SW Newsletter #51 Chanukah 2009

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For example, we’ve recently heard about two really exciting initiatives that OT departments have developed. Nick McMaster, Lead Activities Facilitator/ Star Wards Lead, Mill View Hospital in Sussex wrote to me:

“The Hats We Wear/ Blank Versing the Past is an anthology of mental health service user writing from the city of Brighton. The Mill View Hospital and Aldrington House Day Hospital creative writing groups were led by critically acclaimed Brighton based poet and longstanding mental health service volunteer Alan Morrison. The book is a result of a number of first time collaborations. Firstly the anthology is being published by the well regarded local poetry publisher Waterloo Press and funded by Sussex Partnership. Secondly the writing is drawn from service users from both adult and older people’s services. Thirdly the launch event was supported by Brighton and Hove Libraries Service.”

The newsletter is accompanied by a flier for this superb book.

Further north, Sarah Wilson, Professional Occupational Therapy Manager, Northamptonshire. shared news of an experience which sounds (literally) sensational for patients. (And staff!)

“Have managed to fund shiatsu, reflexology and holistic massage through a star wards budget from commissioners which is a great asset.  Last week we had a session from the Centre for Sound with a ‘sound bath’ experience – apparently completely immersing and very healing.  It is used a lot with profound physical / mental handicapped clients, but appears to have potential for having an impact with people in our service particularly who may be very ‘shut down’ and unable to tolerate a great deal of stimulation etc.  I’m looking into options for continuing with it so watch this space…

Our new building is still in construction, and it was a year today that we moved into the new building – this has been exciting and challenging in equal measures.  The 2nd phase is being built round us and I am looking out as I type to the multi-faith room being constructed with a wonderful curved external wall which I think will have beautiful stained glass.  It will be a real pleasure to invite you over to see what has changed when the 2nd phase is built – this will then have older peoples’ services, low secure, and challenging behaviour learning disabilities on the site with our existing adult wards…

And some underground news! This is a totally inspired idea from Transport for London, and is so like the amazing, high impact, cost-free innovations that our members come up with.

Jeremy Deller has been working with Tube drivers and operational staff on the Piccadilly line to produce a new work of art – a booklet of quotes entitled ‘What is the city but the people?’. The passport-sized booklet will be given to operational staff on the Piccadilly line from February 2009. Drivers and platform staff will be encouraged to use the quotes in their daily communications with customers – building on the rapport which many already have with their customers and helping to enliven millions of journeys by adding an element of unexpected humour.

‘‘What is the city but the people?’ aims to generate a more positive atmosphere during peak times. It also encourages the many voices of the Tube’s staff to re-enter the environment of the network, bringing some of the personalities which have made it famous to the forefront once more. Coming from a wide range of philosophical, political and historical sources, the quotes provoke thought on life in the city, especially as heard on the London Underground.

Finally, here are some photos I took a couple of years ago of the full-on festive celebrations at the exuberant Highcroft Hospital in Birmingham. They certainly know how to party! Veteran newsletter readers may remember we featured my visit to the sparkling Victorian extravaganza in Newsletter # 28, Dec 23rd 2007. Like all our past newsletters, this is available for (re)enjoying on our website. Did I mention how delightful our new website is?? Many thanks to our new colleague Tim Sharville of Gunpowder Studios. Oh. And you may have spotted that we’ve got a twinkly, lively new logo. You’re very welcome to use it but equally, please feel free to continue using the old one if that is easier.



Wishing everyone a very enjoyable festive season and a happy and healthy 2010.

Love Marion and Buddy