Back in 2011, a group of people with experience of mental health issues got talking. Each had their own story to tell, but they all agreed about one thing.
They saw the views of people affected by mental health challenges were not being heard in Bath and North East Somerset. They determined to change this for the future. And so New Hope was born.
The first New Hope volunteers soon got busy, researching and publishing ‘Bridging the Gap’, which reported the experience of people with mental health challenges in Bath & North East Somerset. Mental health service providers sat up and listened and the findings set out in ‘Bridging the Gap’ are now part of B&NES’ mental health commissioning strategy.
St Mungo’s homeless charity – recognising the link between mental health issues and homelessness – helped New Hope from the start, with funding, support and training for New Hope volunteers.
Following on, New Hope went from strength to strength, with great achievements and innovative projects, being especially proud of the Hope Guide, B&NES’ only complete listing of groups and services for people affected by mental health challenges in Bath and the surrounding area. New Hope volunteers also went on to start the wellbeing groups Hopespace Cafe and Fun Division along with KS2, a group for people supporting those close to them, who suffer with mental health challenges.
Here's more of the amazing work which was done by New Hope volunteers.
What We Achieved Together
We wrote the Mental Health and Wellbeing Charter
Helping mental health service providers make better user-friendly services
Mental health service providers needed to understand what really matters to people who use their services. Which is why amazing New Hope volunteer Caroline decided to work on a Mental Health and Wellbeing Charter to highlight the needs of people with mental health challenges in Bath and North East Somerset. The Charter was launched in May 2016 and is fully supported by mental health Commissioners locally.
We ran 'What's Going On?' Events
Carers group KS2, AWP and St Mungo's collaborated to host 2 'What's Going On?' events where service users and carers were able to talk with local service providers and commissioners, from AWP and Virgin Care, about the future of mental health services. Attendees were able to give valuable input about how services can be improved for the future. The results of these discussions were compiled in reports which would further influence how future services are designed.
We created the Hope Guide
The only complete guide to mental health services and groups in B&NES
There have been 8 editions of the Hope Guide, listing many groups and services available within BANES. It's seen as a valuable resource within social prescribing, used by many professionals and local residents with groups and mental health organisations jostling to tell us what they can do for people affected by mental health issues. Take a look, to see ways you can make your life better today.
We organised the What Works Conference
Making mental service users and carers a force for positive change
In 2013, New Hope, together with volunteer group KS2, organised the ‘What Works Conference’. This was the first time ever that mental health service users, carers and service providers had got together to discuss improvements for mental health services in Bath & North East Somerset. Volunteer input at the conference was passed to B&NES’ Health & Wellbeing Partnership, allowing service providers to build better services for the future.
We published the Bridging the Gap report
A unique report reflecting the views of mental health service users locally
New Hope volunteers researched and published ‘Bridging the Gap’ to share the real-life experience of people who’d used mental health services in Bath & North East Somerset. The findings and recommendations set out in ‘Bridging the Gap’ have changed how B&NES’ mental health services are commissioned. Now that’s what we call making a difference.
We helped to organise mental health events in BaNES
Raising awareness of mental health in our community
New Hope, together with St Mungo's, have organised a variety of events, often in collaboration with partner organisations. There have been various events for World Mental Health Day with activities including flash mobs, choirs and wellbeing cake being given to the public, all to promote awareness of mental health challenges and reduce stigma.
We got people access to art in the community
Bath Museum’s Partnership Community Engagement Project
Working with Creativity Works, New Hope volunteers helped train Bath museum guides to recognise the needs of visitors with mental health difficulties. They also helped arrange coffee at the Holburne Museum Bath, No 1 The Crescent and Bath’s American Museum to visitors with mental health challenges, some of whom had never been inside a museum before.
This has been followed up with our Coffee and Chat events, which have taken part in fabulous venues including the Bath Museum of Architecture.