It is estimated that 1 in 6 people in the past week experienced a common mental health problem and 4-10% of people in England will experience depression in their lifetime. These statistics highlight how essential our services are to the community. Below we’ve shared some examples of how the money that has been raised has supported our patients' wellbeing and what is means to them to have to have this additional support.
With £500 from charitable funds and support from Sally Aggett, Catering Technical Instructor at New Leaf Café, Louise O’Neill, Senior Nurse Manager and her dedicated team were able to arrange a party to bring everyone together to enjoy good food, presents and games.
The Christmas Day 2017 celebrations at the Russell Clinic saw staff put a great big smile on the faces of people using the service, at a time of year that can be hard to be away from loved ones. The extraordinary efforts from everyone were greatly appreciated and service user Tony said, “It was wonderful to feel like you’re amongst family and not in a hospital, even if it’s just for one day”. Louise added, “With the support of charitable funds it enabled us to bring some festive cheer and create a community environment our patients can thrive in”.
Margaret Whitaker was a professional artist and art teacher, who spent time on both wards at Franklyn Hospital. Being someone with a creative background this form of expression was a very important part of her life, before her illness. Double Elephant Print, a not-for-profit social enterprise, ran print-making workshops at the hospital, offering participation in weekly creative sessions. Despite her poor eyesight, Margaret immersed herself in the sessions, which rekindled her interest in art, colour and form. She enjoyed it so much that between the sessions she would plan what she would do next.
Margaret’s daughter was so grateful to the team at Franklyn and Double Elephant Print for reigniting her mother’s love of art.
Margaret sadly passed away in 2013, but the collaborative work done by Franklyn and Double Elephant Print left a lasting impression on her daughter. She wanted others to experience this so she arranged a sale of her mother’s artwork, raising approximately £2,000 to set up the ‘Margaret Whitaker Therapeutic Arts Fund’. This ensured other patients could access this amazing service. Since then Carrie Clarke, Occupational Therapist at Franklyn has raised a further £1,000 through the sale of a calendar with Waitrose, supporting further fundraising activity through their Community Fund.
Carrie Clarke said, “Charitable funds are important because they allow us to offer these unique experiences, which enrich lives and enable our patients to express themselves in ways that are important to them”.
Since then, the Franklyn Fund has been established, which incorporates the art fund.
Charitable funds have also supported pet therapy and museum outreach (object handling) sessions at Franklyn. These sessions offer a rich multi-sensory experience, allowing participants to get up close to the museum artifacts. This stimulates memories and associations, helping people to maintain a sense of self and a connection to the cultural world outside hospital.
Sally Pritchard, Ward Manager at Beech Unit in Torbay tells us how charitable funds have helped to deliver two fantastic projects. Beech Unit provides assessment and treatment for older people with severe mental health needs, such as depression, anxiety and psychosis.
Sally said: “We received £12,000 from Devon Partnership NHS Trust’s charitable funds to regenerate our internal courtyard, an area that provides a tranquil environment and welcome release to patients and their families. The recreational space is a beautiful place to catch the sun, take a break from the hospital setting and spend a moment outside with friends and family.”
Through charitable funds, Beech was able to rebuild this amazing space - which encourages health and wellbeing and is used throughout the whole year.
In 2018, Sally was granted charitable funds to pay for therapy dog visits on the ward. It has been proven that interaction with a gentle, friendly pet has significant therapeutic benefits and improves people’s wellbeing for many reasons:
Sally concludes: Charitable funds have enabled Beech to provide this important activity and enhance the experience for not only the people staying with us, but also for their visitors and our staff.
Working in partnership with Bluebell Care, Little Bluebells was set up to support parents with their emotional wellbeing, during pregnancy and after birth, up until two years post-natally, in the Torbay and South Hams areas.
Little Bluebells Torbay is funded by the Little Something, a charitable fund which supports our perinatal services and Comic Relief.
Bluebell Care was established seven years ago and is based in Bristol. They have won positive practice mental health awards and receive funding from Sports Relief, Comic Relief and the National Lottery.
Without the access to charitable funds at Devon Partnership NHS Trust, Little Bluebells wouldn’t have been able to provide its vital group programme, which gives mums the skills and strategies to cope. The hope is that by meeting together with other people in a similar situation and having some valuable ‘me time’, the women can begin to feel more positive about life as a mum and realise they are not alone in feeling the way they do.
Devon Partnership NHS Trust Occupational Therapist Selina Moore said: “Little Bluebells is so important for the women of Torbay and South Hams. Our service provides a comfort zone to mums who are experiencing feelings of sadness, panic, loneliness, frustration, irritation or anger as result of antenatal or postnatal depression and anxiety”.
Funding for this service is so important, which is why Selina with a group of people being supported by Little Bluebells and staff took on the John Musgrove Trail 54k challenge in June 2018 to raise money for Little Bluebells.