Thanks to support from City Bridge Trust’s Grants Plus programme, we have created a new Strategic Plan 2020 – 2026 with Locality consultant Lin Gillians. Mentoring from Cranfield Trust consultant Mike Meldrum has also been part of the process.
This is the Executive Summary.
RESTORATION TRUST STRATEGIC PLAN 2020 – 2026
WHY WE EXIST
There is a catastrophic gap between what people with serious mental health challenges need, and what is on offer, so we use heritage and creativity to improve people mental health without relying on services.
Exploring the compelling histories of patients in 19th century lunatic asylums, or sensory immersion in mysterious ancient landscapes reignites people’s curiosity and their desire for living.
We are recasting early intervention and prevention away from institutions and into communities, overcoming systematic exclusion from amazing cultural assets that belong to us all. Our groupwork ethos creates new communities that sustain people in the future.
Participants are equal partners in developing projects and shaping their outputs, so we highlight their interest and skills through long-term, meaningful engagement with heritage and creativity.
John Durrant, a member of our Burgh Castle Almanac project, captures our vision: ‘In my life I went through a long time not feeling connected to anything. The project gave me that connection back….Now I’m connected to the world again I want to take this experience as far as I can and I want to give back to the project and people what they have given to me.’
Partners say that we come up with good ideas, and then glue everything together to deliver high quality experiences. One member described our projects as the Day Hospitals of the Future. These co-created projects have three sets of partners, each contributing to and benefitting from their relationship with us:
Participants are people over 18 with serious mental health issues who fall through the gaps between primary and secondary care. University research shows that most participants feel healthier because of joining our projects, including longer term.
Heritage partners provide the sites, collections and online resources where projects happen, as well as experts to work with participants. Heritage partners learn new ways to use their resources for wellbeing and gain insight in reaching a wider and more diverse range of people.
Mental health providers contribute experience of creating relationships with people with serious mental health challenges, as well as offering practical expertise and support. Mental health providersgain access to projects that are outside their usual offer.
Founded in 2015, we are proud that we have:
worked with 27 partners, 206 participants and 38 professionals over 498 sessions, raising £411,400;
As an inclusion charity, we try to reflect what we do in how we work. In terms of governance, four trustees, including our Chair, are service users or carers, as are ten Expert Advisory Board (EAB) members. We systematically address barriers like travel, anxiety or digital exclusion – so our Covid-born Digital Offer enables people to join online meetings through equipment loans, data packages, training and support.
Evaluation is core to our mission. Recovery oriented wellbeing measures such as the Short Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale are combined with qualitative evaluation through focus groups and interviews.
THE NEXT FIVE YEARS
We are a small charity that wants to grow in impact rather than size, to prove that excellent heritage projects transform peoples’ lives.
Working with partners whose networks penetrate heritage, health, community, creativity and academia, we will shift understanding of how cross-sectoral collaboration supports health and equality. Our vision is that by 2027 Culture Therapy will be everyday good practice.
Over the next five years we will diversify income and raise enough funds to deliver future programmes and cover core costs by the end of 2025.
We will develop and run five major programmes, rolling out one existing programme and starting a new one each year. These will be in archives, historic landscapes, automotive and conservation. Future programmes will use our hybrid digital plus approach, incorporating outcomes research. Programmes will be developed on the basis of ongoing sustainability, to extend the impact of funding.
Restoration Trust tools and templates will be published, and we will set up a Culture Therapy training programme. We will stimulate wider change by sharing knowledge and networking with key organisations such as the Culture Health and Wellbeing Alliance, the National Academy for Social Prescribing Academy and the Heritage Alliance.
Core funding will cover running costs and pay the Director and Administrator 2 days a week. Governance training for trustees and expert advisors will make us more robust and inclusive. We will plan the Director’s succession, and support participants to become volunteers, trustees and staff.
Photo credits: Yvette Staelens, Jeremy Webb, Change Minds, Amander Wellings, Rob Fairclough, Burgh Castle Almanac, Sue Tyler
In September we premiered the Burgh Castle Almanac’s film ‘The Return of Happy Times’, at the Seagull Theatre in Lowestoft. This lovely, safe event was a celebration that included project members, their friends and families, as well as Burgh Castle Almanac partners and contributors.
Recorded over the past year, the film – the title is taken from a saying on a Roman coin found by Adrian Charlton at the Fort – illustrates the kind of activities the BCA have been involved in, with members also explaining how the group has benefited them.
The film is directed by Lowestoft-based photographer and filmmaker Julian Claxton, together with members of the group. Julian was interviewed at the premiere by Robert Fairclough.
Please watch it, and share it. It’s hoped that other parts of the country will take up the BCA model, and the film is seen as a major contributing factor towards achieving that aim.
Hey everyone. How are you all? I hope you’re all well and good today. I’m going to talk to you today about my first visit back to the Burgh Castle Almanac Gathering, where our guest was Doctor Peter Lovatt, a.k.a. Doctor Dance. As you’ll see,I think he needs to be prescribed on the National Health Service.
I’d been 50/50 whether I’d attend at all, as I’m not one for dancing, although I do love watching all style of dance on the TV and internet. I had visions of a person coming along who took his dance seriously but would have a laugh with us, or get involved with what we were doing, but perhaps that’s me over-thinking things, my anxiety taking over and telling me I wouldn’t be any good at joining in.
But when Doctor Lovatt started speaking, he made me feel at ease immediately: I could see that his body language was positive, and when he spoke he smiled from ear to ear. To begin with, he got us marching up and down on the spot, then took us for a march in circle around the field we were in. His passion for what he was doing was infectious.
With Doctor Dance guiding us, we took 3 steps forwards, clapped, then took 3 steps back and clapped again. We all did this a couple of times, then stepped to the right, clapped and repeated the moves to the left. Peter then asked us “do our own thing”, then it was spin, clap and back again. It was a little confusing, but because I felt relaxed I didn’t feel stupid or self conscious. This was a small victory for me, and I felt good about that. We then had to perform the moves to music. Well, I’ve got no rhythm or timing, so it was hard, but, once again, I kept at it and really enjoyed myself.
The group then went for are a walk around the ruins of the Roman fort, where we caught up on what had been happening to everybody during lockdown, and took our fixed-point photographs. I think being able to meet in person – rather than through a screen – lifted us all. I feel that we’re a really tight-knit community; you could even say we’re a family.
Once we got to the Roman fort, Peter got us doing the haka, the dance the New Zealand rugby team perform before a match. I’m a big sports fan, so this was one of my favourite moments of the day. Thanks to Doctor Dance making a dream come true, I was buzzing afterwards. We then got a chance to make something with streamers supplied by our resident artist Ian Brownlie, which the wind blew through, making a lovely sound that made me feel even more relaxed and grounded.
While having lunch in the field next to Burgh Castle village hall, I had a chat with Doctor Lovatt and his wife Lindsey. I told him about the podcasts I’ve been doing and was delighted when he agreed to be interviewed on one in the future. Then, there was more dancing, with the last one performed in bare feet so we really felt in tune with nature.
I can’t wait to see all my friends again soon. I hope you all found this a good and positive read. Wishing you all good mental health and a great week.
Calling mental health service users, mental health providers, social prescriber and community connectors in South Norfolk, Great Yarmouth, Waveney and Norwich!
If you live with mental health challenges, or are supporting anyone in South Norfolk, Great Yarmouth and Waveney or Norwich who is interested in history and creativity, here’s a great new project for participation, community connection and mental wellbeing.
We are enrolling people now, and the project kicks off properly on 22nd July.
It’s well set up for social distancing, and is completely free for participants.
Dr Hills’ Casebook is a Change Minds project, run by the Restoration Trust in partnership with Norfolk Record Office, South Norfolk Council and UpShoot Theatre Company.
There is a film about it and a leaflet below.
Contact our Coordinator Darren France for information:
email@example.com. or on mobile 07905517906
Restoration Trust trustee Frances Halahan ACR has produced a list of online conservation resources that meet her high standards! No flannel, no dodgy techniques, no overblown claims. Mostly not for DIY, except for managing moth top tips from English Heritage.
https://www.tate.org.uk/artist-rooms has a Learning resource section with information on a number of artists. Some of the info includes video which are quite interesting and also suggestions of things to do. It is generally free of artspeak and, in some cases, discusses the artist’s mental health.
Before the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the group enjoyed mindfulness walks, talks with experts and creating artwork inspired by what they saw
We asked the Restoration Trust’s director, Laura Drysdale, why they use heritage in their work – and how they are continuing to support people during lockdown.
A feeling of belonging
“Heritage is about that feeling of belonging, knowing that this is your place and understanding how your history fits within wider history,” Laura says. “It is a part of being human.
“We are often in unbeautiful environments, particularly those who live with mental illness who regularly have to visit places like health centres and benefits offices. Access to heritage gives people a chance to be somewhere beautiful, forge connections with other people and explore their own creativity.
“It can be a hard shell to crack and even harder for some members of the group to gain that feeling of entitlement – the feeling that yes this heritage does belong to us. For many it would be much easier to hide away. It takes a lot of courage, but once people do get that feeling, the benefits can be extraordinary.”
“I’ve lived nearby Burgh Castle for so many years and had never been. Now I don’t think I will ever stop going.”
How does the Restoration Trust create that sense of belonging?
“Crucially we listen,” Laura explains. “Mental illness attacks ordinary human experiences and pushes people to the margins. As a result, we work with very excluded people.
“We talk and find out what will help – it might be access to the site via minibus or the language used to promote events.
“Listening has to become action. You don’t want people to feel that their time and thought has been wasted. When people are listened to they feel more confident to tell you things, so it is a virtuous circle.
“We involve people with lived experience of mental illness in planning the project, for example through running trial sessions. We have scheduled opportunities for listening, and people with lived experience sit on the Project Board to monitor progress.
“Listening helps us to tackle our own organisational attitudes. Ultimately, we, our partners and the participants are in it together. Everyone is learning, it’s always an experiment, things are always changing. It can be demanding, but it offers the best outcomes.”
Staying connected during lockdown
Of course, coronavirus (COVID-19) has changed the way the project can operate. Laura tells us how they have been managing: “Our IT team have been working hard to get laptops set up for participants who want to stay in touch in our weekly Zoom meetings and Facebook group.”
“While that digital connection is very important, we are still maintaining contact with those who it doesn’t suit by sending creative activities to them.”
“Not being able to be in the heritage landscape is certainly being felt. Having lost that connection has made the group realise how important it is to them and their mental wellbeing.”
Kindness is the theme of Mental Health Awareness Week this year and it is fundamental to the group’s activities. “Kindness is a big one for us,” says Laura, “especially during this time of high risk.
“The group have been really supportive of each other, even dropping food off for each other. People will remember those acts of kindness.”
Valuing the heritage landscape
The group are looking forward to getting back together when they can. “Not being able to be in the heritage landscape is certainly being felt. Having lost that connection has made the group realise how important it is to them and their mental wellbeing.
“During the pandemic, The National Lottery Heritage Fund has been fantastic in helping us reshape the project and be flexible on its timescale. The group is most definitely hoping to meet up again once we can, to continue the project – maybe not quite as we planned but it is going to be great!”
To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, we hear from a participant of a National Lottery-funded project that uses heritage to help people living with mental illness – even during lockdown.John Durrant20/05/2020
“I’ve lived nearby Burgh Castle for so many years and had never been. Now I don’t think I will ever stop going.”
For Mental Health Awareness Week, we asked John about his experiences with the project before and during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
How did you become part of the Burgh Castle Almanac project?
I began hearing voices from the age of 12 and as a teenager tried to take my own life. I was diagnosed with a mild form of schizophrenia, but it wasn’t until 11 years later following a psychotic episode that I discovered I had been misdiagnosed and I actually have emotional unstable personality disorder.
Since then I have been trying to understand my illness.
“I don’t drive, so the fact I was offered transport to get to the castle was a big factor in my decision to join.”
A facilitator of the Burgh Castle Almanac project contacted me to see if I wanted to take part. I don’t drive, so the fact I was offered transport to get to the castle was a big factor in my decision to join.
The first time I went I really didn’t feel like it was for me and didn’t think I would be going again, but my partner persuaded me to give it another go. Now I am part of the furniture! The group is so non-judgemental, you aren’t judged if you miss a week, but they also care and see if you are OK if you do.
Before lockdown, what did you do?
So many things! We met every fortnight, sometimes small groups and sometimes more of us – it was really flexible.
We had different professionals visit to help us relate to Burgh Castle including a writer, a geologist and a butterfly man.
“In my life I went through a long time not feeling connected to anything. The project gave me that connection back.”
Another time, we visited the Thames Foreshore project in London – walking right along the riverbed was phenomenal. That same trip we went to the British Museum. One of the other members of the group actually has a Saxon find on display there. He also found a Roman coin in a molehill near Burgh Castle when we were on one of our walks.
Mindfulness walks were another thing. I was sceptical at first but walking and paying real attention to the sounds of birds, the wind blowing and taking in the smells really did help me reconnect with nature.
I’ve lived nearby the castle for so many years and had never been, now I don’t think I will ever stop going.
Has the project impacted your mental health?
In my life I went through a long time not feeling connected to anything. The project gave me that connection back. I looked forward to going on a Tuesday and being laughed at (good naturedly!) for getting stressed about art projects.
The group is like a big family, if we see each other struggling we take notice and offer support. I’ve made friends I never would have met if I hadn’t joined.
Now I’m connected to the world again I want to take this experience as far as I can and I want to give back to the project and people what they have given to me.
“Heritage is about that feeling of belonging, knowing that this is your place and understanding how your history fits within wider history. It is a part of being human.”
How has coronavirus (COVID-19) and the lockdown changed things for you?
I work to manage my mental health by trying not to get weighed down by too much news or social media. Each day I say something new and positive to myself including the fact that this situation will not beat me – I will beat it.
In terms of the project, we have definitely not stopped.
We meet on Zoom every week where we talk and complete challenges such as mindfulness maps to stay in touch with each other and heritage.
We also have a closed Facebook group with more than 50 members where we post creative challenges. In fact, lockdown has meant the group is more active than ever and remains a way we can pick up on if someone is having a down day.
“The group is like a big family, if we see each other struggling we take notice and offer support. I’ve made friends I never would have met if I hadn’t joined.”
I’ll admit, the situation was disheartening at first, but the communication and support is still there and so helpful.
When lockdown ends, we will meet up again and there are so many positive things to plan and do for the project. I’m excited and so thankful we will have the opportunity.
Care & kindness: A conversation for Creativity & Wellbeing Week
A conversation between Victoria Hume (Director, CHWA) and Liz Ellis (Policy Project Manager, National Lottery Heritage Fund)
Victoria: This year in a beautiful piece of synergy, Creativity and Wellbeing Week, theme Positive Futures, runs alongside Mental Health Awareness Week, theme Kindness. The National Lottery Heritage Fund is one of CHWA’s Strategic Partners and you lead on inclusion and wellbeing policies. What synergies do you see in this week during this extraordinary year of challenges so far?
Liz: I’ve been a fan of and happy contributor to Creativity and Wellbeing Week for the past 10 years so I know it is always a week of shared, brilliant energy. I know the characteristic generosity of so many culture and health practitioners alongside the involvement of so many networks and alliances, will make 18-24 May 2020 an amazing week.
The Heritage Fund recognises the significant role of wellbeing in our outcomes and inclusion priorities. This week has a strategic focus for us all this year and ahead. As a funder, we recognise that not everyone is equally impacted by the pandemic, with existing, structural inequalities disproportionately affecting the experiences of individuals and communities.
When the Heritage Fund approached Burgh Castle Almanac participants to share their knowledge and experiences as part of Mental Health Awareness Week, it was the very intentional, central role of kindness as a core value which was shared by everyone involved, that sang out for me. It was also the way that all the structures surrounding this brilliant two-and-a-half year project demonstrated for me what is increasingly recognised as an ethics of care. This is a situated, relational model of understanding how we connect – or fail to connect – with each other, which recognises that care takes place in a mesh of social and structural networks. Using the ethics of care means we pay attention to the changing care needs we all have throughout our lives, whilst recognising the often extreme differences in how we all experience power relations and structural inequalities. As a very concrete example of the ethics of care in action (although not a term I think the Burgh Castle Almanac participants currently use, perhaps a creative opportunity together ahead!) I’ll give a brief snapshot based on this recent experience.
I’ve been lucky enough to join one of the Almanac walks at Burgh Castle. Arriving in Great Yarmouth one late autumn day I was immediately made welcome by all involved in this exploration of historic landscape and mental wellbeing at Burgh Castle Roman Fort. I was included warmly in the conversations over past events, then guided along in the darkening day by others, the kindness consistently demonstrated by all meaning that I didn’t fall into the surrounding muddy ditches and peaceful, but freezing water. While we were walking, many of the 20 or so participants shared with me their experiences of the beauty and comfort they gained in this extraordinary ancient landscape, associated now with new friends, people who could be trusted and who evidently helped each other, often during difficult, perhaps lonely days. When we eventually left the moonlit landscape for a much-needed tea brew back in the warm Village Hall, I felt relaxed, safe and completely included in this environment that had been previously unknown to me.
The context I had been invited into, to explore with other people, to contribute ideas and share these more widely through the Burgh Castle Almanac enabled us all to feel more positive about what was next for each of us, in our days and weeks ahead. These intentional values of kindness and supported creativity of course didn’t happen randomly. Addressing the inequalities of health, income, housing and much more, which prevent so many people in the UK experiencing historic landscapes or any other aspects of our shared heritage, takes an understanding of the ‘ethics of care’. This is an understanding that we all need care at differing points in our lives and access to resources and equitable structures to look after each other and which really values how we care about each other. This knowledge means placing people at the centre and from the outset, through thinking, planning and resourcing, often for months ahead.
In the Burgh Castle Almanac example, creative and flexible relationships between mental health and heritage organisations include the Broads National Park Authority and the Restoration Trust. Finding the right person to regularly drive the minibus so people can get to the site and contribute to the Almanac, or who to give an enjoyable talk about the stars over the ancient Burgh Castle site and the archaeology within it, or to remember to bring the milk – are all crucial relational and interlocking components.
All these skills and resources require kindness as core to ‘working with’, not ‘doing to’ people who may have experienced intense vulnerability and reduced life opportunities over many long, hard years. Together as participants, heritage organisations, artists, funders and many more we can contribute to building an ethics of care now and ahead, which really demonstrates meaningful social and creative change in tackling these inequalities. That looks like a Positive Future for me and so many of us involved in CHWA and other alliances I know too.
You’ll find Laura Drysdale’s and John Durrant’s experience of Burgh Castle Almanac here:
Liz: Victoria, during the pandemic you’re currently running CHWA from South Africa. As a musician and CHWA Director, do you experience the sketch I’ve given of an ethics of care and how do the ensuing practices of kindness resonate for you?
Victoria: Well, I’m experiencing a sort of double-consciousness at the moment, since I’m completely immersed in what’s happening in the UK via the news, social media, and the work with the Alliance of course. I am living in the UK on one level, and on another I am in a South African winter, with all the beautiful cold sunsets hitting Joburg’s orange rocks while the UK’s summer evenings drift on.
Your recollections of Burgh Castle make me think of some work I was involved in as a musician, here in South Africa, with an organisation called Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation (SLF), specialists in public engagement in health research. The project was about water – during the Western Cape’s severe drought in 2017, SLF wanted to extend the conversation to areas that have less of a voice in the media – to learn what water, and the loss of water, meant in communities where stormwater can dislodge homes in a single night, break down roofs, flood makeshift sanitation systems; and where, too, a lack of water means no way to extinguish house fires, no means of burying a loved one’s body correctly, no means to run an annual flower competition in the impossibly sandy soil, until then a defiant symbol of community and possibility. With their partners in Delft and Enkanini, SLF were guided by exactly the ethics of care you describe. In Delft, long relationships had been built up over years of sporadic funding and a belief in slow, unshowy work full of integrity. Many aspects of this project are branded into my memory but towards the end of an intensive week of making music, body-maps, and drama together, a local lay preacher who had been part of the project brought us together – a collection of atheists, Muslims, Christians – in tight concentric circles with our eyes closed – to receive a blessing. I’ve rarely experienced something so intense with other people. “Care” is such a degraded word in the UK, the “care system” such a cold concept, however warm the people within it. Somehow this circle of people in a rickety church hut surrounded by body-maps was a rebuttal of that cool idea. Care instead became a powerful force, something with great energy, great potential to unify, and to create change.
‘Care’ in the UK has been such a contentious concept in the last few years. Last summer the Institute for Public Policy Research suggested that cuts to public health and social care since 2012 had caused 130,000 preventable deaths – all of this well before covid. It’s now clear that the government’s action plan on social care has – in the words of the chief executive of the Health Foundation – “come too late to stem the avoidable loss of life for care home residents, and social care staff – mostly women – who are about twice as likely to die from COVID-19 as other adults”. Care homes are sites of appalling suffering. People paid some of the lowest wages in the country to do a job already so difficult are now having to deal with death on a massive scale. How will we care now for all these people who have borne the brunt of our lack of preparedness?
The arts and culture are often decried as a ‘nice to have’, yet the individuals and organisations in the Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance are using all their skills and experience to find a way to support this recovery. Ensemble Hesperi (working with Live Music Now) recently reflected on their work at Park Avenue care centre in Bromley:
Fortunately, we had built up a great rapport with the staff and residents …and, as musicians who live together, we were able to continue our weekly sessions on Zoom. Live-streaming participatory music sessions from home has been quite a learning curve, but it has been incredibly rewarding to be able to lift the spirits of the residents and staff during these difficult times. We have had to adapt our approach, planning in more detail, and have had to overcome the fact that we can’t gauge the atmosphere of the room as easily. Despite these challenges, we feel that the sessions are really bringing a smile to the residents and staff. Singing together, using well-known songs and activities, has been a brilliant way of bringing together the whole community. We have been so touched by the dedication and enthusiasm of the staff at Park Avenue, who even recorded their own music video of a song we wrote for them! During this period, we are so lucky, as we have each other as musical colleagues, our instruments, and our music, but this project has really given us a wonderful opportunity to share our music beyond our own four walls. This, more than anything, has helped us to keep positive and give us hope for the future.
This seems to me to be relational care encapsulated – with musicians, staff and residents all receiving the benefits. Similarly, in Liverpool, Heart of Glass have developed Home Work commissions – many of which are being created by shielded people or people who are caring for shielded people, and all of which are responding to the theme of care.
In many parts of the country, cultural and creative organisations are connecting with emergency support to reach the most vulnerable. RAMM in Exeter are distributing 1,000 creative packs through Exeter City Council’s health and wellbeing hub, alongside food parcels. In Canterbury the Beaney House of Art & Knowledge is sending out health and wellbeing information with food parcels, and working with Parish councillors to distribute books to people unable to access the internet. Greater Manchester Combined Authority is supporting a city-wide collaboration between health, social care and the cultural sector to reach both older people and vulnerable young people with tens of thousands of creative care packs.
What makes it care though, is not just the fact of delivering packs or playing music across zoom, but the kindness, the people, the humanness of it, the humour: the acknowledgement of our own artistic frailties in the face of technology, someone’s sensitivity in making sure RAMM’s creative packs have pencils and pencil sharpeners in them. Tiny things that makes this all feel as if we might have it within us to make something better out of this awful reality. The WHO guidance about Covid-19 rests on kindness (“Be Ready, Be Smart, Be Kind”), just as Mental Health Awareness Week does. Kindness and care are both invested with a respect for our vulnerabilities. I recently read the actor Rory Kinnear’s tribute to his sister, who has died of Covid-19. It’s both heartbreaking and hopeful, because of his passionate avowal that our real strength as a society is in our recognition of vulnerability, of the need to care for one another. As Guddi Singh put it in a brilliant blog, “Care is what could turn this tragedy into communal, collective, global metamorphosis”.
Liz: Finally, in the spirit of positive futures and the kindness we all need ahead, what is the one top music track you’d share?
I heard her play at St Mary’s Music Hall, a brilliant music, faith and community coproduction with St Mary’s Church, London, E17. The Heritage Fund are proud to contribute funding in this community success.
Now we are emerging from hardline lockdown, here’s a brisk summary of what Burgh Castle Almanac’s been up to since February in Burgh Castle Almanac.
We suspended our exhibition until March 2021 and moved sessions online. We’ve met weekly and now fortnightly, along with artist Ian Brownlie. Between Zooms we’ve sent out art parcels to 20 people at a time, and shared makings on our private facebook group. With Ian Brownlie, we’ve designed a T-Shirt that will be printed any moment now.
We have shared incredible music collections, worn beards, made fantasy homes, alphabets of Burgh Castle Almanac, posted art school pottery and discussed dinners.
Burgh Castle Almanac featured in two blogs produced by the National Lottery Heritage Fund for Mental Health Awareness Week in mid May, one an interview with Laura, and another with John Durrant – who blogs at Living With Mental Health. This was re-blogged by the Baring Foundation. We also popped up on the front page on the Culture Health and Wellbeing Alliance website.
John Durrant has created a podcast, and there’s a new one out where he and Laura talk about Burgh Castle Almanac, and culture therapy as a way of improving mental health and wellbeing.
During lockdown people have been resourceful and mutually supportive. The private facebook page has seen kind messages, but it hasn’t stopped there. Cooking, food deliveries, photos of lovely lockdown walks at Burgh Castle and bike rides have connected people in the real world as well.
This is a very tough time for everyone and there is a growing sense that it’s only going to get worse for people who deal with mental health challenges. But it’s not all gloom, and there have some wonderful developments in several people’s lives.
On Facebook we have an essential daily dose of Bobby’s Barnstormers, Robert Fairclough’s life in music. Robert is also writing a weekly facebook post for the Restoration Trust called Life under Lockdown.
Tod Sullivan has created a series of live facebook broadcasts and a new organisation, Asteri Learning, to share skills about telling personal mental health stories – to be safe, connected and heard.
Julian Claxton’s film is almost in the can, two short clips have appeared online. We’ve agreed the final story board and Julian has orchestrated a drone flight over the site. There are a couple of interviews left to complete, and a voiceover to record.
Jane Willis completed her first evaluation report, noting that people felt the project was safe, well managed and well-held, and a place where they did not feel judged. The fact that it was a two-year project also enabled them to feel safe, knowing that it was going to carry on. They appreciated the new experiences it gave them, but also felt that it enabled them to connect with a sense of history, culture and place leading to a greater sense of connection and belonging.
The other piece is an interview with Laura, our Director. That focusses on what heritage does for mental health, and how to listen to people so that a heritage engagement project like Burgh Castle Almanac works.
Thanks to all our partners and contributors on this beautiful project – Norfolk Archaeological Trust, Norfolk Museums Service, Access Community Trust and the Broads Authority. And to the Heritage Fund!