Books, games and virtual workshops requested for John West House

The not-for-profit organisation that co-runs John West House (JWH) is asking for donations of books, board games, and offers of virtual workshops.

Browns Community Services (BCS) CIC has made the request on behalf of the 23 men staying at the provision who, like the rest of the UK, are asked to stay inside.

Council-owned JWH is run by Browns and the council and aims to get people off the streets and into long-term sustainable housing through a three-stage accommodation programme.

As of Monday evening, the Prime Minister said people should stay at home, except for very limited purposes, in a bid to protect the NHS and save lives.

With the clients of JWH confined to the unit in Howarth Road, off Stafferton Way, Angeline Gore, chief executive officer of Browns said staff are ‘trying to find things to keep people busy’.

“We’ve tried to make sure that they’re not just sitting there, obsessed with watching the news,” said Angeline. “And that we’re having a little bit of fun.”

She is also keen that activities are educational and that the workshops JWH clients are used to do not come to a halt, but instead happen virtually. A nutrition course that took place at John West House last week, was held via webcam this week.

“We’ve decided now that we would like to get a world map and we’re going to see how far we can go virtually in regards to our online workshops,” Angeline said.

Browns has also bought a laptop for clients, ordered flat-pack Ikea wardrobes for them to assemble and hopes to make use of the currently deserted space surrounding JWH.

“I’m thinking of ways we can use the car park, how we can get out and do our once a day exercise that Boris has told us all to do,” said Angeline.

She would also welcome donations of outdoor games, including soft balls for football, badminton and tennis equipment.

Angeline says the men on the unit, and those based at Braywick Lodge, are ‘in good health’.

“We’re obsessed with hand cleaning, from the minute somebody comes in its straight to the toilets to wash hands, keeping the unit clean, keeping themselves clean.”

Although JWH is having to limit the consumption of milk, food is not in extremely short supply for now, but offers of food are always more than welcome.

Angeline gave her thanks to Royal Borough and Browns staff for carrying on working and keeping things going and as normal as possible for everyone at JWH and Braywick Lodge.

To donate food, books, board games, outdoor games, or the offer of a virtual workshop email or call 07508 194940.

To report anyone rough sleeping call the council on 01628 683803 or email

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