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About Us

Croydon’s Mental Health Service User Group
Hear Us Croydon / About Us

  Our purpose is to promote, educate, communicate and empower, for the benefit and interest of people affected by mental health issues

As Croydon’s only service user group for people with severe and enduring mental illness, our organisation is 100% service user run. This strength gives us a unique insight into the barriers faced by our service users; particularly those also experiencing drug & alcohol misuse or leaving prison. We provide specialist peer support and personal support for our service users – people with complex mental health issues living or working in the London Borough of Croydon. Our practical, regular activities help users to cope better with daily living and helps to relieve their social, emotional and physical needs.

Hear Us is Croydon’s Mental Health Service User Group which acts as a coordinating body to facilitate, and ensure service users involvement in, the planning, delivery and monitoring of mental health services in Croydon. Helping to improve the quality of the services commissioned and delivered in Croydon.

We attend regular committee meetings with South London and Maudsley Trust (SLAM) and NHS Southwest London ICS, and other planning and monitoring meetings to represent the voice of service users by ensuring service user representation at these meetings.

Hear Us supports adults with serious mental health challenges to access financial, health and social inclusion support within the borough of Croydon, and we act to increase awareness of mental health.

HEAR US WELFARE SURGERIES PROJECT

Our Welfare Surgeries Project supports people with their benefits claims and other financial entitlements to ensure they obtain the right financial support. This includes access to Food Banks, energy vouchers and other forms of immediate financial support and access to mobility schemes eg freedom passes. This enables vulnerable people to keep warm, pay their bills and put food on the table.

Our Welfare Surgeries Project’s aims are to:
Foodbank Referrals: Address and resolve immediate financial distress.
Address and resolve immediate financial distress.

We can help by providing referrals to food banks and help you to make applications to schemes such as Croydon’s Discretionary Housing Payments. We will also help you manage your utility bills and resolve your immediate financial issues.

Benefits Support
Support by helping to improve financial security.

If you have complex needs we can support you to have a better understanding of the Department of Welfare and Pension benefits system, and we can support you to claim and maintain your benefit claims.

Social Inclusion
Increased Social Inclusion (Inc. access to preventative services).

Support you to access Motability schemes and obtain a freedom pass to combat social exclusion through signposting and support; we can help ensure that your mental health enables you to engage with family and friends and to join in with activities, including volunteering in the local community.

Hear Us Linkworking Project

What do the Linkworkers do?

The main role of the Linkworker is to act as a link between staff and service users and support services to improve based on the needs and issues faced by people using services.

The Linkworking project supports people on the wards at the Bethlem Royal Hospital and in Croydon’s Community Resources Centres; Jennette Wallace House and Queens Resourse Centre to obtain the right care and treatment from mental health, acute and primary care services.

Our Linkworking Project’s aims are to:
We Listen
To Listen

We are there to listen and not to judge.  Having had our own mental health problems, we know how helpful it is to have someone to talk to in confidence and have their own lived experiences of services.  As Linkworkers, we offer a safe space to talk about any issues without any fear of repercussions.

Social Inclusion
To support

If any issues are raised or someone shares something that is worrying them, we are there to support them and try to help get the issues resolved.  To do this, we can either support them to raise the issue themselves or raise the issues on their behalf, anonymously or directly, depending on what is preferred.

We signpost and make referrals
To Signpost

Sometimes what’s on someone’s mind might be something that we can’t help with directly but we can usually point them in the direction to get help.  For example, someone might be worried about benefits or need support to find work.  In these cases, we can usually let them know about other organisations that are available to help.

HEAR US MENTAL HEALTH OPEN FORUM

The monthly Open forum provides a safe space for mental health service users to empower them to have their voice heard and influence the services they receive.

Aims of the Open Forum Project:

Create Discussion
Create Discussion:

To bring together the mental health community, particularly current service users of SLaM services, to discuss Croydon’s mental health and wellbeing services, accessibility, quality and development of these services.

Debate & Influence:

To provide Croydon’s mental health community with a safe place and a chance to meet and question commissioners, the NHS South West London Integrated Care Board (ICB) and Croydon Council, and service providers SLaM (the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust). Including other service providers, such as the Mind in Croydon, Croydon BME Forum, APCMH and other providers of social inclusion and preventative services. (preventative means: service that helps develop well-being and positive mental health attitude)

Bringing together to meet and to network:

A place for the Croydon Mental health community to meet, network, and discover new opportunities that aid positive mental health and well-being, help to prevent dependency on clinical services and support people to regain self-esteem, confidence and empowerment.

Hear Us Reachout Challenge

The Reachout Challenge is an anti-stigma campaign, raising awareness of mental health issues amongst public sector employees and the wider public. We do this through information sharing and talking about our lived experience of mental health, so that the wider community has a better understanding of the realities of living with mental health conditions. We use different methods to communicate our message, including information stalls, formal training and dialogues. We provide a myth busting sheet to educate and inform people.

Aims of the Reachout Challenge:

Decrease Stigma

To fight stigma, prejudice and discrimination about mental illness: More than half of people with mental illness do not receive help for their mental health. Social stigma and discrimination can make mental health problems worse and stop a person from getting the help they need.

Raise Awareness

To raise awareness about Mental Health through education and sharing lived experiences. Raise awareness about the negative use of language and its effect on mental health; judging, labelling or discriminating can have devastating effects on people with mental ill health.

Treating people with respect and dignity supports people in their recovery, positively affecting their own self-worth, self-esteem and confidence.

To Encourage

To encourage the staff in the organisations we work with to have a more ‘open policy’ towards mental health that enables them to be able to talk about their own mental wellbeing without shame, embarrassment or stigma. People avoid seeking treatment due to concerns about being stigmatised, fears of losing their jobs and fear of being shunned by friends, colleagues and family.

Hear Us Campaigning Project Coming Soon

Hear Us is pleased to announce we have won funding from Trust For London for three years, to run a Campaigning Project, and we will be employing a new member of staff as a Campaigns Coordinator.

We will be starting this project mid to late November 2023 – When we will be advertising for the Campaigns Coordinator

Aims of the Campaigning Project:

We wish to build a movement run and led by people with lived experience of mental ill health representing all communities initially in Croydon. This movement will educate, inform and influence for change to improve the lives of some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable in our communities through awareness raising, and campaigning for change in our public services and in the wider community.

Structure, governance and management

Formation

Hear Us developed from a service user run community group established in 1992. Since 4th October 2001 Hear Us has been running as a not for profit organisation in Croydon and on 15th April 2010 the Management Committee registered Hear Us with the Charity Commission for charity status (No. 1135535) to give Hear Us a more independent and stronger voice in the community.

Management

The constitution in the original form was adopted by resolution at the AGM held on the 27th May 2004. Amendments to the constitution were adopted by resolution at the EGM held on 1st July 2008.

The Management Committee are the Board of Trustees and are listed below. They include a Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer and the Chief Executive Officer, Tim Oldham. The Committee has the power to co-opt members, as and when they deem it necessary. The Board of Trustees are responsible for the day to day running of Hear Us and have a responsibility to report to the funders, charity commission and other stakeholders whenever the need arises.

Current Board of Trustees

Abeline Greene (Chair)
Cassandra Austin (Deputy Chair)
Jackie Ashton (Treasurer)
Josh Baker-Mendoza
Niall McVeigh
Millie Reid

Objectives and activities

To relieve the needs of people living in the London Borough of Croydon and surrounding areas who have mental health problems by provision of services and advice.

To advance education about mental health for public benefit in the London Borough of Croydon and surrounding areas with the object of creating awareness and reducing the stigma attached to mental health.

Tim Oldham
CEO
Orchard House
15a Purley Road
South Croydon
Surrey
CR2 6EZ
Tel: 020 8681 6888
Mobile: 07594 373 104
Email: tim@hear-us.org

Charity No. 1135535
Company No. 06891337

Advice Quality Standard (AQS)
Fundraising Regulator
Disability Confident Committed