After a slow start in the Arsenal Inclusion Tournament the Active Minds/CPFC Foundation mental health football team ‘The Croydon Eagles’ came back strong to win the Arsenal Community Plate in the bright sunshine of North Londo.
We were pitched against our old friends from East Living and a well organised Arsenal Medical Foundation team in the first round and were unlucky to come away with only a few points. But our players got into their stride to win matches against Danby Rovers and the Elfrida Society
Sadly there was no plate to celebrate with (it’s in the post!) but we will be in the first Arsenal programme of the new season which by sheer coincidence is against Palace.
Many thanks to Luke, the organizers, volunteers and everyone involved especially the players and teams who had travelled from as far afield as Leeds to take part.
We all had a great day out and to come back with a trophy bodes well for our team next season. Sadly we did though have an injury and everyone at Croydon Eagles wishes Tim a speedy recovery from a painful calf tear.
Duke McKenzie sparring with Jeremy Vine
In March BBC Radio 2 presenter Jeremy Vine and representatives from Comic Relief came to visit the Active Minds’ Boxercise project at Duke McKenzie’s gym. The purpose of the visit was to record a short piece for Jeremy Vines’ weekly show on Radio 2 and broadcast it during the week long Sport Relief fundraising campaign, to explain to Comic Relief’s donors the types of project that their money helps to support.
We invited Brian and Steph, who have both previously attended the six week Boxercise programme, to be interviewed about their experience and how engaging with the project has really helped them deal with their mental health issues and improve wellbeing. It took courage for them to give the interview but we are so glad they did; they both spoke openly and honestly about themselves and the benefits of taking part, and hopefully will inspire other people with mental health problems to give it a try.
Due to time constraints they only used Steph’s interview in the broadcast, it was only 2 minutes long, but we are very pleased with end product – short but sweet and importantly shows that our Boxercise project can be life-changing.
I am currently providing Volunteer Peer advocacy support in children’s centers around the Borough this includes libraries and other events where we get the opportunity to speak to parents and hand out literature promoting the service.
The Volunteer Parental Peer Advocacy service is operated by Mind in Croydon and funded by Comic Relief. The purpose of the project is to empower parents of children aged 0-18 who may be experiencing mental health problems by sign posting them to the agencies who may be able to assist and advise them on the problems they are facing. For instance I was able to assist a man I met at a dad’s group that was experiencing anxiety and had issues around benefits, housing and antisocial behavior. With the assistance of the Parenting Advocate Nichola I was able to sign post him to the appropriate benefits advice services such as Mind in Croydon. I also provided contact details of Hear Us, as they are able to assist service users with filling in forms.
I feel the most stressful job in society for me is being a parent. It does not come with a manual. There are many experiences as a parent that can cause a previously well balanced parent to suffer mental health problems, such as divorce and the isolation and loneliness that accompanies becoming a single parent. Financial problems; it is very difficult trying to manage a tight budget especially if you are a single parent and your child wants the most expensive pair of trainers or mobile phone due to peer pressure and you do not want your child to be socially excluded because of poverty.
Other issues may arise for parents if their teenage children experience peer pressure and truancy when a teen age girl or boy refuses to go to school and the parent is called to a meeting with the educational welfare officer and told to make sure the child attends school or face prosecution. These issues may cause conflict and stress in the relationship between parent and child which only increases anxiety, not only for the parent, but also for the child. There is little wonder that so many parents experience mental health problems and there is a very real need for the parental peer advocacy service.
The reason I was motivated to become a voluntary peer advocate is because I have experienced many of the problems mentioned above and I want to help parents in a similar position. Life circumstances left me bringing up five children as a single parent following my marital break up.
For me there was a light at the end of the tunnel, Nine years on my children are now well balanced young adults, three of my daughters are married and I have three grandchildren and my son now has a responsible job working for the local authority and no longer requires medication. I am very proud of my children.
By John Holmes Volunteer Peer Advocate for the Parenting Advocacy Service Mind in Croydon.
One of the activities run by Mind in Croydon’s ‘Active Minds’ service is horticulture groups for those who have a green thumb and enjoy being outdoors.
The horticulture groups are an opportunity to learn gardening skills, grow fruit and vegetables and meet new people with the shared interest of horticulture.
As a volunteer for Mind in Croydon, I went along to help at the South Croydon allotment; weeding and watering, growing and gardening, pruning and tidying. I was surprised at the number and variety of plants, fruit and veg being grown at the allotment; from plums, apples and grapes to sweet peas, rhubarb, runner beans, French beans, broad beans and potatoes – to name just a few!
The horticultural members were extremely dedicated and knowledgeable about all the different things growing at the allotment, as well as being passionate about maintaining a fruitful allotment and enjoying working outdoors. Working in the outdoors has a proven uplifting effect on your mood (especially when the sun is shining!) I can certainly say I enjoyed the fresh air which made a nice change from working at a desk in an office. What’s more, I gained a sense of satisfaction from removing unwanted weeds (which is also surprisingly therapeutic!)
Working in the allotment can act as a stepping stone to work, through building confidence and experience, or simply a way to start a hobby or nurture an existing interest in gardening or horticulture. However, undoubtedly the best part about the horticulture group is reaping the rewards of all the hard work and effort being put into the allotment by harvesting (and most importantly eating!) what has been grown – and enjoying a cup of tea at the end to refuel energy.
To find out more about horticultural groups or other activities offered by the Active Minds service, visit our website http://www.mindincroydon.org.uk/active-minds.asp or call 0208 253 8205/6
Mind in Croydon’s ‘Active Minds’ service
At Mind in Croydon’s allotment as part of our ‘Active Minds’ service
Apples growing at Mind in Croydon’s allotment as part of the ‘Active Minds’ service