Thursday, 8 March 2012

TUKES: Guardian public services award

Congratulations to TUKES winners of the Guardian public services award for service delivery: complex needs. This sounds a solid and brilliant scheme which is a social enterprise named after William Tuke , 18 c Quaker founder of the Retreat hospital in York, who believed in encouraging mental health patients to play an active role. 

It’s based at Harrison House, Grimsby, an acute mental health facility, and Tukes staff do all the cleaning catering and laundry and manage a cafĂ© open to the public. They do the grounds work , building maintenance and reception work.  The work is carried out by a mix of paid staff( many with mental health issues,)and unpaid members form Harrison House. The structure allows people to be involved at any stage of their illness, including acute.

They are doing increasing amounts of community work too – managing a charity shop, running three cafes, and doing individual gardening and painting jobs.

General manager John Ogden:

‘Everyone looks after each other. Because most people have had their own problems they understand others problems we see people who are shy, timid and lacking in confidence, and suddenly they are managing one of the cafes or cleaning team or taking charge of the buffet. 

We’ve found a simple recipe of giving people a role and making them feel good about themselves, and that can do so much good for them’.

Utopia alert: Mindblowingly simple and hugely effective. Some of the older asylums offered this sort of rehab to their patients, with very good effect. And somehow it got washed away by the 20th c desperate rush to drug and write off too many people. This model should be adopted everywhere!

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