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RISE Awards 2011

The RISE Awards are presented by Lemos&Crane for excellence in improving the quality of life and well-being of mental health service users receiving support in the community.  

Entries were received from over 80 groups and organisations delivering services in the community that generated positive outcomes in one or more of three areas: developing positive personal identity and self-esteem; developing and sustaining relationships; promoting positive life satisfaction.

All the work was of a high standard and inspiring and we are grateful to everyone who took part in the RISE Awards. We are also grateful to more than 270 voters who participated in the final selection process from 18 shortlisted entries.

The Winner receives the RISE Award trophy and a prize of £1,000.  The five Runners-Up receive RISE certificates and a prize of £100 each.


RISE Awards Winner: Harrow Rethink Support Group- Harrow Community Choir


RISE Awards Runners-Up:


RISE Shortlisted Entries

RISE Awards WINNER 2011


Harrow Rethink Support Group - Harrow Community Choir

award presentation

The Harrow Community Choir provides musical creativity in a friendly, safe environment where mental health service users, their families and carers can sing, enhance their musical and creative abilities, build self-confidence, socialise and learn to perform in public on a regular basis.

Among the choir’s objectives are team working, while retaining individuality; reducing the stigma of mental illness labels; peer support on a practical level; and integration into the wider community.

Choir members’ abilities range from those who have been singing for 30 years or more to those who have never sung but always wanted to. The age of the group is from 20 to 70s. One of the co-directors is a former mental health service user and the other is a current service user.

Rehearsals are weekly including provision of outside professional tuition. Members are encouraged to suggest their favourite music for the choir to sing, getting people to take a solo spot within the songs and gently exploring their own musical creativity in a supportive and safe atmosphere.  Since its inauguration in October 2009, the choir has made several public performances, mainly at events within the mental health community.

A natural development of working together and socialising has been to encourage groups of members to support each other with practical issues, everything from giving members lifts to resolving housing problems. 

There is a strong belief in what can be achieved with social support in the community. Some members, who have returned to hospital, still attend choir rehearsals and events even though they are inpatients. 

In addition to sustaining its current weekly activities, performances and outings, the choir has many plans for the future. Among these are:  providing transport to and from choir rehearsals and events for vulnerable people who are currently unable to attend; engaging with the wider, diverse community, for example Gujarati, Jewish, Islamic music by bringing in instructors from these communities to teach the choir; and making an audio and video recording of the choir.

Feedback from choir members:

Feedback from audience members:


RISE Awards RUNNERS-UP (in alphabetical order)

ACCEPT Mental Health Trust - Friendship Groups

Friendship Groups enable isolated individuals, with long-term mental health problems to form lasting and caring friendships within small groups.

The Groups’ objectives are to support members’ confidence to grow while overcoming anxieties of using public places, such as cafes and pubs, for weekly meetings. A safe environment is provided to share problems but also keep a sense of fun and lightness, without the main focus being on mental health issues.

130 previously isolated individuals have benefited from 13 different Friendship Groups, which are ongoing, meeting on a weekly basis across Leicestershire. Since the first pilot began in 2004 regular reviews of each Friendship Group have taken place on a regular basis, alongside additional evaluation.

Professor Antony Sheehan, Chief Executive of Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust comments: “I really appreciate the great work that ACCEPT has achieved. ACCEPT’s facilitation of partnership working between mental health service providers and local churches provides a sustainable model that promotes well-being and social inclusion. Our staff have found that working in partnership with ACCEPT provides them professionally with the opportunity to be involved in a dynamic and unique approach to mental health care that both supports and complements their own interventions with clients.”


Camden Calling

Camden Calling helps vulnerable homeless and ex-homeless people to access the arts and music scene and create opportunities for members to develop friendships, confidence, working relationships, and transferable skills. The project is member-led. Many who joined the project had little self-esteem and few social connections. Seventy-five per cent of current members have a diagnosed mental health problem.

Members get together in various studios, rehearsal rooms and other venues.  The project provides laptop computers, mobile internet access and other equipment . The project hosts a resident monthly event in Camden and a quarterly event in Shadwell.  Members are supported when they have bookings with other promoters - there are always people willing to go along and support them.

Members are involved in a music video production project.  One Camden Calling member with BPD commented: “With Camden Calling I’ve found the friendships and sense of belonging I’ve always longed for. With the video project I was in my element. Camden Calling is keeping me alive.”

Camden Calling’s achievements have included producing and releasing a compilation album of original music by members; supporting members to release original material; and assisting members to find work experience placements.

Camden Calling’s plans for the future include a podcast project ,‘Locked On’, to run initially as a pilot in partnership with the recording studio at Endell St Hostel.


Company Paradiso Arts Charity and Radio Berkshire - 'Warning: May Contain Nuts'

‘Warning: May Contain Nuts’ is a comedy show produced by mental health service users in collaboration with BBC Radio Berkshire and the charity Company Paradiso.

The aim of the project was to enable service users to narrate their experiences through a variety of creative means: comedy, music, poetry and performance skills. The emphasis on comedy was to make people feel healthy and positive and to create bonds with other participants and support services. The performers were largely users of mental health services in Berkshire and Sussex who tell humorous stories about depression, schizophrenia and psychosis.  

Participants have reported the immense sense of satisfaction that is generated by making others laugh: “There’s no drug I’ve been on, prescription or otherwise, that has quite the same effect as being up there, making the audience laugh and cheer.” The comical stories and real-life experiences also serve to lessen stigma and show audiences that mental illness is on a continuous spectrum with normal human experiences.

The project took place in two radio regions in 2010.  It included 120 writer-performers, 58 workshops and over 200 writer-mentoring contacts.  It included live events including a sell-out performance at the Brighton Pavilion Theatre. The show has won the Gold Award in the Community Section and the Silver Award in the Impact Section of the BBC Gillard Awards for Regional Radio. ‘Warning: May Contain Nuts’ has also been nominated for the MIND Media Awards for Radio Broadcasting.

Company Paradiso’s plans for the future include fundraising to create a website for this project and others as a lasting resource.


Leeds Partnerships NHS Foundation Trust: Film to Change

Film to Change is a partnership initiative to build and improve, through film, the skills, experience and positive identity of mental health service users while at the same time tackling stigma associated with mental distress.

The purpose of Film to Change was to improve the positive identity and life satisfaction of mental health service users.  32 service users were trained, supported and mentored to produce films on the subject of mental distress and stigma. 

The Leeds Partnerships NHS Foundation Trust worked with the Arts and Minds network, Leeds International Film Festival, Leeds School of Graphic Art and Design and the Northern School of Film. The project was delivered in a range of settings, including filming in different locations across Leeds. The main base was Artlink (a community arts project) and Studio 12 (a film editing facility).

The project’s activities took place over a 6-month period. The project began with a Film to Change launch event and short film screening. After receiving applications to participate and conducting interviews, students were given mental health awareness sessions, film workshops to teach storyboarding, film equipment, editing, directing and production, finishing with dedicated filming and editing sessions. Film to Change then held a screening and panel debate with a feedback session to students and a final edit of materials.

Public awareness was raised through a screening of the films at a sell-out Leeds International Film Festival event. Ken Loach commented: “There is still a stigma attached to those who have mental health problems. This film project in Leeds is a good response. It challenges familiar clichés and negative stereotypes.”

Film to Change participants are continuing a peer-led group. Fundraising is ongoing for multi-media equipment to enable them to continue to make films.  The films are going to be shown again during 2011 and made available on DVD for sale.


The Reader Organisation: Get into Reading

Get Into Reading  is a social outreach project that offers a programme of shared reading in weekly community groups. Participants read stories and poems aloud and discuss literature with trained facilitators and other group members.

Get into Reading is a national charity with over 250 groups in Merseyside and has a client base exceeding 1,000 members from a variety of settings, including mental health drop-in centres, alcohol and drug rehabilitation units and residential care homes.

In addition to weekly 1-2 hour reading groups, service users may become volunteers with the project, becoming reading group assistants or helping with promotion and office administration. Members have derived many psychological and practical benefits from the project. One member with learning disabilities has earned a City and Guilds Qualification in English.

The project aims to inculcate a culture of reading for interest, enjoyment and as a possible coping resource in the face of adversity. Reading is promoted as a means of fulfilling individual potential and fostering a sense of personal development. Through reading groups, participants are encouraged to build meaningful relationships with one another.

Get Into Reading also conducts research into the therapeutic benefits of reading on mental illness. The MerseyBEAT study concluded that reading has positive effects on well-being, self-esteem and concentration.  As one reader said;”…the reading group has forced me to confront my feelings and seek out help when I really needed it – it’s been a life saver, quite literally.”

Professor Louis Appleby, the former NHS director for mental health commented: “Well-being and good mental health are partly dependent on social networks – family or supportive friends and colleagues – and on taking part in meaningful activity.  Get Into Reading provides both of these, as well as the sheer pleasure of the book. Reading aloud, or listening to someone read aloud, is a community-building shared experience.”

Get Into Reading’s plans for the future include making GIR more widely available to mental health service users by developing new groups and working both with existing and new partnerships with NHS trusts and community support services.


All Shortlist Entries in the RISE Awards

Click link to read full entry details:

ACCEPT Mental Health Trust: Friendship Groups                                                                   

Anxiety UK: Peer Mentoring Employment Project                                                                    

Bristol City Council: Bristol Active Life Project                                                                          

Camden Calling                                                     

Company Paradiso Arts Charity: ‘Warning – May Contain Nuts’                              

Great Places Housing Group: Next Step Garden Project                                                        

Harrow Rethink Support Group: Harrow Community Choir                                                    

Kent Libraries and Archives (and partners): Friday Book Club                                              

Leeds Partnerships NHS Foundation Trust: Film to Change                                     

Liverpool Personal Service Society (PSS): The Avenue – a social evening            

PHEW Promoting Health and Emotional Wellbeing: Direct Payments Made Simple       

Rethink Bridport Community Services: Rethink Bridport Community Service

Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH): Doncaster Early Interventions Health and Well-being Project        

South Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (SEPT): Open Arts    

Support and Education on Eating Disorders: Support and Education on Eating Disorders

The Other Side Gallery                                                      

The Reader Organisation: Get Into Reading      

526 Drop In – Westminster Mind:  Weekly Outings Group


Our final thanks to everyone who entered and our congratulations to the winner, runners-up, and shortlisted entries.

RISE - Relationships, satisfaction and the good life in mental health services

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