The Cellar Trust has released its annual Impact Report 2020-21 detailing how the organisation adapted in the pandemic and was able to offer even more support for people in the district suffering from mental health challenges.
Mental health has been a focus for many people following a year of uncertainty, isolation and restriction. There has been a subtle shift in thinking around mental health in general and that in part is due to a shared experience. And as people’s understanding and empathy grows, the demand for services that offer support when it’s needed is even greater.
The Cellar Trust had to make major changes to the way it delivered support, switching from face to face to remote and phone-based sessions. Their crisis support arm, Haven, delivered over 5600 sessions in 2020-21, 26% more than the previous year. 85% of people said they experienced a reduction in their distress as a result of this support. The charity’s MAST service, working with Project 6 and Carer’s resource, offers mental health, alcohol and frailty support in Bradford Royal Infirmary and Airedale General Hospital. In 2020-21 the team provided support to over 2700 patients and 555 people when they were discharged.
Looking back at her experience with the Cellar Trust, one client explained what made the charity different. She said: “What the Cellar Trust did well the most for me, was they really did play a vital part within my steps towards recovery throughout those first few months after being discharged. I needed that helping hand the most to keep me on the right road at that point in my life and the Cellar Trust was there for me. You just never forget the people who have helped you when you were at rock bottom like that. I will never forget that!”
Supporting people struggling with their mental health to get back into employment, education or volunteering or helping them to stay in employment is another essential service provided by the charity. They delivered over 3700 sessions of employment support 2020-21 when the difficulties of finding work and staying in work were exacerbated by the pandemic. 83% of people reported feeling an increase in their wellbeing as a result of their session at the Cellar Trust.
Reflecting on her employment journey with the charity, one client said: “Referring to the service completely changed my life and I will be forever grateful for what they have done for me.”
Alongside delivering this vital mental health support in the community, the Cellar Trust also launched two flagship services this year. Partnering with Brathay and Andy’s Man Club, the Cellar Trust launched PARENTS online – a free chat service for parents struggling with the demands of looking after children, especially in these trying times. The team of peer support volunteers, with parenting experience themselves, are available at www.parentsonline.co.uk from 6pm-9pm Monday to Friday to offer a listening ear and advice to parents and carers.
The service has been well received by parents with one chat user commenting: “Just knowing this service is here is reassuring.”
In addition, the Cellar Trust developed and launched a new mental health and wellbeing training platform, in collaboration with Bradford Council’s Living Well and voluntary, community and public sector organisations from across the district. The platform provides training resources to HSC, VCS and public sector organisations, businesses and individuals offering free e-learning modules, webinars and face to face courses. The platform can support people who are worried about their mental health or have concerns about someone they know. The courses can help with areas such as low mood, stress, improving sleep and suicide awareness. And, because the majority of these courses are hosted online at www.livingwell.training, the charity can ensure that mental health and wellbeing resources are always available when people need them.
One user had this to say about the platform: “My family even commented that after each course I sounded so much more upbeat! I feel really privileged to have the Cellar Trust local to myself I think it’s amazing we have such support on offer.”
Kim Shutler, CEO at the Cellar Trust, said: “The year 2020 will certainly be one that we all remember. A year of great loss, change, grief and challenges. The Cellar Trust is no stranger to challenges and pulling together in adversity. Driven by our values and our passion, over the past year we have put everything aside to be there for the people who needed us. This has meant a year of working outside usual service boundaries, of flexing and retraining our staff teams and developing new and different services to meet changing needs.”