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Ross' Golf Day

Ross decided to donate to Basildon Mind after “I saw a number of people I knew from school and my adult life struggling with their mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic”.

“I live in Billericay and I particularly wanted to donate to a local charity and I understood that Basildon Mind is the ‘Local Mind’ which delivers mental health services in my local area. I believe if you go local, it means a lot more to your local area” said Ross.

Ross is a keen golfer and his event was a golf day. In fact, it was the 10th charity golf day he’s organised in 10 years, which is an absolutely amazing achievement! These events were held at South Essex Golf Club for the benefit of mainly local charities.

The event in aid of Basildon Mind was held on 8th July 2022 and involved about 100 people. The golfers paid an entry fee and were able to bid for donated prizes in auctions.

Ross contacted Basildon Mind ahead of his event, to understand more about the charity and how it is different from ‘National Mind’ – the central charity to which all ‘Local Minds’ are affiliated. This helped him understand that helping his Local Mind was the best way to help local people with their mental health.

Ross visited our Whitmore Way counselling suite to meet the team and collect banners and leaflets to use on the golf day. He found the staff friendly and helpful and after he made his donation he received a thank you letter.

Ross did not have a specific fundraising goal, but hoped to raise £4,500 - £5000. He just wanted “to organise a good event and was happy when it went successfully”. “Everyone had an enjoyable day which made my at least 100 hours’ preparation, to make sure it’s a well-run and well-understood event, worthwhile. The icing on the cake was that we raised an amazing £4800”.

Ross’ donation has been used for to counsel local Youths aged 7 to 18, helping them with their mental health. This is appreciated hugely by Basildon Mind who are most grateful.

At the moment, Ross does not plan any future fundraising for Basildon Mind. “Although it’s rewarding, I think organising 10 events 10 years is enough. However never say never.”

Ross’ advice to others thinking about fundraising is “put the effort in and you’ll find it rewarding. And don’t forget to ‘go local’ because it means a lot more.”

Ciara's Story

Ciara used Basildon Mind’s Youth counselling service in 2016/17. She was referred by her doctor to help her cope with her ‘Non-Epileptic Attack Disorder’. Ciara said “I suffered from sudden absences which I found humiliating and degrading. My GP recommended counselling to try and help me understand, accept and live with what was happening.”

Ciara started counselling in October 2016. As a teenager at a difficult age she was not keen to attend. However, her mum persuaded her to try one counselling session in Basildon Mind’s Whitmore Way counselling suite. With “a lot going on” she reluctantly attended her first session, after which she changed her mind.

It didn’t take long for Ciara to realise that counselling could help her. “Even at the end of the first counselling session, I couldn’t hide the fact that I already felt better”. “ I had the biggest smile on my face”. During the next 4 months, Ciara and her counsellor worked together so she could come to terms with her medical condition.

Ciara’s counselling goal was to understand her condition and accept it. “I needed to accept my medical condition, learn how to live with it and not let it control my life”. “My counsellor spent time really getting to know me and we developed a good relationship”.

Ciara’s experience of Basildon Mind was really positive. She felt “100% listened to by her counsellor” and “immediately felt at home” at the counselling venue. “It felt like home”. “All the staff were friendly”.

After around 12 counselling sessions, Ciara did achieve her counselling goal. “I learned to accept that everyone is different; to accept that the bad bits are just as much a part of me as the good bits”. “My counselling made me no longer scared and able to get on with my life and continue my education”. For Ciara, that meant university and she is looking forward to graduating in mid-2023. “My counselling has given me the honest confidence to be the real Ciara”.

Reflecting on her counselling journey, Ciara is so glad she listened to her mum. Her advice to others suffering with their mental health is “talking is the way forward”. If you need help, consider counselling.

Jon's Story

Jon became a Basildon Mind Allotment volunteer in summer 2021. “I was really struggling with my mental health so the Basildon Hospital Mental Health Unit Crisis Team referred me to Basildon Mind.

Jon contacted our Volunteer Coordinator Jill who brought him to the Allotment, located in Vange, Basildon. “I have always liked gardening and find it is good for my mental health. I’ve grown crops in my back garden and wanted to take it to the next level without having my own plot. The Basildon Mind Allotment seemed a really good next step at a time when I really needed help”.

From the start Jon liked the Allotment and “felt part of the friendly team”. “We all have the same interest and I really like the team. The project is run as a democracy and I have as much say as anyone else. This boosted my confidence because I felt listed to and it felt like I had something worth saying”.

Jon’s goals were “to meet people with the same interest, to watch things grow and achieve peace”. He said “when I’m at the Allotment, my problems don’t seem so big. The Allotment is a fantastic place which has something for everyone: gardening, DIY, cutting the grass or just socialising. I feel like I’ve made friends – which is something I was not expecting – because everyone is equal and can do as much or as little as they like”.

After more than a year, Jon has long since exceeded his goals: “the Allotment has given me something to carry on for. It’s helped my self-confidence and I’m now able to join other groups away from Basildon Mind”. However, Jon plans to remain part of the small Allotment team. “Every year is a different year when it comes to gardening. It’s amazing how much I’ve learnt about gardening”.

“More importantly, the Allotment has given me purpose. If my mind runs away I can bring my thoughts back to the Allotment. It has allowed me to get closer to people I didn’t feel confident enough to before. In summary it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me!”

Jon plans to volunteer in other parts of Basildon Mind, like the Charity Shop, or fundraise “because it’s such a brilliant cause”.

Jon’s advice to other people suffering with their mental health is to consider the Basildon Mind Allotment, especially if they are interested in gardening. “It has brought me so much. It can open so many doors and help mentally that it’s worth trying. Volunteer Coordinator Jill was so approachable and welcoming that I felt comfortable straight away”.

If you’re interested in joining us, contact Jill at Volunteering@Basmind.org or call her on 01268 289700

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 

Talk to us: 01268 284130