The Jewish Blind & Disabled developments are far more than blocks of flats. They provide their tenants with a safe, secure, supported living environment, and this is due to the fantastic team of staff who give their all on a daily basis.
They are a team of friendly faces who the tenants all know and feel comfortable with – Jewish Blind & Disabled doesn’t employ any agency staff.
There are the House Managers, who are on duty 24/7 365 days a year and call each Jewish Blind & Disabled tenant every morning and every evening to make sure that everything is ok and to let them know about the activities that might be taking place that day.
There are the maintenance staff who are on hand for a variety of jobs, from mending taps to modifying apartments if a tenant’s condition deteriorates.
The Volunteers pop in to organise quizzes/keep fit sessions/manicures and art sessions and the tenancy support team are on hand to help with advice about benefits, grants and also to lend a sympathetic ear in times of emotional stress. Jewish Blind & Disabled is proud to work with a great team of people who are the real bricks and mortar of the seven developments. We caught up with a few of them and asked them about their roles.
House Management Team – each building has two House Managers living on site. They are fully trained in First Aid and in contact with every tenant twice a day. They also add to their building’s social calendar with a range of their own activities.
Tenancy Support Team – helps the prospective tenants from their initial assessment through to their move into their flat. They also provide ongoing support to help them live independently, with areas such as welfare issues, benefits, grants and form filling!
Property & Development Team – oversees all maintenance and planned works to the properties and assists with acquisition of new sites. They will organise any required modifications to the flats, for example if someone’s condition changes or deteriorates. This team also deals with Health & Safety.
Maintenance Team – responsible for all maintenance issues that arise in the flats and common parts.
Cleaners – permanent employees who look after the common parts of each building, maintaining them to the very highest level.
Mobility Bus Drivers – enabling the tenants to get out and about to the local supermarket and kosher shops in specially adapted buses.
Volunteers – a great team who give as much time as they can spare to the charity, and their input really does transform people’s lives.
Terry Williams – Maintenance
When I joined July 2007 What I love at Jewish Blind & Disabled: I love the diversity and flexibility of my job and the satisfaction of helping others. I really enjoy working as part of a team, and having trust placed in me to carry out my tasks independently. Something unusual about this job for me: I’ve never before been in a job for more than four years – I’ve always felt the need to move on, but not this time!
Philip Heaton – Maintenance
When I joined: December 2014 What I love at Jewish Blind & Disabled: I love that I get to do something new each day, whether it be changing a lightbulb or repairing a bin yard. We have a great team and it’s really well managed – what more can you ask for? What I love outside Jewish Blind & Disabled: I really enjoy making recycled furniture and also I love swing dancing. My greatest ambition is to visit the seven natural wonders of the world – two down, five to go!
Debbie Preece – House Manger
When I joined: November 2001. What I love at Jewish Blind & Disabled: I love making the tenants laugh and trying to cheer them up if they are feeling low. What I love outside Jewish Blind & Disabled: I love Lego! I am also very spiritual, and have seen heard and felt spirits, even those of passed tenants. An unfulfilled ambition would be to run a B&B – my aunt used to run a hotel in Abergavenny and I used to love working there during my summer holidays.
Rhoda Dyson – Cleaner
When I joined: 2005 What I love at Jewish Blind & Disabled: I love the tenants and my regular chats with them. I really enjoy my job and I wouldn’t have been here for 10 years if I didn’t! What I love outside Jewish Blind & Disabled: Spending as much time as possible with my two lovely sons and three grandsons.
Daniel Chakimi, Property & Development Manager, Head of Health & Safety
When I joined: February 2009 What I love at Jewish Blind & Disabled: The dynamics and challenge of steering the development of our bespoke buildings that are adapted in very great detail to the needs of our tenants – ultimately my job is all about providing excellent accommodation for disabled persons so they can live safely. Something no-one knows about you: I love to play the guitar
Peter Hogan Property and Mobility Bus Supervisor
When I joined: February 2015 What I love at Jewish Blind & Disabled: The interaction I have with tenants and making a real difference to their lives. Some of the work we do is behind the scenes and can go unnoticed, but it’s satisfying knowing I make a real contribution. The icing on the cake: Hearing stories of the tenants interesting pasts and being told some great jokes, some of which are unrepeatable in polite company, but always told to me with a cheeky smile or a wink
Jacqui Gerrard & Gillie Sion (sisters) Volunteers, Breakfast & Lunch Clubs, Bingo
When we joined: Jacqui 2006, Gillie 2012 What we love at Jewish Blind & Disabled: Being with the tenants and treating them more like our extended family. We are rewarded in so many ways – they show us their gratitude with joy on their faces, with kisses and hugs. Why we wanted to get involved: We have been blessed with wonderful caring parents, family and friends and we feel that it is now time to give to others what we were given ourselves.
Alex Sherrick Volunteer visitor
What I love at Jewish Blind & Disabled: I regularly visit one of the young tenants. The feeling and experience earned from this work is like no other and I fully recommend doing voluntary work. It is an experience that will stay with you for life. Why I wanted to get involved: I always wanted to volunteer for people with a disability as I believed it would help me to appreciate things more. It has also given me an insight into what their life is like and how it is different to mine.
Karen Zeff – Head of Housing Management and Tenancy Support
When I joined: September 2012 What I love at Jewish Blind & Disabled: I love that there is a sense of family around our workplace. The work is often challenging, but while we work hard we reap the rewards of the effort we put in every day. Jewish Blind & Disabled as an organisation values its staff knowing that each one gives 100%. How I feel about my colleagues: It’s a privilege to work alongside so many knowledgeable and passionate people.
Keren Yakov – Tenancy Support Advisor
When I joined: June 2008 What I love at Jewish Blind & Disabled: I love my job because each day is different. My role is interesting, challenging and rewarding and it is nice to work in such a supported environment and to see the difference that we all make to people. Helping and supporting others gives me a lot of satisfaction. What I love outside Jewish Blind & Disabled: I play the piano and the mandolin and I came second in a regional swimming competition in Israel! I served in the Israeli army and I know how to shoot a M16.
Miriam Marsden – Tenancy Support Advisor When I joined: December 2009 What I love at Jewish Blind & Disabled: I love having the opportunity to make a difference. My role really does enable people to have a better and improved quality of life and it’s lovely to see this come to fruition. I did voluntary work before taking my position at Jewish Blind & Disabled, which was very rewarding and gave me the confidence to apply for this job. When I was at school (a long time ago!) I remember dreaming about the day when I wouldn’t have to take exams any more. What I didn’t realise then was that my job would present challenges that test me but can be so fulfilling! What I love outside Jewish Blind & Disabled: My (as yet unfulfilled!) ambition is to go on a world cruise, first class all the way!