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August 2010

Dudley Mind News

New look Newsletter In the past the newsletter has attempted to be both a method of Dudley Mind giving out information, as well as a vehicle for contributions from people who use Dudley Mind’s services. This will continue in the new-look newsletter, but with a bit more clarity about which is which. Start reading from one end for one newsletter, then turn it over and you get the other newsletter. It’s not magic, just a little complicated to explain… We also intend to try and include articles that we feel might be of interest to you. Have a read, give us your feedback and perhaps consider producing an article for the next edition.

Evening & Weekend Support At present Dudley Mind’s Floating Support and Supported Housing Services assist 75 people in their own homes. This support is provided by a team of 10 staff who work Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm. Of course mental health problems do not keep office hours, and people sometimes find evenings and weekends difficult to get through. For this reason Dudley Mind is consulting with the Support staff over extending the service into both evenings and weekends. It is expected that support at these times might be particularly helpful in aiding people to establish and develop social links within the community. This is one of the goals at which the funding for the service is aimed. “Once arrangements are in place for support to be provided outside of office hours, those people who use the service will be advised of how they can access it” said Jim Martin, Support Manager for Dudley Mind. How to contact us: Dudley Mind, 221 Hagley Road, Oldswinford, Stourbridge, West Midlands, DY8 2JP.

Tele: 01384 442 938 E-mail: news@dudleymind.org.uk Web: www.dudleymind.org.uk


Dove House - By John Chapman It is when, I can go to Dove House to meet my friends, all the support staff and teachers we class them my friends. If there is a problem we can go have a private word with them. I feel safer at Dove House, it has a community feel to it.

The Old Plum Trees - By John Millward The old Plum Trees stood at the garden’s edge, next to an old Privet Hedge. Adjacent to a field, un August much fruit they would yield, their stout trunks and thick branches, reaching upon high, aching to touch the heavenly sky. Out cats Sam, Tiger, Sooty, Sweep and Thomas too, would climb the branches to take in the view. In March their branches burst into flower, beguiling bees hour by hour, flowers of a fragrant canopy of white, which did bewitch the butterflies in flight. A green fruit that did mellow, when ripened it did turn yellow. For nearly fifty years they stood blessed by Summers blissful kiss and buffeted by Winters furious rage, their variety an ancient one of the old Green Gage. We loved to gather the oval plums in, a fruit of beautiful unblemished skin. Two thousand and nine was our final harvest year, now the end of my poem draws near. Soon the trees will be sadly gone, only in memory they will now live on. And so the plum trees life has been told, a story forty eight years old. Now my poem must conclude to continue and longer would be rude. This poem is dedicated to the old plum trees that stood from 1962-2010 in the back garden.

Leisure Forum Get involved with social, leisure and holiday activities, empowering it’s users. The more involvement you have the more rewards you gain. Make new friends, visit new places and get away from daily demands. Freedom to choose a pastime or enjoyable activity. It’s service user led with support from Sarah (Service User Involvement Co-ordinator) to source information on places or activities of interest, prices, bus routes and venues for activities away from Dudley Mind. These activities can lead to gaining new friends, new opportunities and an increase in confidence. The leisure forum meet monthly to discuss ideas and plan activities they want to do. The next meeting is on the 2nd of September and will be held at: Dove House, located at Bushey Fields Hospital. It will take place at 4pm. For more information contact Sarah on 01384 442 938.


New initiative: Train as a Trainer Dudley Mind is to set up a new training scheme. People who have mental health problems will be invited to apply to become trainers; teaching others about mental health problems. “People who have experienced mental health problems can be the very best people to explain to others how it feels to have such problems and how it feels being treated in the mental health system” said Martin Mueller, Dudley Mind’s Chief Executive. “We will recruit about 6 people who use or have used mental health services. They will be chosen for their potential to be trained as trainers.

Interested in becoming a mental health trainer? Get in touch with Martin Mueller on 01384 442 938 to be kept updated.

It is intended that the trainers will work less than 16 hours and be paid up to £93 per week. We believe that this scheme will come under the government’s “permitted work” rules so that neither Incapacity Benefit nor Employment and Support Allowance will be affected.” The scheme will start with the recruitment of a Trainer/Manager in September, with a view to recruiting the 6 budding trainers from November. No previous experience will be required as full training will be given. “For someone who successfully completes the training and then goes on to train others this could be a first step to coming off benefits and into work.”


Competition - Best Article or Letter Would you like to submit an article for our next newsletter? We’re looking for a few good ones and we’ll pick a winner. The star article or letter will be published and the winner will be announced in the next newsletter. The contributions will be judged by a panel. The winner will receive a brand new Umbro travel bag in black, with wheels and a handle something like the one pictured to the left.

Angling Group

Gone fishing…. Well we’re planning to go fishing anyway. Are you interested in taking up fishing? Or have you fished before and want to have another go? Come along to a meeting at 12 noon on Tuesday 24th August at Dove House to discuss setting up a fishing group. Men and women welcome—friendly tuition and support available. Come and start a new interest in the open air! Any queries ring Ian on 01384 442 938.


Contract Tendering—What does it mean? Dudley Council provide “Supporting People” funding to pay for Dudley Mind to provide support to 75 people in their own homes through our Floating Support and Supported Housing services. They also fund another 8 organisations in Dudley borough to provide this kind of mental health support. Dudley Mind has the largest share. The council has decided to put these contracts out to tender. This means that they will invite bids from any organisation capable of providing the support. They will choose between the different bidders on the basis of quality (60%) and price (40%). They believe that in the future more people will need this kind of support as the service provided by social services (DACHS) is concentrated on those who have the highest needs. So they wish to have more people supported in the future for the same overall funding. “We have a very good chance of winning a new contract for this service” said Martin Mueller Chief Executive of Dudley Mind. “We provide a very good quality service at present and we will do what we can to bring down the cost of that service in order make our bid competitive.” The council plans to award the new contracts in April 2011.

It’s AAAA... all the way The Floating Support and Supported Housing Service has achieved the highest possible quality award in the recent Quality Assessment Framework review undertaken by the council. Not only was it awarded an “A” overall, but it also achieved an “A” grading in all 21 of the individual requirements being assessed. “We are delighted that the hard work and dedication that goes into providing this service has been recognised” said Jim Martin, Support Manager. “But we’ll not rest on our laurels. There is always more to do.”


Sports Day Dudley Mind held a Sports Day at Himley Hall on the 16th of August 2010. The weather was superb and the sun was shining all day. Attendees were given certificates and medals for the sports they participated in. I am writing to thankyou from the bottom of my heart for organising an absolutely fantastic and fun filled sports day. I had an amazing time yesterday and it was lovely to meet other service users too. The whole atmosphere of the day was a happy and positive one and I enjoyed myself immensely. I missed the egg and spoon race but I did participate in all the other activities including cricket, football, rounder's and a relay race. The highlight of my day was seeing a beautiful dragonfly by the lake where Ian was angling. He was kind to illustrate the art of angling and explained the difference between fly, float and pole fishing. I even held a maggot in my hand ! It was very kind of you to lay snacks and drinks for everyone and I certainly needed the water after running about. The day ended on a high vibrancy with medals and certificates handed to us for our achievements. I was proud to receive three certificates and a medal for being the star player in rounder's. Morris a 66 year old gentlemen stole the day with his enthusiasm and he defiantly deserved the accolade of "man of the match". I could talk about everyone in the same way. it was wonderful to see all ages and creeds join together to create an everlasting memory. The pictures in my mind resonate a deep and warm feeling that fills me with happiness and gratitude for my life. I had a wonderful sleep last night after all my running about ! I may be aching physically but I can honestly say that the pains are over ridden by the happy thoughts I have of yesterday. Although I hope to be working next year I would love to attend a similar event next year. I could write a whole essay on how much I enjoyed myself yesterday but I don't want to create over kill of the day. Once again Thankyou very very much and God bless you all. with lots of love & hugs from Kam. To Nagheena and all staff On behalf of myself and everyone I would like to way a big Thankyou for all the effort and time you put into the sports day on Monday 16th Aug at Himley park, everyone enjoyed their selves very much there was plenty of laughter and joy everyone forgot about their problems, it was a enjoyable community spirit plus the weather was sunny a bit windy at times, but im sure everyone would like to do sports day next year hopefully Kelvin Lewis Dove House Helper. Sports played were: rounders, cricket, relay, skittles, hoops, 3 legged race, egg and spoon race and fishing!

Some of the participants posing with their certificates after the sports day


Mental Health - Physical Health Studies have shown that people who have mental health problems often have poorer physical health than the rest of the population. We don’t know all the reasons for this but we do know that smoking and poor diet are significant factors. (It is also possible that unwanted side-effects of medication may be a factor, and that sometimes GPs may assume that physical problems are symptoms of a mental health problem.) “Of course at Dudley Mind we take mental health seriously, but we also take physical health seriously,” said Nagheena Qamar, Day Services Manager. “We are particularly seeking to assist people who wish to give up smoking and those who have a poor diet.” Three members of the staff are being trained to support people who want to give up smoking. They can refer people to pharmacists who can supply free nicotine replacement therapy (gum, patches etc). They set a “quit date” with smokers taking up this service and they help them to stay motivated. Anyone interested should speak to Angelique Stephens, Sarah Hopkins or Sarah Such. Dudley Mind is also having three staff trained to deliver “Get Cooking” courses. These comprise six sessions during which those attending learn about the make-up of a healthy diet, and learn how to cook some of their favourite foods in a more healthy way. “The aim is to get people to make lasting changes for the better to their diets,” said Nagheena. “We will hold these courses in several locations around the borough so that it is convenient for anyone who is interested.” “I would urge everyone to look after their physical health,” she added. “If you are physically well you are more likely to be mentally well too!”

Changes to Employment & Support Allowance The government are making changes to Employment & Support Allowance (ESA), this is the successor and replacement to Incapacity Benefit. There are currently 2.2 million people in incapacity benefit and 136,800 people now on ESA, those figures will soon be shifting as the government look to phase out incapacity benefit by transferring claimants to the new ESA over the next 3 years, however people reaching retirement age in this period will not be transferred. Health assessments are being put in place to ensure people who are entitled to the benefit because of their disabilities will get the benefits they need, however, this decision has received criticism as it has led to a number of people being declared as “fit to work”. On the bright side, 4 out of 10 appeals are successful. With health assessments in place it would be wise to be prepared by keeping hold of any evidence or supporting letters you have regarding your disability as these could help you keep your benefits. If you have any questions or concerns about an upcoming assessment please speak to your key worker or floating support worker.


Our Holiday Pictures

Spot The Ball!

Wish you were here!


Changes to Day Services Dudley Mind is seeking to make its day services: • • • •

more widely spread throughout the borough more attractive to a wider range of people who have mental health problems more focussed on assisting recovery, giving people the ability to support themselves

The services which currently take place in community venues (i.e. not Dove House) are to be revamped starting in September. There will be a range of new activities for people to chose from. There will be more emphasis on supporting those people who are struggling to cope with their mental health problems in the community, particularly those who live alone.

All change please!

We also hope to develop self help groups for people to exchange coping strategies and develop mutual support. As part of these changes the provision of transport via the ambulance service will cease from 6th September. Those people who use the existing services who wish to attend the revamped service are being offered assistance in learning to use buses, Ring and Ride etc during August.

Arrivals, Departures & Announcements • Wendy Saunders has joined Dudley Mind as Supported Housing Officer. • We must sadly inform you that Edward Oliver and Katherine Allen have now

left Dudley Mind, we wish them the best of luck. • Congratulations to Nordia Brown who has given birth to a baby boy. • Two of our service users have joined the board, well

done Roberta and Clive! • Congratulations to Floating Support Worker Ian

Billingham for successfully achieving an advanced adult apprenticeship in Health & Social Care, Ian attended an awards ceremony at Dudley town hall on May 18th where he collected his scroll from Mayor Pat Martin, councillors David Simms and Susan Ridney and Director of Adult Community & Housing Services Linda Sanders.


Service User’s Articles

August 2010

Minehead Butlins - By John Chapman On Monday morning I and 9 other service users arrived at Dove House for a holiday at Butlins for 4 days, we left at 10:00am and arrived at 2:30pm in the afternoon. We got to our chalet at 3:10pm but could not go into the chalet until 4:00pm so we lay on the grass until then. We stayed in the chalet until 6:30pm when we had our evening meal. In the evening we went to the central stage where there were around 1,000 people in the arena. There was a tribute to the Beatles which I enjoyed watching although I am not the best Beatles fan in the world. I only drank 1 pint of beer all day. On Tuesday I and Darren went for a walk along the promenade as I had seen a harbour around a mile away, we never went to the harbour but into a pub next door where we both had a blackcurrant and soda. Darren broke his sandals which Stacy had bought him and he was in his bare feet into the street until we could find a market on the way home to the chalet. On the night we went to the central stage to watch an Abba tribute band, we went into this seedy night club for the second night running. On Wednesday morning I and Darren went to see his grandparent’s grave in the church near Breen. It took us three busses to get to the grave, I slept all the way home to Butlins.


Dudley Mind August 2010 Newsletter