Chief Executive, Emily Stokes
April has come and gone already! – hard to believe and yet so much achieved over these past 4 weeks. From our first ever charity shop opening in Invergordon to our Caithness service celebrating its first anniversary, a highly successful Dinner with the Stars at Bogbain Farm, Inverness, and much activity going on in Lochaber I am aware, to prepare for this year’s growing season.
We also have had two milestone anniversaries that have happened this year so far, a 30th and a 20th, with them both being formally celebrated this month.
With April, we started a new financial year and one where we will be facing financial pressures as costs have climbed higher than funding has increased. However, building on last year’s success in establishing two brand new services, in Caithness at the start of the year and a huge development in Easter Ross at the end of the year, I am really positive about what this year ahead may bring and we are already working hard on setting up the social enterprise in Easter Ross and laying the ground for further service developments in other areas during this year.
May is already promising to be a jam packed month too. So hopefully, I will see as many people as possible either at the Quiz Night organised by Morrison Construction on our behalf on the 11th May, during the SMHAF Festival, taking place during most of May or at the Walk a Mile event on Saturday 26th May and of course, we are hoping for good weather this year, for the Black Isle Bike Ride on the 19th. And of course, this is all in addition to the fantastic work going on day in day out across all of our services.
Thank you everyone for a great start to 2018/19 and have a great month ahead.
Updates and developments
New Charity Business Partnership
Birchwood Highland and occupational health service provider Alert Health have announced a formal charity business partnership to help raise awareness of mental health in the workplace.
As of April 2018, the year-long partnership will see both organisations collaborating to help fulfil each other’s strategic aims and objectives, including working with local companies to help address the stigma and management of mental ill health within Highland workplaces.
Alert Health’s clinicians and administrators, based in Inverness, work with businesses across Highlands & Islands and Moray to support all health matters relating to the workforce. In seeking out a new charity business partner as part of their corporate social responsibility agenda, Birchwood Highland seemed the natural choice and aligned with Alert Health’s commitment to protect, improve and promote physical and mental wellbeing in the workplace.
We look forward to working alongside Amy and her team over the coming year!
Read the full press release here.
Dinner with the Stars
Thank you to everyone who helped make our evening of food & fundraising at Bogbain Farm such a wonderful success!
Keep your eyes peeled for more photos, videos, and most importantly - a final figure announcement!
View some more photos of the evening below:
Scottish Social Services Awards
We're thrilled to have been shortlisted at this year's Scottish Social Services Awards with our work, titled: "Migrant Mental Health in the Highlands; peer research translating into strengthening the voice of migrants and refugees in the Highlands."
These awards celebrate the work of Scottish Social Services and the individuals, teams and organisations making a positive difference to people’s lives.
The awards take place on Wednesday 6th June in Edinburgh so keep your eyes peeled!
Our first ever charity shop is now OPEN! After countless hours and the effort of many it is our greatest pleasure to announce the charity shop in Invergordon is now open for business.
Over the last six months staff - and even family members! - have been working tirelessly across the board to raise awareness, collect and organise donations and help set up the shop. It has been a challenge for all involved, and we would like to thank everyone who took time to help get the shop up and running and who continue to support it in its early stages.
You’ll find the shop at 70 High Street, Invergordon. Opening hours: Monday - Saturday // 9am - 5pm
Inverness Chamber of Commerce
Throughout the second week in April we were acknowledged by Inverness Chamber of Commerce as their member of the week. This additional promotion highlighted our success at this years Highland Business Women Awards, where we won the category of Best Third Sector Organisation for the THIRD year running! It also highlighted the opening of the new shop as well as all the other activities we've been involved in over the last year or so!
Member of the Week provided a fantastic opportunity to further raise our profile.
To read more click here.
Year of Young People
If you're aged 16-25, or if you started working for Birchwood Highland whilst you were in this age bracket, we'd love to hear from you at the next Young People's Forum on Wednesday 9th May between 11am - 2pm at Head Office.
For more information on the Young People's Forum, please contact Head Office.
Talks for Young People
2018 is the Scottish Government's Year of Young People and we have ventured out to continue to deliver talks relating to mental health to school aged children. I set off to Inverness High School this month to give Mental Health awareness sessions to 4th, 5th and 6th year pupils. Thoughts of pupils this age will be are turning to exam time, and also to moving on to new opportunities in work, college and university, including in some cases relocating and living independently.
The young people were given the opportunity to review and evaluate the session, and responses to the question “What did you learn during today's session that you plan to use?” included:
We hope to continue this work long after the Year of Young People ends, and reaching more and more young people will have a positive impact on mental health and the experiences of people in the Highlands.
Highland Migrant and Refugee Advocacy
The latest from HiMRA
The HiMRA team have been busy at the drop-in sessions in Dingwall, Alness and Inverness, which run on a weekly basis for anyone identifying as migrant or refugee. It would appear that individuals and families appreciate the time and space to discuss issues that are current in their life – whether positive or negative. We are working hard to help people have their voices heard through various channels. To date, we have hosted Business Gateway at our drop-in support who were able to provide business start-up advice. We hope to continue to host other guest speakers to outline relevant community supports.
The HiMRA team have recently attended a Scottish Government Human Rights Consultation event as well as a Women’s Aid Conference focusing on Eastern European Women and the issue of domestic violence. Connections have been made with the group ‘Word on the Street’ who organise a festival in Dingwall annually focusing on language, culture, creative expression and such like. The HiMRA team are keen to get involved in this year’s celebration as the theme has a focus on ‘World’ on the street to home in on cultural exchange and celebration of diversity.
Further links have been built with members of the Mosque Community, Highland Supports Refugees and Highland Multicultural Friends to organise for a refugee gathering to bring together individuals from across the Highlands and Islands. This will be held during the Refugee Festival in June and will likely include food, arts and crafts and football! HiMRA’s pool of volunteers is slowly growing. Tiffany and Franci will be running a volunteer training session in May and from here it is hoped that some volunteers may be able to start shadowing at drop-ins until they feel comfortable in running sessions.
In more alternative news, HiMRA will be venturing across the Atlantic ocean as part of the duncanadrift campaign (duncanadrift.com). Duncan Hutchison, a local man to Lochinver, Scotland has built his own boat to row around 3400 miles from New York back to the West Coast of Scotland, starting on the 19th May. The team at HiMRA are delighted to have their logo painted onto the vessel and wish Duncan the best of luck on his adventure. A very unique story of migration and movement!
The latest from Birchwood Highland's services
Michael Maclellan from the Recovery Centre has been attending Canal College from January 2018. On the 17 April 2018, he successfully achieved the Heritage Hero Silver Award, receiving his certificate at a presentation held at Caley Marina - attended by the Provost of Inverness, Councillor Helen Carmichael.
Scottish Waterways Trust, through Canal College and Green Action, enable young people to learn an exciting range of practical heritage skills outdoors and earn awards and certificates to get them on the path to work.
Local people take part as volunteer mentors and use their own skills and experiences to guide young people, learning some new skills themselves along the way.
Canal College and Green Action help young people:
* build confidence
* experience team-working
* improve health and wellbeing
* receive SQA accredited training
* enhance social skills
* overcome barriers to work and education
Congratulations Michael from everyone at Birchwood Highland!
Huge congratulations to our re-established Caithness service on celebrating their first year! We know it's been a busy year and we hope you continue to be successful in supporting people in the Caithness area. As the service goes from strength to strength we hope to celebrate many more birthdays with the Caithness team. So from all Birchwood Highland staff, we want to congratulate you and thank you for the work you do everyday. A number of staff enjoyed a celebratory meal at Mackay's Hotel in Wick to mark the occassion.
Taken from the Lochaber Service Users Group Newsletter
"We had a visit from Kaye Jackson (Dietician) and two students, we learnt a lot about dietary health, not just the five a day, for example, in Lochaber, because there is so little sunlight throughout the year we are recommended to take Vitamin D tablets."
A huge congratulations to Wendy Wemyss who celebrates her 20th anniversary with Birchwood Highland in April. A lot has changed since 1998! Thank you so much for all your hard work over the years, Wendy, and here's to many more.
Staff from Head Office and HiMRA experienced superb traditional Chinese cuisine from Scottish Highlands and Islands and Moray Chinese Association (SHIMCA) last week.
The lunch came about following successful period of six weeks drop in sessions with HiMRA. The lunch was throughly enjoyed by all and we hope to return to celebrate their future work!
Read All About It!
Birchwood Highland in the media
Highland Business Women Awards
Dinner with the Stars
27th April 2018
Fundraising // Activities // Workshops
Don't miss out on your chance to be crowned trivia champion! Hosted by Nicola McAlley. the quiz night will feature a finger buffet, raffle and roll the coin competition. Get your team organised before it's too late! Contact Mairi Macdonald at Head Office for more information and to register.
When: Friday 11th May 2018 - Doors 7 PM
Where: British Legion, King Street, Inverness
The Black Isle Bike Ride
Looking for a new challenge? Support Birchwood Highland and ESSM Malawi in this friendly, all ages and ability bike ride.
Taking place on Saturday the 19th May this annual bike ride give you the opportunity to test yourself and raise vital funds to help support people.
For more details on how to set up sponsorship click the button below or contact head office via email@example.com
Join our annual walk in Inverness to help end the stigma surrounding mental ill health. This year we hope to increase attendance and show suport for people batteling mental ill health and those who support them.
Starting at Eden Court we will march through the main streets of Inverness towards Falcon Square.
When: Saturday 26th May 2018 - 11 a.m.
Where: Eden Court Theatre, Inverness
Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival
This year's SMHAF is due to take place throughout the month of May, with a number of events also occurring throughout the Highlands. Click below to find out more.
Staff are reminded to familiarise themselves with the most recent policies approved by the Board:
- Mobile Phone Policy
- Data Protection
- Duty of Candour
The new policy list has also been reviewed and you can view it here.
Starters and Leavers
A warm welcome to those who've recently joined us:
Gonzalo Medina, Support Worker - ISS
And a fond farewell to the following:
Everyday Challenges (Highland Autism Support) – 9th May
Food, Mood and Behavior (Highland Autism Support) - 10th May
Adult Support and Protection - 11th May
HTSI Hosts – 14th May
Diversity and Inclusion – 16th May
Medication Training - 21st May
Assist - 22nd May
Community Development Training - 23rd
Further details on all training can be found on the Training Calendar on SharePoint.