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Hallam Street Fete

On Saturday November 28th Hallam Street Hospital, our acute in-patient service for adults with mental health problems, held a Winter Festival fete to raise money for ‘out of hours’ activities on the wards. These are activities that people staying on the wards can do in the evenings and at the weekends. The fete was organised by staff members, service users and ‘experts by experience’ (people who have had their own experiences of using the service in the past and now act as consultants to the Trust).

Preparations are now beginning for this year's fete, and we’re also starting to see some of the excellent ways that money raised from last year's fete is being used to improve services for people on Hallam's wards. With this in mind, Carolyn Hurcom, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, and Michelle Young, Team Lead for Abbey House, thought it was a perfect time to thank everyone who freely gave their time and support leading up to and on the day of 2009's fete, and to whet people’s appetites for this year’s fete.

From hotcakes to tombolas, moustaches (or not) to watercolour paintings

Bob Piper, our Trust Chairman, opened proceedings at 1pm to a cheer from the gathered crowd. Throughout the afternoon staff and clients from the hospital worked hard to sell books, bric-a-brac, jewellery, cakes, tea and coffee, raffle tickets and arts and crafts to all who attended. Thanks to Martin Dawtry's mum (Martin works in our Estates and Facilities department) for all her wonderful cakes which sold, quite literally, like ‘hotcakes’ on the day! Our Chaplaincy team led karaoke sessions, keeping the atmosphere festive and fun with service users and staff entertaining us with their renditions. A special message goes to Tracy Bowen (Charge Nurse) and Nick Jones (Chaplain), who serenaded us all with their rendition of Meatloaf’s ‘Paradise by the Dashboard Lights’.

Our Physical Activity Team (Derek Eubanks and Lynsey Perkins) offered a manicure service and a back massage service to those who needed a little more pampering! Two of our experts by experience (Sue Ralph and Nicola Nolan) offered a tombola stall along with ‘guess the name of the teddy’ and ‘guess the number of sweets in a jar’. We would like to thank Sue and Nicola for the time and support they provided in helping to make the fete successful. We would also like to thank Sarah Williams for contributing to raising money through her donation of hand made jewellery; this was a very successful store with people able to purchase unique and individual pieces.

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Carolyn Hurcom (left) and Michelle Young (right) with the watercolours kindly donated by Keith Fenby

One of our brave staff members had his moustache shaved off in a sponsored event on the day. Thanks very much to Jeff Billington, health care support worker (Friar House), for taking his life in his hands to do this and raising so much money for it. Everyone present agreed he looked ‘10 years younger!’

Donations from local businesses (Cadbury’s, Wing Wah’s and Azzari Restaurants, Dudley Zoo, Tamworth Snowdome, Duntton Stables, Argos, Birmingham Thinktank, Rydon and S. Jones Containers in Aldridge) were much appreciated on the day and allowed us to offer some fantastic raffle prizes. Donations by West Bromwich Albion also proved a real money spinner with high interest in the auction of a pair of signed football boots. Our lucky raffle winners were picked on December 6th by Hallam's Service Manager, Neil Atkinson. We hope everyone enjoyed their prizes!

Finally, we were fortunate in being able to offer 2 original paintings, created by Keith Fenby (Principal Social Worker in Rowley and Tipton Community Mental Health Team), for auction on the day. These two wonderful watercolours have raised a good deal of money for the service and we would like to thank Keith very much for his generous donation.

How much did everyone raise?

At the ‘end of play’ on the Saturday we had raised £1,127.00 – a fantastic figure which will go a long way to enhancing the services we offer to our clients. Our final total after collection of additional money (pledged for auctions, paintings and raffle tickets) was a whopping £1,500.00 Thanks to all of you who donated items for sale, persuaded local businesses to donate raffle prizes, offered your services on the day to ‘man’ stalls and who came along to enjoy the atmosphere and help us raise money. It was a real team effort!

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"A real team effort" - a snapshot of some of those involved in the fete

What can we do with the money raised?

Now that we have the money we are deciding how to use it. So far we have purchased some additional items for the Physical Activity Team (yoga mats to enable gentle stretching activities to take place in the 136 suite on Friar House) along with additional art based materials to be used on each of the 3 acute wards. We have used our ward based community meetings to talk about ways of using the money with the people who are currently using the service. Based on these meetings, we are now considering whether the money raised can be used for trips out to local places of interest or to fund tickets to arts based events that may be of interest or value to our service users.

Next year?

We are now in the early stages of planning our 2010 fete which we hope once again to run at the end of November. We hope that members of the local community will come along and join in the fun with us. Reading through how enjoyable last year’s event was, we don’t know how you could resist!