This Mental Health Awareness Week, BHT is celebrating Sheila Nuttall and Peter Taylor, who volunteer at our mental health care homes in Hove and who have won Covid-19 Community Champion Awards in recognition of the work they are doing to support the vulnerable. The awards have been organised by the Mayor of Brighton and Hove and celebrate the efforts of local people to offer direct and practical help to others during the pandemic.
The two care homes where Peter and Sheila volunteer form BHT’s Archway project, a residential service providing intensive mental health support; both care homes have been rated as ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission.
While these awards have been given to Peter and Sheila to recognise the work they are doing in the current crisis, both of them have been volunteering at the Archway project for many years. They work alongside the project’s key workers and encourage residents to get involved in various activities to help their recovery. The activities are as varied as the residents and can include walking, gardening, cooking, online learning, playing scrabble or simply having a chat and a cup of tea. Peter even brings his therapy dog in, who has proved extremely popular.
Early adoption of safety measures at Archway such as PPE for all, rigorous cleaning, a moratorium on visitors, and clearly communicated risk assessments and continuity plans have meant that thankfully these care homes have remained free of Covid-19. However, the virus is of course still having an impact. Support for residents from other external services has had to stop and staff and volunteers must think creatively about how to support residents to find meaningful things to do to sustain their recovery whilst keeping them safe.
One of the Community Champion award winners, Sheila Nuttall, said:
The best thing about volunteering at Archway is developing a relationship with a resident; seeing their trust in you develop and their social confidence develop. The staff team are great to work alongside, supportive of what you do and good at enabling it.
The other Community Champion award winner, Peter Taylor, said:
You have the luxury of time being a volunteer, you can spend two or three hours with someone and some residents we build a real bond with. I genuinely like going there, there is a sense of fulfilment from going in, it makes me feel good too and like I’ve achieved a lot.
Ian Wilson, Operation Manager at Archway, said
Sheila and Pete come every week, they are incredibly dedicated and really lovely to have around – both the residents and the staff look forward to their visits. Whether it’s in-house activities, socially-distanced walks, baking, watching films with a resident, shopping – you name it they’ve given their time to our residents to help and we’re immensely grateful to have them on our team.