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

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

Change Minds participant


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: | 07740844883

Coming up: Human Henge at TAG 2017


The 2017 Theoretical Archaeology Conference takes place at

Cardiff University from 18th-20th of December

The timetable is now available on the Theoretical Archaeology Conference 2017 website here. Our session on ‘Archaeology, heritage and well-being’, led by Restoration Trust Director, Laura Drysdale, and Professor Tim Darvill, from Bournemouth University, will be on Tuesday 19th December. This will begin at 9.30am and is a three-quarter day session with a wide range of papers to be discussed.

Find out more about the session here.

You can also follow TAG 2017 on Twitter here.

Session Abstract
Archaeology, Heritage and Well-being

The concept of therapeutic landscapes was developed by Wil Gesler in the early 1990s, building on contemporary theory in the field of cultural ecology. It has since expanded to become a key concept in health geography applicable at a range of scales. But whether natural, designed, or symbolic, places connected with healing the body and soul have been recognized and studied for much longer. Routes of pilgrimage, destinations for health-giving visits, facilities for ‘taking the waters’, hospitals, and gardens surrounding asylums and institutions, have all been instrumental in formalizing relationships between place, space, and well-being that have been promoted and applied in many different ways and with varying degrees of real or perceived success. This session will consider archaeological and heritage dimensions of therapeutic landscapes, asking what can be learnt from the study of existing sites and whether there is a role for developing new ones appropriate for the needs of the 21st century. Contributions are invited in relation to three main themes. First, studies of recognized therapeutic landscapes through historical or archaeological investigations that enrich understandings of their construction and use. Second, case-studies of recent or ongoing projects that make use of archaeological sites or heritage resources to promote physical or mental well-being amongst defined participant communities. And third, analyses of the philosophical and theoretical frameworks appropriate to the study of archaeology and heritage in relation to health and well-being.

Digital Annual Report on Fundraising UK

Our inclusive digital annual report for 2017, ‘A Year of People Doing and Making’, created with Future Coders and Muddle Up, features on UK Fundraising’s website.


Student software developers mentored by volunteers from Google have helped create an inclusive   for mental health charity Restoration Trust.

The Restoration Trust collaborated with digital storytelling agency Muddle Up and social enterprise futureCodersSE to create A Year of People Doing and Making. The report uses audio and an immersive digital experience to speak to a wide-ranging audience, with the aim of also making it a long-term asset for the Restoration Trust. The charity supports people in engaging with heritage and culture to help their mental health, with projects including ones at Stonehenge (main image), Norfolk Record Office and Norwich Arts Centre co-produced with participants. Audio interviews with these participants play throughout the report to give them a voice.

Read the full article here

Digital Annual Report 2017


A Year of People Doing and Making

Click to see the report

We have collaborated with digital storytelling agency Muddle Up and Medway-based social enterprise futureCodersSE to create an inclusive annual report, A Year of People Doing and Making.


Photo by Maggy Burns

Seeking to build an engaging connection between the public, funders, and the people we work with, A Year of People Doing and Making uses audio to give a voice to people with mental health problems. With mentoring from GoogleServe Volunteers and Space Between, student software developers have gained valuable work experience by building the Web-based interface.

The Restoration Trust helps people engage with heritage and culture so that their mental health improves. Projects at Stonehenge, Norfolk Record Office and Norwich Arts Centre are co-produced with participants, so it is appropriate that participants themselves speak freely about their experience and the impact that Restoration Trust projects have had on their lives. These audio interviews play throughout the report. Director Laura Drysdale says: ‘We wanted it to embody our values – we have to produce an Annual Report, so why not make it beautiful?’

The budding developers at futureCodersSE have created a web-based, digital interface that uses browser-based programming and implements extensive photo galleries, audio playlists, video and evolving graphics. Two students, Anthony Funai and Jamie Knott, worked on the software project from start to finish, took part in Agile project planning, team-based code development and review, and employed various testing methods, including unit and regression testing.  Karen Scott, Founder and Director, explains the importance of the project for the students.

‘Young people leaving full-time education, but not planning to go to university, find it very difficult to get a foot on the career ladder in the software industry.  After 20 years of teaching talented programmers, I set up futureCodersSE to help students gain experience, confidence and a personal network. This is more effective when delivered outside the education setting.’

A Year of People Doing and Making is designed by digital storytelling agency Muddle Up. The audio format and immersive digital experience speaks to a multifaceted audience as well as being a long-term asset for the Restoration Trust. “The Restoration Trust challenged us to be as inclusive as possible with the report design. Audio meant that we could tackle participants’ concerns that people with mental health problems aren’t listened to. Through futureCoders we worked directly with students Anthony and Jamie, who contributed their ideas to the design and user interface.”  

The digital report project was born through the RSA where Laura Drysdale (Restoration Trust), Zoe Tipler (Muddle Up) and Karen Scott (futureCodersSE), are all fellows. 

For more information about A Year of People Doing and Making contact:

Zoe Tipler,, 07541 546285

Laura Drysdale,, 07740 844883

Organisational Biographies


futureCoders provides high-quality, meaningful, project-based, work experience for young people aged 16-19, to produce skilled and confident software developers. Our projects create affordable, much needed software to help charities increase their digital presence.

We help talented coders get a foot on the ladder of a career in software development, without necessarily going to university. Our activities include: working with colleges, schools and youth centres to encourage and identify suitable students for work experience; working with employers to develop work experience programmes and to make assessments of young people’s skills; running monthly networking events for students and software professionals.

We are keen to work with more charities to identify software needs and to develop exciting projects to help with their work.  

For further information contact about futureCodersSE contact  

Muddle Up

Muddle Up is a digital storytelling agency founded by journalists. We work with charities and NGOs to develop content that helps them tell the story of their impact. We collaborate with the people organisations support so that they have control over their own story and the way that it is told. As a social impact storytelling agency our goal is to create content that bridges the communications gap between donors and beneficiaries. Our content drives new audiences and raises public awareness.


For further information contact about Muddle Up contact


Karen Scott, Founder and Director, futureCodersSE

“Having a supportive client such as the Restoration Trust, has given us room to allow Anthony and Jamie to have as much input into the digital report as possible. They have both developed important technical and soft skills, and both now have an increased portfolio of code showcased on their own code sharing sites.  Zoe has been a key player and has communicated Laura’s vision to help us to produce a report that meets the requirements of the charity.  Both Zoe and Laura have been an accessible source of information for our young developers and this is so important.”

Laura Drysdale, Director, Restoration Trust

“We are delighted to be communicating with everyone who has a stake in our work in such a fresh, accessible way. It has been brilliant working with the young developers at FutureCoders, and we plan to make a game app together. Thanks to Muddle Up for joining the dots!”

Zoe Tipler, Content Director, Muddle Up

“We wanted to help the Restoration Trust build a report that spoke with the people they support rather than about them. By leaving the audio unedited we have been able to show people the respect that their words deserve. Working with futureCodersSE gave us the opportunity to test the ideas of the report with a degree of flexibility that would have been prohibitively expensive in another setting. We want to thank the people from the Restoration Trust who have lent us their words and stories. Without them the whole project would not have happened.