Mary – It’s been a slow start to life after lockdown in the candle room, with many church celebrations being postponed, but they are now rebooking dates and the orders have begun to come in.  During this quiet time, we have stocked up our shelves in anticipation of orders for the end-of-year school leaver candles…the year has flown so fast, December will be upon us in no time!

A lovely outcome to lockdown is the presence of some of our more mature clients in the candle room.  As we had to ‘spread out’ in level two, they came in with their work from the workroom and never left!  It is generally a room of ‘mature grey-haired ladies’ who enjoy the quiet and warmth, with Kevin coming in on Thursday and Friday bringing his cheeky and cherry attitude to keep us on our toes!  Annie often comments on how ‘cosy’ it is and Maggie strides in as if she has always worked in here. We also enjoy the company of Laureen, Michelle, Helen and Sharon who enjoy a session or two throughout the week. 

As the orders begin to come in, I will bring our regular candle workers back in to help…Alecia, Cameron M and Biddy have been patient but also enjoying their time in the workroom and their usual community activities.  Remember to pop in and see our special candles (or browse our website – they are a wonderful personalised gift which are made with such care…our candlemakers have every reason to be proud of themselves.

I will be busy booking all the Red Cross courses next week – every AJ’s staff member must keep their first aid qualification valid.  It will be slightly different this year as we can now do half of our revalidation online with only the scenarios and resuscitation segments done at the premises with the tutor…technology at its finest, as it only takes half a day!  I always have a giggle when I attend the course, as my daughter had her photo taken for the Red Cross book 10 years ago and it’s always on the screen when I arrive and now on the first page of the App…obviously they felt no need to rush and update it along with the other technological updates they have made!

Stay warm and dry everyone – great to see signs of Spring popping up!

Tuam 27/7/20 – Angela


The new normal at AJ’s has given us the opportunity to make changes, some of them small, but have had a big impact.

The table configuration throughout the workroom and dining room has created more space for everyone.  The freshly painted tabletops have lightened up the room and the new sofa arrangement is more appealing.  A shuffle of lockers has created a new space, allowing the table tennis, model train set and the pool table the room they require to be used.  A couple of extra monitors, to allow personal DVD’s to be watched, has been appreciated.

Over the past three months since lockdown, we have had a steady supply of work dropped to us to be completed, which we are very grateful for – Fulton Hogan, OJ’s, Every Educaid, Alto, Griffin Press, Modular and Carton Pack.

Tuesday mornings, Jim K, Allan W, and Hayden D and myself, visit a library so the lads can issue DVDs.  We visit a supermarket to purchase fruit and supplies we will require during the week and amongst this we have morning tea.  This social outing has created many learning opportunities, which the three have embraced…it is very rewarding. 

Wednesday morning someone prepares the fruit for morning tea…peeling, cutting then presenting it on a tray.  It is always refreshing and a nice change instead of a biscuit from the tin.

Thursday morning we like to have something light and tasty for morning tea. We always have people keen to have a turn in the kitchen and recently we have had crackers with hummus, pikelets, and savoury pinwheels.  The crackers and pikelets were so well received we have had them twice!  

FOCUS 14/7/2020

After our time in Lockdown we are back into the swing of things at AJ’s. It was amazing how everyone dealt with the changes and adapted to the ‘new normal’ so quickly.

FOCUS is a part of AJ’s – getting clients ‘Moving More than Before’.

Last term we, at FOCUS, were busy with different walks, Rapaki, Halswell Quarry, Bowenvale, Rogers Track, Hagley Park and activities such as weights at AJ’s, skipping (with a skipping rope), running and exercises.

We have done some great walks with the Wednesday group – Harley A, Nick F and Justin and sometimes Matthew. We leave AJ’s at 0915 and head to the supermarket to get a piece of fruit for morning tea before we walk for up to two hours then return to AJ’s for lunch. Over time, these guys have developed a good rapport and the conversations are held and carried on naturally. They play games and interact well which makes the walking task very easy.

At the end of the term, when it rained every day for two weeks, there were many different activities done around AJ’s:

  • Weight Machine       –              To build strength
  • Skipping                       –              To increase Cardio
  • Circuits                       –              A variety of different exercises
  • Trampoline Park       –              A treat at the end of term

Monday to Thursday I do 1-1 with many people, Ben M, Georgia, Matthew, Anthony, Sam T, Christopher H, Joseph, Helen, Murdoch, Jack, Kyle, Daniel, Clement and Laughain. It is weather dependent – maybe a walk around the old stadium, two or three walks around the block, work on the weight machine or circuits up stairs.

FOCUS is going really well and I am noticing that people are coming to me to make sure they get their work out done before they head away for any community activities they may have during the day.

6 April 2020

Just for peoples information we have been using the facebook page to keep in contact with as many people as we can. You can find the page by searching for “@ajs2020”. The page also has posts from the staff about phone calls they have made to clients who cannot access the page.

Update 23/3/2020

Hi Everyone

AJs has now closed to further notice due to the Prime Ministers decision as of 2pm Monday 23rd

Yes, we were still open. AJs has now closed till further notice due to the Prime Ministers decision as of 2pm Monday 23rd

To keep everyone up-to-date with what’s happening at AJs, we have started a Facebook Page (AJ Day Options Trust) which we plan to add regular posts.  AJ staff will hopefully start adding small posts on how they are coping with the isolation so that the clients can still know what we are up to. We would encourage clients to also post to the facepage so their mates can see what people are doing.

You can also contact us by email  Jim on 027 223 0935.

Jim and everyone at AJs

COVID-19 Update

20 March 2020

To Residential Provider, Parent and Caregivers


AJ’s is still open for the people who attend our service. 

To ensure we can stay open we are putting the following actions in place.

  • On top of theregular handwashing we encourage the clients to do, we will be requiring clients to either wash their hands or use the provided hand sanitiser when they arrive in the morning and at the end of the day before leaving (if your client is sensitive to hand sanitiser, please let us know so we can make sure they wash their hands instead).
  • At the end of each day all door handles and tables will be wiped clean with an approved disinfectant.
  • We are asking that clients bring lunch in their own container that they can eat it from and their own utensils (so if they are bringing food that requires heating please ensure that it is in a microwaveable safe container).
  • Most important is that if a client has a cough or flu-like symptoms they MUST NOT attend AJ’s.

We are putting these actions in place for the protection of all our clients and to enable us to stay open and continue to provide our service to as many clients as possible.

If you have any questions please contact AJ’s on 3749830 or

027 223 0935 or email –

We will keep you informed with updates as they occur. 

You can also check our website update page which we will try and keep up-to-date information on.

Thank you for your co-operation.

Jim Sullivan

Service Manager

AJ Day Options Trust

Risk 28/5/19

A beautiful day to be out on the water yesterday and our first session in the faster moving waters of the river. Our morning started with us having a chat about the plan for the day and having a quick bite to eat before we unloaded the canoes and got ourselves into the correct gear. Being our first week on the river, instead of the lake we had been on in previous weeks, meant we needed to learn how to get onto the boats from the river bed. This required team work and a good sense of balance as we needed to enter from the rear of the boat and then walk forward, keeping our hands on the sides of the boats so that we kept our balance centred and were able to get on the canoes without issue or taking a dip into the river. Once we had all gotten ourselves into position in the boats we needed to learn how to push off of the river bank, this required the two people already in the boat to place their paddles on the river bed as the person sitting in the rear, the steering seat, would push off the river bank and get themselves into proper Canadian canoeing position. After a small time spent being shown this we were out on the water and ready to learn how to manoeuvre around the reeds and use the currant of the river to our advantage. This was a whole new challenge for the group as it required the person steering to look ahead and pick a route down the river that would avoid the reeds or islands as they were called by the students. This proved to be very challenging as it meant they had to trust in their use of the paddles to steer and could not be looking down at the paddle checking they were doing it correctly. Once we all had a good idea of how to properly paddle down the river we set off on our first real canoeing journey. The journey took us down the winding river and around many different obstacles, consisting off overgrown trees, reeds and the natural twists and turns one finds on a river. The group did really well heading down the river before reaching the end of our journey and realizing they would now have to paddle back up river. Paddling against the currant is considerably harder than when travelling with the rivers flow. It required teamwork and every member of the team to paddle hard in order to get back to where we had started so that we could get back on land and have lunch. Following lunch we set out on the river once more, this time heading up river and under the low lying bridge. In order to get under the bridge we all needed to lean forward and protect our heads, this was a challenge for some of the group as we needed to be flexible enough to get our heads down low enough to safely pass under the bridge. Once we had all gotten ourselves under the bridge we continued up stream and embarked on our most challenging canoeing session thus far. This proved to be even more challenging than in previous years due to overgrown trees and a relatively unkempt section of the Groynes. The team did incredibly well to take on this challenge and pushed themselves far beyond the limits they thought they had. It was amazing to see the resilience of the group and how well they supported one another as we journeyed up this very difficult section of river. �