22nd January 2020
In August 2018, Caridon received a call from the Croydon Council Homeless Emergency Accommodation team. Croydon Council wanted to refer a homeless man, Jezza, to Caridon. Jezza was suffering from a post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues following a series of personal setbacks and traumatic experiences, including being the victim of a robbery, a suicide attempt and a subsequent five-month stay in a psychiatric hospital. This was an excellent opportunity for Caridon to do what it does best: to make a difference to someone’s life through social housing.
Move to and assistance from Caridon
Sarah Cave, Assistant Regional Manager at Caridon, met Jezza when he came to view a flat in a Caridon property. Sarah is a friendly member of the Caridon team, who was aware of Jezza’s circumstances and was able to answer all his questions and make him feel welcome. Jezza’s moved into the flat shortly after the viewing and once a deposit and advance were secured from Croydon Council.
Once in Caridon’s care, Susan Passman, Caridon’s Housing Benefit Manager, successfully assisted Jezza in the submission of a new Universal Credit claim. Since Jezza had moved boroughs, his crossover to Universal Credit meant that he lost payment of his sickness benefit. Susan guided Jezza to successfully claim the Limited Capability for Work Element of Universal Credit. With Susan’s assistance, Jezza has since gone on to also claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP) benefits.
In September 2018, Croydon Council contacted Jezza to see how he was settling in with Caridon. Following that communication, Susan received an email from Sharon Steward, Homeless Emergency Accommodation & B&B Interventions Officer at Croydon Council saying: “Spoke with [Jezza] today, he’s really happy in [the Croydon property].”
Jezza’s new life
Since moving into Caridon’s care, Jezza has turned his life around and he is much happier. He runs for therapy; participating in and also volunteering at Parkrun. One such event was held in Brighton, where runners all went for a meal after their 5km race. He is documenting his runs, and his life journey, on his Instagram and Twitter accounts @jezzaruns. In June 2020 he plans to run seven marathons in seven days, raising money for the Heads On charity. Jezza is now an ambassador for Patagonia and Mountain Fuel sports nutrition.
Jezza now works by delivering presentations and sharing his story of his road to mental recovery. He also regularly coaches groups on topics such as exercise, nutrition and sleep. He has recently completed a ten-week intensive training course which allows him to teach in the adult education sector.
Jezza was nominated for a People First Shining Star Award in the non-staff category at the 2019 Positive Practice Awards held on 8 November 2019 at the Hilton Brighton Metropole where he went on to win Silver.
Caridon’s charitable arm, the Caridon Foundation, hosts a Christmas Party for vulnerable residents and for those who might not otherwise have the opportunity to attend a celebration over the festive season. Jezza was invited to address the guests. He spoke for ten minutes, sharing his inspirational story and was congratulated many times over by both Caridon staff and residents.
On receiving a helping hand from Caridon Group, Jezza said that:
“My story shows how the battle against poor mental health can be won with the right help and advice, which I have received from Caridon. I now have the time to focus on positive and healthy activities. I have also regained my confidence, allowing me to speak to others who are struggling with the same issues that I have been lucky enough to overcome.”
“Susan Passman at Caridon has made a huge difference to my life. Time and again she has shown dedication to go above and beyond to help me, provide advice and ask me how I am doing.”
Mario Carrozzo, CEO of Caridon Group, said that:
“Caridon’s mission is to make a difference in social housing. Jezza’s case is an example of the difference that our invaluable experience in social housing, combined with a touch of personal care, can make to our residents’ lives.”
“I am very proud to have people like Susan Passman and Sarah Cave in our organisation. They assist our residents with a wide variety of issues, including the completion of their benefits claims, moving logistics, the planning of extracurricular activities, enrolment in education and training opportunities and confidence building.”