Richmond Fellowship retains its Matrix Standard accreditation

Richmond Fellowship has retained its Matrix Standard accreditation, which we have now achieved for 12 years running.Matrix-standard-logo

The Matrix Standard is the unique outcomes-based quality standard for organisations to assess and measure their advice and support services, which ultimately supports individuals in their choice of career, learning, work and life goals.

We were required to provide the assessors with detailed evidence of our work and how we’re developing, so a big ‘thank you’ to all the staff who helped us to put this information together.

Find out more about the standard at http://matrixstandard.com/

Minister of State for Disabled People to speak at Swindon Mindful Employers conference

The Minister of State for Disabled People, Mark Harper MP, will speak at the annual conference of the Swindon Mindful Employers network.

Since it was formed in 2008, the Swindon Mindful Employer Network has attracted top speakers and excellent attendance at its annual conferences.

David Latham, who manages the network at Richmond Fellowship, said: “There is a lot of interest in mental health and wellbeing in the workplace and the network has been pivotal in providing an engaging forum for businesses to meet and discuss these important matters.”

Other speakers taking part include Dr Sabir Giga, director of PhD programmes and a senior lecturer in organisational health and wellbeing at the Faculty of Health and Medicine, Lancaster University. His presentation will explore ‘presenteeism’ which is the term given to employees who are suffering mental or physical illness but still attend a place of work.

Successful businesswoman Fiona Bowman, senior manager in the City of London and member of the Worshipful Company of Security Professionals, a City Liveried Company, will talk about her journey from the horrors of 10 years of domestic abuse to the success of her current position. She will powerfully reflect on what it feels like to be an employee and a victim of domestic violence and will stress the importance of employers in the lives of victims.

Richard Frost, the UK lead of Mindful Employer which is celebrating 10 years of growth and success around the country, will be taking part in an interview session with Heart FM which also features Adrian Embling of Mindset Wessex and Geoff Windle of Lift Psychology.

Chair of the Swindon Mindful Employer Network Melanie Richens will host the conference and introduce guest speakers and there will also be a contribution from Mike Godfrey who chairs both The Swindon Initiative and the Swindon Employment and Skills Advisory Board.

This year’s conference takes place at Nationwide House, courtesy of the Nationwide Building Society and Baxter Storey, on 6 November.

More details from smen@richmondfellowship.org.uk

 

Richmond Fellowship to be part of Home Office trial to reduce the use of police cells as a place of safety

We’re to take part in a Home Office scheme to trial alternative ‘places of safety’ to police custody for individuals in mental distress.

Home secretary Theresa May announced the pilot during her speech at the Police and Mental Health Summit today.

She told delegates of the plans to provide a number of alternative places of safety over the course of the three month pilot to give a better experience for people who are detained pending a mental health assessment and to save police time and resources.

As part of the pilot, Richmond Fellowship will be exploring options with Sussex Police and Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust to use alternative accommodation to police custody as a ‘place of safety’ to take someone in distress to for a mental health assessment.

Richmond Fellowship chief executive Derek Caren said: “The evidence shows that a police cell is not the best place to take someone to if they’re in mental distress. As a voluntary sector organisation we’re keen to explore what part we can play in providing alternative ‘places of safety’ for individuals in crisis when they’re at their most vulnerable.”

Richmond Fellowship is already signed up as a supporter of the Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat. It already runs 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.

Richmond Fellowship to run new community cafe in Blackpool hospital

The running of a new community café based at The Harbour, Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust’s new state of the art mental health inpatient development located in Blackpool has been awarded to the Richmond Fellowship.

The Richmond Fellowship, a charity that provides advice and support for people with mental health issues, will be managing and running the café when the Harbour opens in Spring 2015. Their vision for the café is that it will provide a community hub where people can go for a relaxing chat with friends, as well as providing people with health and wellbeing advice ranging from healthy eating to dementia awareness sessions. The Richmond Fellowship will also be working with local colleges to provide apprenticeships and employment opportunities for individuals with lived experience of mental health problems.

Alistair Rose, Project Director for The Harbour at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are very pleased to announce that the café at The Harbour will be run by the Richmond Fellowship. The charity does some outstanding work supporting people with mental health issues and we really feel this partnership will provide a positive environment for people in the community to not only come and enjoy the refreshments, but also have an opportunity to work together to help reduce stigma around mental health issues.

“We look forward to working with the charity and setting the foundations for what will be a promising and successful partnership.”

Richmond Fellowship regional manager Wendy Baylis-Wareing said: “We’re really excited to be working with the local NHS to provide this community café in their major new hospital development. It’s an opportunity to truly put the wellbeing of our staff and customers at the heart of running a successful enterprise. We want the simple act of having ‘a snack and chat’ to be a way to challenge mental health stigma and help people feel a valued part of their community.”

The Harbour will provide a total of 154 beds and building work is due to be completed in November with occupation due in early 2015. The development is part of the Trust’s on-going commitment to modernise inpatient mental health services and improve the quality of care it delivers. The new unit will achieve a more therapeutic environment for the people who use the service and better working conditions for staff.

You can find out more information about The Harbour by visiting www.lancashirecare.nhs.uk/TheHarbour.

Popular Bailey’s café saved thanks to new partnership

We’re joining forces with the Water Lily Project to give the popular Bailey’s café a new lease of life and save it from closure.

The Water Lily Project (WLP) is a Christchurch based charity which offers outreach support to local and vulnerable women to help them cope with and overcome whatever difficult situations they find themselves in.

WLP will be taking over the running of Bailey’s Café from Richmond Fellowship’s East Dorset Community Service.  Due to a change in the contract to provide services from the premises in Barrack Road, Richmond Fellowship needed to find a partner who could take the café on.

WLP project manager Lynn Chisadza said: “In addition to this venture that we have taken up, WLP is also pleased to have the opportunity of opening its first residential home in early 2015. We’re so excited about the potential that running the café will bring. This will enable the project to give training opportunities and provide a useful resource for local residents.

“We are so grateful for the support we have received thus far from Dorset County Community Fund, Round Table, Seedbed Christian Community Trust, local churches, local people and the local borough council who share our dream.”

Richmond Fellowship will continue to run its mental health community services from the Barrack Road offices and will be extending the groups and activities it runs in the Christchuch, Purbeck and Wimborne areas, under the terms of its new three year contract with Dorset County Council.

RF locality manager Doug Low said: “We’re delighted to be working with the Water Lily Project to keep the café open to the general public, including those people with mental health issues, and to be taking our services out to local people through our new community service contract.”

We’re named as provider of new crisis services in Leicestershire

Richmond Fellowship has been awarded the contract by Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (LPT) to provide mental health crisis services to support people in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

The service will provide short-term intensive support for individuals who need additional help during times of mental health crisis.

Service user and members of the public were consulted in shaping the specification for the new service which will provide:

  • Access to telephone and face-to-face support in times of crisis
  • Facilities to accommodate short residential stays for people who might otherwise be admitted to hospital because no alternative is available.

Our crisis support will enhance the NHS Trust’s existing acute mental health care pathway and forms part of wider service development plans to increase access to timely and effective care in the community, and help avoid unnecessary hospital admissions.

LPT project manager Zayba Joondan said: “The evaluation panel was very impressed with the submission from Richmond Fellowship. Their organisational commitment to recovery and inclusion and the innovative ways in which these values will underpin their model of service delivery for the crisis house stood out in their bid.”

Richmond Fellowship locality manager Christine Lawrence said:”We’re really excited to be working with Leicestership Partnership NHS Trust to provide this new crisis service. We’re commited to playing our part in creating joined-up services that can truly provide the best possible care to people with mental health problems, especially in a crisis situation when individuals ae at their most vulnerable.”

The new service is due to launch in January 2015.

We launch new services in Leicestershire and Bristol

Today we launch two new services which means we’re able to help make recovery a reality for even more individuals.

Our new Leicestershire Life Links community based service will provide drop-in, inreach and peer support services across the county.

And our new Bristol Mental Health Employment Service has also gone live as part of an innovative new integrated mental health system in the city.

A broad range of integrated services is being provided by nearly 20 organisations with specialist expertise and experience, coming under the umbrella of Bristol Mental Health. This includes community mental health (including assessment and recovery, crisis support, early intervention in psychosis and complex psychological interventions), community rehabilitation, dementia wellbeing and assertive engagement.

Our employment service is one of the first elements of the new system to go live. We’re working in partnership with Mental Health Matters, Windmill Hill City Farm and the Bristol Somali Resource Centre to provide specialist employment support to people with a mental health problem that is affecting their ability to retain, or seek, employment.

 

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.”

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.”