Wishing you all the peace and joy of the season!
As this is our final bulletin before the Christmas holidays and of the year, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your support and hard work this year!
In our Christmas bulletin last year, we started with “a lot has happened this year” – little did we know what 2020 had in store for us and thinking back now, 2019 was a breeze! Saying the same again this year would really be an understatement so how do we begin?
Well, it has been a tough year and it has been a long year – one that has strangely just flown by – but we know too well, that our collective work is more important than ever and next year will be just as tough, if not tougher.
The last 8/9 months have had a detrimental effect on people’s mental health and we know that this will continue to worsen as the impact of the lockdowns and tiers, food poverty, unemployment, homelessness, and trauma becomes more apparent. We know some communities have been disproportionately impacted and will need more support than others. And we know too well, the importance of the VCSE mental health sector in the community to continue delivering essential, life-saving services to people with mental health needs.
You and your organisations have faced many challenges in delivering services since March but despite these challenges, you have demonstrated that you will do whatever it takes to continue providing support. We would like to take this opportunity to recognise your hard work, your dedication, and your tenacity, and thank you for everything you have done and continue to do to ensure support is there for those that need it.
Since the end of March, we have hosted 60 members’ meetings and almost 20 more with our two subgroups, plus some themed roundtables, workshops, and webinars – we thank you for your time, support, and commitment. We hope the virtual space we’ve created for us to share, learn, and support each other has been as valuable to you as it has been for us. We can truly say that meeting and engaging with you all every week has been a real highlight in an otherwise dull and uneventful year 🙂
Our team has been busy – arguably, busier than we’ve ever been – and we’re delighted to have grown from a small team of 4 (punching well above our weight!) to doubling to a slightly bigger team of 8 (but still definitely punching!). In the midst of everything, we have launched not one, but two programmes of support for the VCSE mental health provider sector (Enterprise Development Programme and Mental Health Sustainability Programme), we have continued to collaborate with our wider health and social care partners through the VCSE Health and Wellbeing Alliance and Care Provider Alliance, and we’ve worked with Mental Health Leaders to advocate for the mental health sector. Collaboration has been and will always be key – whether it’s with our members, our sector partners, Government agencies, or now the private sector – and we look forward to continuing building on these relationships!
As we move forward, we won’t make any bold statements that we might look back on and question next December but we will have hope for a better year ahead. We will continue to represent VCSE mental health service providers, ensure the Government prioritises mental health, and we will continue to highlight the importance and value of the voluntary and community sector as a planning and delivery partner of mental health services – alongside the NHS.
So, as we look towards 2021, our hope is for a peaceful and productive year where mental health continues to be a priority for everyone, and a year in which we can all provide the support and deliver the services that people with mental health conditions need and deserve.
Thank you once again for everything you do and we look forward to working with you all in the next year! Wishing you and your families a happy and restful holiday!
Best wishes from All at The Association 🙂
Please note that our office will be closed from Friday 25 December and will reopen on Monday 4 January.