“It was great using creative skills to achieve a new look in the dining room. The room had just become a corridor through to the kitchen, and not welcoming compared to the rest of the project.” explains Ros, Project Team Leader at Naomi; an 8-bed 24-hour staffed supported accommodation project for young women facing homelessness.
The young women who currently live at Naomi were involved with what they wanted the new dining room to look and feel like at every stage of the discussion, from the colour of the walls to the lighting – and the staff’s pets play a big part in the new theme.
Ros continues: “Staff will often bring their pets into Naomi, especially when the project is unsettled or having issues. The animals bring a sense of calm and some fun.
“The residents recognise this and respect how calming the pets can be – and often ask when they will next be coming in, with each having their own favourite.
“We have also redecorated and updated the living room, thanks to The Vardy Foundation.”
The residents researched canvas art, chose the photos of which staff member’s pet they would like on the canvases, the wording and ordered the canvases online. Learning new skills in the progress. The project has taken budgeting, organisation as well as ICT skills from the young women as well as the sanding and painting involved in decorating a room.
“The residents painted and cleaned the room with staff. Music was played, there was a lot of laughing and singing.
“By involving them in the planning, listening to their ideas and acting on their ideas, it allowed the women who live here a voice, pride and then respect for their environment.”
Oasis Community Housing has five core values, which run through everything the charity does and the residents chose to display these across the wall as well. Putting Hope, Life, Perseverance, Worth and Inclusion right at the centre of this communal space.
“The residents now feel they have a dining room that feels like home. The pictures make them smile. The Ethos and Values make them think and the Habits start conversations. We’re incredibly grateful to the Bluestone Consortium for making this possible for us.”
Sophie*, who has been living at Naomi for 9 months, “It feels like a real home now, it is lush!”
Outside help was also recruited, with staff from SmartIT, one of the charity’s corporate partners, spending a day’s volunteering to help build and move furniture in the new rooms.
Our Naomi project in Gateshead is a safe haven for young women at risk of, or who have experienced homelessness. The property consists of eight bedrooms, a beautiful lounge and now is a proud owner of a newly decorated dining room. The project staffed 24/7 by a dedicated team who work to inspire these women to move forward to a hopeful and independent future. Many of the women have experienced trauma and survived domestic abuse, the Naomi project exists to enable these women the safety and support to heal and grow.
Find out more about how you can support projects like Naomi by visiting our Events pages