We are beyond thrilled to say that Richard Johnson, who has been part of Change Minds since 2018, has won the Ecclesiastical’s Heritage Hero 2021 Award.
In 2018 Richard participated in Change Minds, the archives and mental health programme that we run with Norfolk Record Office. He was profoundly impressed by the life, work and character of Dr William Charles Hills, Medical Superintendent of Norfolk County Asylum from 1861 to 1887, and began research that revealed new evidence about the history of mental health treatment.
Richard’s love for this good man led to another Change Minds project, Dr Hills’ Casebook (February 2020 to December 2021), where he provided an astonishing amount of research and personal support for participants. This and his Aide Memoire about Dr Hills and the Asylum underpinned participants’ research and creativity, a professional theatre production and a published Anthology.
Richard is integral to Scaling Up Change Minds, February 2022 – March 2025, where, with Norfolk Record Office, we will create an online information hub tested by six pilots in archives in England and Scotland, manualising the use of mental health and colonial archives for social prescription.
Through these projects, Richard has helped raise £328+k for heritage and mental health, supporting around 90 people with mental health problems, reducing stigma and influencing heritage and mental health sectors.
Richard tirelessly advocates for Change Minds and the Restoration Trust. In 2021 he spoke at conferences run by the Culture Health and Wellbeing Alliance, Community Archives and Heritage Group and First Fortnight Festival. He is a member of the Charity Archives Development Plan Steering Group and the Workhouse Network, and volunteers for Gressenhall Museum and Southwell Workhouse. Richard is on our Expert Advisory Board, advising trustees and staff from the perspective of experience of mental illness.
Richard has brought us learning, kindness, commitment, connections and resilience. Gary Tuson, Norfolk County Archivist and our partner in Change Minds, agrees: Richard is a prize-winning volunteer!
Take a look at our ‘Richard Johnson, Heritage Hero 2021’ video here.