Report shines light on mental health services

In its annual State of Care report, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) – the independent regulator of health and social care services in England – has found some improvements in mental health services, but has also highlighted areas of concern and challenges that services must overcome around high demand, workforce shortages, unsuitable facilities and outdated services.

Mind logoWhile there have been many improvements, a greater proportion of mental health services were found to have deteriorated in quality compared with other parts of the NHS. Of services originally rated as good, 26 per cent of mental health services dropped at least one rating. This is in comparison to 23 per cent of adult social care services, 18 per cent of acute hospitals and two per cent of GP surgeries.

The CQC said it was surprised and concerned that 73 per cent of mental health beds are on locked rehabilitation wards, as it suggests an outdated approach to care in which people are institutionalised rather than helped to recover and live independently.

Also, many facilities were found not to meet safety standards, with fixtures and fittings that could be used in suicide attempts and examples of medicines not being stored securely.

Responding to the report,  Chief Executive of Mind Paul Farmer said: “It’s very concerning to see that, as of July this year, more mental health services had deteriorated in quality than other parts of the NHS and that issues of safety, among others, have not been addressed despite being raised in previous reports. It shows the scale of the challenge facing NHS mental health services; we have a sound plan for starting to improve services over the next few years but after decades of neglect and underfunding it is going to take sustained effort and investment over many years to reverse the damage that has been done.

“That the CQC continues to highlight the same basic ward safety issues time and time again is very worrying. When someone is in hospital for their mental health, they are at their most vulnerable and they and their loved ones should be able to trust that they are receiving care in a safe, therapeutic environment. We are concerned to see that many facilities don’t meet the needs of people with mental health problems, and that inspections continue to reveal examples of outdated and sometimes institutionalised care.

“The prevalence of locked mental health rehabilitation wards is particularly alarming, and highlights the need for the review of the Mental Health Act recently announced by the Government. This review must thoroughly explore the problems with the current Act in full consultation with people with experience of being treated under it, so that future legislation is fit for purpose and put the rights and needs of the person in crisis first.

“Last year, a five year plan for improving mental health services was launched, with a commitment by the NHS to spend £1 billion more on mental health services by 2020-21. This is a good plan and we need to see it delivered in every local area. The CQC report reiterates the need for that funding to be invested in services on the ground, so that we can start building NHS mental health services that will carry us in to the future.”

PR for charity events

Ethos public relations has introduced a new PR package to help charities promote their events.

Director ShauPR for charity eventsn Fisher said: “Ethos public relations is passionate about helping charities, community groups and voluntary organisations get publicity for their activities. This isn’t just because it is our business but because we have a commitment to highlighting the valuable contribution made by charitable and voluntary action.

“Over the years, we have seen, and even attended, a wide range of charitable activities that haven’t been as successful as they could have been. Often this is because of time constraints, a lack of appropriate communication and marketing or simply a lack of organisational capacity.

“For most local charities part of the problem of organising a successful event is budget. Not many voluntary organisations can afford the rates charged by large public relations businesses. But that’s where Ethos public relations can help. As we are committed to helping local community efforts flourish, we are offering a bespoke package for local charities seeking to ensure their events are a success.”

For a set fee of £200 including VAT, Ethos public relations will discuss your event with you and give their opinion on the idea, work with you to ensure it is communicated suitably on your website, Facebook and Twitter, write a press release for your local media and upload it to appropriate listing sites and advise on photography.

Shaun Fisher added: “This whole package should not only help you get more visitors or participants to your charity’s event, but will free up your time so you can focus on the important job of putting the event together.”

Click here to find out more and if you would like to work with Ethos public relations to give your charitable work the boost it deserves, give Shaun a call on 07968 211664 or email info@ethos-pr.com.

Sir Geoff Hurst unites with Alzheimer’s Society at Memory Walk

England football legend Sir Geoff Hurst is joining forces with Alzheimer’s Society to tackle dementia in support of his fellow 1966 World Cup heroes who are living with the condition.

Sir Geoff HurstSir Geoff has pledged his backing for Memory Walk, Alzheimer’s Society’s flagship fundraising event which is taking place across England, Wales and Northern Ireland this autumn, in honour of former team-mates Martin Peters, Ray Wilson and Nobby Stiles and their families.

The former England and West Ham striker has teamed up with the UK’s leading dementia charity to appeal for people to take part in the 34 flagship walks – including the first night walks in London, Liverpool and Cardiff – which will raise vital funds to improve care, fund research and create lasting change for people affected by dementia.

The 75-year-old, who famously scored a hat-trick in the World Cup final victory over West Germany, is also gearing up for his local Memory Walk which will take place at Cheltenham’s Pittville Park, on Sunday, October 8 (11am).

He will be officially opening the event before embarking on a three-kilometre walk alongside hundreds of families who will be among up to 110,000 walkers striving to help raise £9 million  for people affected by dementia.

Sir Geoff, who recently led the Alzheimer’s Society United Against Dementia campaign with fellow England icon Gordon Banks, said:  “The fight against dementia is a cause that is very close to my heart and I wanted to do my bit to support people affected by the condition like Martin, Ray and Nobby by raising funds through events such as Memory Walk.

We were always there for each other when we were England team-mates and I will always be there for them and their families now as they live with dementia.”

Sir Geoff added: “I have done my own little practice walk and I’m raring to go on what I am sure will be a very emotional occasion. It will mean a lot to me because even though none of my family members are living with dementia, people like Ray, Nobby and, especially Martin, are like family to me. I am keen to help because we had a special relationship that will always remain special because of what we achieved as a group of people.”

Alzheimer’s Society Chief Executive Jeremy Hughes said: “Alzheimer’s Society’s Memory Walks are going from strength to strength each year – which is just as well because with dementia set to be the 21st century’s biggest killer, we must unite more than ever to show dementia we are no walkover.

“While dementia can devastate lives without help, every pound raised by Memory Walk will help Alzheimer’s Society provide information and support, improve care, fund research and create lasting change for people affected by dementia.”

Alzheimer’s Society is urgently calling on people to unite against dementia – register now at memorywalk.org.uk to find a walk near you.

Stand Up To Cancer is back

Stars of stage and screen are joining forces and channelling their inner rebel to launch Stand Up To Cancer 2017, a joint fundraising campaign from Cancer Research UK and Channel 4.

Launched in the UK in 2012, Stand Up To Cancer raises money to support game-changing cancer research that will save lives here in the UK.

To mark the campaign’s return and encourage the nation to join the rebellion against cancer, Alan Carr, Davina McCall, Kirstie Allsopp, Scarlett Moffatt and a host of other celebrities have raided their dressing up boxes and transformed into their rebel hero.

Other rebels with a cause include, Aisling Bea, Anita Rani, Ann Widdecombe, David Coulthard, James Morrison, Jamie Laing, Kimberly Wyatt, Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Laura Whitmore, Steve Jones and Susan Wokoma.

Davina McCall, who lost her sister to the disease, said: “Getting involved in Stand Up To Cancer is a no-brainer when you think that one in two of us is going to get cancer at some point in our lives. But cancer doesn’t have to be the really scary word that it used to be. Thanks to research, there’s real hope and there are great prospects for the future. It’s something that we can absolutely conquer by raising money and supporting Stand Up To Cancer’s scientists.

“I chose Joan of Arc as my rebel hero because she was French, and I’m half French. She’s the ultimate strong woman. She felt that she had a destiny in her life, and even though it was incredibly dangerous and there were no other women doing what she was doing, she went and she fought. I just think she’s a very strong, incredible role model and in some ways reminds me of Stand Up To Cancer – rebelling against this awful disease by taking a different, bolder route.”

Krishnan Guru-Murthy, presenter of Channel 4 news, added: “I had a little trepidation about dressing up as Jimi Hendrix in case I didn’t do him justice. When I told my eleven-year-old what I was doing he looked at me and said, ‘You’re just so embarrassing’. But it’s for a great cause!”

Rachel Carr, head of Stand Up To Cancer, said: “The UK’s spirit and determination to join forces against cancer has never been stronger. Our scientists are carrying out work that will change what it means to get a cancer diagnosis, speeding up the development of kinder, more effective treatments. We’re making huge progress and this is just the start. We hope that people across the UK will be inspired by our brilliant celebrity supporters to get involved, join the rebellion and stop cancer in its tracks.”

The celebrities’ rebel choices include Billy Idol (Jamie Laing), Cyndi Lauper (Laura Whitmore), Florence Nightingale (Ann Widdecombe), Jimi Hendrix (Krishnan Guru-Murthy), Joan of Arc (Davina McCall), Katniss Everdeen (Scarlett Moffatt), Marlon Brando (Alan Carr), M.I.A (Anita Rani), Princess Leia (Aisling Bea), the Queen (Kirstie Allsopp), Steve McQueen (James Morrison), Thelma and Louise (David Coulthard and Steve Jones), Tina Turner (Susan Wokoma) and Vivienne Westwood (Kimberly Wyatt).

The Stand Up To Cancer campaign will continue throughout September and October and there’s lots of ways that people can get involved. From being a ‘hair raiser’ and waxing or shaving body parts to raise cash, dusting off aprons to create and sell ‘ballsy bakes’, or getting sponsored to take part in ‘Game On’, Stand Up To Cancer’s gaming marathon, there’s more than one way to rebel this autumn.

For more information on Stand Up To Cancer, visit Standuptocancer.org.uk.

UK Civil Aviation Authority airport accessibility report released

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has published a report which assessed the top 30 UK airports on the quality of assistance they provide to disabled passengers.

Airport photoThe report shows that the number of passengers requesting assistance continues to grow, with assistance requested in over three million journeys in 2016 – a 66% rise since 2010.

The majority of airports rated by the CAA report are providing ‘very good’ or ‘good’ support.  However, four airports, including London Heathrow and Manchester, have been told they must improve after falling under the ‘poor’ rating.

The CAA framework for rating the quality of assistance provided to disabled travellers is the first of its kind in Europe.  It was introduced to ensure there is a consistent and high quality service for disabled passengers across UK airports.  The CAA assesses airports against a number of measures to establish how well they are performing for disabled passengers.  Where airports regularly under-perform, the CAA can take enforcement action to ensure services are improved.

Six airports were rated as ‘very good’ including Birmingham, Glasgow and Humberside airports.  20 were rated as ‘good’  including Belfast International, London Stansted and Edinburgh airports.

Michaela Hollywood, Campaigns Officer for Trailblazers –  Muscular Dystrophy UK’s young disabled campaigners network – said: “Our Up in the Air investigation painted a picture of how many young disabled people find it difficult to use air travel.  Young professionals need to travel for business, while many young people find that travelling to new countries enriches their lives and is a part of their identity.

“Air travel can go smoothly.  However, it is clear that monitoring systems are needed to identify the issues in specific airports and encourage them to make their assistance better for disabled passengers.

“Being able to get from A to B without undue stress and anxiety is important for everyone, and disabled people deserve to experience all the thrills of travelling to new parts of the world by plane.”

To find out more about the report and the MDUK Trailblazers, click here.

International Credit Union Day theme announced

ICU_Day_2017_Logo_EN-page-001 - CopyThis year’s International Credit Union Day, which takes place on 19 October 2017, will have the theme “Dreams Thrive Here.”

International Credit Union Day takes place every year on the third Thursday in October and, this year, credit union professionals decided the theme via an online poll.

All 56,000 credit unions around the world are being encouraged to share photos, events and experiences online to help promote the movement. The day aims to raise awareness of the contribution that credit unions make to society.

Brian Branch, President and Chief Executive of the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), said: “ICU Day gives us an opportunity to encourage credit union members to get engaged, share their experiences and celebrate how credit unions and financial co-operatives have made an impact on their life choices.”

Read more about this year’s International Credit Union Day. To find out about credit unions in the UK, visit the Association of British Credit Unions (ABCUL).

NMC in Winsford opens new annexe

The NeuroMuscular Centre in Winsford opened its extended building recently and the Lord-Lieutenant of Cheshire was there to cut the ribbon.

Lord-Lieutenant of Cheshire David Briggs opens the new NMC building with Chief Executive Matthew Lanham.

Lord-Lieutenant of Cheshire David Briggs opens the new NMC building with Chief Executive Matthew Lanham.

The NeuroMuscular Centre (NMC) was founded in 1990 and provides a range of services and specialist advice for adults with muscular dystrophy and other neuromuscular conditions. A new annexe was recently added to the centre to enable it to offer even more services.

Over 100 people turned up for the opening and to have a look round the improved centre, which contains physiotherapy treatment rooms, a specialist gym and a design and print business. Guided tours took place, a buffet lunch was served and members of staff were on hand to answer questions.

The Lord-Lieutenant of Cheshire, David Briggs, officially opened the new centre and congratulated the NMC on its success.

The NMC offers a range of other services such as complementary therapies, bushcraft skills courses in the recently developed garden at the centre, a wheelchair football team and a range of support and advice for adults with muscular dystrophy. The NMC is the only centre of its kind in the UK.

 

Charity recycling service expands in Llandrindod Wells

Environmental charity and social enterprise Cae Post is expanding its trade waste and recycling service in the Llandrindod Wells area and is inviting local organisations to a drop-in session to find out more.

Cae Post colour logoWelshpool-based Cae Post, which specialises in collecting waste and recycling from businesses in Powys and North Shropshire, will be meeting business people and charity representatives from the Llandrindod area at the Herb Garden Community Café on 18th July.

Cae Post has over 30 years’ experience and, as a charity and social enterprise, the work they do benefits people with disabilities and those who find it difficult to access the jobs market. At the drop-in session, Cae Post is hoping to encourage businesses and organisations in Llandrindod to put their waste to good use and recycle as much as they can.

Sue Packer, General Manager of Cae Post, said: “Although all businesses have a duty to deal with their waste in a legal and environmentally responsible way, many people we speak to do not realise exactly what can be recycled.

“At Cae Post we offer a wide range of recycling collection services across Powys, including food waste, stretch film and pallet wrap, and all sorts of plastic packaging. At our drop-in session at the Herb Garden Community Café on 18th July, we will be showing businesses in Llandrindod just how much can be recycled and how their waste can be put to good use.

“What’s more, by choosing Cae Post, businesses will be supporting a valuable local charity and social enterprise which provides work to disadvantaged people.”

Cae Post will be holding its drop-in session at the Herb Garden Community Café, Station Crescent, Llandrindod Wells, on Tuesday 18th July from 1pm to 3pm.

Sue Packer added: “Anyone who has their own business, or who works for a local business, organisation or charity, is welcome to drop in and see us – no appointment necessary. Just come along and find out more about recycling and how we can help – we’d love to meet as many people as possible.”

For more information about the drop-in session, please visit www.caepost.co.uk.

Internationally acclaimed Californian choir tours UK for charity

The Starfire Singers, a Methodist youth choir from the United States with an international reputation, are touring the UK this summer and will be performing at a number of venues to raise funds for charity.

Borderless imageEvery few years, the Starfire Singers embark on a summer tour of the UK, arranged by Janet Redler Travel & Tourism. The Starfire Singers sing in worship at Los Altos United Methodist Church in Northern California and their musical productions tackle social issues from a Christian perspective. In July and August 2017, they will be performing the original musical Borderless at venues across the country to raise money for local charities.

Borderless is about confronting the places where people feel stuck in life, where people feel trapped by all the demands placed on them by internal and external pressures, and finding a path towards living beyond those borders. The performances include music, song, dance and multimedia.

Janet Redler, Chief Executive of Janet Redler Travel & Tourism, which is arranging the tour, said: “We are delighted to welcome the renowned Starfire Singers to the UK once again. Their thrilling musical production Borderless is sure to entertain audiences around the country while also addressing social issues. The tour will help to raise funds for a number of charitable projects and we would like to welcome people along to enjoy a wonderful evening of entertainment.”

Performances will take place at St Mary Redcliffe Church in Bristol on 26 July, Coventry Central Hall on 28 July, St Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral in Armagh on 31 July, Paisley Methodist Church on 3 August, Wesley Memorial Methodist Church in Epworth, Lincolnshire, on 5 August and Wesley Memorial Church in Oxford on 7 August.

Funds raised from the performances will be donated to a number of charities and Methodist Church initiatives including the New Room Bristol Development Fund, the Open Doors Project at Wesley Memorial Church in Oxford and the Southern Area Hospice in Northern Ireland.

To find out more and for booking details, please visit http://www.janetredlertravelandtourism.co.uk/tours1/starfire-tour-2017/.

Big Society Capital invests £2.5 million in Charity Bank

Charity Bank logoBig Society Capital has invested £2.5 million in the share capital of Charity Bank and has committed in principle to invest a further £2.5 million on or before 1st December 2017. This will complete Big Society Capital’s pledge in March 2014 to invest up to £14.5 million in ordinary shares of Charity Bank.

Charity Bank, the ethical bank that uses savings to make loans to charities and social enterprises, has lent over £180 million since 2002. Charity Bank is run for the sector and owned by the sector, as all of its shareholders are charitable trusts, foundations and social purpose organisations. This further investment from Big Society Capital will allow it to make more loans to social sector organisations in the coming years.

This investment is made as Charity Bank experiences continued growth. Charity Bank has had a strong start to the year with £28 million of new loan approvals in the first five months of 2017. This continues the momentum since Big Society Capital’s initial investment in 2014, with the loan book growing by over 25% per year in the two years to 31st December 2016.

George Blunden, Chairman of Charity Bank, says: “These further injections of capital from Big Society Capital will enable us to meet the growing demand for loans from charities and social enterprises.

“Share capital is vital to our mission. It underpins the bank and enables us to leverage our savers’ money. An investment in Charity Bank creates a multiple effect – for every £1 of share capital invested we can lend £8 to help create lasting social change in our communities.”

“When Big Society Capital pledged its original investment, we said that we hoped it would be the first of a small number of significant new investors over the next five to ten years. The Mercers Charitable Foundation invested a further £1 million in 2015 and the Barrow Cadbury Trust invested £250,000 in 2016.

“We are inviting other charitable trusts, foundations and social purpose organisations to invest in our share capital and join with us in using the tools of finance to create a better society for all.”

Anna Shiel, Head of Origination of Big Society Capital says: “Big Society Capital’s investment in Charity Bank plays an important role in making capital available to small and medium sized charities. Over 850 loans have now been made to organisations totalling more than £180m. These loans have helped support people all around the UK, with 97% of organisations saying it has contributed to achieving their mission and 68% saying the loan helped them to expand their services. Upon the completion of our investment, we look forward to seeing more people and communities supported by their work.”