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Richmond Fellowship Volunteer Coodinator Alison Walker tackling mental health stigma

Charity marks year of conversations tackling mental health stigma

Richmond Fellowship is marking over 1,000 conversations tackling mental health stigma in a year with an afternoon of music and entertainment in Dorset.

Richmond Fellowship, the national charity making mental health recovery a reality, teamed up with Time to Change to launch the ‘Face 2 Face’ project in Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole last year.

Since then the mental health charity has smashed its target of having 1,000 conversations about mental health and is holding ‘Face 2 Face Fest’, an afternoon of music, culture and arts in Poole to celebrate.

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Face-2-Face-Dorset-chats

Face 2 Face is going for one thousand chats by Christmas!

The innovative Face 2 Face project, funded by ‘Time to Change’ to tackle mental health stigma and discrimination in Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole, is pulling out all the stops to make contact with its one thousandth member of the public before Christmas Day.

Face 2 Face is calling on the public to get involved to end mental health stigma and discrimination and has been running a number of pop-up shops for people to visit where the team has been offering free drop-in arts activities and encouraging people to make their own Christmas decorations.

Face 2 Face provides arts-based activities that bring people without a mental health problem into social contact with those who do. Evidence suggests that this kind of contact is one of the most effective ways of breaking down stigma and discrimination suffered by those experiencing a mental health problem.Over the past seven months the Face 2 Face team has been tackling discrimination by having meaningful and open conversations with members of the public. So far the team has reached 875 people.

Spokesman Doug Low said: “The volunteers are doing a fantastic job at talking to people in our community and helping transform the way they see mental health problems. Just a few small words can make a big difference to someone with a mental health problem. Talking about the issue can really help to break down stigma and discrimination. We hope to get to a 1,000 conversations very soon!”

The Face 2 Face project is managed by Richmond Fellowship in partnership with community interest company ZooFish Arts and the Borough of Poole Arts Service.For more information about the project or to enquire about becoming a Face 2 Face volunteer please contact Doug Low on 07786 191192 or email: doug.low@richmondfellowship.org.uk

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.”

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.”