It’s Mike’s first day as Project Worker and so we all feel excited, not least Mike who is very EXCITED! Little does he know that this is the launch of our new Blog and Ben’s marketing campaign around oranges (Yes…this means standing on drafty street corners. Will Wendy ever run out of ideas?) We had decided that we would give out oranges free all day on Monday and our first task was to wrap our Blog address around every orange. Members of staff and volunteers and Tesco had kindly donated oranges. Mike should have been stuck well into his induction and procedures but bless him was so keen to wrap our blog address on the oranges. Induction will come later Mike! To say the least it takes awhile to wrap up 700+ oranges…..the things you do in the Voluntary sector!At 10o’clock a small team went out onto West Street to begin giving out the oranges. Mike spotted a lovely orange flag and decided it would be just the thing to attract attention! The Centre was still open so the rest of the team had to keep working. The clients thought we were mad and couldn’t quite grasp what it was all about. “Why did we need any more people to come to Ben’s”, was the most heard comment. They value this place as a place of safety and the thought of new people is unsettling to them. It is a freezing day and very windy and rainy so when the team keeps coming back to Ben’s to refill their baskets they all look frozen. Most did not want to come in for a drink or a break as they were having so much fun. They kept telling us of conversations they had had with people and they were so encouraging and uplifting. We have had so much fun getting this Blog off the ground. Not least because none of us know what we are doing and we are having to learn on the job. Sue’s had numerous conversations with her son Jonathan who has been very encouraging to her but poor Jon has had to explain the most basic of procedures to her. Great shouts of excitement when we see a picture go in the right place or we manage to juggle the words around one!!! Great cries of despair when something disappears too. THE most exciting thing has been to see the hits we are getting and although we thought most of these could be Wendy, our lovely manager, we know they are not. It is so lovely to know people are interested and when a comment is made it has been just amazing. One of the things we want is that people will begin to understand a little more what we are doing and how hard it can be working in this field but also how lovely and fun too. It’s now Wednesday and Wendy’s ideas are beginning to flag….thank goodness!! The “normal” life of the Centre has been going on amidst all this which has involved helping clients make appointments, reminding them the Podiatrist (posh chiropodist) was coming in. Listening too them and having some good one to ones. Allowing the rough sleepers to just crash out on our sofas and sleep in safety. Washing their clothes and giving out warm clothing. These and much more is all part of the many facets that make up our day at Ben’s. Teresa, our cook, has been busy cooking roast pork and liver and onions which the clients have loved especially as the weather has been so cold and wet. The staff team did a course last week on “Dealing with Aggression with Difficult Clients”. We learned about the ''Calma approach''. Most of us managed to keep to it for at least 10mins the following day!! Seriously it was very good and has taught us a lot and helped us enormously as a team. The down side of this is that we have course work to complete as it is an accredited course. This has involved our whole team from our young student volunteer who obviously finds this a lot easier than our older staff and oldest volunteer who is in his 70’s! We had a homework party which finished at 10.30 so you can see why Wendy is flagging a little and the rest of us too. We can never say that you get bored here.