Established at Tooting Bec Hospital in 1993, the project was one of the first projects in the UK to offer paid work and training to adults in contact with mental health services.
At that time patients were paid token amounts when working on therapeutic schemes and the work was reported as menial and unrewarding. With the support of Mark Bertram, the day centre manager, a group met to discuss opportunities for employment.
The patients suggested and agreed that carpet cleaning would meet the criteria for ethical and meaningful paid work.
The service was originally known as: “a gang of patients seeking work in the community”.It was then re-named: Home Cleaning Services and soon built up a healthy client base and a reputation for excellent work.
It also received national recognition – winning an equality award and Beacon status from the Department of Health. The learning from the project was published in an academic peer reviewed journal.
In 2003 the project received a grant from Guys and St Thomas’s Charity which enabled the purchase of more sophisticated cleaning equipment and the funding for a full time Project Co-ordinator.
At this time, the name of the project was changed again to Carpet Cleaning Care. Since 2007 Carpet Cleaning Care became part of South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust vocational services and began to receive core funding from the NHS as health professionals and service users alike discovered meaningful work, increased income and a renewed sense of purpose were important to improved mental health and well being.
Over many years the project has grown significantly. It challenges stereotypical views about the abilities of mental health service users. Hundreds of people on this project have learnt workskills, gained self-confidence and achieved their vocational goals.
A crucial period in Clean & Care’s development was the successful award of a £368K contract from Lambeth Council to clean the carpets and floors of Lambeth libraries. This has enabled the project to grow significantly and take the work to an industrial scale.
After specialising in carpet cleaning for the first 18 years of operation, we have successfully diversified into office cleaning – hence the new name Clean & Care.