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Trust 'opens its doors' to the local community

​The Hellesdon Hospital Summer fete organised by staff at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) took place in the sunshine at the weekend and saw hundreds of people turn out to enjoy the event.

Alongside information about mental health conditions and support that is on offer locally, there were all the offerings of a traditional summer fete when the event took place on Saturday (22 July).

Members of the public, service users, carers, and staff came together to sample some great music, which varied widely in genre, taste delicious food, take part in sport and join in with the fun and games.  

Modern Matron at NSFT Heidi McKay who helped organise the event said that the day was a roaring success with everyone having fun in the sun while digging into their pockets to raise money for a multi-use games area to be built on the Hellesdon Hospital site.

“We were really lucky with the weather, we had some rain in the morning but as soon as 11am hit, it all dried up and we got some glorious sunshine.

“We were fortunate enough to have Welsh international striker Iwan Roberts to formally open the fete, sign autographs for fans and challenge revellers to a penalty shoot-out. You could tell Iwan’s speech was heartfelt and he spoke about how mental health issues had touched his own family.

“Local MP Norman Lamb and Norwich City Councillor James Wright also attended the event, while former Blur drummer and Norfolk County Councillor Dave Rowntree made a special appearance to introduce the band, Mind The Gap and stuck around to join in with the fun.

“Members of the band gave their first ever live performance at the fete. They are an inclusive music group for people with mental and physical health issues in Norwich who provide a friendly, safe environment to socialise with fellow musicians, play music, form bands and improve skills. So this was an important first ever gig for them and they really did a fabulous job.

“A real crowd-pleaser was when NSFT directors and organisers took to the stocks to have wet sponges thrown at them. All of those involved were up for having freezing cold water thrown at them if it was the raise money for a good cause.

“We would like to say a huge thank you to our sponsors SSAF Window Films, Eastern Power supply, TC Transport and Ben Burgess and a number of local businesses and suppliers who generously donated funds and prizes to the event.

“Due to the success of the event, we are hoping to have a repeat of this successful event in the future.”

NSFT’s Deputy Director of Nursing, Dawn Collins said she hoped people had a great day out and had an opportunity to find out a few things that could help them or their loved ones in the future.

“Some people drive past Hellesdon Hospital every day, or hear the name of our Trust, but they aren’t sure what goes on here or how we work.

“We felt it was important to ‘open our doors’ to the local community and show people some of the work we do here at Hellesdon, and within our community teams, to offer much-needed support to people with all kinds of mental health issues.

“When you consider that one in four people will have a mental health issue in their lifetime, it’s about time we all took the opportunity to be more open about the issues we will all face at some time, be it within ourselves or someone we care about.

“Some people still shy away from finding out about or talking about mental health and wellbeing, and we really hope that this event helped to lift some of that stigma."

Michael Scott, NSFT’s Chief Executive said: “I’d like to thank everyone who came and supported the event and to the staff who worked so hard in their spare time to make a success of the day.”

All proceeds from the event will go towards the NSFT’s charitable funds, raising money for a multi-use games area to be built on the hospital site. Staff and service users would be able to use the versatile outside space for a range of activities and sports including basketball, tennis and netball.

Photos from the event can be found at