Gorleston mental health centre thanks donors for generous funds

Toby Carvery:- Captain Manby on Beacon Park, GorlestonEating Out Picture: James BassCopy: Stephen Pu

Toby Carvery:- Captain Manby on Beacon Park, GorlestonEating Out Picture: James BassCopy: Stephen PullingerFor: EDP SundayEastern Daily Press © 2009 (01603) 772434 - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2009

A Gorleston mental health assessment unit has held its second Christmas lunch, having had such success with the inaugural outing last year.

Clare Thurgood, support worker at Stepping Out, said: 'Last year we planned a Christmas lunch out for all the service users, outreach and staff and this was the first time this had been done, when trying to fund this we were given a donation towards the cost by the Golf Club Sun Inn Bradwell, and we also had a day trip to London on the train.

'The meal out was such a great success that my personal goal and other staff here at Stepping Out is for this to continue each year for all the service users that we support with their recovery in the future.

'This was a worthwhile venture enabling people to experience a social setting that they would usually feel excluded from. Although some found this difficult, at the same time they did benefit from being out of their comfort zone and coped very well. One resident actually said how nice it was to feel as one, and not them and staff.'

The seven-bed unit in Hawthorn Road assesses people for up to 12 months, while supporting them with their recovery, confidence and independence.

'Our aim is for the individual to become well enough and manage their own mental health,' Clare said.

'Once a person has moved on to the own home or into residential care, we continue to support them through outreach for up to six months, possibly longer but this is decided with in regular reviews.'

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This year's meal was funded by Anglia Co-operative Funerals, who donated the money to pay for all residents, outreach clients and staff to go for a Christmas meal at Toby's in Gorleston.

A donation was also received from the Golf Club at the Sun Inn, Bradwell which is being put together with other fundraising money to go for one game of bowling and a meal out the week of Christmas. Claire said this is a particularly hard time for many people, as some have no family or friends around them.

'I know many people may take a game of bowling or a simple meal out for granted but this is sometimes a big deal,' Clare said. 'Our residents may have to deal with their own mental health and being taken out of their comfort zone.

'I feel very strongly that we should encourage people to be part of their community and promote positivity with in the community.

'I am now starting to fundraise so that we can offer the simple things like going bowling, a meal out, train trip to London.

'The train trip to London we did previously was a great success, but it was hard for each person. Two residents had never been out of their home town, while another was able to remember living in London and reminisced on past happy memories.'

Clare and her colleagues have lots of ideas they would like to aim towards, such as a break away, and purchasing some bikes for the house which residents could use during their stay.

'I would like to stress how very thankful we are for the very kind donations from Anglia Co-operative Funerals and the Golf Club at the Sun Inn, Bradwell, and everyone who has taken part in our small in house fundraising.'

'I am now looking forward to the new year and starting fundraising again, so if anyone would like to donate they are very welcome to call me on 01493 440325.'