40th Anniversary Celebrations

GBUweb bannerOn Thursday Sept 8th North Staffs Mind celebrated our 40th anniversary by putting on a Lecture afternoon focusing on aspects of the mental health system from political, professional, and personal perspectives. An array of excellent speakers engaged the audience of 130 people at the Forum Theatre at Potteries Museum from 1.30pm to 4.15.

The afternoon should have heard the opening speech by the former Shadowrob1 Minister for Mental Health, Luciana Berger. At the last moment due to the vagaries of the railway network, her train was unable to stop at Stoke Station and rushed her on further north. Her colleague and local MP Rob Flello, who was attending as a guest, then very skilfully stepped up and the wonders of modern technology allowed Luciana Berger to send her speech to him so he could offer her thoughts and some of his own. You can find Luciana’s full spech here

amyThe next speaker was Amy who is a local mother who has experienced post natal psychosis twice, and she gave us a really moving account of the experience and treatment within NHS Services. Her experiences were, generally, firmly in “The Good” category.


bnn1We then had Nathan Filer (best selling author, journalist, lecturer and former psychiatric nurse) and Byron Vincent (writer, performer, and psychiatric service user) in conversation about their experience of the services they had encountered as worker and patient. They had developed a personal friendship through their work as performance poets, meeting at poetry events over the years, and only latterly realised their mutual interest in mental health. Their interaction was lively, funny and thought provoking. Below is a short clip of their conversation.



The final speaker was Dr Gary Sidley who as a retired NHS Clinical Psychologist, and author of a recent book about mental health, has 30 years of experience to draw on. He took us through his personal view on The Ugly, The Bad and The Good of the system. He provoked much thought in his presentation, and was very well received by the audience.


The afternoon finished with a brief question and answer session with the speakers and the audience, and from the questions it was clear that people had been made to think anew about the issues raised.


“I enjoyed the service users stories made more human deeply honest and touching”

“Pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable it was and the professionalism/inspiration/spirit of the speakers.”

“It was a great afternoon very interesting, eye opening and inspiring!”

“Thoroughly enjoyed, food for thought. The correct Mix”

“Very informative and interesting lecture. Would have liked it to be longer.”

“Excellent speakers. A shame Luciana was unable to attend, but great that someone stepped in last minute to share her thoughts.”

Check out our Twitter and Facebook pages for even more information

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The day event was followed by an informal and celebratory evening of music and meveperformance at the Piano Bar of the Regent Theatre. The evening opened with songs by Leek based singer/ songwriter Amanda Roche (aka “Last of the spoken”) who sings about her experiences of mental distress and recovery. Her performance was a great opening and her songs very personal but accessible.


beveThen Byron Vincent rejoined us and regaled us with a funny, moving and very personal story of being a patient on a mental health section. He was a fantastic performer and he will become someone who many people will remember for years.

Finally the Piano Bar was throbbing to the rhythm and blues sounds of Cry Baby and the Hoochie Coochie Boys, a Congleton based band. They played 2 fantastic sets and really allowed us to end on a high note. North Staffs Mind is 40 and looking forward to a few more decades.




The 14th May kicked off the 40th Anniversary celebrations of North Staffs Mind with the Ruby Ball held at the Britannia Stadium. The event took its theme from The Wizard of Oz, famous for the Ruby slippers, and highlighted the different mental health issues that affect the different characters in the story.DSC_0002

We were very pleased to have over 250 guests at the event who enjoyed a drinks reception with Hassle Street Jive Candy providing jazz music, and a three course meal to follow.


Linda Holt, North Staffs Mind Chair of Trustees opened the evening by thanking all those attending and supporting the event before handing over to Karen Mellanby, Director of Networks and Communities at National Mind, who spoke of the achievements of Local Minds across the UK, and how much their services are needed in supporting the mental health of thousands of people throughout the country.


The night included various fundraising activities:DSC_0036

  • Charity raffle, consisting of some amazing prizes donated by both local businesses and the public
  • Photo booth for people to commemorate the night, changing up their look with various props and hats.
  • Charity auction, which featured signed Stoke FC shirts, artwork and a North Devon holiday.
  • A high-value raffle for those attending the evening where a weekend in a country cottage was up for grabs.

All these fundraisers were a great success and saw £2,474 being raised on the night!

Sheila Tams (pictured above) also presented a cheque for £1,010 from her own charity football fundraising event.

It was hoped that Michael Mansfield QC would be attending, but was unable to do so due to health reasons. He did however send this brief message.

The evening featured cabaret from the amazing Dame Berta who also hosted the event and of course dancing until late in the night.


North Staffs Mind would like to thank everyone who made the night a success and all those who donated generously on the night helping us to continue supporting people throughout Staffordshire.


Click to enlarge the image

Find out more about the Wizard of Oz characters and the mental health issues they faced. (click images to enlarge)

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