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Kind-hearted nurse spreads Christmas cheer

​People receiving care for serious depression, psychosis and anxiety have been given a Christmas to remember thanks to the kindness and dedication of a nurse from Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT).

Michael Olaleye, who is a Community Mental Health Practitioner based in Ipswich, organised a party, spectacular buffet lunch, crackers, party poppers and presents for around 30 service users receiving care from the Coastal Integrated Delivery Team.

Michael made all of the arrangements himself, approaching a local charity called The Ropes Trust to secure funding for Wednesday’s party. He then invited members of a walking group, which he set up earlier this year to help service users to make friends, build confidence and socialise, as well as those attending a group to help with anxiety.

“The party was absolutely lovely,” said Helen Read, Cognitive Behavioural Therapist with NSFT. “There was such a varied and colourful group of people there, and everyone was chatting, laughing, pulling crackers and having a really nice time. It was really heart-warming to see such care and compassion and has made my Christmas already!

“Christmas can be a really difficult time for people, who may be on their own, have difficult relationships and be struggling with their mental health. Michael arranged for all of them to go home with a pile of presents, which was just brilliant as it showed them someone was thinking of them.

“The walking group which Michael set up has also had a big impact, and has helped people to build confidence and learn new skills, which is a really important part of treatment and recovery. It’s also really powerful for our service users to develop relationships and learn from each other, which is something the group has really helped to achieve.”

Michael said: “I am humbled by it all, and the positive impact all this has made on the patients. I just wanted to say thank you to The Ropes Trust for the funding they gave us to make the this happen.”

Michael’s manager Claire Garbett added: “I am incredibly proud of Michael, who worked tirelessly to set up the walking group and this fantastic party for our service users.

“His efforts are making a real difference by helping people develop resilience and build friendships at what can be a very difficult time.”