Conference all about making positive choices

Date: Thursday 4th October 2007
Speaker Jo Hampson of Shap with Susan Rylands of Penrith.
Speaker Jo Hampson of Shap with Susan Rylands of Penrith.

MAKING positive and healthy choices was the theme of the third annual conference staged by the Cumbria Partnership NHS Trust for service users and their carers at Rheged, near Penrith.

MAKING positive and healthy choices was the theme of the third annual conference staged by the Cumbria Partnership NHS Trust for service users and their carers at Rheged, near Penrith.

The conference was aimed at supporting and motivating service users, by giving them information and opportunities to take positive action to improve their well-being.

The partnership trust, which provides mental health and learningdisability services, has applied for foundation trust status.

The day kicked off with the trust’s annual meeting, attended by well over 100 service users and theircarers. This was followed by a speech by motivational speaker Jo Hampson, aformer senior police officer with the Thames Valley force, who made a positive decision to relocate to Shap.

Her talk, explained one of the organisers, was aimed at giving carers andservice users a newenthusiasm and motivation in their daily lives.

The speech was followed by an opportunity tosample a wide range of activities including being shown how to create healthy smoothies by the Rheged chefs. Workshops included creative writing, expression throughpictures, and a drama workshop with the Starfish Theatre Company.

The day concluded with a colourful performance from the West House Band, avoluntary organisationproviding a range ofcommunity-based, high quality support services to people with learningdisabilities living in North Cumbria.

Explaining the purpose of the day, carer-representative Sue Cowperthwaite, from Cockermouth, said it was about providing information and support about staying healthy. “There is serious information, but with a really enjoyable day out for everyone,” she said.

Service user Sue Grayland, of Penrith, enjoyed all that the day had to offer. Sue, who takes part in a range of activities laid on by Mencap, Penrith, described the day as “a bit of fun, and useful”.

At the heart of the event was an “anti-stigma”message being publicised by the trust through a series of eyecatching posters.

The posters focus on the shocking statistic that one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem during their lifetime. They include facts on such conditions as anorexia, Alzheimer’sdisease, post-nataldepression and suicide.