Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust has commissioned Charlton Athletic Community Trust to deliver a social inclusion project for service users who are cared for by the Trust’s Early Intervention Teams in Bexley, Bromley and Greenwich.
The Early Intervention Teams care for people who have experienced psychosis for the first time, the average age for which is 22. Psychosis often impacts on young people who are at a critical stage in their development, entering adult life, often at college or university, and often at the start of careers. Psychosis can have an enormous impact on a person’s ability to get on with normal social roles.
The social inclusion project aims to help people recovering from psychosis by:
- Giving weekly structured activity
- Being inclusive
- Offering opportunities to try new things
- Offering the opportunity to meet other people who have experienced psychosis
- Developing confidence
- Helping engage service users with mental health services. It can be quite hard to engage young people who experience psychosis with mental health services, and this project allows an opportunity for service users and staff to build rapport and trust.
- Engaging service users in physical activities, i.e. Sports
- Engaging service users in arts based activities, i.e. Theatre trips, art galleries etc.
- Engaging service users in activities not delivered by NHS staff, but by staff who are employed by a local football club
In addition to the activities delivered, Charlton Athletic Community Trust also delivered City and Guilds educational course to service users this year and in 2014, funded by the Football Foundation. The courses culminated in celebratory trips away for course participants. In 2014 the trip was a three day visit to the Eden Project in Cornwall, with a range of bespoke activities included. This year the trip was a four day sailing trip in Cornwall, again with bespoke activities including coasteering and kayaking. For some clients, this had been the first time they have been on a boat.
The project is now in its 3rd year of delivery. In the first 2 years over 225 young people have been engaged by the project which amounted to 750 hours of activities with 4 residential trips. The project was awarded ‘Partnership of the Year’ Award at the Oxleas Annual Members Meeting.
Below is a video celebrating some of the activities delivered by the project:
“Quite simply, project has provided me with fun and enjoyment at a difficult time”
“It was good to be around other people who have also experienced psychosis and knowing I’m not alone”
“I’ve met new people and done things I never thought I would”
“The Charlton Project helps me think more freely about my illness and not worry about stigma”
“People with mental health issues can still be a good part of society and this project promotes that”
“Through these activities I have been able to stick to a routine”
“Beyond the activities we are all people with mental health problems who are also supporting each other”