PAGE 30 | TRANSFORMING WEST CUMBRIA TRANSFORMING WEST CUMBRIA | PAGE 31 Together We leads the North Cumbria Recovery College, which offers a range of workshops and courses delivered by people with lived experience of mental health conditions. The workshops are designed to help people increase their understanding of recovery, build resilience and develop coping strategies and techniques. Partners funded to deliver services and enhance provision include: Always Another Way; Cumbria Addictions; Advice & Solutions (CADAS); Cumbria Youth Alliance; Every Life Matters; Happy Mums Foundation; Healthy Hopes; Home to Work; Mind in Furness; Multicultural Cumbria; Newton Rigg College; Outreach Cumbria; Spiral and Together We. Citizens Advice Allerdale and Copeland are funded to deliver training sessions to all partners on their services and on how to refer people who need guidance if it's affecting their mental health. The work of the funded partners is steered by an advisory panel which includes representatives from the NHS, local authorities, public health, Cumbria Council for Voluntary Service and Sellafield Ltd. Funded partners also work with a wider partnership of around 100 other organisations from both the public and third sector to encourage cross referrals, raise awareness of available support and share best practice. Kay Dempsey, of Groundwork North East & Cumbria, who coordinates the wider partnership, said the whole partnership meets online every other month to keep members up to date. “As a result, people within those organisations know a lot more about the services they can refer clients to. We’ve seen referrals going up.” She added: “The funding that comes through the Partnership enables third sector organisations to provide essential services that aren’t available as a public service.” HASKE (Health & Social Knowledge Exchange) from the University of Cumbria has been commissioned to evaluate the WCMHP Teamwork: West Cumbria Mental Health Partnership’s first face to face meeting programme. They are developing an evaluation framework which will assist the funded partners to identify success and impact. An initial survey undertaken by HASKE highlighted its value: • “ The partnership has brought everyone together and encouraged so much partnership working. It has achieved what its aims were and more.” • “ It brings partners together to raise awareness of what programmes are available and where we can link in to support.” • “ Because we are small, I have found it great for networking and it feels like a positive way to unite services under a common ethos and make it possible that we all work together as a team within our separate niches.” CASE STUDY: Mental Health North West Kelvyn James is an international mountain leader, qualified counsellor and volunteer with the Samaritans. He founded the social enterprise Mental Health North West which secured £31,320 of funding via the adult partnership to deliver 120 guided walks over three years for people experiencing mental health issues. Kelvyn says the charity Mind found that 94 per cent of participants reported an improvement in mental health after an average of 120 minutes a week in the outdoors. “A good day out with good people is some of the best therapy we can get,” he says. Participants are not required to have had a formal diagnosis. They join the walks if they feel it would help them. There is no charge. Kelvyn said: “It’s a spectrum, from those who are suicidal to people experiencing a bad day. When we take them for a walk, it’s an opportunity to talk. It’s about engagement with nature and engagement with other people.” The length of the walks varies. Some are local to Millom, others involve a minibus trip such as to Castlerigg Stone Circle near Keswick. There are between six and eight participants on each walk, aged 18 upwards – the oldest so far is 73. Some walks are designed for people with limited mobility. Kelvyn said: “We have one chap who says the walks are the only things in his life that he looks forward to. We have a lady who says it’s the only time that she speaks to other people. “There’s another lady who describes the walks as life-saving. She’d lost her husband – their social life was around his friends so she really was on her own. She started going on the walks, lost three stone and got a new social crowd. It transformed her life. People didn’t recognise her she’s changed so much.” Walking therapy: Enjoying good company and the outdoors on a Wellness Walk to Castlerigg Stone Circle near Keswick Volunteer Manager, Arti (left) with Maternal Social Link Worker, Jo promoting the North Cumbria Recovery College.