Television and radio presenter Helen McDermott dropped in to a Macmillan Coffee Morning at Hellesdon Hospital today to sample the entries in a cake competition and learn about the vital mental health services offered by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.
She was at one of the events arranged by Trust staff, another taking place at the six-bed St Catherine’s Way Adult Mental Health Unit in Gorleston.
Helen, who has lived experience of mental health challenges, enjoyed coffee, cake and a friendly chat with service users, visitors and staff at the event, which was run by the Trust’s Recovery, Participation and Partnership team and raised more than £780 for Macmillan Cancer Support.
She said: “I’m very impressed by the turnout, the delicious cakes, of which I’ve tried too many, and that there’s lots of information about the important work that goes on here and across the Trust.”
Speaking before the event, she said: “Both my parents had cancer and having the help of the amazing Macmillan nurses helped us get through the difficult times. I have supported the charity for many years and ran the London Marathon twice for Macmillan. It will be a relief this time to have a coffee to help raise funds instead of pounding the streets!”
She added: “I have chosen to visit Hellesdon Hospital because I have a particular interest in mental health issues, having suffered from depression all my life. Mental health problems can affect any of us at any time. Help is available and hospitals like Hellesdon provide much needed support.”
The coffee morning included a Best Baker competition, with a chance to sample the entrants’ cakes and vote for your favourite. There were also numerous fundraising, activity and information stalls, including the Recovery College and its courses, PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service), support for carers and the Wellbeing service.
Jill Curtis, Community Carers Lead, said: “We’re here to support the great cause that is Macmillan and to highlight the importance of helping carers.”
NSFT Youth Council members Meghan Teviotdale and Chantel Keen were busy on the waffle stall.
Meghan said: “We’re really impressed with how many people have come along and how much is going on.”
Chantel added: “It’s great and there’s a nice balance between information and activities.”
The coffee morning was arranged by the Recovery Team along with Whitlingham Ward, with Jessica Lyons, Recovery College administrator, and Tracey Jackson, Recovery College volunteer, being responsible for pulling the event together. Jessica said: “We’ve been really busy. There have been even more people than we expected. Thanks again to all the team and everyone who has supported the event.”
Tracey added: “It’s gone really well, and Macmillan were important when my sister was ill.”
The St Catherine’s Way event was organised by occupational therapist Kimberley Lorenzo, who said: “We take part in the Macmillan coffee morning because it’s a great charity and we like to encourage people in the unit to engage in meaningful activities and they really have enjoyed taking part and helping out – it really boosts their confidence.”
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