17/8/2021 AJs closed during Level 4

As we have moved into Level 4 for the next 3 days AJs will be closed during that time. We will keep you all up to date with when we can reopen both on our web

site in the News Page and on our facebook page.

25th Nov 2020 Matt.

What a year aye, and it’s not even over yet.

Much like the big budget blockbuster films from the major movie studios, our movie project has suffered from the affects of this year. Between lockdowns and some of the guys being away for different reasons, it’s delayed the final release of our current project. Sam Taylor, Nick Field, Nick Tomkinson, Eddie Hines, Cameron Hepburn, Ben Marshall, and Lewis Hawker have all been working away on it the project, hopefully nearing the end of production. We were able to make some of the shorter length video updates after lockdown, to keep everyone in the loop of what was happening.

Most of the week I’m actually in the workshop cracking the whip, sometimes literally. I’ve had an app on my phone that sounds like a whip noise when you flick your phone, and gets a good laugh from the guys. Work though has been a bit lite on the ground at times, which I guess is another sign of the times. We have had a few division jobs coming through, no doubt keeping Paul McElhinney happy his favourite job’s still coming in. We’ve had a few jobs from Every educaid and few pamphlets jobs. Aucom and Modular jobs have still been pretty steady, Kyle, Jimmy, Sam T and Kelvin are happy with that. Kelvin has also enjoyed watching the roadworks outside when things have been a bit quiet. They’re hopefully going to be done by Christmas, though I’m not sure which year. I think we were originally told they were to be done by Christmas last year.

And even though I really enjoy being in the workshop, it’s been fun filling in on some of the outings we do. Joining the pool group taking Eddie, Lewis, Sam T and Nick T the time I went, and losing both games I played. I’ve taken the timezone group a couple of times recently, with Mark R, Cara, Clement, and Anthony, then also taking Mark R, Ian P and Murdoch car cleaning as well. I also took the golf group a few times, seeing some good improvements since when some of them started, Ben N/F in particular comes to mind who is hitting the ball better.

To round out my week, I take a group of young guys out of Fridays, the regulars are Sam T, Nick F, and Harley B. We alternate between mornings one week, and afternoons the other. For the afternoons we head out to Orana to drop off shredded paper, on occasion actually seeing the animals playing with it. On the morning time slots we try and fit in a decent active outing. Going for a walk somewhere, recently doing some walks down Sumner way, but also going to the free basketball/table-tennis in town, and planning on doing frizby golf sometime soon.

Of course though, I can’t finish without making some comment about Christmas being almost upon us. Christmas lunch is still being finalised, but it will be held at AJ’s this year. It’s likely to be a more casual affair, which will be a nice change. But the most important thing, seeing as I’m no longer the youngest here, I don’t have to do the decorations this year. 

29/920 Barbara’s update


Even in Level 2 we could still access some of our activities so the Gentle Exercise Group (Alan S, Beth and Craig B and myself) have been attending each Friday at Ascot Ave.  Craig is the only original group member, still going strong after all this time.  The instructor, Michelle, mixes up the class so we don’t get bored.  The music is always great, and our ability is variable, but we are always motivated by the thought of morning tea.  Lorraine is a very good timekeeper and tells Michelle, and us, how long we have till it is coffee time!  We had some ball skills today, which is always fun, but no-one will be getting a call up to the Silver Ferns or the Wellington Phoenix…I’m sure they would be relieved to hear that!

We go to the Naked Baker for morning tea.  Everyone knows us and we have a table reserved, which is great.  We laugh and talk and enjoy the food and drinks – the order is always the same – muffins, milkshakes, coffee and a sausage roll.  I try and tempt Alan and Beth with the array of food but no, they are creatures of habit.

Lately, we have gone down to the Estuary to feed the seagulls which is such fun.  It is exciting to throw bread while dodging air drops from thankful seagulls.  It’s even more fun when the Easterly blows (which seems to be always), we have to avoid incoming seagulls as the bread flies back on us and they fight to get it.

Wednesday Sensory Group (Joe, Matt D and Murdoch) have had an interesting time as we all enjoy the morning, usually with the wonderful Catherine.  I’m sure I am more excited than ‘the guys’ when new things are introduced. Murdoch is great at using new items including the trampoline, don’t worry not a full tramp, a small version…I am tempted but it has a weight limit.

McDonalds for morning tea is a bit more complicated now we are back to Level 2, but the Macca’s taste the same.  With social distancing in place we have not seen our regular friends, which is sad.  Joe especially loves talking to his friends and used to love reading the paper but that’s no longer available.

No Choir at the moment…we had no choir, then we went back to choir to practise for the concert, then no concert and no choir!!  We had learnt new songs, lots of Beatles songs and Maori songs with actions – Paul Mac and Sarah A really make the poi’s fly and Clement and Anne have been bringing their guitar and ukulele along to play.  Fay, Michelle, Anne, Clement, John G, Paul Mac and Sarah A were all looking forward to the concert.  Hopefully we can have a Christmas concert at the end of the year and 2021 will be a better year for all of us.


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 www.thecandlemaker.co.nz) – 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.