The last twelve months have been challenging for everyone, and for those with mental health difficulties. Despite the barriers to physical engagement brought about by the pandemic we have continued to engage with our clients via phone, internet, and doorstep visits. This way of working has meant that we had to re-double our resources to ensure we continued to keep in contact with everyone at least once a week. Over time we began to more confident in our use of digital communication and many of our clients are now reasonably able to take part in zoom-based activities, with the occasional face to face support in between the various lockdowns throughout the year.
Working with communities across Brent and focusing on BAME and Faith communities, we engage with groups who do not tend to access health and wellbeing support whether it be mental health, physical health, dementia, and general advice services. Most of our clients live with mental health challenges or dementia, are carers, homeless or have been homeless, socially isolated, long term unemployed and aged 18 and above. All the activities Ashford Place delivers are accompanied by health and wellbeing messages and promote positive health. We work alongside Brent CCG’s and Brent Council jointly funded Peer Support programme to ensure we work in partnership and optimise the lived experience of clients.
- Working alongside Hestia and contracted by Brent Clinical Commissioning Group we together continued to support people with long term mental health problems, to strengthen their confidence and self-esteem and to move closer to being able to find employment. Our team of Mentors and Befrienders were an invaluable support and have been one of the highlights of this challenging year. The contract ended at the end of April 2021 which has been a challenge for everyone involved as we are keen to ensure our clients continue to be supported by the new contractor
- Increased outreach across Brent via zoom and doorstep interventions
- Continued development of our Dementia Peer Support Project enabling people living with dementia to lead on positive solutions
- Continued support of our dementia cafes which were particularly challenged during the pandemic, but who continue their work in supporting the creation of a dementia friendly borough. Community Action on Dementia – Brent, a campaigning group received ‘working to become a dementia friendly borough ‘status in December 2020 from the Alzheimer’s Society. Ashford Place is a key partner working along with this group
- Development of social activities programmes offering via zoom and face to face when Covid-19 regulations allowed
- 120 people provided with counselling support
- 145 active members of our Fit + Well programme
- Supporting 10 suitable local heroes who themselves deliver Health & Wellbeing support
- 4000 nutritious healthy lunches, served in our Community Café when regulations allowed, and a mixture of take always and home deliveries
- Side Door café offering a cuppa and social connection
Health and Wellbeing
Brent and parts of its surrounding boroughs are ranked amongst the top 15% of the most deprived areas of the country. The accompanying amount of deprivation is characterised by high levels of poverty, which contributes to severely diminished health and wellbeing. The statistics show that people on low incomes are more likely to have life-limiting health conditions, take less exercise and have a shorter life. Growing levels of dementia amongst this group add to the health problems leading to increased isolation.
In response to this worsening situation, Ashford Place will address both physical and mental health issues presented by its clients by promoting a range of programmes designed to increase the community’s awareness of better nutrition, positive mental health and healthier lifestyles. Programmes will be delivered in our AP Community Café, a welcoming, cheerful and creative space where anyone can enjoy a nutritious cooked lunch alongside a programme of learning, creativity, relaxation and fitness opportunities, all co-created by clients and our staff. In our Community Café we will promote and deliver
- Positive mental health
- The importance of the ‘lived experience’ i.e. supporting clients to use their experience to both help themselves and others
- Healthy Living and the benefits of nutritious food
- A range of services in house including an on-site GP and health practitioner service including counselling services, social prescribing, and dementia support programmes, laundry and shower facilities,
- Active lifestyles activities