On Saturday 5 July 12-5pm I decided to visit Bethlem Hospital grounds to attend the Bethlem Sunfayre 2014.
The Bethlem Royal Hospital is a hospital in London, United Kingdom for the treatment of mental illness, part of the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. It has moved three times from its original location, and is Europe’s first and oldest institution to specialise in mental illnesses.
Each year they hold the Bethlem Sunfayre where there are some of the stalls selling various wares, plus five zones. Each zone was highlighted as colour balloons.
The Blue area was for stalls, BBQ and music and entertainment stage.
The Yellow Area was for Art workshops, ceramic workshops and the Bethlem Gallery
The Green and Purple area showed the walled Garden
Another Blue area was the Archives, Museum and Cycling zone
Then the Red area being Community Centre, Complimentary therapies and cafe.
Being at the Sunfayre I had a great day out and took my brother along, although unfortunately it was raining on and off, but that did not spoil the Sunfayre much anyway.
As soon as I entered the hospital grounds, I saw the event was well attended and the closer I got to the stalls, the more I noticed how community focuses the event was.
The first person I spoke to was Victoria Northwood who actually knew me by name since I had visited the museum and gallery before. Victoria was holding the Bethlem Museum marquee and explained to me the latest developments on where the museum is moving to.
The new area for the Museum will have more space and seating for people
There will be more things for people to enjoy
Plus they will have an early tour of the museum, which I hope to attend.
Victoria mentioned that they will be over at the Dragon Cafe at some point to do some promotion and awareness.
Unfortunately I missed the Mansions in the Orchard Tour, but I really learnt a lot from Victoria Northwood who was most helpful.
You can find more about the Bethlem Museum off their blog site, which is well worth reading at http://bethlemheritage.wordpress.com/
After checking out some stalls, I came across the Croydon HearUs Reach Out Stall. Hear Us is Croydon’s Mental Health Service User Group which acts as a coordinating body to facilitate, and ensure service users involvement in, the planning, delivery and monitoring of mental health services in Croydon.
It was great to see them at the Bethlem Sunfayre and Barbra one of the staff of ReachOut was glad to chat to me on the latest developments of HearUs and what they were doing at the Sunfayre. You can find out more about Hear Us at http://www.hear-us.org/
I then stopped to listen to some of the amazing music at the main stage section, where quite a lot of the music was songs with some Drum N Bass and some dance music. I noticed the songs reflected views on mental health, which drawed my attention, quite a lot of the lyrics focused on recovery and some songs were about understanding mental health.
The organizers were from a group called “Key Changes” who provide music engagement and recovery services for young people and adults experiencing severe mental illnesses including psychosis, schizophrenia, bi polar and personality disorders. Please check out their brilliant site here http://www.keychanges.org.uk/
I really enjoyed listening to the amazing music and wished I arrived earlier to listen to more tracks.
Later on after checking out some more stalls and talking to the stall holders I decided to visit the Bethlem Gallery to see what activities were going on there and I was amazed to see lots of people trying their hand at pottery. I was hoping to try some pottery myself, but since I arrived a little late to the Sunfayre I wanted to check out more at the event.
I moved on to another part of the Bethlem Gallery to view the art exhibition by Martha Orbach. I chatted to the staff at the gallery about the exhibition before I moved on to the next section.
After going through some leaflets and cards that displayed more information about the Gallery, I went over to the yellow section to see what other activities I could take part in. I ended up speaking to Michila Ross the Arts coordinator about the large drawing set, which was taking place in the middle of the room. I also took some pictures of the finished art displays, which were quite impressive.
Soon I moved off to the Red area and entered the complimentary Therapies area where Reiki and some bodywork was taking place. Unfortunately I was too late to book myself an appointment, but it was nice to know that therapies were taking place at the Sunfayre.
I then moved into the community center and spoke to who I think was Isobel Mdudu about their information stall on volunteering. She mentioned to me that volunteering is a great way to share your skills, experience and passion at the trust and that there were many benefits. You can check out more information on volunteering off SLaM’s site which is http://www.slam.nhs.uk/about-us/work-for-us/volunteering
Next stop for me was back at the stalls.
I noticed one stall which mentioned “Beat”, I asked the stall holders if I could take a photo and they agreed, by the way “Beat” is the UK’s only nationwide organisation supporting people affected by eating disorders, their family members and friends, and campaigning on their behalf. They are also the world’s largest eating disorders charity. This stall was raising funds for the charity. You can find more about Beat here http://www.b-eat.co.uk/
The next stall was run by the “Mind & Soul community choir”, I have done a couple of blogs about the choir before. The Mind & Soul Choir was founded as a way of promoting mental wellbeing and reducing some of the stigma surrounding mental illness through singing.
They are currently supported by the Maudsley Charity. Their patron is the Mary King. Tou can check out more about the choir here http://www.lea-cornthwaite.com/mind-soul-choir/
Again as soon as I got to their stall, it was being packed away. I hope they managed to sell a few things.
I visited quite a few more stalls over the next hour like the “Riverhouse” stall, Some food stalls and the “Mind in Croydon” stall where they had some good information on quitting smoking.
Overall I enjoyed speaking to people at the Bethlem Sunfayre and hearing their stories. Everyone had something interesting to say and even if I was not there to speak to people, I was glad to attend and also to learn more about mental health and be part of the community where I lend my support.
This event is something I enjoyed and I hope to visit the Sunfayre again next year.