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Just Helpers Journey – by Antoinette Daniel

Just Helpers Journey – The Reason

I started the company in 2013 when I landed an amazing part-time job working for an anti-human trafficking organisation.

Having loved being a secondary school teacher for 12 years, the cut in salary to pursue something that I am so passionate about was tricky. I have always loved cleaning for friends and family and took pride in seeing peoples faces after my efforts. Coming home after a long day of work and knowing that your home space is serene, organised and clean is a joy to behold. Ensuring that “wow” and “ahhhh” feeling when clients get home still gives me the same satisfaction today. This motivation was key in inspiring and brainstorming business ideas to help support my charity work. So through my love of cleaning and hard work a business was born.

Small Beginnings

Consequently, through friends at church, I was connected to my first amazing client (Eve, how apt!) and the cleaning agency has rapidly grown from there.  My passion for justice, fair pay and working conditions was at the core of the business from the very beginning. As I received more and more referrals the business grew and gradually evolved through word of mouth recommendations. From a one-woman business to appointing my first colleagues Barbara and Yana Yaneva along the way, to what you see today – Just Helpers.

It was clear by 2015 that my role should evolve more strategically and I should continue to combine my two passions:

Cleaning and Empowering Women

Unfortunately, through my anti-trafficking work, I saw first hand the exploitation that happens in all communities even those right on our doorsteps. In our UK neighbourhoods, vulnerable people are taken advantage of and not given the opportunities, rights and kindnesses that every person should be afforded. I knew early on that If I could provide an alternative career, where women were nurtured and encouraged to build their own businesses: then my vision would help many individuals in their own journeys.

Fair pay and good working conditions are rare in the cleaning industry

I decided that this ethic should underpin everything that we do. So “Just doing the right thing’ became our motto. Just Helpers from its very inception have been proud affiliates of the London Living Wage Foundation. An organisation campaigning tirelessly to ensure fair pay is awarded to workers and help highlight the poverty crisis in the UK (please find out more here). Just Helpers supports your cleaner by ensuring they receive an equitable wage from their clients but my conscience pushed that we go way beyond that. Just Helpers is my family and I instil pride and enthusiasm in all of my teammates from the very start. With a team of great in-house, ‘home-grown’ managers, we mentor your Helper to improve their confidence and assist them in their communication with their clients.  Where we see Helpers with the potential for growth beyond cleaning, we promote them to be a manager at the earliest opportunity.

Ethics are central to our company operations and we employ this internally within our office team and in our interactions with you and your cleaner.

We have grown to be a management agency providing London cleaning services for both domestic and commercial clients. We act on behalf of professional, affordable and conscientious cleaners (we prefer the term ‘Helpers’), who will love your home like their own. Our experience in the industry enables us to help you and your Helper develop a strong, solid relationship.

All of our Helpers providing cleaning services in London are vetted and put through three hands-on cleaning interviews to make sure that they are the right Helper for you.  We want to know that they subscribe to a shared standard that they have agreed upon as a collective over time. This is ever-changing, especially as new Helpers join the ranks and share their expertise. We have learnt how to spot a great ‘Helper’ through our robust interview process and are regularly approached by women wanting to join Just Helpers as our honest, fair and empowering reputation spreads across communities both here and abroad. I am so proud and delighted to advocate and administrate for such a committed team of colleagues.

So that is the Just Helpers Journey so far. What’s next?

The Future

Being a South Londoner, London has always been my home but since childhood, I have had a love of the sea. In my younger years as a teacher, I taught both in the UK and in Africa and have been fortunate enough to travel broadly.  Even with experiencing many countries, I love nothing more than coming home. This summer I took the first step in making my longer-term dream come true. I moved to live by the sea. Just Helpers now has a team of Operations Managers and over 40 Helpers providing high quality, reliable and efficient cleaning. My aim is to eventually own my own home by the sea and help raise teenagers through fostering.

This is my 5-year plan

Professionally, Just Helpers must continue to grow and I have some great people supporting me in navigating the next exciting phase of growth. I have also been privileged to have been invited to contribute to the Mayor of London’s ‘Good Work Standard’ initiative as a Champion.  The aim of this initiative is to promote equitable and nurturing working standards in London businesses. This exciting committee should help to educate and inform other businesses and government policy in this sector. Ensuring working conditions improve for all is the focus for the future.

I am also extremely excited to have been nominated for the Venus Women’s Awards (by one of our clients) in the category of ‘Employer of the Year – London’. This team effort is a great recognition of how far we have come. We are thrilled to have just found out we are Finalists. The whole management team will attend a lovely event in December to find out if we win. Regardless of the outcome I am so proud of everyone and cannot wait to celebrate!

Who knows what the future holds after that, Homecare and Life Administration is another string to our bow coming soon to London’s postcodes. A new system and App to streamline our communication between Helpers, Clients and the office team,  Just Helpers in another part of the UK…Watch this space!

For now though lets ‘Just’ take one step at a time!  And thank-you to all of those who have journeyed with us along the way.

Anty’s Cleaning Tips #2: Blocked Sinks

If you have been noticing your sink or bath plug draining a little slower than it used to then act now!

Professional drain unblocking services are costly and can be avoided if you follow these simple tips:

PREVENTION

Assuming you haven’t inherited bad drains from previous tenants or owners there are small things you can do which will prevent blockages:

  1. Do not pour animal fat or coffee granules down your sink, scoop them into your bin
  2. Buy a strainer that fits over the plug hole to catch pesky bits of food that end up in the dishwater
  3. *Squeamish alert* Pick out hair from the plughole regularly to stop build-up. You can even buy a ‘drain snake’ to pull the hair out.

CURE

So it’s got pretty bad. There’s still hope. There are two options for you depending on the severity of the situation (or the strength of your stomach):

  1. Chemical: If you have some drainage in the offending sink, you might want to opt for the cheaper option of a chemical unblocker, the best-reviewed product that we always recommend is the Kitchen Buster Plughole Unblocker. Be aware, the fumes are terrible so keep the doors and windows open and don’t hang around watching it work!
  2. Mechanical: Several foolproof devices are available on the market for DIY pressurised unblocking. In cases where nothing is going down the sink at all this may be your only option. The Power Plumber Instant Drain Cleaner is getting great reviews and won a Which? Best Buy award in 2009. A pricier option, but what price would you put on rank water riddance?

Need a hand cleaning your home?

Life in London is demanding and time is at a premium. Get some sparkle back into your life and home with one of our domestic cleaning packages.

Looking for commercial cleaning?

We provide a regular cleaning service for offices and commercial premises in the Greater London area, helping you maintain a professional, healthy and productive work and business environment.

We’d love to chat with you, see your space and walk you through our process.

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020 3995 4810 - Clients
020 3995 4820 - Helpers

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info@justhelpers.co.uk

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Kings Parade, Lower Coombe Road, Croydon, CR0 1AA

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