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Richmond Fellowship in The Guardian: Change in the charity sector

Richmond Fellowship was asked to contribute to a recent article in The Guardian around creating a movement of change in the charity and social care sector.

Danny O’Donoghue, Area Manager for our West services was only too happy to take up the task and this is what he had to say:

Do you have relevant personal experience?

People often think in binaries: are you political or altruistic? Are you a person in need or a volunteer? When truthfully, we are all of these things. It’s time to collapse the distinction between the helper and the helped, something addiction and prison services have known for years: there is no more effective support than that which comes from someone who’s been there.

Danny said: “If you ever want to know total isolation, try hearing voices. Nothing is more alienating than something you can’t share. When clinicians ran these groups, they were poorly attended – sometimes the staff outnumbered the people. That never happens with volunteers with experience. I was struck by one saying, ‘The voices have always been the thing I hide, that I find some way to bury. The pleasure in this instance is being able to wear it as a uniquely qualifying asset, to apply it in support of someone else’s recovery.’”

You can read the full article on Guardian Online here.

If you’re a journalist and would like us to comment or contribute to future press or media articles, please contact our Communications and Marketing team here.

Radio Sparky: December 2020 podcast

Listen to our latest edition of Radio Sparky, the podcast which shines the spotlight on the excellent work happening at Richmond Fellowship services across the country.

In December’s edition, Matt Webb, Communications and Marketing Officer speaks to Jessica Fish, Area Manager of Richmond Fellowship’s Lancashire services about her journey through the charity to becoming an Area Manager, how her services have been managing during the coronavirus pandemic and about a new Social Enterprise element to our Central Lancashire Haven.

‘The way in which the Service Managers and the Recovery Workers adapted, the way that they worked was incredible. Going from doing all face to face visits or support sessions to everything being virtual, learning how to use new platforms to delivering those sessions and also supporting people that use our services to access those virtual platforms’. – Jessica Fish, Area Manager.

Radio Sparky – Working Together Week Podcast

Welcome to the latest edition of Radio Sparky, the podcast which shines the spotlight on the excellent work happening at Richmond Fellowship.

To mark Working Together Week across the Recovery Focus group of charities, Communications and Marketing Officer Matt Webb speaks to James Dominiak, Service Manager at Richmond Fellowship’s 24 hour Supported Housing Service in Stowmarket, Suffolk and Matt and Jordan who use the service about how they’ve embedded co-production in their service at local level.

“I’ve been involved with interview processes for staff, discussions around co-production and policy making. I was able to stand shoulder to shoulder with staff”. – Matt, person we support.

Post lockdown tour of our services

Since lockdown has started to ease, Jo Schofield, our Head of Operations in the North, has taken the opportunity to visit several services and see for herself how staff and people we support have been getting on.

In this blog, she tells us more about these visits and what they tell us about our staff’s commitment to Making Recovery Reality, and how proud she is of how well staff and people we support adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic

Moor View (Care Home)

Yesterday was a great day for me. As Head of Operations for the North, I have always been out and about visiting our services but due to Covid-19 that hasn’t been possible since March 2020. However, yesterday I ventured out to my first service visit since lockdown. I visited Moor View our registered care home in Halifax with 24-hour nursing. Upon arrival, I was temperature checked and offered disposable PPE.

Even though I was at Moor View for a meeting with colleagues, I took in the environment and was impressed with the cleanliness of the building. I introduced myself to two staff who I haven’t met before and they told me that they felt safe in the workplace, they felt well informed and supported. Whilst I have heard daily about the good work that is happening in services, there is nothing quite like seeing it for yourself!

Our frontline workers have continued to go into their workplace and adapted their home life to ensure they are as safe as they can be to continue to support the people that use our services.

Today I really felt such pride for everyone I met at Moor View. Not only our frontline staff for their awareness and alertness around Covid-19 but also the people living in our services. It was obvious to me that a lot of work had taken place to educate some of our residents about keeping themselves safe and respecting personal space and maintaining a safe distance with our staff and other residents and visitors to the service.

Trevayler (Crisis House)

Continuing on my visits to services to see how things are going on the frontline during the pandemic, last week took me to Trevayler. Trevayler has two elements; a transitional unit for people moving from a hospital setting and also a crisis house for people experiencing a mental health crisis that require some interventions to prevent a further relapse in their mental health.

As I walked down the drive, I could see what has now become a familiar sight when visiting Richmond Fellowship services; the colourful rainbows in the window that residents and guests had coloured to represent “hope” during the pandemic.

On arrival I was told that I was entering a Covid-19 free zone and asked if I had had any of the identified symptoms, which I confirmed that I had not. I spent time walking around the building and viewing an area of the building that will be transformed into a Crisis Haven over the coming weeks.

There were six staff in handover and I talked to them about how they felt coming into work on the frontline during the pandemic. They collectively told me that this was their job and that they did what they do. At this point, they felt very supported and said that  Richmond Fellowship had done everything possible to make sure they were safe.

As a senior leader in the organisation, I came away feeling proud of the staff working at Trevayler and how they had made adjustments to their lives to ensure the safety of those they support.

There are no words that can describe my gratitude of those working on the frontline to ensure that people we support continue to get the support they need, when they need it.

Tower House (24 Hour Supported Housing)

Last week, my service visits continued. I went to Tower House which is a 24 hour Supported Housing Service in Chester.

Upon arrival I couldn’t hide my smile as I saw the window covered in rainbows acknowledging “hope” during the pandemic. Residents engaged with craft sessions to decorate the window; joined in the clap for carers on Thursdays at 8pm and knew the importance of keeping themselves safe to reduce the risk of falling victim to the virus.

As I was shown around the beautiful building I met resident after resident who kept a safe distance and wore their face masks when they were in communal areas. One of the residents I spoke to explained that they had COPD and therefore was exempt from wearing a face mask but told me that they weren’t going to take any chances and was happy to wear one to keep everyone safe.

The three staff on duty spoke to me about how the residents have responded positively to changes within their living environment and how to start with it was extremely difficult but with lots of education about the Coronavirus and additional support offered, residents had responded really positively. They were really proud of how the residents had adapted during this really difficult time.

I came away from Tower House feeling confident that the staff and residents were working together to keep the service operating in a safe way and that the safety measures in place were not intrusive, but a true reflection on how the virus is being taken seriously within the setting.

What these service visits have shown

These service visits have reinforced what I already knew about our amazing staff and people we support. Throughout the entire pandemic, staff have shown resilience and commitment to our mission: making recovery reality. Even when the country was in a state of crisis, every staff member I encountered radiated hope and respect. They were all focused on enabling the people we support to achieve their goals even in the most adverse external circumstances.

As lockdown measures continue to change, we will keep working with staff and people we support to adapt how our services operate. We believe that everyone has a right to participate fully in society, and we will always ensure our services are running – whatever challenges the future might hold.

Sudbury service receives donation of £1,700 from local Rotary Club

Tony Platt (left) presenting the cheque to Jenna Keenan (middle) and Sue Capstaff (right)

Richmond Fellowship’s Sudbury supported housing and community service in Suffolk has received a cheque for £1,700 as part of their charity of the year status with the local Rotary Club.

Tony Platt, President of the Sudbury Rotary Club selected Richmond Fellowship, the Suffolk Befriending Scheme and East Anglian Air Ambulance as his chosen charities for his 2018-2019 ‘Rotary Year’.

Various fundraising events took place over the last 12 months and proceeds split between the three charities. Events included the town’s annual Christmas Tree Festival in St Peter’s Church in December, a Valentines Day collection in Sudbury Town Centre during February, the Rotary Club’s annual charity gala dinner with special guest speaker BBC News presenter Huw Edwards and a Sudbury Last Night of the Proms music event in June.

The cheque was presented to the service’s new Community Link Worker, Jenna Keenan and Recovery Worker Sue Capstaff at the Rotary Club’s AGM in July.

The money will be spent locally, providing even more recovery based activities and trips for those using the service.

Kerry Stiles, Area Manager for Richmond Fellowship’s East Anglia services said:

‘This is wonderful news for our team and those using our services in Sudbury. The service is a bastion and champion for fundraising and it’s lovely to see their work in the local community rewarded. I’d like to pay tribute to Tony Platt for selecting Richmond Fellowship as one of his chosen charities and to all those involved in the Sudbury Rotary Club for their fundraising efforts during the past year’.

The news comes as part of a bumper fundraising year for service, which was recognised as Great Cornard Coop’s charity partner of the year, receiving £2,800 back in March.

Independent Review of the Mental Health Act

Last year the Prime Minister announced an Independent Review of the Mental Health Act – which sets out when a person can be detained and treated in hospital against their wishes – to look at how it is used and how it can be improved.

Over the course of 2018, the Review has heard from thousands of people who have been detained under the Act, and from their families and carers, about their experiences.

The Independent Review has now published its final report with around 150 recommendations for change. The Prime Minister has welcomed the report and announced that the Government plans to bring forward a new mental health bill.

Derek Caren, Chief Executive of Richmond Fellowship commented:

As Richmond Fellowship approaches its 60th anniversary in 2019, we’re celebrating our history and looking forward to positive changes ahead.

The development of our community based services coincided with a previous Mental Health Act of 1959, which helped establish the pathway for many people to leave hospital and live in the community. We strongly welcome and endorse the recommendations of the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act of 1983.

Strengthening people’s rights and their ability to challenge decisions under the Act when people are at their most vulnerable is a key development and necessary improvement to deliver better mental health services. We want to see these changes enacted by the Government as soon as possible alongside further investment in community based preventative services to reduce the number of people who are being detained.

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Good employment is good for mental health

Blog post by Steve Smith-Trask, Managing Director, Richmond Fellowship (South)

Everyone likes to complain about work – yet employment is proven to give us many personal benefits beyond a salary. From a social network to social status, developing self-esteem to developing new skills, employment is good for us. Being out of work can increase the risks of ill health and disease, and can have a particularly negative effect on an individual’s mental health.

Yet, studies have also shown that 1 in 6 employees are currently living with mental health problems; a study by Mind shows that fewer than half of these people feel able to tell their employers. The theme for World Mental Health Day 2017 is mental health and work, a pressing issue in today’s society.

That’s why employment services are one of the five types of support we provide at Richmond Fellowship. With 28 employment services across England, whether someone needs support to find work or to retain employment, our employment advisors provide individualised support for people living with mental health problems.

What does that mean in practice?

Our employment advisors get to know the person, not the CV.

It means that we don’t have targets to meet or quotas to fill. Instead, our focus is on the individual. We work with each person who uses our service to develop a plan based on their own strengths, experiences and goals, being mindful of the mental health problems they are living with. Our employment advisors get to know the person, not the CV. We believe that people using our services can achieve their goals, and we see our role as supporting them. It’s not a tick box exercise. It’s about working together to achieve each person’s goals.

At Richmond Fellowship, we believe that good employment is good for health. What that looks like will be different for each person. We don’t make assumptions about the kind of work that would be suitable for them. For some people that may mean an entry-level job; for others, that may mean a senior management position. Part-time or full-time, permanent or contract work – we work with you to help you achieve the outcome that is right for you.

Good employment is good for health.

It’s crucial that the people who use our services guide their own experience with Richmond Fellowship and have full ownership over their action plan. To help achieve this, we have recently developed a new web app called Aspire. Created by digital production company Mindwave Ventures, Aspire is a flexible, intuitive, and easy to use online portal to help us better support people in the digital age. Aspire allows people who use our services to work collaboratively with their employment advisor to build their action plan, track the steps they are taking, and tick off goals as they are achieved. We’ve had really positive feedback from our piloting of the scheme, and are rolling out across all of our employment services soon.

At the heart of everything we do is the belief that good employment is good for mental health. Our role is to empower the people who use our services to achieve their employment goals, and live their best life.

 

Isle of Wight Opens New Mental Health Community Safe Haven

 

The first Isle of Wight Community Safe Haven service has been launched in Newport.  The service, which will initially run as a one-year pilot, has been developed in response to community feedback as part of the work to look at redesigning health and care services last year under the My Life a Full Life new care model. Read more

Mental health worker celebrates thesis publication

Roisin Vahey celebrates at graduation ceremony

A mental health support worker in Kent is celebrating after her thesis was published in The International Journal of Psychology and Physiological Therapy, a leading medical journal.

Roisin Vahey, a support worker from Zimbabwe, works for Richmond Fellowship, the national charity making mental health recovery reality, and is using her degree knowledge to help support people in the area living with mental health problems.

Her thesis, entitled Galvanic Skin Response in Mood Disorders: A Critical Review, explores the impact of Galvanic Skin Response (GSR), a process that measures variations in the electrical characteristics of the skin, with specific reference to individuals with mood disorders such as depression.

Roisin hopes that her research will lead to development of GSR as an effective assessment tool of efficacy for different therapies and treatments for people living with mental health problems.

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Wakefield mental health service marks 10 years of success

Staff and service users past and present celebrate a decade of making recovery reality

Staff and service users past and present celebrate a decade of making recovery reality

A charity mental health support service in Wakefield is celebrating ten years of making recovery reality and reducing mental health stigma with an event on Tuesday, 5 May.

Woodside supported housing, a scheme run by Richmond Fellowship, the national mental charity, has been helping people on their recovery journey for ten years.

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