at both of our meals for all their support.”
Clients in Rugby also decorated a tree as part of a charity Christmas Tree Festival at nearby St Andrew’s Church. Commenting after the event, Penny said: “I really enjoyed decorating the tree and seeing everyone else’s. When they were all finished there were loads of them and it felt really Christmassy.”
The Trust is currently considering the introduction of a volunteering scheme as this would enable us to increase the number and variety of opportunities we can offer to residents. While no formal programme exists at present we would be keen to hear from anyone interested in volunteering. Contact us at email@example.com or on 01788 568176 and get involved with creating a whole new start for our residents.
Top Housing Award For Mayday’s Stuart Sullivan
Stuart Sullivan, Mayday Trust’s Head of Operations & Property Services, has been awarded the Chartered Institute of Housing (West Midlands Branch) Education Prize for Outstanding Achievement. The award was presented in recognition of Mr Sullivan’s achievements during his Post Graduate Diploma in Housing. Paul Diggory, President of the Chartered Institute of Housing, made the presentation during a ceremony at
Chairman Chris Holman added: “Caroline Ward and the Trust thoroughly supported Stuart’s studies and we would like to congratulate him on his award. It is a real boost for Mayday to have an award of this calibre under our belt.”
To read the full story visit Mayday Times Autumn 2007 >
Caroline's Day At The Deep End
Never one to turn down a challenge, Mayday Trust Chief Executive Caroline Ward jumped at the chance when we suggested she spend a day as a Project Worker. On Friday 9 November Caroline packed away her briefcase, drove to the Trust’s Leamington & Warwick scheme and rolled her sleeves up. Caroline’s day included joining clients at a card-making session, taking part in a lively Residents Meeting and serving lunch for fifteen people.
Commenting after the event, Miss Ward said: “I had a fantastic day and a wonderful reminder about what Mayday Trust is all about. I would like to thank everyone at William Wallsgrove House for making me feel so welcome.” One client, Mark, added: “I’ve never made my own cards like this before. Caroline is really friendly and a great teacher.”
Caroline’s second Day At The Deep End will take place in Leighton Buzzard on Tuesday 15 January. Head of Corporate Services Gill Jackson has also agreed to step up to the plate during 2008!
High Profile Visitors In Daventry
Residents and staff at Mayday Trust’s Daventry housing scheme received a visit from Daventry MP Tim Boswell and East Midlands MEP Chris Heaton-Harris on Friday 19 October 2007. The pair chatted with residents about their experiences and found out more about the personalised support offered by the Trust. Mr Boswell was particularly keen to hear about the groups’ experiences of employment, return to work schemes and the Benefit system.
Mr Boswell said: “Voluntary Sector Organisations like Mayday Trust are ideally placed to provide innovative, client-focused support within our communities. Their ability to respond to the clients' need is a great asset to the sector.”
Caroline Ward, Mayday Trust’s Chief Executive added: “Our visitors were genuinely interested in the charity’s work within their constituencies. They quickly grasped the challenges faced by organisations like Mayday and were very supportive of our role within the community."
Food For Thought At Leighton Buzzard
MP Andrew Selous enjoyed lunch at Mayday Trust’s Leighton Buzzard scheme on Tuesday 18 September 2007. During his visit Mr Selous chatted with residents about their experiences. He also met two former residents who have now moved into their own accommodation. Mr Selous said: " The Trust has an excellent record in getting people back on their feet and it was excellent to see how they have helped people get their independence.”
The MP talked with staff about the scheme’s work to support vulnerable people and the services provided for various clients including those with a history of addiction and alcoholism. Mayday Trust’s Leighton Buzzard scheme, based at Kilgour Court, Bassett Street opened in 1991, providing accommodation for up to 36 people. With an average stay of 9 months, the scheme has supported over 800 disadvantaged adults since it first opened its doors.
After lunch Mr Selous was presented with a copy of the Lunch Club’s recipe book, Kilgour Kitchen, as a memento of his visit. Speaking about his visit, Mayday Trust’s Chief Executive, Caroline Ward said: “Communal meals and therapeutic groups provide a great opportunity for residents to build confidence and essential life-skills. The popular twice-weekly Lunch Club is a wonderful opportunity to meet clients and gain a deeper understanding of Mayday Trust”.
Mr Selous added: "We had a delicious lunch - so it was an afternoon of food and food for thought.”
During the late 70’s Michael Varah (a former Rugby School Master) worked as a Probation Officer in Rugby. Michael noticed the lack of accommodation in Rugby for homeless ex-offenders and those who felt Abandoned by society. So, with help from Probation Volunteer Jim Higgins, he set about putting things right. The committed pair eventually found a suitable house and opened their first 'hostel'.
Jim and Michael successfully ran the ’hostel’ - on a shoestring and alongside their day jobs - for almost three years. During this time Michael decided that they needed a permanent solution and started work to achieve this. The Home Office Probation Department agreed to purchase a property in Rugby. But, following objections from local residents, the project collapsed. Then he resolved to try a different approach, establishing a charity independent of the Probation Service. He submitted an application to the Charity Commission, choosing the name ‘Mayday’ to symbolise the image of distress and the call for help.
Kate Varah, Michael's daughter, concludes: “Life is measured by thought and action, and not by time. One of the lasting legacies of these two men is Mayday Trust which, almost 30 years on, now supports over 500 people every year”.
To read the full story please visit Mayday Times Summer 2007
New 'Future Proof' Structure For Mayday Trust
Following her appointment as Chief Executive earlier this year, Caroline Ward has been overseeing a senior management recruitment drive. Jim Arnold and Lyn Stacey have been appointed to the Board of Trustees with Gordon Armstrong, Jayne Simmons and Lalitha Webb joining the Trust as Visiting Representatives. The trio will provide a link between Schemes and Trustees as well as contributing to the strategic aims of the charity. Completing the new Management Structure are Head of Corporate Services Gill Jackson and Head of Operations & Property Services Stuart Sullivan.
On her arrival Miss Ward initiatied a detailed independent, financial and operational audit of the charity. Cconsequently, and with full co-operation from the Board of Trustees, a restructuring programme was announced on 12 July 2007. The audit identified that existing staffing structures were no longer appropriate to meet current and future demands. Commenting on these changes, Caroline Ward said: “Our clients and our capacity to support them are the driving force behind these changes. The welfare of clients will, in line with our core values, remain our strongest priority throughout this process”.
Consultation with staff will run until late August, with completion of the restructuring programme targeted at October 2007. The overall headcount will not alter
dramatically although a limited number of existing roles will not feature in the new structure. Miss Ward said: “It is unfortunate that the necessary changes will lead to some job losses. However, this decision to restructure has not been made lightly and has been in response to changes in our core funding streams”.
Following the restructure, the Trust will be better positioned to develop new business, build strategic alliances and enhance the service provision to clients.
Mayday Trust Joins The World Wide Web
Mayday Trust’s long-awaited website www.maydaytrust.org.uk went live on Friday 6th July 2007. The site includes downloadable newsletters, reports and articles written by Mayday clients and details of how to support the Trust’s work with vulnerable people.
Residents, staff and stakeholders have been actively involved during the design and testing of the website, helping to make the site as accessible and user friendly as possible. Designers have responded well to this feedback and are keen to include further suggestions into a phase-two site in the future.
Chief Executive Caroline Ward said: “Mayday is thrilled to finally have a presence on the web. The charity has a strong reputation within the field of Social Housing and we are keen to build on this. I am confident that this site will help the Trust to raise its profile amongst prospective and existing clients, stakeholders and funders”.
Mayday Trust is a regional registered charity, which provides temporary supported accommodation and life-skills training for homeless people and those with special support needs. The Trust was established as a Charity in 1979 and now runs Projects across Northamptonshire, Warwickshire and Bedfordshire. Last year Mayday supported over 500 people to achieve greater independence.
The website has been produced by Hello Design, in conjunction with Webstars.
Rugby Activities Funding
Residents at Mayday Trust’s Rugby Supported Housing Schemes will be enjoying a host of new activities this year thanks to a series of generous donations. Warwickshire County Council’s Rugby Area Team has funded a yearlong art group, in partnership with Rugby Art Gallery and Museum. Residents are taking part in 12 art sessions covering a variety of mediums including textiles, woodwork and dance. The workshops will culminate in a two-week exhibition in 2008.
In addition, residents at Mayday House will be embarking on a ‘Healthier way of Life”, thanks to a series of donations. The group have begun work on the garden and will soon receive a selection of sports and recreation equipment. As well as brightening up a drab space, and encouraging residents to be healthier, the “Healthier way of Life” group will allow residents to develop their social skills, take responsibility for a communal space and discover new interests.
Wellingborough’s Top Politicians Get Sneak Preview Of Housing Charity’s Major Refurbishment
Wellingborough MP Peter Bone and Mayor Tim Allebone visited Bassetts Court on Friday 23 February 2007. During their visit the pair saw the results of the scheme’s £2.5 million Refurbishment. The building owned by LHA-ASRA was refurbished thanks to funding from the Housing Corporation and LHA-ASRA. Mayday Trust raised a further £54,000 towards white goods and furnishings.
The visitors had a tour of the scheme, explored the new communal facilities and chatted to residents about their experiences. They also found time for a quick game on the scheme’s new football table.
Councillor Allebone said: “I found it very interesting and it was a super set-up. The residents I spoke to were delighted with the improvements. I thought the staff were all first class and provide a first class service.”
Mayday Trust’s Chief Executive, Caroline Ward added: “We are thrilled with the recent redevelopment work at Bassetts Court and are confident that these refurbishments will stand us in good stead for the future. We were only too pleased to show our visitors around the new facilities.”
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New service for marginalised young people exceeds expectations >
Mayday Trust Chief Exec Becomes Project Worker In Leighton Buzzard - January 2008 >
Chief Executive Spends Day At The Deep End - November 2007 >
Daventry MP Visit - Octover 2007 >
Leighton Buzzard MP Visit - September 2007 >
Mayday Trust Restructure Setting The Record Straight - July 2007.pdf >
Mayday Trust Restructure and Appointments - July 2007.pdf >
Rugby Activities- May 2007.pdf >
Wellingborough Politicians Visit - February 2007.pdf >
Trust Appoint New Chief Executive - January 2007.pdf >
Mayday Trust Art Exhibition - January 2007.pdf >
Christmas Card Competition - December 2006.pdf >
Wellingborough Christmas Appeal - November 2006.pdf >
Indulgence Day - November 2006.pdf >
Open Gardens Event - June 2006.pdf >
Wellingborough Lions Donation - June 2006.pdf >
Pottery Exhibition - June 2006.pdf >
Pertemps Half Marathon - May 2006.pdf >
Daventry Allotment - February 2006.pdf >