Rotunda Making A Difference

A charity in Kirkdale which is one year into a three-year grant for a Mental Health Co-ordinator is also to receive a Smiley Bus from the Steve Morgan Foundation.

The Rotunda charity offers a wide variety of services for the community in Liverpool, including education, counselling, advice, community activities for people of all ages and has a Garden Bistro, which acts as a community hub.

A three-year grant of £75,000 from the Steve Morgan Foundation helped fund Rotunda’s first ever dedicated Mental Health Co-Ordinator to embed mental health into the charity’s curriculum and deliver in-house services including social developmental classwork and one-to-one emotional support.

Now Rotunda is also to receive one of the Steve Morgan Foundation’s Smiley Buses, providing transport not only to help with the charity’s varied activities but also bring in more people to the centre, including participants who have been hard to engage.

“Since Rotunda’s Mental Health Coordinator (MHC) started a little over 12 months ago, Rotunda has been able to engage with many people who are not only reaching out for mental health support, but who are unaware of the benefits that this type of support can bring,” says a spokesperson for Rotunda.

“Within ‘RISE’, our independent school, our Mental Health Coordinator engages with our young people to provide one-to-one time with each individual, group sessions focussing on challenging negative thought-processes and developing new coping strategies and has also taken the lead role in dealing with safeguarding concerns with our young people. “

“Our Mental Health Coordinator also provides support for our service users that come through on our probation programme, Excel-a-Rate, and teaches across all ages including spending time in our nursery to ensure people understand how important mental health support is so that it can be embedded in as many lives as possible.

“The MHC has also been reaching out to local primary schools with an offer of a Creative Mindfulness course which teaches coping strategies and promotes resilience in children and young people and through this we aim to foster creativity and calm for each group of children that we will work with.”

The new role plays a part in a charity which delivers a huge variety of services under one roof.

Personal development, employability and volunteering programmes are delivered alongside health and wellbeing activities including counselling, arts, horticulture and community events, which provide support to meet the needs of the different user groups.

The charity is used for a large part by people from North Liverpool who face daily challenges including caring responsibilities, ill health, lack of qualifications, unemployment, mental health issues, and a lack of confidence and personal aspirations.

Over time there was a steep rise in the number of youngsters suffering from mental health difficulties, which prompted the need for this new role.

“From the bottom of my heart I would like to thank the Steve Morgan Foundation for funding my position here,” says Heather Caird, who has taken on the Mental Health Co-ordinator position.

“Each young person I work with, even in passing, has genuinely felt cared for and supported in a way that they haven’t been before and I wish that I could show people the look on each of their faces when they can put each of their battles behind them and move on to their next challenge.”

Maxine Ennis; CEO of Rotunda added:  “Heather has become a valued and much needed member of the team and Rotunda College. We can already see a tremendous difference in the confidence and behaviour of our Rise students. We look forward to launching our new schools wellbeing programme using our new creative mindfulness program, that Heather has been instrumental in designing”.

Having also previously funded the charity for a Volunteer Co-ordinator back in 2001, trustees of the Steve Morgan Foundation have also agreed to provide a new Smiley Bus, as pictured, which will be officially handed over to Rotunda next month.

This Bus will be used for many different functions, including transport to work placements and volunteer programmes, community initiatives, collections from supermarkets for food for Rotunda beneficiaries, weekend residentials and much more.

As well as their full-time staff, Rotunda also benefits from the work of many regular volunteers and further ad hoc volunteers who help deliver the charity’s services.

Maxine added:  “We are incredibly grateful to the Steve Morgan Foundation for the new ‘Smiley Bus’.

“This will also help us help those in the community who cannot get to the Rotunda building through disability or old age, and will enable us to provide day trips and transport to local cultural and green spaces, and help us tackle loneliness on our doorstep.”

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