We sign up as a supporter of the Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat

Today Richmond Fellowship signed up as a supporter of the Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat and pledged to play our part in improving care for people.

The Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat is a national agreement between services and agencies involved in the care and support of people in crisis. It sets out how organisations will work together better to make sure that people in crisis receive urgent mental health care.

The concordat focusses on four main areas: access to support before crisis point; urgent and emergency access to crisis care; quality of treatment and care when in crisis; and recovery and staying well.

At Richmond Fellowship we already run a number of crisis services across England, providing support for people in the community as either an alternative option to an admission to hospital or as a step-down between an inpatient stay and returning home. We’re in discussions with a number of NHS trusts about working in partnership to provide more of these services around the country.

And our services on the ground are working with the local NHS, police and local authorities to develop joint plans of action for how we’ll work together to improve services.

Richmond Fellowship chief executive Derek Caren said: “We’re committed to playing our part in creating joined-up services that can truly provide the best possible care for people with mental health problems, especially in a crisis situation when individuals are at their most vulnerable.

“We know there is a lot of pressure on emergency and inpatient provision but at the same time we know that many individuals could be effectively supported in community settings. We’re keen to forge strong partnerships with local agencies on the ground so that together we can provide effective services that meet people’s needs.”

For more information about the concordat visit: www.crisiscareconcordat.org.uk

More than 90% of people using our services said they would recommend Richmond Fellowship to others

More than 90% of people using our services said they would recommend Richmond Fellowship to others – that’s the findings of our latest service user satisfaction survey.

This is the third time we’ve organised the survey and the feedback we’re getting is helping us to continually improve our services.

A summary of the results called Listening and Learning has now been produced and highlights where we’ve done well and where we need to improve.

Positive feedback from the survey included:

  • We listen to individuals about their needs
  • We help them to make progress with their individual support plan
  • We help them to improve the quality of their life.

Areas where service users said we need to do better included:

  • We need to make it easier for people to give feedback or make a complaint
  • We need to respond more quickly and effectively to repairs and maintenance issues
  • Although most people said they feel safe and secure in our services, we need to do more for those living in our care homes and 24hr residential schemes.

The survey was open to anyone using our services and we received around 1,600 responses, nearly a quarter of all our service users.

Grazina Berry, our director of performance, quality and innovation, said: “Given that our philosophy is to put the people we support at the heart of everything we do, we’re especially pleased that most of of the people we support felt listened to about their needs. However, we know we’ve still got work to do to improve the way we handle comments, complaints and feedback and to make our property services better at organising repairs. We’re investing in both these areas to get things right.”

Dorset-wildlife-conservation-volunteers

Volunteering with wildlife helps turn lives around

Volunteers from Richmond Fellowship’s services in Dorset have taken part in conservation tasks with Dorset Wildlife Trust, to help aid their recovery from mental health problems.

A group of service users from our Dorset community-based scheme worked on an area of land recently acquired by The Erica Trust, as an extension to the ‘Happy Bottom’ nature reserve in Corfe Mullen.  The volunteering activity, which is part of the Great Heath Living Landscape project, helped to clear Himalayan Balsam – an invasive species which smothers native plants.

Eric Longworth, who has anxiety and depression, has been volunteering with Dorset Wildlife Trust through our scheme for six months.  He said: “Doing this work outside gives me peace of mind and clarity.  It helps lift my worries.  I would recommend it to anyone trying to overcome anxiety – it’s hard to make the first jump, but works well alongside my medication and it’s a distraction from the things that worry me.  Every time I come out, I learn something different – I saw a bee orchid the other day, which I had never seen before.”

In 2011 Richmond Fellowship volunteers were awarded Dorset Wildlife Trust’s ‘Helen Brotherton’ group volunteering award, in recognition of their commitment and enthusiasm towards wildlife.

Sally Wright, community conservation officer for The Great Heath Living Landscape Project, said: “It’s a real pleasure working with the volunteers from Richmond Fellowship. some are starting our Wildlife Champions award scheme, to recognise their hard work and give them confidence to share their new skills with others in the community.”

Neil Gibson, a Richmond Fellowship community link worker, said: “Volunteering outside is a way to make new friends, socialise and develop an interest in wildlife.  We don’t talk about mental health whilst on volunteering tasks, as spending time outdoors is a good distraction, which can help with recovery.  We like working as a team to help each other out, and are very grateful to the Dorset Wildlife Trust wardens, who are always very accommodating.”

Eclipse Barnet celebrates a successful first year

Eclipse Barnet recently celebrated its one-year anniversary.

Providing support to approximately 155 transitioned service users and 176 new service users, the service has already achieved a great deal since its transition from RF Barnet and Mind in Barnet to become the new look Eclipse.

The scheme offers a wide range of courses, including confidence building and stress management, and around 15 weekly social groups such as creative writing and music groups.  There is also one-to-one support through key advising sessions, training and peer groups.

The team has developed excellent relationships with local services to ensure we can provide  the highest level of support possible  to service users.

Plans for the coming year include working closely with service users to get feedback and suggestions for how our courses and groups can be improved further. Other aims include developing more relationships with other local organisations, recruiting more peer volunteers and mentors to support others on their recovery journey, and to continue work raising awareness and reducing stigma surrounding mental health within the community.

Eclipse is aiming to expand its social media following as an online community support network, and you can follow the service on Twitter and Facebook.

For more information about Eclipse Barnet:
T: 020 8359 4999
E: info@eclipsebarnet.org.uk
www.eclipsebarnet.org,uk
Facebook | Twitter

Building work starts on our new Southend supported living scheme

The diggers have moved on site to start building work on our new supported living scheme in Southend-on-Sea, Essex.

The £4.8m development, supported by investment from the Homes and Communities Agency, will include 33 self-contained flats more specialised facilities, as well as one wheelchair standard apartment, communal areas for residents, office space and staff accommodation.

The scheme on Sutton Road is being developed by our partners Sanctuary Group to replace Chalkwell Lodge, our existing supported living scheme in Westcliff-on-Sea.

At a special event to formally mark the start of construction, local ward councillor Margaret Borton dug the first spade into the ground. She was joined by Chalkwell Lodge resident Paul Mills and representatives from Richmond Fellowship, Sanctuary Group, and builders UK Construction Ltd.

Richmond Fellowship locality manager Lesley Brady said: “We’re really excited about this new development as it means our residents will be able to live in self-contained flats rather than the more communal accommodation we’re currently using. This will make it much easier for us to support them to develop the independent living skills they need to be able to move on to their own homes.”

Councillor Lesley Salter, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s executive councillor for adult social care, health and housing, said: “This is a very exciting development to give vulnerable residents the vital opportunity to live independently in a safe and supportive environment.”

The Sutton Road scheme is due for completion in Spring 2015.

Richmond Fellowship wins new IAPT contract in Redbridge and Havering

Richmond Fellowship (RF) is proud to announce a new partnership with North East London Foundation Trust (NELFT) and Big White Wall (BWW) to win a new IAPT contract in London.

We will be specialising in employment pathways in partnership with NELFT as clinical lead and BBW, who will be using innovative technology to offer therapy online.  This is our first partnership with new partners and advances the amazing work that locality manager Ros Hatt has undertaken over the last few years to grow our employment services in east London.  Our staff will co-locate with our partners and play a key part in ensuring high quality services that promote self resilience and sustainable pathways to recovery. It’s an exciting first step into the sphere of digital mental health services for RF.

In the coming months we are will also be looking at working on another project with BWW in Waltham Forest and envisage a strong working relationship as we progress in the future.

Solent Recovery College holds inaugural presentation ceremony

​Friday 28th February was the inaugural certificate presentation ceremony of Solent Recovery College (SRC). SRC began offering 13 recovery-focused courses in September 2013 and 145 students have successfully completed courses.

The event took place at the Highbury College Campus in Portsmouth and was attended by Professor Geoff Shepherd, Senior Policy Adviser of the Recovery Programme at the Centre for Mental Health and programme leader of imRoc. Professor Shepherd took the opportunity to speak about the widespread benefits for organisations, peer trainers and students that recovery colleges can bring, as well as the positive changes in attitudes that they can help create within local communities.

Students were presented with certificates, with many of those receiving awards having completed more than one course since the recovery college opened in September. The ceremony marks the first successes of a project RF Portsmouth has been proud to be a strong partner in, working alongside Highbury College of Further Education and Solent NHS trust.

There are now 18 recovery colleges in the UK but Solent Recovery College is the only one thus far to operate from a full time FE college campus. The initiative has the full support of Portsmouth City Council, who provide funding for peer trainers. It’s also a contributing factor in Richmond Fellowship being the largest employer of peer support staff in the city, and we provide both paid and volunteer peer workers to co-design and co-deliver all the courses alongside mental health professionals from Solent NHS Trust, including a consultant and a local GP as well as staff from CMHTs.

The next year will see further development of SRC, with a programme of courses for the spring term already being delivered and further courses proposed for 2014-15. Courses are open to people who use mental health services in Portsmouth, their carers and supporters and staff from the three partner organisations. Portsmouth City Council have also recently agreed an extension to RF’s support and recovery contract, which will ensure the partnership can continue to thrive and Solent Recovery College can go from strength to strength.

Eamont Terrace gets its contract extended

Eamont Terrace – Richmond Fellowship’s 24-hour supported housing scheme in Hartlepool – has had its contract extended for a further two years. This follows a recent service review process and QAF review, in which the service was awarded a Grade A rating.

Well done to all the staff at Eamont Terrace who have worked incredibly hard over the past eight months to raise standards and secure the longevity of the service.

You can find out more about the service by clicking here.

Mental health and Mindful Employer headlines at Swindon CIPD gathering

The Swindon branch of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development will host an awareness session at New College in March for its local membership on the issues of mental health in the workplace.

Organised in association with the Swindon Mindful Employer Network, which is co-ordinated by Richmond Fellowship, the event looks at managing stress at work, identifying stress in ourselves and colleagues and explores the benefits of being a Mindful Employer. Guest speakers include Melanie Richens, Chair of the Swindon Mindful Employer Network, Geoff Windle of Lift Psychology and Adrian Embling of  Mindset Wessex.

David Latham, who manages the Swindon Mindful Employer Network for Richmond Fellowship, said: “We’re grateful to the Swindon CIPD for inviting us back to speak to their membership on the important matters relating to mental health in the workplace.  I’m particularly pleased that we’re joined by some accomplished and highly knowledgeable guest speakers who can provide advice to HR professionals. We realise that mental health – particularly stress – is of growing concern to the business community.”

Jules Goddard, Swindon and North Wilts CIPD events co-ordinator, feels these types of awareness sessions are becoming more popular: “HR professionals are facing increasing issues and problems involving mental health and the possible sickness absence associated with them. The truth is that we can’t ignore or dismiss the problems caused by stress and the damage it is doing to individuals and businesses everywhere.  I’m delighted the Swindon Mindful Employer Network, Lift Psychology and Mindset Wessex are able to join us for this eagerly anticipated event.”

Sickness absence statistics over the last decade show an alarming increase in employees taking time away from the workplace for mental health reasons and in particular stress.  This session will explore the issues around managing stress at work and how we identify the signs of mental illness in our colleagues and ourselves. We shall also explore the benefits of businesses being positive on mental health matters and developing resilience – and transforming into a mindful employer.

This event takes place at New College, Swindon on Thursday March 20th. Booking is essential through the CIPD swindon-events@cipdbranch.co.uk.

Find out more about our Swindon employment services.

Time banking scheme gets quality mark

Our Time, Richmond Fellowship’s time banking scheme in Liverpool, has been awarded a national quality mark by Timebanking UK.

The quality mark demonstrates our service is meeting Timebanking UK’s recommended best practices and has been awarded to us for the next three years.

Time banking is an exchange and sharing of skills and the only currency is time. The time bank is made up of members who receive one credit for every hour they give to the bank. The members earn their credits by providing services to members and spend their credits by buying services from other members.

Time banking promotes social inclusion and empowers individuals by making the members feel valued as they are able to share their skills with others and learn new skills themselves. Find out more about our service.