Burgh Castle Almanac session 36

John Durrant, who writes the Living With Mental Health blog, took this photograph on our regular route round the roman fort at Burgh Castle yesterday morning. Sam Brown of Norfolk Wildlife Trust joined us to identify and observe flowers, grasses and crickets up close with hand lenses, and to nibble fat hen, black horehound, nettle, hawthorn berries, elderberries, blackberries, pineapple weed. We noted damage to the site and walls that was probably caused by metal detectors, for passing on to Norfolk Archaeological Trust. What people do for heritage’s wellbeing is up there with what heritage does for people’s wellbeing.

Volunteering with Norfolk Archaeological Trust

Burgh Castle Almanac member Phil Wells is volunteering at Burgh Castle Roman Fort with Norfolk Archaeological Trust.




Phil took this photograph of Sue Tyler’s roundel for our installation at Waveney Valley Sculpture Trail called The World as Nature Intended.


We are seeking applications from film makers to work with us from November 2019 – May 2020 on Burgh Castle Almanac, our partnership with Norfolk Archaeological Trust, Access Community Trust and the Broads Authority.

Burgh Castle Almanac is a fabulous project in a beautiful place with amazing people – so if you are interested we’d love to hear from you. Deadline for applications Monday 2nd September 2019.



BURGH CASTLE ALMANAC is an archaeology, creativity and wellbeing programme based at Burgh Castle Roman Fort and Time and Tide Museum. Once a month a group of local people walk around the Roman Fort making a photographic record of the changing seasons. Sometimes we are joined by archaeologists, artists, musicians and environmentalists to explore the landscape in different ways. A fortnight later we gather at Time and Tide Museum to make art reflecting our experiences. The project began in May 2018 and continues until May 2020.


The Restoration Trust engages people with mental health problems with heritage, art and culture so that their mental health improves. We call it Culture Therapy. restorationtrust.org.uk

Norfolk Archaeological Trust works with local communities to save Norfolk’s irreplaceable historic sites and to share them with everyone. www.norfarchtrust.org.uk

Access Community Trust in Lowestoft promotes social inclusion for the community benefit by preventing people from becoming socially excluded, relieving the needs of those who are socially excluded and assisting them to integrate into society. www.accessct.org

Burgh Castle Almanac is part of Water, Mills & Marshes, a £4.5 million programme supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund that focusses on the people, communities and heritage of the Broads National Park.


Make a short film (around 15 mins) reflecting on and encapsulating the Burgh Castle Almanac experience, including using the project’s archive of artworks and photography

Attend up to 6 sessions to capture the activities taking place and speak with group members about their experiences

Work in consultation with project members to create the final film.

Artist requirements

Creative excellence

Experience of working collaboratively

A commitment to community engagement

To provide own filming and editing equipment

Valid public liability insurance of at least £5 million

To comply with risk assessment and monitoring procedures for the project

Project framework

The sessions timetable is available on our website, www.burghcastlealmanac.org. Sessions are generally on Tuesday mornings, from 10.30am – 1.30pm.  A picnic lunch is included. The Film Maker will work directly with the Burgh Castle Almanac project manager, Laura Drysdale, Director of the Restoration Trust.

The film will be shown at Time and Tide Museum as part of the project’s final Almanac, exhibition and celebrations in May 2020, with a view to wider distribution to community venues and online.

This commission will be dependent on a successful application to Arts Council England.


The budget will be based on tenders submitted in this commissioning process.


Please supply a response to this brief outlining:

Proposed solution: your approach and the methods you will use (up to 500 words)

Costs: Your fee to make the film. Any additional costs attached to your proposal for materials or equipment.

Experience: details of up to five other projects relevant to the current one in terms of scope, size and context; and curriculum vitae(s) of relevant staff to be employed in performing this contract.

Referees: details of two referees

Assessment process

All tenders will be assessed by the project management team including:

Laura Drysdale, The Restoration Trust

Caroline Davison, NAT Co-Director

Andrew Farrell, Broads Authority

Ian Brownlie, BCA Creative Facilitator

Burgh Castle Almanac members

Deadline for applications: Monday 2nd September 2019

Interviews: Tuesday 10th September 2019 at Burgh Castle (venue to be confirmed)

Contract award: Friday 13th September 2019

For further information and to submit your response to this brief please contact:

Laura Drysdale, The Restoration Trust laura@restorationtrust.org.uk

Who we are and what we do – 2019 update


Burgh Castle Almanac on the foreshore at Rotherhithe with the Thames Discovery Programme June 2019

The Restoration Trust was set up 5 years ago  and became a registered charity a year later (2015).  We are dedicated to connecting heritage, health and people with serious mental health problems. Our achievements in five years show that there is a need for our work offering exceptional access to real heritage and real expertise.



We use culture therapy to help people with serious mental health problems engage with heritage so that their mental health improves. Our vision is that culture therapy will be a normal part of heritage, culture and mental health good practice by 2027



  • Sustained engagement with participants, including after projects end
  • Exceptional projects, access, learning, creativity.
  • Research into outcomes for people



  • Human Henge. Ancient landscapes and mental health. Currently building on experience at Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site to extend the programme to other sites in the South West of England.
  • Burgh Castle Almanac. Historic landscapes and mental health at Burgh Castle Roman Fort with Norfolk Archaeological Trust. Part of Water Mills and Marshes, a major landscape project led by the Broads Authority
  • Change Minds. Archives and mental health at Norfolk Record Office and els. Developing partnerships with Scottish Council on Archives and archives in Scotland and North West of England.
  • Culture Quest. Music Appreciation Groups in Norfolk and Suffolk.
  • Conservation for Wellbeing. Conservation and mental health at London Metropolitan Archives.



Most participants had a positive improvement in their health attributable to our programmes, including over the longer term, although numbers are too small to be statistically significant.

In baseline data, only 12% of Human Henge participants felt close to people often or all of the time, rising to 47% at the end. One person said: “I like the walking and talking and learning all at the same time and being a human being rather than an illness or a condition or a client or an end user… I’ve actually been a human being for three months.”

Since taking part in our projects people have volunteered with our partners, taken families and friends to heritage places, visited museums, taken courses, researched family history, written blogs and talked publicly about their heritage and creative passion. They have made films, taken photographs, created artworks and recorded oral histories.



A cross-sectoral organisation, we are rooted in heritage, culture and mental health. Our Chair was the CEO of Icon, the Institute of Conservation. Our Director was a heritage professional who moved on to work in mental health. Trustees have lived experience of mental illness as well as expertise in mental health, social care, PR, publishing and heritage.



In 2018/19 we collaborated with 20 partner organisations and delivered 65 sessions for 123 participants.

Partners and collaborators include:

  • Heritage and culture; English Heritage, National Trust, Wiltshire Libraries, Norfolk Record Office, Norfolk Museums Service, Norfolk Libraries, Icon, London Metropolitan Archives, Norfolk Archaeological Trust, Norwich Arts Centre, Broads Authority, Thames Discovery Programme
  • Mental health; Richmond Fellowship, Together, Julian Support, Homegroup, Access Community Trust, SMART
  • Research; Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, Avon and Wiltshire NHS Partnership Trust, University of East Anglia, University of Bournemouth

Case studies of our projects have been published by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the National Archives, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing, the Royal Society of Arts.

Funders include: National Lottery Heritage Fund, Big Lottery, West Suffolk Community Chest, Norwich Charitable Trusts, Geoffrey Watling Charity, Wiltshire County Council, Norfolk County Council, Norfolk Arts Fund, Geoffrey Watling Charity



Costs for one person to attend a project are around £120 per 3-hour session, £40 per hour (including on-costs). This compares to one 9 minute visit to a GP at £37, one NHS psychological therapy session at £95 per hour, one day on a mental health ward at £410.

APPG round table on Heritage and Health 15th July, Houses of Parliament

We are contributing to a round table on heritage and health at the Houses of Parliament on 15th July as an example of good practice. Here is the agenda:


All Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing

Heritage, Health and Wellbeing Round Table

15th  July 2019 4-6pm, Committee Room 1 House of Lords



Chair: Lord Howarth of Newport


Contributors: Practice

Laura Drysdale, Director, Restoration Trust + Chris Hogg

AJ Langer, Countess of Devon

Richard Osgood, Chief Archaeologist, MOD + Richard Bennett


Andy Pennington, Research Fellow, University of Liverpool

Giles Woodhouse, Chief Strategy Officer, Wessex Archaeology

Helen Chatterjee, Professor of Biology, UCL


Peter Ainsworth, Chair, The Heritage Alliance

Peter Aiers, Chief Executive, Churches Conservation Trust

Ben Cowell, Director General, Historic Houses

Liz Ellis, Policy Adviser Communities and Diversity, The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Dr Linda Monckton, Head of Wellbeing and Inclusion Strategy, Historic England

Brian Smith, Secretary General, Heritage Europe

Dr Heather Smith, Equality Specialist, National Trust

The overall question is: What are the challenges and opportunities for heritage to contribute to the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities?

We  will  hear  from  three  examples  of  good  practice  and  from  those  who  have  participated  in projects. This will be followed by a summary of current research and evidence. Then there will be a discussion of the policy context and what the next steps should be for policy makers.


Peter Ainsworth was appointed Chair of the Heritage Alliance in December 2018. Peter has over 30 years of commitment to public life. Following a successful career in banking, which he combined with serving as a local councillor, Peter entered Parliament in 1992. During his time as an MP Peter was the shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1998-2001) and then the shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural affairs (from 2001-2002, and again 2005-2009). Peter is currently Chair of the Big Lottery Fund, which thanks to National Lottery players gives grants for the improvement of communities across the UK. He is also Chairman of the Churches Conservation Trust.

Peter Aiers became Chief Executive in 2017 after being with The Churches Conservation Trust (CCT) since 2007. Peter set up the Regeneration Team whose role was to find sustainable solutions to complex urban churches within its collection and to enable more community involvement in the care of its churches. Peter became Director for the South East in 2012 and Director of the North region in 2016. He also invented Champing™. After a career start at English Heritage, Peter has worked in local authority conservation officer and worked at the Diocese of London, pioneering new approaches to help the sustainability of historic churches before joining the CCT.

Richard Bennett is the Director of Breaking Ground Heritage (BGH). Richard spent 17 years in the Royal Marines, being medically discharged in 2011. Since his discharge, Richard has been involved in wellbeing projects, initially as a participant with Operation Nightingale. Richard has personally experienced the value of heritage in promoting his own wellbeing, subsequently leading to the development of BGH. BGH now take the lead on veteran’s wellbeing and outcome development for Operation Nightingale projects. Richard has published several articles and papers on wellbeing through heritage and led several sessions in international archaeological conferences on this subject. Richard is now working with Psychologists to develop his research further, making it more applicable across a wider spectrum of society.

Helen Chatterjee is a Professor of Biology in UCL Biosciences. Her research includes biodiversity conservation and evidencing the impact of natural and cultural participation on health. Her interdisciplinary research has won a range of awards including a Special Commendation from Public Health England for Sustainable Development and most recently the 2018 AHRC-Wellcome Health Humanities Medal and Leadership Award; she received an MBE in 2015 for Services to Higher Education and Culture. Helen has written three books ‘Touch in Museums: Policy and Practice in Object Handling’ (Berg Publications, 2008), ‘Museums, Health and Well-being’ (Routledge, 2013) and ‘Engaging the Senses: Object-Based Learning in Higher Education’ (Routledge, 2015) and over 50 research articles.

Ben Cowell has been the Director General of Historic Houses since 2016. Historic Houses represent 1,600 of the UK’s independently owned historic houses, castles and gardens, most of them still lived-in family homes but many offering forms of public access. Previously Ben worked for the National Trust (as Regional Director East of England and as the Deputy Director of External Affairs), and also for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. He is Deputy Chair of the Heritage Alliance, representing over 120 independent heritage organisations.

Laura Drysdale is Director of the Restoration Trust. Laura managed English Heritage collections conservation and was a senior manager at the Museums Libraries and Archives Council before supporting marginalised people at Stonham, Julian Support and Together. The Restoration Trust was founded in 2014 and runs culture therapy partnership projects helping people engage with heritage and culture so that their mental health improves. These include Human Henge (at Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site) and Burgh Castle Almanac (at Burgh Castle Roman Fort).

Liz Ellis works as Policy Advisor Communities and Diversity at National Lottery Heritage Fund since 2015,  where she leads on promoting inclusive practice across the heritage sector. Having trained as a mental health nurse, Liz studied BA and MA Fine Art at St Martins School of Art, London with subsequent national and international exhibitions. As Curator Community Learning at Tate Modern 2006-14,  Liz led strong collaborative local, national and international partnerships with NHS Trusts, mental health organisations, artists, universities and public policy colleagues. A commitment to social justice and the power of cultural rights informs her practice.

Chris Hogg: Following three years of seriously debilitating mental illness and waiting lists, and at the diagnosis of long standing PTSD, Chris joined the Human Henge programme at Stonehenge as a participant. At the start, Chris was unable to go into the outdoors, wrecking what had previously been an important part of his personal and professional life.  Human Henge provided a new context to the landscape, a way to address flashbacks and panic attacks in a gentle, supportive context and introducing archaeological expertise and new friends. From having a professional interest in outdoors and health, to being someone who desperately needed therapy, to becoming someone who has benefited from outdoors heritage therapy has been a revealing experience.

Allison Courtenay (‘AJ Langer’) is the Countess of Devon and lives with her family at Powderham, a historic 14th  century castle in Devon. Before moving to the UK in 2014, AJ enjoyed a 25-year career as an actress in Hollywood in television and film. AJ was diagnosed with a chronic pain condition at a young age and her journey has led her to be a vocal advocate for the mental and physical benefits of health and well-being through the arts. Since her arrival at Powderham, AJ has opened the heritage building and landscape to health and wellbeing of all sorts, encouraging yoga, tai chi, dementia care, and intergenerational arts and culture. AJ sees Powderham as a 700-year-old, start-up, social enterprise and her focus is ‘to facilitate health and happiness through education and the arts’ under the values of Community, Sustainability, Authenticity, Inclusivity and Adventure.

Linda Monckton is Head of Wellbeing and Inclusion Strategy at Historic England and works on the relationship between societal issues and the historic environment. Previously she led Historic England’s research programme for places of worship and worked as a senior architectural investigator. She studied architectural history and conservation and has published widely on medieval buildings, conservation law and practice, church closure and a range of faith buildings including British mosques and Quaker meeting houses. She was Hon. Director of the British Archaeological Association from 2008 to 2016 and is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.

Richard Osgood is the Senior Archaeologist within the Defence Infrastructure Organisation where he has worked since 2004. In 2011 he co-founded Operation Nightingale – using archaeological fieldwork to aid recovery and wellbeing of service personnel and wounded veterans – several of whom now have degrees or work in archaeology. He is responsible for managing and preserving monuments and archaeological sites within the entire Ministry of Defence estate. Previously, he was Research Assistant to Professor Sir Barry Cunliffe at Oxford University. Richard is a regular contributor on the BBC’s Digging for Britain and was voted Current Archaeology’s ‘Archaeologist of the Year’ in 2019.

Andy Pennington is a research fellow based in the Department of Public Health and Policy at the University of Liverpool. He specialises in evidence on the social determinants of health and wellbeing inequalities, and on approaches to systematic evidence-based decision-making. He managed the ESRC What Works Centre for Wellbeing Community Wellbeing Evidence Programme and led their review on the impact of historic places and assets on community wellbeing.

Brian Smith was appointed Secretary General of Heritage Europe by the Council of Europe in1999. He was City Planning Officer of Norwich from 1985 – 1998 and a founder member and past chairman of the English  Historic  Towns  Forum.  Heritage  Europe  represents  over  1000  historic  towns  in  32  European countries and is a founder member of the European Heritage Alliance 3.3. Brian was joint editor of the Alliance research report – “Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe” and co-author of the Horizon 2020 Expert Group on Cultural Heritage report “Getting Cultural Heritage to Work for Europe”

Heather Smith is the Equality Specialist for the National Trust for England, Wales and Northern Ireland focusing on advising on equality, diversity, and access for disabled people as employees, volunteers, members, and visitors across the National Trust’s diverse portfolio of historic properties. Heather has presented and published internationally on accessibility and the historic environment, is a trustee of disability charities, and chairs the Jodi awards for excellence in accessible digital media.  She holds a PhD in access to culture for blind and partially sighted people.  Recently, Heather was appointed Government Disability Sector Champion for Countryside and Heritage.

Giles Woodhouse is the Chief Strategy Officer at Wessex Archaeology and is working on sustainable diversification in public benefit services,  including heritage-based social  prescribing.  His previous role running  a  Recovery  Centre  for  Help  for  Heroes  involved  developing  services  to  aid  the  recovery  of wounded, injured and sick personnel and veterans.  In addition to supporting Operation Nightingale, he led a successful People’s Postcode Lottery funded heritage project partnership with the Canal River Trust and initiated an iron age roundhouse build project in the grounds of Tedworth House enabling beneficiaries to gain a sense of purpose, rediscover comradeship, build self-

Culture Quest Music Appreciation Group receives Lottery Funding!

When the members of the Culture Music Appreciation Group had to face the reality that the funding for group from Norfolk County Council was coming to an end they formed an Unincorporated Association, elected a committee and wrote a constitution, which enabled them to apply for funding.

The group has met regularly at Norwich Art Centre since January 2016. The members of the group are all people who live with mental ill health they find that through sharing their interest and enjoyment of music it helps them manage their mental health and can reduce social isolation.

The funding will enable the group to run another 40 sessions starting this month.

A Musician who is also a mental health professional facilitates the group.

The group was originally set up and run by the Restoration Trust who has supported the members to form their own association.




I see the photo in my mind.

As a toddler I sit on a sacred stone.

Facing the wrong way – looking back.

Sensing the vibrations of eras past.

Family portrait, back row all past on.

One taken far too young.

Digging up family archaeology.

Many mysteries remain unsolved?

Author Amander F. Wellings. 23/2/2019

Amander is a Restoration Trust colleague who is a carer service user and a co-member of the Change Minds research team. She gave us permission to post this beautiful, powerful combination of family photograph and poetry.


This blog appears on the excellent Living With Mental Health website here.

57070862_10158290286863356_6561600578105901056_n.jpgHey Everyone, hope this finds you all well. Well this blog is to share with you, not only my mental health, but also my physical health. I have had a condition called M.E. since the age of 15. A brief description of this condition is that causes extreme fatigue in all your muscles, and makes you want to sleep a lot! It can affect your joints quite a lot too.

So i am a member of the Burgh Castle Almanac group, and we all went on the Angles Way walk, which is 4.5 miles long. well for most this is a mission, but for someone with M.E., it can be very daunting and exhausting experience. But i am very happy to say, I did it !!! ok i’ve been resting every since, but the achievement of doing it was well worth it.

When i found out we were doing the walk, i dreaded it. The thought of walking that far made me feel anxious, and i wanted to pull out quite a few times, due to the fear of failing to complete it. But with encouragement, and a stern talking to myself, I did it, and best of all, as i have said earlier, I completed it. I think our biggest obstacle in life is ourselves. We talk ourselves out of so many good things, that we miss, what is, and can be a very uplifting experience, whatever level of fitness or mental capability we are. I think pushing ourselves to what we think is our limit, will surprise us all, when we realize, that that limit, is actually limitless!!!

So i have mentioned in a couple of blogs, what i get up to in the Burgh Castle Almanac group, well the update of what we have been up to is thus. We have had a small exhibition at the Great Yarmouth Time and Tide museum, which is well worth a visit if you have never been, where we displayed our artwork and items that we have found on our walks around Burgh Castle. Items such as pottery and an old coin. The coin was an old Roman coin with an inscription on which had been translated to say, ‘The return of Happy times’ The art work was made by using a pin hole camera, which gave great results and was very interesting to do. Other artwork included, a drawing and photos which we had taken and adapted through a app on the computer.

Once the exhibition was taken down, we were told that while it was up, the museum had had 2395 people through the door, looking at all the exhibits, including ours. This has made me feel very proud of our group, and all that we have achieved throughout the year.

I am having ups and downs with my mental and physical well being, but achieving something like all this, above, makes it easier to like myself just that little bit more. I can actually say now, i did that, and im dam well proud of what i’ve achieved.

I encourage you all to try something that you thought was un-achievable before, because i can guarantee, you will succeed and feel great about it. It doesn’t matter how many times you try to do something, its the not giving up and finally succeeding that counts.

I wish you all happy mental and physical health, and keep up the good work!!!


All photos by Tod Sullivan


fixed point montage

7th March 2019

Exhibition about archaeology and mental health project opens today at Time and Tide Museum, Great Yarmouth

 The Return of Happy Times is a new exhibition in the Community Gallery at Time and Tide Museum.  Curated by the Burgh Castle Almanac group with artist Ian Brownlie, the exhibition runs until 1st April 2019.

 A Celebration Event for press and guests will be held at Time and Tide Museum from 10.30 – 12 on Tuesday 19th March. This will be an opportunity to meet group members and see the exhibition.

The title of the exhibition is taken from the inscription on a beautiful Roman coin found at Burgh Castle Roman Fort by group member Adrian Charlton during one of our monthly walks. The coin is shown in the exhibition.

The Return of Happy Times is funded by a grant from the Arts Project Fund at Norfolk County Council.

Burgh Castle Almanac is an archaeology, creativity and wellbeing programme based at Burgh Castle Roman Fort and Time and Tide Museum. Once a month a group of local people who live with mental health problems walk around the Roman Fort making a photographic record of the changing seasons. Sometimes the group is accompanied by archaeologists, artists, musicians and naturalists to explore the landscape in different ways. A fortnight later the group gathers at Time and Tide Museum to make art reflecting on their experiences. The project began in May 2018 and continues until May 2020.

The exhibition features archaeology, art, photography and a short film created with BBC Voices.

Burgh Castle Almanac is run by the Restoration Trust. It is part of Water, Mills and Marshes, a £4.5 million programme supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund that focuses on the people, communities and heritage of the Broads National Park.

Norfolk Archaeological Trust owns Burgh Castle Roman Fort and leads the project. The Trust works with local communities to save Norfolk’s irreplaceable historic sites and to share them with everyone.

Access Community Trust in Lowestoft works with participants on the project. AccessCT promotes social inclusion, preventing people from becoming excluded, relieving the needs of those who are excluded and assisting them to integrate into society.

The Restoration Trust’s culture therapy projects at Burgh Castle, Norfolk Record Office, Norwich Arts Centre and Stonehenge help people with serious mental health problems enjoy heritage, art and culture in a safe, effective way.

Time and Tide in Great Yarmouth is set in one of the UK’s best preserved Victorian herring curing works and tells the story of Great Yarmouth from its ice age origins to the present day. It is part of Norfolk Museums Service.

For more information about The Return of Happy Times and Burgh Castle Almanac contact Laura Drysdale: laura@restorationtrust.org.uk | 07740844883