Local mental health service users were given the chance to try their hand at something new with an action-packed day of music, arts and creativity in Warrington last week.
North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s, annual Ignite Your Life event, which took place on 11 July at Walton Hall and Gardens. There was an afternoon programme of mental health and wellbeing activities, which was well-attended by service users, staff and volunteers from the Trust, along with local third sector and voluntary organisations.
Community and inpatient service users from the Trust joined third sector organisations and volunteers to take part in nine different interactive workshops. Guests had the opportunity to try their hand at chair base yoga and, creative stitching, song writing and flower arranging.
Guests were also entertained by the Samba Band music group, whose members all have a learning disability.
In the morning, the Trust hosted its annual involvement event, which celebrated the achievements and contributions of Trust volunteers over the last year.
The event formally recognised more than 55 volunteers who have dedicated over 100 hours to the Trust over the past 12 months and concluded with the Harry Blackman Trophy, which was awarded to David Walker who has gone above and beyond his volunteering role.
David has carried out a number of involvement opportunities, which include designing and delivering a six week course called “Happy Body, Happy Mind” for young services users on Fairhaven unit in Warrington. This course aims to give young people the skills in a range of techniques to improve physical health, coping with stress and general life style skills.
Bernadette Fitzpatrick, Patient and Public Involvement Co-ordinator at the Trust said: “David is very conscientious and carries out all activities to a very high standard and we are very proud of his achievements over the last two years and we wish him all very best in his quest to gain employment within our organisation”
During the involvement event Stephen Rothwell who is a service user volunteer at Atherleigh Park in Wigan shared his personal mental health story.
Stephen said: ‘I have spent the last 12 years in and out of hospital due to attempting to take my life. This was until I met Bernie who pulled me out of the darkness and this is where I began my life volunteering at the Trust. In the future I would like to be a peer worker, using my life experiences to help others”
Stephen finished his story off with an inspiring quote “Don’t bow down to disability and mental health, make mental health and disability bow down to you”
Amanda Power, who was a service user volunteer and has now been employed by the Trust, shared her story around her life with a mental illness and volunteering.
Amanda said: “Every week, Wednesday couldn’t come quick enough, each week I was asked to do a new task, daunting at first but each step empowered me more and for the first time in five years I was looking at myself in a positive way. I think of voluntary work as being my defibrillator, it has bought me back to life!”
Staff from the Trust Equality Diversity and Inclusion Team, who organised the event, have extended their thanks to everyone who ran workshops for their hard work and creativity, and to all those who took part in the activities for their enthusiasm and good spirits.
You can view short videos from the day which includes Stephen and Amanda’s stories by following this link: www.nwbh.nhs.uk/trust-tv