The Burgh Castle Almanac wellbeing walking group has been in existence since 2018. Over three successful years, working with the Norfolk Archaeological Trust and local mental health services, the BCA has met every fortnight. We are often joined by artists, archaeologists, naturalists and musicians, who enrich members’ enjoyment of the Burgh Castle site, while also helping to encourage positive mental health.

In 2019, the BCA began making our own film about the Burgh Castle Almanac’s activities, The Return of Happy Times, with local filmmaker Julian Claxton. With Covid restrictions relaxed, we are starting to present screenings of the film throughout Norfolk and Suffolk. We hope that other parts of the country will take up the BCA model for wellbeing groups, and the film is seen as a major factor in achieving that aim.

After the screening, there will be a Q and A with BCA members. Tickets are FREE and can be obtained through Eventbrite via The Forum’s web page about the event:

The Restoration Trust to receive £33,100 from third round of the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund

“Thanks to the Culture Recovery Fund, we’ve been able to grow our services and make them fit for the future. This award means especially that we can invest in social prescribing initiatives that use Norfolk and Waveney’s amazing cultural assets for mental health and community connection.”

Director, Laura Drysdale

The Restoration Trust has received a grant of £33,100 from the Government’s latest round of the Culture Recovery Fund to help the organisation recover from the impact of the Covid pandemic.

Hundreds of arts, heritage and cultural organisations across England will receive a share of £107 million from the additional £300 million announced by the Chancellor at March’s budget for the Culture Recovery Fund, bringing the total cash support package made available for culture during the pandemic to close to £2 billion.

This award will enable us to grow our support for people living with mental health problems to enjoy heritage and creativity to improve their mental health and community connections.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said:

“Culture is for everyone and should therefore be accessible to everyone, no matter who they are and where they’re from.  Through unprecedented government financial support, the Culture Recovery Fund is supporting arts and cultural organisations so they can continue to bring culture to communities the length and breadth of the country, supporting jobs, boosting local economies and inspiring people.”

The latest awards will continue to safeguard our most precious heritage and regional museums across the UK.

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive, National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

“This latest round of the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage has provided much-needed further support for Heritage sites, attractions and organisations as they move forward with their exciting plans to engage, entertain and educate us all.  The UK’s heritage has faced unprecedented times, and investing in the Heritage sector remains vitally important to driving tourism, supporting our wellbeing and making our towns, cities, and rural areas better places to live.”

Today’s announcement follows the second round of the Heritage Stimulus Fund – part of the Culture Recovery Fund – delivered by Historic England. Supporting 142 locations with a total of £35 million, historic sites will benefit from an injection of cash for vital repairs and major restoration work.

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive, Historic England said:

“The Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage schemes and the Heritage Stimulus Fund administered by Historic England continue to provide essential support for heritage and the arts across the country. The latest recipients indicate the breadth of organisations that are being saved as we emerge from the effects of COVID on our sector.”

The Restoration Trust’s Creatively Minded and Heritage report published today

“I’d recommend it wholeheartedly, even if you’re only a little bit interested I mean in any sort of history, then yes. All I can focus on is, it’s just giving me back my imagination.” Dr Hill’s Casebook, a Restoration Trust project 

You can download the PDF by clicking HERE.

Today a new report by The Restoration Trust, Creatively Minded and Heritage, is being published by the Baring Foundation.

The report provides an overview, through 18 case studies, of how heritage and arts organisations are drawing on a wide range of heritage assets and art forms to support people’s mental health and promote community connections.

Creatively Minded and Heritage includes examples of organisations across the UK working with people with mental health problems from the fields of archaeology, local history, natural and historic environments and a particularly rich seam of work in archives, often working with people with experience of mental health problems to explore the stories of patients who were unable to tell their own.

Laura Drysdale, Director of the Restoration Trust says:

“Heritage brings such significant added value for creativity and mental health programmes that it should be a core resource for people looking for mental health treatments, and for heritage, creativity and mental health professionals developing cross-sectoral social prescribing programmes.

It makes sense to marry a mental health system where demand is overwhelming supply, with heritage assets where there is a plentiful supply.”

The report calls for:

  • heritage organisations to ask themselves how they could use their places, people and collections to deliver more brilliant mental health and creativity projects
  • heritage and creativity projects to be widely available as a mental health prescription and for heritage/creative providers to be paid
  • universities to continue progress in collaboration and research that meets cross-sectoral needs; and
  • funders and national organisations to fund flexibly, share best practice and urge others including the Government to see heritage as a mental health asset.

This is the latest in the Baring Foundation’s Creatively Minded series which explores different areas of arts and mental health activity in the UK.

We will be holding a short launch for the report on 23 November at 3pm online. You can register here.

“I’d recommend it wholeheartedly, even if you’re only a little bit interested I mean in any sort of history, then yes. All I can focus on is, it’s just giving me back my imagination.” Dr Hill’s Casebook, a Restoration Trust project

“Why should the people who’ve never visited a land be that country’s prime historians? I think any mental health archive is incomplete until those who have been labelled ‘mad’ tell their side.” Dolly Sen, Artist and Activist, who has been working with the Wellcome Collection’s mental health archives. “All those years of thinking about this place as a landscape I had to navigate my way through in fear, that was causing me harm, has now changed, I now see the beauty of the border landscapes, I am more at ease within myself.” Jim, a veteran with PTSD from serving during The Troubles in Northern Ireland who took part in Belfast Exposed’s therapeutic photography and archive project.

Dr Hills’ Casebook: The Anthology

We are delighted to release the much anticipated Dr. Hills’ Casebook: The Anthology, a collection of patient case studies, stories and creative responses by members of the Change Minds: Dr Hills’ Casebook community. 

Dr Hills’ Casebook was a heritage and creativity project that ran from 2019-2021. It was designed by the Restoration Trust and the Norfolk Record Office, in partnership with South Norfolk and Broadland Councils and UpShoot Theatre Company. The project was intended to support the wellbeing of people living with mental health challenges, and to stimulate public conversation by comparing past and present treatments. It was funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Norfolk Archives and Heritage Development Foundation (NORAH).

Continue reading “Dr Hills’ Casebook: The Anthology”

The Return of Happy Times: Film Screenings!

We are delighted to announce that we will be screening our film ‘The Return of Happy Times’, a chance for us to celebrate our Burgh Castle Almanac with each other and the public.

‘The Return of Happy Times’ is a documentary film that explores the BCA success story and the positive impact it’s had on mental health. The showing of the film will be followed by a Q&A with members of the project and will be screening at the following venues:

STEAM House Cafe, Gorleston-On-Sea
Thursday 11th November

Address: STEAM House Cafe, 140 Highstreet, Gorleston-On-Sea, Great Yarmouth, NR31 6RB
Contact:, 01493 804470

The Forum, Norwich
Friday 26th November

Address: The Forum, Millennium Plain, Norwich, NR2 1TF
Contact:, 01603 727950

Leaflet for 'The Return of Happy Times'

Creatively Minded and Heritage: Report Launch

Join the Baring Foundation, The Restoration Trust & the National Lottery Heritage Fund to talk about mental health, heritage & creativity!

A woman is looking through a historical document with drawings in it, rested on a cushion.

Creatively Minded and Heritage is a new report commissioned by the Baring Foundation and compiled by the Restoration Trust. Through 18 case studies, the report showcases excellent practice across multiple art forms, heritage assets, inclusive, people-centred approaches, organisational structures and health settings to demonstrate how all heritage can be used creatively to improve people’s mental health and community connections nationwide.

The Baring Foundation and the Restoration Trust with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund are holding an online launch for the report on 23rd November 3pm – 4.30pm.

To find out more, you can view our Eventbrite page by clicking HERE.

Like Minds Norfolk – Extraction

In our latest Like Minds Norfolk project, we have been looking at extraction in the local area, investigating the impact it has by visiting sites such as Blackborough End and taking part in an art workshop at the GroundWork Gallery.

What is Extraction?

The practice of taking resources out of the earth has become one of the biggest problems of the modern world. Everything we live in, walk on and touch daily is somehow extracted from the earth.

The built environment is made from stone extraction; oil, gas, coal for transport and industry comes from drilling, mining and fracking; a whole cocktail of extracted minerals are used in electronics. Mobile phones alone contain copper, nickel, lithium, tungsten, cobalt, tellurium and manganese. The scale of natural resource extraction, even for the so-called environmental technologies like wind turbines and electric cars, is staggering and imposing incredible and increasing stress on the earth.

‘Extraction: Art on the Edge of the Abyss, Extraction: the context,’ GroundWork Gallery website

Blackborough End Extraction Reflections

Here is a video by artist Ian Brownlie, who we have been working with during these visits.

Extraction: Art on the Edge of the Abyss

Currently, the GroundWork Gallery is running a programme about what we take from the Earth, involving an incredibly thought-provoking exhibition which we visited during one of our sessions.

‘This programme is part of Extraction: Art on the Edge of the Abyss, a United States-based initiative begun in Montana. It is now a global coalition, a multimedia, multi-venue, cross-border art intervention which seeks to provoke societal change by exposing and interrogating the negative social and environmental consequences of industrialised natural resource extraction.’

‘Extraction: Art on the Edge of the Abyss, Art on the Edge of the Abyss,’ GroundWork Gallery website

If you would like to learn more about GroundWork’s involvement and exhibition, you can visit their website HERE.

I saw how far we’ve come; In other ways, we haven’t – a Dr Hills’ Casebook evaluation report by Professor (Emerita) Karen McArdle 

Here is our latest evaluation report, I saw how far we’ve come, in other ways, we haven’t by Professor (Emerita) Karen McArdle, about our Change Minds collaborative theatre project, Dr Hills’ Casebook.


Special thanks to Karen McArdle and our partners Norfolk Record Office, the UpShoot Theatre Company, NORAH, South Norfolk Council, Broadland District Council and National Lottery Heritage Fund.

MY DR HILLS’ CASEBOOK (Entry 17) : A blog by Robert Fairclough

The seventeenth instalment of Robert Fairclough’s blog about our Change Minds project, Dr. Hills’ Casebook, uniting history, mental health, creative writing and theatre.

My Dr Hills’ Casebook (17)

I was staggered to see that my last post went up on 26 May i.e. nearly four months ago. Such a lot has happened since then. We had the online screenings of the ‘Dr Hills’ Casebook’ film which, apart from some initial technical hiccups, went really well. I think it’s a towering achievement by everyone concerned and should be seen by anyone remotely interested in local history and mental health (or both). The whole play can be seen here:

After that, I was more or less straight into the design of ‘Dr Hills’ Casebook – The Anthology’, a compilation publication of case studies which provided the basis of the characters seen in the play, photographs, essays, creative writing and interviews with the play’s cast and crew. It’s a celebration of the Dr Hills’ project, designed as a keepsake for the group members; an intimate memoir, if you like. Reading through it, it’s moving and humbling to see how, through the research experience, those involved have come to terms with their own personal issues, have turned positives into negatives and grown as people. I include myself among their number.

Continue reading “MY DR HILLS’ CASEBOOK (Entry 17) : A blog by Robert Fairclough”