Fundraising for our inaugural Participants Council meeting

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Photo © The Landmark Trust, 2018 

Thanks to the Landmark Trust‘s 50 for Free scheme, we’ve been given New Inn as our home from home.

This two-day event at New Inn will be our first ever Participants Council, an opportunity for people from all our projects to share stories and ideas, and make decisions about our strategy.

The cost of transport is the biggest block to people joining our projects, adding to loneliness and worsening mental health. Members of our Participants Council are all on low income and are travelling from rural Norfolk, Suffolk and Wiltshire.

This will be a great way to create something special, stay in a fabulous historic building, meet old friends and make new ones.

Help make it an experience to remember!

Donate here

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Change Minds Archives and Mental Wellbeing Conference

In March we are holding an Archives and Mental Wellbeing Conference to launch our project template based on Change Minds.

Book your place here.

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Human Henge Press – December 2017

The Wild Hunt

The role of ancient landscapes in mental health 

by Liz Williams

Modern celebrants have been convening at the ancient site of Stonehenge in Wiltshire for many years now: revivalist Druids of the early 20th century, hippies of the 1960s and 70s, New Age travelers and political activists, and modern Pagans have all gathered at the summer and winter solstices to hold free music festivals, conduct rituals, hold raves, and simply acknowledge the turning points of the year.

The role of the site is ongoing and has a highly significant place in the practices of contemporary Pagans worldwide, but not just Pagans alone. As well as solstice rites and ongoing archaeological work, Stonehenge is now the focus for a wider new initiative: the Human Henge Project.

Read more

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An article about Human Henge featured in The Guardian to celebrate the Winter Solstice.

Hundreds gather for Stonehenge sunrise after winter solstice

by Steven Morris

Some of those attending the winter solstice celebrations at Stonehenge were there to worship, others to party or to simply to enjoy the rise of the sun after the longest night and look forward to lengthening days and springtime.

Despite it being a gloomy, soggy morning in Wiltshire, there was a joyful atmosphere as hundreds of people gathered to witness the light return.

There is evidence that spending time near or within the standing stones can actually be good for mental wellbeing.

Read more

Find out more about Human Henge on our website http://humanhenge.org/

Press release: Norfolk mental health project Change Minds goes national!

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Norfolk mental health project Change Minds goes national!

Norman Lamb MP hosts reception for Norfolk mental health project Change Minds at the Houses of Parliament

www.changeminds.org.uk

“There is more to somebody than just mental health problems.”

Change Minds participant

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Change Minds Private view at The Forum, Norwich, Monday 20th November.

To celebrate two years of Norfolk archives and mental health project Change Minds, North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb has invited participants to the Houses of Parliament for a special visit and reception on Monday 4th of December 2017.

Change Minds helps very disadvantaged people in North Norfolk make creative use of Norfolk Record Office and local libraries for their mental health. Through the 19th century asylum archives in Norfolk Record Office, participants explore life with a mental health problem in the 1880s, and compare it with their experience today. Research by the UEA and Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust shows that Change Minds participants feel more positive and have reduced their use of health services.

The project is a partnership between the Restoration Trust, Norfolk Record Office, Norfolk Library and Information Service and Together for Mental Wellbeing, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Our new project in Norwich starts in February at the Millennium Library, with funding from Town Close Estate Charity.

We want to spread the word about Change Minds at national level because evidence shows that it is an innovative, cost-effective way to connect very disadvantaged people with local history and each other so that their mental health improves.  

In the morning Head of Parliamentary Archives David Prior will show participants original documents relating to asylums and mental health treatment from the 19th Century to today. The afternoon reception in Portcullis House will include speeches by participants, Isobel Hunter – Head of Archives Sector Development at the National Archives, Joff Whitten – Heritage Lottery Fund East of England Committee, and Norman Lamb MP. Attendees will include Clive Lewis MP, Chloe Smith MP, Rehman Chishti MP, Kevan Jones MP, Andrew Mitchell MP, Lord Alan Howarth and Baroness Hollins.

Change Minds has just had a major exhibition at the Forum in Norwich, launched with an event attended by the Sheriff of Norwich, the Chairman of Norfolk County Council and the Deputy Lord Lieutenant, with media in the Eastern Daily Press, on BBC Radio Norfolk and Future Radio. Visited by more than 1,000 people, comments included: ‘Really fascinating – revisiting themes that impact on mental health just as relevant today – poverty, family relationship breakdown, isolation, alcohol use: ‘Brilliant, we need to do more of this, ALL of us. Mental illness is not shameful.’

Director of the Restoration Trust Laura Drysdale says: ‘We’re delighted that Change Minds participants have the opportunity to tell national politicians and decision makers about the difference this successful archives and mental health project has made to their lives. We are really grateful to the project’s patron Norman Lamb MP for hosting us at the Houses of Parliament.’

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

“We need to make a vital cultural shift to help us ensure that the arts are fully embedded in the health and social care system.”

Rt Hon. John Glen MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Arts, Heritage and Tourism


For more information about Change Minds and the Restoration Trust contact

Laura Drysdale: laura@restorationtrust.org.uk | 07740844883

Norfolk County Council Press Release: Change Minds exhibition launch in Norwich

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Change Minds: Archives for mental health will open at 5.30pm on Monday, 20 November.

Come and listen to an overview of the project, chat to the organisers and participants and view their work. Cedric Anselin will be giving a brief talk about the project at 6.15pm.

Please contact Norfolk County Council’s press office (details below) if you would like to attend or email Laura Drysdale, Director of the Restoration Trust at laura@restorationtrust.org.uk.

Display showcases two-year project researching mental health patients in Norfolk

The lives of people living in a Norfolk asylum in the 19th century are being showcased during a thought-provoking display at Norwich’s Forum later this month.

The free exhibition from 20-23 November is the culmination of a two-year Change Minds project which has supported North Norfolk residents with mental health conditions and on low incomes to research the history of those in the Norfolk County Asylum in Thorpe.

Change Minds has provided a fascinating insight into local heritage, mental health and identity.

It is being opened by former Norwich City FC footballer Cedric Anselin, who is a champion of mental health support in Norfolk having battled mental illness himself. He is an ambassador for a Norfolk County Council campaign to promote mental wellbeing, reduce the stigma around mental ill health and urge people with suicidal thoughts to talk to others.

Items on show to the public will include visual displays, a digital walk through of Norfolk County Asylum, a listening post featuring oral history clips and an activity area so visitors can have a go at their own research.

Change Minds is run by the Restoration Trust, in conjunction with Norfolk Record Office and Together in North Norfolk and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Around 20 people have been involved in the project, assisted by support workers and staff offering guidance.

One participant, Georgina, had previously researched her own family history when the project was suggested by her support worker. Georgina said: “Although it was daunting at first, people understand and don’t judge me. It has been a really interesting project and has helped to improve my confidence. I’ve made some new friends and hope to continue as a volunteer.”

Together support worker Lindsey Ashfield said: “Participating in Change Minds has made an amazing difference to the people I support. I have seen their confidence and self-esteem grow, their network of friends increase and their hope in their futures renewed and revitalised.”

Councillor Margaret Dewsbury, Chairman of Norfolk County Council’s Communities Committee, said: “Participants have had an enjoyable and interesting experience, formed friendships and developed their skills in archive research in a welcoming environment. I would encourage people to come along to The Forum and view the findings for themselves.”

Participants each chose one person to research and then studied them at their own pace, using archives at Norfolk Record Office and online census records in Norfolk libraries to track them and learn about their lives through visits to Gressenhall Museum and Norwich Castle Study Centre. They have taken part in creative workshops, learned how to make an oral history and taken part in group activities.

Some of those taking part also indexed the asylum casebook to make it easier for future users to find the details of those people whose lives are recorded.

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb has invited participants to visit the House of Commons after finding out more about the project.

On November 22 there will be seminar for health and social care professionals in the Vernon Castle room at The Forum’s Millennium Library about research into the benefits of the project. This is part of the 2017 Norfolk Arts Forum conference, Creative Health: Building Alliances for Social Change in Norfolk.

The project was funded for two years initially, it is hoped it could be extended in the future to benefit more people with mental health problems in Norfolk and beyond.

County Archivist Gary Tuson recently spoke about Change Minds at a National Archives Conference and the project has also been evaluated by psychologists at the University of East Anglia (UEA). Their report found that participants have enjoyed themselves, made friends, and developed confidence. They have gained historical research and creative skills, deepened their interest in history and the lives of people in Norfolk and developed a stronger sense of place and purpose.

Laura Drysdale, Director of the Restoration Trust, said: “Change Minds is a completely new way for local people to use archives to reveal the hidden stories of asylum patients and relate them to their own lives. The exhibition at the Forum celebrates their fantastic research and creative achievements.”

Norfolk County Council’s Millennium Library, also based at The Forum, offers a range of books about mental health issues and will be including a display of the most popular titles during the week of the exhibition.

More details about the project are available at www.changeminds.org.uk

For further information please contact:
Communications Team at Norfolk County Council
Tel: 01603 228888
Email: pressoffice@norfolk.gov.uk 

Culture Quest in the press

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Our first taster session of Culture Quest in Suffolk took place last week at the Hunter Club in Bury St Edmunds. The sessions were funded by a donation from the charity vinyl compilation and digital album ‘This Is The Sound Of Sugar Town Volume 2’.

Bands hit the right note for health charity
Read more at: buryfreepress.co.uk

Exclusive – First Listen: THIS WAS THE SOUND OF SUGAR TOWN

Read more at: b-sidemusic.co.uk

Seymour Quigley, who helped to curate the album writes:
“Back in July 2017, Cambridge’s legendary R*E*P*E*A*T Records and my twatty little label Pure Deadly released ‘This Is The Sound Of Sugar Town Volume 2’: a 12” vinyl and download album featuring thirteen amazing acts from the UK’s unsung DIY rock capital, Bury St Edmunds, all the profits for which were donated to East Anglian mental health charity Julian Support. 

The fantastic news is that ‘…Volume 2’ has raised enough money for Julian Support to pilot a new, accessible and inclusive Music Appreciation group, in partnership with Culture Quest (part of the Restoration Trust), for people with mental health issues.  The group will be run at grass-roots Bury St Edmunds music venue The Hunter Club during October; its impact will then be assessed by Norwich UEA’s School of Psychology to develop a further bid for ongoing funding. 

In order to help raise further funding for Julian Support’s music therapy projects, a new download-only compilation, ‘This Was The Sound Of Sugar Town’, will be released (again by R*E*P*E*A*T) on Friday 20th October.