Chief Executive, Emily Stokes
I hope this finds you all well and that you have been enjoying this recent spell of fantastic weather!
May has been an extremely busy month for us all once again, with a particular focus on mental health in the media through Mental Health Awareness Week but also via our own events such as Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival (SMHAF) Highland and also our annual Walk a Mile event in Inverness.
Our newly opened charity shop in Invergordon continues to thrive too, with an extremely busy start thanks to the number of cruise ships and tourists that have visited Invergordon recently. I know the Easter Ross team are looking forward to their new office space too and we will be hosting an official opening of both the shop and the offices in the very near future.
The Recovery Centre will once again host its annual 'Party in the Garden' event on Friday 29th June and it would be fantastic to see as many staff and service users there as possible this year. It's always great fun and a chance to catch up with colleagues.
Take care in the heat but please also enjoy the warm weather over the coming weeks.
Updates and developments
50 Years of Dedicated Service
During the last month we celebrated two huge milestones for the staff of Birchwood Highland. Liz Edgar and Wendy Wemyss, along with a number of staff and service users, marked the fantastic milestone early this week in the form of an 80s and 90s themed party – the two decades in which Liz and Wendy joined Birchwood Highland.
Both Liz and Wendy were presented with flowers by Birchwood Highland service users, as well as receiving a small gift from Birchwood Highland as a gesture of thanks for their hard work over the years.
To read the full press release click here.
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!
Walk a Mile
Over 150 people took part in this year's annual Walk a Mile event through Inverness city centre on Saturday 26th May - our biggest turnout for Walk a Mile thus far! Organised by Birchwood Highland and led by NorCon Pipe Band, Walk a Mile helps raise awareness of mental health issues, by promoting positive discussion and tackling the stigma that often surrounds mental ill health.
Thanks once again to everyone who joined us and also to all who contributed to this fantastic video from the day.
Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival (SMHAF) Highland
Birchwood Highland took part in this year's Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival in Highland throughout the month of May, along with a number of other third sector and voluntary organisations.
This year's theme was 'beginnings' and our 'Small Beginnings' tree exhibition was on display in Eden Court throughout the month. Thanks to Creativity in Care for hosting the workshops and to all those who took part!
Charity Business Partnership
We're thrilled to be celebrating a year since the beginning of our formal charity business partnership with Morrison Construction!
As part of the partnership, Morrison Construction staff received Birchwood Highland's 'Toolbox Talks', a 30 minute session which provide an introduction to mental well-being in the workplace.
‘Fundraising Friday’ was held at Morrison Construction’s Head Office in Inverness a few weeks ago and featured a whole host of fundraising activities, as well as a quiz night hosted by Birchwood Highland ambassador, Nicola McAlley. In total, the day raised £1,652.68 and adds to the amount already raised throughout the year by Morrison Construction staff.
We can't thank the Morrison Construction team enough for all they've done to support us over the last year. With everything from helping at our new charity shop to fundraising on our behalf - we're hugely grateful for all the help and support shown over the past 12 months.
Watch an interview with Emily Stokes, Chief Executive, on the benefits of working with Morrison Construction here:
Black Isle Bike Ride
Many thanks to all those who took part in the annual Black Isle Bike Ride to raise funds for Birchwood Highland earlier this month - especially Jordan Hammond, Fundraising Assistant, and Sarah Smith, Fundraising and Communications Assistant, from Head Office.
A joint fundraising event in aid of both Birchwood Highland and EMMS International, over thirty cyclists cycled the route from North Kessock through to Tore and Munlochy and back on Saturday 19th May. Well done to all involved!
Charity Shop Update
The charity shop has now been open for around 6 weeks and the team are being kept busy with cruise ships and tourists - not to mention locals! - popping in for a browse. However, as the shop gets busier, we rely more heavily on volunteer supervisors and shop assistants, and we would be really keen to hear from anyone who has expressed an interest on volunteering with us. Please see the poster below for more information.
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 23rd August 2018 at Head Office. For more information on the Young People's Forum, please contact Head Offic directly.
Highland Migrant and Refugee Advocacy
The latest from HiMRA
The HiMRA team now have their own website! Explore the online directory, check the notice board for the latest news and events, access resources and find out more about volunteering with HiMRA. Click below to have a look:
The latest from Birchwood Highland's services
The Recovery Centre will host its annual Party in the Garden on Friday 29th June this year. Keep an eye out for more information to follow.
The team in Caithness continue to work towards our Healthy Working Lives agenda and this month they promoted Mental Health Awareness Week through their window displays. Staff and service users also enjoyed the workshops with Creativity in Care ahead of the SMHAF exhibition on display at Eden Court.
Staff and service users in Lochaber were saddened to learn of the passing of Ian Elder on Sunday in Raigmore Hospital.
Ian was a real Highland gentleman with a quiet manner, however, he did have a mischievous sense of humour and a twinkle in his eye that always made folk smile.
Ian was always interested in what was going on locally and nationally and had a passion for history, and in particular local history – the staff team have benefited from his knowledge of the local area and changes over the years. Many wonderful stories!
Although Ian did not like to join in group events, he was always supportive of any fundraisers and specifically his much loved fruit loaves he baked for every table top sale - they were always the best sellers.
Ian had been a service user with Birchwood Highland since 2001 and recently he agreed to his own experiences within the mental health system over the last 50 years being screened at the Town House in Inverness during a SMHAF event. Unfortunately Ian was unable to attend this as he had been poorly, but he was keen to share this with as many people as possible in an effort to highlight the positive changes and attitudes regarding mental health and illness. The film was also shown at Birchwood Highland's 30th anniversary stakeholder event in November of last year. You can watch Ian's story below.
Ian will be greatly missed and never forgotten by all who knew him.
Staff and service users in Inverness came together to celebrate John's 80th birthday earlier this month. No birthday party is complete without a large slice of cake and a cup of delicious tea, and there certainly was enough cake to go round on this occasion. John was also treated to a visit from his all-time favourite office dog, Oscar!
Many congratulations and happy 80th birthday, John, from everyone at Birchwood Highland. Here's to many more!
The Head Office team have also been focusing on Healthy Working Lives and trying to make various small changes to improve health and well-being in the office on a day-to-day basis. Weekly team meetings now take place standing up - yes, you heard it here first! - and feature stretches and other physical activities to try and improve overall health and performance. Linda Birnie, Training and Development Manager, led a short laughter yoga session at a team meeting earlier this month, pictured above.
Continuing the well-being theme, a handful of the Head Office team took part in a recording for BBC Radio Scotland's 'Personal Best' programme on the benefits of The Daily Mile. The programme is due for broadcast on Monday 4th June at 1:30pm and you can listen again here.
Read All About It!
Birchwood Highland in the media
Milestones are marked
The Inverness Courier
18th May 2018
Birchwood Highland and Alert Health announce charity business partnership
Reflection of the Highland Bussiness Women Awards
Bike ride to benefit charities
The Inverness Courier
Mental health walk
The Inverness Courier
Birchwood celebrates one-year partnership
31st May 2018
Fundraising // Activities // Workshops
Volunteers' Week, 1st - 7th June
We'll be hosting a celebratory drop-in at the new shop in Invergordon on Friday 8th June to thank our volunteers for all their help. It's also a great opportunity for any potential new volunteers to pop in, say hello and find out more about Birchwood Highland.
Please contact Head Office for more information.
Birchwood Highland and Marie Curie would like to invite you to Royal Ascot at the Kingsmills Hotel, a glamourous day of racing and fundraising.
The event, on Thursday 21st June, includes a glass of bubbly on arrival followed by a delicious three-course meal with wine, as well as upbeat live music from Dark Horse. Afternoon tea will be served between races and there will be some great bars to revel in.
Don’t forget that we’ll be showing all the race action live via big screens, indoors and outdoors, so why not join us for a flutter?
Dress code: Dress for the occasion!
Millburn Academy Romania Team will be holding a fundraising night on Friday 15th June and half of the monies raised will go to Birchwood Highland. So why not go along to join in with a auction, quiz, raffle and many more while watching the races?!
When: Friday 15th June 2018 - 7 p.m.
Where: Assembly Hall, Millburn Academy, Inverness
Please contact Head Office for tickets.
Starters and Leavers
A warm welcome to those who've recently joined us:
Lisa Davidson – Relief Support Worker at Easter Ross Support Service
Nicole Hudson – Support Worker at Easter Ross Support Service
Molly Macrae – Support Worker at Easter Ross Support Service
William McGlone – Support Worker at the Recovery Centre
Julie Mackenzie – Support Worker at the Recovery Centre
Gonzalo Medina – Support Worker at Inverness Support Service
And a fond farewell to the following:
Adult Support and Protection – 12th June in Wick
Health and Safety – 15th June in Inverness
Behaviour that Challenges – 19th June in Inverness
Adult Support and Protection – 21st June in Inverness
Further details on all training can be found on the Training Calendar on SharePoint.