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Every year Chapter supports 200 people living with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia. Many of our service users are very isolated, live on a low income, and have limited friendship groups and family contact. Christmas is often a difficult and lonely time for them. With your kind support, we can help make their Christmas special by working with them to organise a Christmas meal event and afternoon of festive activities for 45 people living with a serious mental illness. The meal will be held as close to Christmas Day as possible and will take place in Chester. Up until last year this was an annual event for Chapter, but Covid-19 meant that we had to cancel the celebrations. This greatly impacted on our service users as many of them are alone of Christmas Day and will not attend any other festive events.
What we'll deliver:
Why it's a great idea:
With your kind support, we can help some of the most vulnerable people living with serious mental ill-health feel less isolated and alone this Christmas. Benefits our project will bring include: - Reducing isolation and loneliness at Christmas for people living with serious mental ill-health - Giving people with serious mental illness the opportunity to make new friends and friendship groups - Increasing the self-worth and wellbeing levels of those who attend - Empowering Chapter service users living with serious mental illnesses to plan, book, and manage the Christmas meal event - Volunteering opportunities for people living with serious mental illnesses to help out at the event - Volunteering opportunities for local people/companies to get involved - Signposting vulnerable people to other mental health services that are available to them - Reducing the risk of suicide and hospital admissions due to mental ill-health
Steps to get it done:
We know there is a clear need for this Christmas meal event based on the feedback we receive from our service users. The Christmas meal is always mentioned and seen in a very positive light. It is something our clients look forward to and want to get involved with and attend. Feedback from previous events 'The Christmas meal was a life saver, I had something to look forward to after being unwell and after Christmas I felt I knew more people at Chapter.' – service user (2019) 'It was a lovely… and I think I'm not alone in saying I really appreciate the quality of the event... I felt valued as a human being for the first time in years.' – service user (2019) After having no option but to cancel last year's Christmas event due to Covid-19, we are determined to make this year's event the best ever. We are a small charity with a big heart - driven by our desire to offer help, kindness, and opportunities to the people we support - helping to better their lives.
About the space
Cheshire West and Chester Council
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After receiving donations of over £3,000 from generous funders and organisations across Cheshire, Chapter Mental Health hosted a free festive meal for its service users over the holiday season. The mental health charity organised the event for 45 of its service users on Wednesday December 22nd to support their wellbeing at what can be a very difficult time of year. The meal, which took place at the Mill Hotel in Chester, included a three-course dinner with gift bags and Christmas cards for every attendee. Clare Ashworth, Strategic Lead for Funding at Chapter, commented: “Last year, Christmas was difficult for our service users living with mental ill-health as the lockdown meant many of them were isolated from their support networks.” “Chapter wanted to make up for that this year by bringing our service users together for a fabulous festive event. The event was a huge success, giving them the opportunity to make new friends, boost their wellbeing and share in the joy of the holiday season.” The event was crowdfunded through Cheshire West Crowd, a new project in which Cheshire West and Chester Council used the platform Spacehive to provide opportunities for community initiatives to access funding. Altogether, £3,273 was raised from individuals, community organisations and funders to ensure the Christmas meal event could take place. This included generous donations from Cheshire West and Cheshire Council, Williams Family Foundation, Blakemore Foundation, and Rotary Club of Chester. Clare Ashworth continued: “We are very thankful to all the funders and organisations who donated to our crowdfunding campaign and helped to make this event a reality.” One service user who attended said the Christmas event was “really nice” and they were “incredibly grateful for everything Chapter have done”. Chapter Mental Health provides one-to-one support, listening services, workshops and group activities for individuals and workplaces in Chester and surrounding areas.
A huge thank you to everyone who has pledged to our Christmas Meal for metal health project - we have reached our target! If you would still like to support our campaign, it will continue until the 29th November 2021. Any funding over our target will be used to support people living with mental ill-health in West Cheshire through one-to-one support and group activities.