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The Sophie Grierson Fund

The Sophie Grierson Fund (SGF) was set up by Ray and Emma in late 2019 following the tragic loss of their beautiful daughter Sophie aged 19. The specific aim of the fund is: -

To quickly provide 12 sessions of counselling to very distressed 14-24 year-olds.

The SGF is managed by Basildon Mind, a local mental health charity, affiliated to the National Mind charity. Basildon Mind work across the Borough of Basildon, that is Basildon, Billericay, Wickford and surrounding areas. For the last 50 years, Basildon Mind has worked tirelessly to improve the mental health of its local community. Services include a telephone Helpline, Counselling, Supported Housing, Forensic Advocacy, Walking Groups, an Allotment and working in a number of NHS ‘111 Option 2’ services including a Crisis Sanctuary, Crisis Sanctuary House and Positive Pathways guidance.

Basildon Mind receives no state funding for its Counselling service. The charity is able to counsel children and adults with a range of mental health conditions such as anxiety, bereavement, bullying, depression, relationships, stress (in children these often result in not wanting to go to, or exclusion from school) and long-term mental health difficulties such as schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder. The ability to quickly provide counselling to severely distressed youngsters with complex conditions makes Basildon Mind unique in the Borough.

To date, 35 very distressed local young people have received around 250 1-hour counselling sessions paid for by the SGF. A further 15 people will receive 168 counselling sessions during 2023 and the same again during 2024. This would not be possible without the SGF. Almost £18,000 has been donated to this invaluable service and a further £11,600 is planned.

Basildon Mind’s Counselling evaluation data show SGF works: clients’ feelings about their General wellbeing’ increased from 3.4 to 6.2 out of 10. 92% rated “Felt Listened To” 10 out of 10 and 83% rated “Friendliness of Staff” and “Counselling Venue” 10 out of 10.

In terms of achieving their counselling goals, evaluation comments include “I feel more confident about the future”, “I’m looking to return to education”, “I’m feeling a lot better about myself and my boundaries” and “I've talked about things that I kept in for years”. These excellent outcomes are particularly important as sadly a number of SGF clients stated they felt suicidal or had previously attempted suicide before they started their counselling.

Please consider donating to help local people with their mental health. Thank you.

Ricky's Story

Ricky, previously used Basildon Mind’s Mindful counselling service in 2019 when he was “going through a bad patch and didn’t know where to turn”. His counselling goal was to “get out of a rut” and his counsellor taught him how to “recognise triggers” and “some tools to cope”. One of these was to use his interest in fitness, especially running and yoga. 

In 2021 Ricky sadly lost his dad to Covid-19. Again Ricky was left feeling “stagnant’ and “needed to do something with purpose”. A chance encounter with Basildon Mind’s Counselling Manager led to ‘Ricky’s 500km run’ in November and December 2021. Ricky ran 10 kilometres (6 miles) a day for 50 days to raise money to counsel youths aged 7-18 at Basildon Mind. 

“I was told there was a backlog of Youths waiting to get the help they need. It took me back to my schooldays and I wanted to do something to help. My counselling at Basildon Mind helped me so I was sure it could also help these kids. This sparked a fire and I set off on my run.” 

Ricky’s run wasn’t easy: “sometimes I’d come home from work and didn’t fancy running around Essex. Remembering why I was doing this forced me to go out and run every day.” Ricky ran around Basildon, Benfleet, Hadleigh, Pitsea, Southend and Westcliff. “At first, sponsorship was low. Later money started coming in and the total went up and up. In the end, I raised over £4000 which is unbelievable.” 

Ricky completed his 500km on Christmas Eve 2021, outside Basildon Mind’s charity shop in East Walk where he was welcomed by a large crowd.  

Ricky’s advice to anyone suffering with their mental health is to “reach out and ask for help. I’m so glad I made the first call to Basildon Mind and took the first step”. The counselling venue “feels like a safe place, I felt listened to by my counsellor and the staff were lovely”. 

The money Ricky raised was used to reduce Basildon Mind’s Youth waiting list, by an amazing two thirds! Ricky is thinking about his next venture in 2023. “My run helped other people and it helped me.” 

Enid's Story

Enid joined our walking group in September 2021. She had lived abroad and was staying with her daughter on the Clarion Housing estate in Vange, Basildon.

Enid saw a printed poster at an open day held outside the Vange Community Centre in August 2021. Being new to the area, she wanted to meet new people and improve her physical fitness, so she chose the walking group.

A unique feature of the weekly walk run by Basildon Mind, in association with the Run Fit Club, supported by Clarion Futures, is that a trained counsellor (a Talking Therapist) joins the walk. Walkers can share their thoughts and questions with this person during the walks.

Enid “feels listened to” and “feels she can talk about anything” with the Talking Therapist.

Enid “feels a sense of inclusion”, “met new people” and “can share experiences” with her fellow walkers. The walk helped her integrate into her local community, eventually moving into her own place. Almost one year later she still regularly attends the walk on Fridays starting at 10am. Moreover, speaking to the Talking Therapist led to her volunteering with Basildon Mind, in its Charity Shop and also as a Counselling Receptionist.

Enid said, “I would encourage local Vange residents to join the weekly walk, which is good for your physical and your mental health”.

Why don’t you join our walk? Click on the link to find out more: Walking Group Page