29 Oct

Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened!

Dear supporter and friend,

Who does not like Dr Seuss? A zany genius of the snappy word who gave us gems like “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not!”

16 years ago, in 2004, another zany genius, cared a whole awful lot. She cared so much she created the Bright Charity and its first flagship project, Star Wards. To her delight she discovered that many of you also cared a whole awful lot.  When our own Marion Janner (and Buddy, her dog) sailed Star Wards into the choppy waters of Mental Health care, many of you jumped right on board.

The past 16 years have seen you take the amazing Marion’s ideas, add to them, and make them into real changes for real people in real places. We use words like “heroic” and “awesome” and “amazing” to describe what you do and how you do it.  You have stunned us with your commitment to our little project. (Sometimes we also use the word “pirate”, but that is another story).

But there is another Dr Seuss saying:

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened”

Bright is ending … but not the resources. 

For after 16 years, the Bright Charity has run its course. We are having to stop sailing and look for a berth to permanently shore up the old ship. We are presently working on keeping our resources available for anyone out there who still feels they can make our ideas into real changes. But from the end of this year, on the 31st of December 2020, Bright will cease to function as a charity.

The simple reason for this is that we have run out of funds. The more complicated is that the world has changed hugely since we started and many of the things, we (and you) set out to do have happened.

We have created the resources – Star Wards for inpatient wards, CAHMHeleon for child and adolescent services, Brief Encounters for general hospitals. We have given out a host of Full Monty’s to amazing, heroic, and truly awesome wards. We took Buddy to Buckingham Palace and Broadmoor and Parliament to talk about how brilliant you are. We walked around London services dressed as a Pirate. We have believed in you and you have responded with warmth and passion and brilliance.

In many services you have taken our ideas and made them your own. We now see projects like Talk 1st and Safewards driving the agenda forward even more. We see the emergence of the fabulous Positive Practice, who show the same positive appreciation of the good work you do. We have seen the campaigning work of National Survivor Users Network. We have been awed by the rise of other service user led forums like the Hearing Voices Network and Voice Collective. We have seen recovery colleges and peer workers and co-production and experts by experience. We love all of them. So, we think this is the ideal time to roll up the mainsail, to find a last harbour, to find time to smile because it happened.

Thank you SO much.

In this we have so many people to thanks – sponsors and funders who believed in us a whole awful lot, workers like the amazing Nic Higham who designed and lived  CAMHeleon and many other projects – our Bright Trustees and Board Members who believed in our mission so much. (A special mention to our last Chair, Katheryn Hill, who was with us for almost the entire 16 years and is a true star and Susan Stocks and Joy Bray for long and dedicated and compassionate service).

We also had the benefit of the occasional extra crew with people like the incomparable Iris Benson MBE and Sam Wilson our newsletter editor. We had the exceptional help of Dave Higham working behind the scenes in keeping the websites running. We have, in truth, made so many friends, both here in the UK, and across the world. This friendship and appreciation will not end with Bright.

Please do let people know about the resources that are still available. Please use them and nick them and improve them. Please keep doing what you are doing and do it even better. We are smiling because you made it all happen.

Thank you for everything.