Inter Faith Week

Inter Faith Week

Written by Ali, Volunteer Coordinator, The Cellar Trust

Spending my whole life in Bradford as a second generation British born Muslim of Pakistani heritage has influenced and shaped me into the person I am today, however the broader cultural heritage of this city and diverse communities are part of the wider influences of my life. Reflecting on these influences during Inter Faith Week seems fitting to celebrate the work of faith and interfaith groups.

My earliest memories of faith at home were of the Quran that sat high on our cupboard in my childhood home. I remember the care and etiquette that my dad exercised when he took it out to read. As a child I had little understanding of what this book was, all I knew was that it was important. Growing up I started to understand things better, learning that Quran is the word of God, knowing it to be an ocean of science history and stories. It is a vehicle for one to learn and reflect as well as to attain benefits of the mind and soul.

School was a gateway into other worlds and understanding different faiths. I remember the excitement going to school knowing that the day was going to be fun because it wasn’t just schoolwork; religious events meant fun. Learning about the Hindu festival of Holi or the celebration of Easter involved colours, costumes and food. If a by-product of all that fun was learning about the stories, values and important lessons of those religious events then it was a bonus. Nothing could compare to the fanfare and excitement of Christmas though; the full class would be decorated, cards would be exchanged, and sweets, cakes and crisps were always on the menu for the school Christmas party. The highlight in primary was playing one of the wise men in the school play and this taught me the important lessons of selflessness and humility of Jesus through the story of the nativity.

My own faith has been a large influence in my personal development as well as my moral and social stranding in life. Being there for friends and family, observing patience and gratitude, and giving charity are values that I practice, and their origin has been from my faith, but it wouldn’t be fair to say that my faith was the only factor. I am humbled when I say that I have learnt some significant lessons in life from those of other faiths or not faith at all. The basic premise of being just, harmonious and respectful are there to Increase understanding between mankind.

All faiths in some way shape or form promote giving counsel, guidance or advice to others through true altruism, and this sits at their foundations. Working in the mental health sector ties in with my faith values and it is this faith that underpins and helps the work to promote improvements and encourage better outcomes for people in their recovery. I feel blessed in every sense of the word!!!


13-20 November 2022

Each year, Inter Faith Week begins on Remembrance Sunday, and runs until the following Sunday. It is hoped that the additional Sunday provides the opportunity for other weekend events to take place as well as those linked to Remembrance Sunday. Remembrance Sunday was chosen as a start day to encourage people to remember together the contributions of all faiths and none, and to consider how best to create a just, peaceful, and harmonious world.


  • Strengthen good inter faith relations at all levels
  • Increase awareness of the different and distinct faith communities in the UK, in particular celebrating and building on the contribution which their members make to their neighbourhoods and to wider society
  • Increase understanding between people of religious and non-religious beliefs

Menopause and Me

Menopause and Me

Written by Becky, Group and Courses Facilitator, The Cellar Trust

I didn’t know, back when I use to mock my mother for making genuine mistakes and having hot flashes, that this was the start of the M word. Nor did I know of any more symptoms. I just knew that we all go through this process. And I certainly didn’t know about ‘the bigger picture’.

I am thankful that I have a lot of understanding people around me at The Cellar Trust who are going through this with me, or who ask questions, like my peers. They have been totally amazing, and I am so grateful we can laugh and cry about it together. Because in going through this I haven’t always been kind to myself (although that is our motto in terms of mental health… and we have to practice what we preach… RIGHT?!)

Yet I find this subject hard to talk about. I know, in my line of work, the power of being able to talk about difficult things. Suicide rates in this country have increased 6% in 20 years between ages of 45-65. In my work, I have to present to groups every day, something people struggling with menopause find difficult. Yet I still feel incompetent right now. I have to explain to groups why I can’t get their names right or pronounce words. I can laugh about it some days, but it is a learning process. Everyone is different but the anxiety around it can be tough.

I am highlighting the menopause, because of how it’s making me feel. Because a lady took her life in Keighley a few years ago. Because her husband is now doing amazing things in terms of peer support and groups. Because the stigma and lack of awareness needs to be addressed. I didn’t know that it extended beyond hot flashes and sleep problems and memory fog. And they feel pretty bad in themselves.

My Mum, who I took the mick out of bless her, thinks I am queen for highlighting this. I feel sad that it wasn’t mentioned back in the day and sorry I had those views back then. Because every day is something out of the ordinary and I am scared because I don’t feel professional.  I just know we are NOT alone in this and thankful I am able to share our experiences in a comfortable space like staff peer support and other support networks.

I welcome a menopause policy dearly and with open arms. Albeit I feel I can’t do my job, and the feelings intensify, and I make stupid little mistakes. The feeling of being useless and not worthy. I am combating those feelings everyday with the help of my team who have been so amazing. I just wanted to have my say in this – my first blog. We do understand and can do this together, bless you all xxx and be kind to yourself whatever you are going though, you are never alone.



World Menopause Day is held every year on 18th October, to raise awareness, break the stigma and highlight the support options available for improving health and wellbeing. Awareness on this topic is fundamental and reducing the stigma attached to it is vital so that more people will talk openly about it so it can begin to be normalised and people can get the support they need.

The theme for 2022 is cognition and mood.

The International Menopause Society has a range of resources to support this year’s theme:

  • Brain fog and menopause: a healthcare professional’s guide for decision making and counselling on cognition download
  • Brain fog and memory difficulties in menopause download
  • How employers can engage employees in marking menopause awareness day download
If you’re experiencing a mental health crisis or feel like your mental health is deteriorating, you can access crisis support by calling First Response 0800 952 1181. Trained professionals are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Haven – the end of an era

Haven – the end of an era

Written by Kim Shutler, CEO, The Cellar Trust

Today marks the end of an era for The Cellar Trust as we draw our Haven crisis service to a close. It feels momentous for us because Haven was the real game changing service for us when it opened in August 2016. Lots will remember, but many will not, that before that date The Cellar Trust looked very, very different. We had one single service (Pathways to Employment), no peer support staff and the upstairs of our building was rented out for events and groups. The opportunity for transformation came along in the form of some one-off transformation funding (NHS Vanguard for those who remember it), and a tiny window of opportunity to try something new. I still remember the conversations with colleagues in BDCFT and BMDC about whether it was possible. Some of these colleagues have moved on now but it was those people who decided to take a chance on a new innovative approach and paved the way for the future.




The money was tight and the turn-around for launching was tighter… but we had the community building (ideally situated half-way between Bradford and Keighley), the volunteers and the support from local businesses. The NHS had some funding, the local authority had some staff they could realign. A mark in the sand was a shift in conversation from the traditional ‘commissioner-provider’ discussion… traditionally commissioners tell us what to do and how much money there is, we do it and then we report back every quarter. No they said… we will design this together… and we will lead it together. And that is exactly what happened.



It was our first venture into Peer Support (3 Peer Support Workers) and we created a co-located team including the BDCFT Intensive Home Treatment Team and BMDC social workers. We had to transform our building… NHS Estates telling us that there was NO WAY we could deliver what we needed to on time and on budget. Of course. we did both, and the space was beautifully kitted out with thanks to a local furniture company, with the support of Nick Smith (Missing Peace) who used his lived experience to help ensure we had the right environment for people.


We had been to see other services around the country but none were what we really needed in Bradford. We took lots of learning from others, of course, but then we made it our own. This is what we now know as ‘Act as One’ in real action… we pulled out all the stops working across services, meeting every week, looking at the data and the feedback, making constant tweaks and changes to make things work. I remember in the beginning being really worried as numbers were so low. Oh how we laugh now looking back as so quickly people got to know about our new service and the challenge became one of capacity. The service today looks so different to the service we started in 2016 but that is a credit to how the team have stayed true to our value of continuous improvement – always looking for ways to be better.

Our approach to integration – working as one team – was the thing that lead to further big changes for us as an organisation. We learnt more about the way that mental health clinical services and social care worked, we developed our governance, we trained up our team… The co-location was incredibly powerful. Cross-organisational teams lead to much learning which I believe has helped to shift the culture. Other areas of the NHS saw the power of the integration with the VCS… they also saw the immense skill of our team to manage complexity and risk, and that that could complement statutory work.

Conversations between statutory staff and peer support workers… difficult conversations to break down the stigma, to challenge terminology which has become engrained around things like personality disorder… these are the things that change cultures. We learnt the hard way too. I look back and think how little we knew then about how to do peer support well. But as we always do, we learn and we improve. We saw the power of peer support and we eventually not only moved to a whole Haven peer support team but we extended this approach to where we are 6 years later with all our Cellar front line staff recruited as peers, our own accredited peer support training, and a national reputation for our expertise in this area.

Of course, the most important thing is the difference we have been able to make through the delivery of this service which is very humbling. Consistently over the years people have told us that we provide a safe space where they feel listened to and understood. It has been the most basic of human things that we would all want for ourselves and those we love. In a short time people move from feeling that there is no hope at all; experiencing their very darkest moments to feeling like there is a possibility of something different… a brighter future. Peer support has consistently played an incredible role in this and, in fact, in our most recently client survey 96% of our clients said this was important.

There really aren’t enough words to say how proud I am of the team we have now and the teams we have had in the past. When you do jobs like this, you give your all and that can be very tough. But whatever has been going on (and we have faced a major fire and Covid), our team have pulled it out of the bag. They have left their families at weekends and over bank holidays to work every day of the year. They have done everything they could to be there for those who need us the most. I don’t feel like it is an exaggeration to say that they have changed and saved hundreds, even thousands of lives in the past 6 years. Not many people can say that and it is a very privileged position. I cannot thank them all enough.

I would also like to thank our partners and funders. It has been their support which has made all the difference. When you run services which are new, innovative and different… services which challenge the norm, it requires bravery and tenacity.

There are colleagues in the NHS and local authority who have stood by our sides all along and for that we are very grateful. These things have changed the way we do things in mental health services forever. These people are part of our team in the same way as our Cellar employees and they have laid the path for other services we now deliver such as MAST. It is easy to forget how things used to be so I am partly writing this now so that people do not forget.






We have been incredibly passionate about sharing our learning far and wide and have welcomed organisations (providers and funders) from all over the country and even from as far as Japan. We have spoken nationally alongside our BDCFT and BMDC colleagues about the power of our integrated approach and we have been recognised with awards such as the Positive Practice in Mental Health Award for Crisis and Acute Care (2018), Charity Times Cross Sector Collaboration (2019) and Locality Transforming Lives (2021.) We have also spread the ‘Haven love’ and influenced national policy through our work with the NHSE Adult Mental Health team who credited us in influencing the roll out of the most recent Crisis Alternatives funding.





And now we move into a new and exciting chapter. It is an opportunity to work with even more amazing partners (11 other charities) as we deliver the new Safe Spaces provision in the District. This will allow us to build on the wonderful work in Haven, and in the other local safe spaces (Sanctuary at Mind in Bradford and Towerhurst), extend our reach and support even more people. These services are needed more than ever so we look ahead with excitement about what is next.