You may remember reading back In August 2019, when Shirley’s Space held its inaugural open day to launch local mental health support services for Fraserburgh, Peterhead and the rest of Aberdeenshire. In the last 12 months, Shirley’s Space has achieved charity status and continues to operate in the Crimond Medical and Community Hub where it is now a well-known name amongst the locals and visitors.
Within just four short months of becoming a charity in September 2019, Shirley’s Space had assisted over 300 individuals and saved twelve lives over the previous year. This has ensured the charity is at the centre of the community and enabled individuals to receive assistance from trained volunteers and counsellors.
The charity was set up by the family of Shirley Findlay. Shirley tragically took her own life after a long struggle with mental health. Founder Cameron Findlay has seen the charity go from the initial stages of fundraising for an Aberdeenshire mental health drop-in facility, ensuring that individuals could access trained volunteers within a welcoming environment into a local lifeline that supports so many in the community.
“I am absolutely delighted at the progress Shirley’s Space has made over the last year. With numerous lives saved and a positive role within the community, I am confident the charity is a fitting legacy to my Auntie. Looking forward, we have a fantastic team to continue the hard work and I cannot wait to see where we will be this time next year.” comments Cameron.
2020 has been a very hard year for everyone and sadly there has been an increase in mental health cases in Scotland and globally since the start of the pandemic.
However, there is still a lot to be done to ensure that everyone gets as much support as possible and local charities prove essential support at this present time.
“In the twelve short, yet strenuous months we have experienced thoughts, feelings and changes that we would never have expected to experience in our lifetimes. I know people that have had to reflect and review the impact COVID is having on their lives. Shirley’s Space certainly came at the right time to help support as many people struggling with mental health. We can say that we came at the right time to do as much as we can to help our community.” Ashley Mackie, PR and Marketing Trustee
Although Shirley’s Space had several high-profile events planned for its first anniversary on the 22nd August, the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a move towards hosting a series of virtual events.
Shirley’s Space has planned an online family-friendly quiz scheduled for Saturday 22nd August – details can be found on our website www.shirleysspace.com or our Facebook page.
The team will also be judging our photo entries for the 2021 calendar this month, the competition was so popular that over 150 photographs were submitted to the competition.
Throughout the day, the team aim to play a series of videos of individuals wishing Shirley’s Space a ‘happy birthday’ and sharing any personal experience they have of delivering our services.
How to enter
Post a picture to our Facebook using #SnappyHappyShirleysSpace to share your photos of the lovely views and memories that you have seen through the lens of your phone and camera – we’ll be tracking posts with this hashtag and sharing your adventures on our networks.
We may ask you to send high-resolution versions of the pics via email.
12 winners will cover the 12 months of the year in the calendar and will be awarded a copy of the calendar. The photo will be credited with their name and they will be able to order more copies for families and friends before they go on sale.
If you have any further questions, then please contact Ashley by email email@example.com
Facebook photo competition – terms and conditions
- Photographs must be taken on or looking at, a site in and around the United Kingdom. Pets or silhouettes only – no faces for data protection rules.
- By submitting the photographs you are giving permission for the images to be used by the Shirley’s Space Team for their 2021 calendar in digital and print material etc.
- Consent MUST be obtained for anyone recognisable in the photographs (or parent/guardian consent for under 16s).
- Entrants can enter up to ten photographs.
- Closing date for entries is 30 July 2020. Anything submitted after 00:00 on that date will not be considered.
- By entering the competition, you are agreeing to these terms and conditions.
This competition is not sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, or LinkedIn in any way.
A north-east mental health charity has launched its own website to help more people during lockdown.
Over the last few months the Crimond-based adult mental health charity, Shirley’s Space, has had to change its approach to abide by government advice.
It now offers a text messaging service and has introduced daily video coffee mornings for those it helps.
The charity which was launched in August last year has already helped to save numerous lives through visits and chats.
And manager, Fiona Weir, believes it is vitally important to talk about mental health during lockdown.
She said: “Covid-19 is having an impact. Not many of the sufferers we see like change.
“Improving someone’s mental health is a gradual process and this is having a big impact on our community.”
Anyone who needs to speak to someone or is looking for advice can now ill in a contact form on the charity’s website, at www.shirleysspace.com
Trustee of Shirley’s Space, Ashley Mackie, echoed the importance of talking about mental health.
She said: “It could potentially take years for society to return to how it was pre-Covid-19 and we need to put firm strategies in place for how we can help the mentally vulnerable now before more victims are taken by this invisible illness.”
Mental health support groups Shirley’s Space and Men United have both had to change tack in an effort to deal with the increasing numbers of people who are failing to cope with lockdown on top of mental illness.
Shirley’s Space, which is based in Crimond, told us: “Ask any practitioner and sufferer of mental health what is the advice they would give to others and one of the two things they will tell you is to talk and get outside for exercise.
“Over the last few weeks, Shirley’s Space has had to change to abide by government advice and protect up to 20 visitors to the centre from potentially contracting Covid-19.
“This has caused many sufferers to feel like their daily or weekly lifeline has been pulled from them and left them even more vulnerable than before.”
Shirley’s Space also provides a text messaging service and has introduced daily video ‘coffee mornings’ but these have not been as successful as the team had hoped as many of the visitors enjoy more face-to-face tactile meetings with the team.
This means that there is a worry for those people who have suddenly ‘gone quiet’ whereas before they would have embraced conversation more in the traditional format.
Shirley’s Space manager, Fiona Weir, has raised concerns over the current situation.
“Not many of the sufferers we see like change and it is all a gradual process with improving someone’s mental health and this is having a very large effect on the community,” she said.
Meanwhile, Sandy Garvock of Peterhead-based Men United says it has been a very hard time for some of the men.
He told us: “The guys who are still working are managing not too badly, but those who have been furloughed from work or are having to work from home are struggling the most as it’s a huge change from their normal routine.
“Boredom is another massive factor as we always encourage the guys to get out and do stuff to keep their minds active. But they can’t do that just now.”
As for advice, both charities say try to find someone to talk to if you are worried or message them if you don’t have anyone to speak with.
Take up a hobby – writing, painting – create something just to keep your mind active, rather than worrying. Look for positives in life and don’t always think of doom and gloom. Use your exercise time to go out a walk/run. Listen to music or podcasts.
There are lots of uplifting inspirational podcasts available that will help you to think positive.
Sandy said: “Contact us if you are struggling with life. We help guys from 18-80 and it’s not just mental health we help we also help guys who just feel like life’s dragging them down.
“Meetings are suspended just now but we have chatted online, zoom calls and phone calls too so there’s always a way.”
You can get in touch with Men United via their Facebook or if you prefer you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
Fiona said: “Mental health is arguably one of the biggest victims of COVID-19 and it is those suffering that will need to endure its effects.
“If our lockdown continues then it will only be a matter of time before the government needs to put a firm action plan in place for helping these sufferers.
“As far as Shirley’s Space can see the remote counselling is not having the same effect and traction as the traditional visits did.”
Ashley Mackie, Trustee of Shirley’s Space said: “Mental health is hugely important for not only our visitors but everyone at the moment. It is predicted that COVID-19 will increase mental health sufferers in Scotland and globally. I have friends who have been made redundant, people I know are unable to do activities that take the edge off their usual worries, have bereavements and just about everyone is worried about their future.
“It could potentially take years for society to return to how it was pre-COVID-19,” she said. “We need to put firm strategies in place for how we can help the mentally vulnerable now before more victims are taken by this invisible illness.”
You can contact Shirley’s Space via its text messaging service on 07940959002.
However, the charity can arrange a video call to anyone who is feeling particularly isolated. Find it on Facebook where you can get more details on the service available.
“We are not going anywhere, we just sadly need to change our routine to protect our visitors and volunteers,” added Ashley.
Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) will take place from 18-24 May 2020. This MHAW is an extremely important one due to our current situation and the effect it is having on our mental health and wellbeing.
Research has shown that 16 million people in the world experience a mental health problem each year, and figures are expected to rise locally and nationally following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Currently data shows over 4 in 5 adults are worried about the effect that coronavirus (COVID-19) is having on their life right now, with more than half saying it affected their wellbeing and nearly half reporting high levels of anxiety.
Over the last few months Shirley’s Space, an adult mental health charity based in Aberdeenshire has had to change tack to abide by government advice and protecting there up to 20 visitors to their centre from potentially contracting COVID-19.
This has caused many sufferers to feel like their daily or weekly lifeline has been pulled from them and left them even more vulnerable than before.
Shirley’s Space also has a text messaging service and have introduced daily video ‘coffee mornings’ for the now. However, they have not been as successful as the team had hoped as many of the visitors enjoyed more face-to-face tactile meetings with the team.
This means that there is a worry in the numbers that have suddenly ‘gone quiet’ where before they would have embraced conversation more in the tradition formats.
Shirley’s Space was founded in August 2019 and already it has saved the lives of 13 people in the area through visits and chats with Shirley’s Space Manager Fiona Weir. Fiona commented ‘COVID-19 is having an impact on the unknown. Not many of the sufferers we see like change and it is all a gradual with improving someone’s mental health and this is having a large effect on our community’.
So, do Shirley’s Space team have any advice for helping those that are struggling even more?
‘The best advice is for us to offer our text messaging service on 07940959002 at the moment.
However, we can certainly arrange a video call to anyone that is feeling particularly isolated. We are not going anywhere; we just sadly need to change our routine to protect our visitors and volunteers’ assures Fiona.
Mental health is arguably one of the biggest victims of COVID-19 and it is those suffering that will need to endure its effects. If our lock-down continues then it will only be a matter of time before the government needs to put a firm action plan in place for helping these sufferers.
Ashley Mackie, Trustee of Shirley’s Space said ‘Mental health is hugely important for not only our visitors but everyone at the moment. It is predicted that COVID-19 will increase mental health sufferers in Scotland and globally. I have friends that have been made redundant, people I know are unable to do activities that take the edge off their usual worries, have bereavements and just about everyone is worried about their future. It could potentially take years for society to return to how it was pre-COVID-19 and we need to put firm strategies in place for how we can help the mentally vulnerable now before more victims are taken by this invisible illness’.
The NHS has released Top 5 Tips for maintaining mental wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak:
Talk about your worries: it is normal to feel worried, scared or helpless about the current situation. Maintain contact with friends and family via phone and video calls to share how you are feeling.
Keep a regular routine and set goals: you may need to set a new routine for now. Try writing a plan for your day with the things you can still do at home, such as watching a film, reading a book or completing a puzzle. Setting goals and achieving them gives a sense of control and purpose. Maintaining good-quality sleep makes a big difference to how you feel mentally and physically too, so it’s important to get enough.
Manage your media and information intake: if 24-hour news and constant social media updates are making you worried, try to limit the time you spend watching, reading or listening to coverage of the outbreak to once or twice a day.
Do things you enjoy and try something new: focusing on your favourite hobby, learning something new or simply taking time to relax indoors should give you some relief from anxious thoughts and feelings and can help boost your mood. Look online for free tutorials and courses.
Look after your body: our physical health has a big impact on how we feel. At times like these it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour that end up making you feel worse. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water and exercise regularly. You can leave your house, alone or with members of your household, for one form of exercise a day – like a walk, run or bike ride. But make sure you keep a safe 2-metre distance from others.
Crimond Medical and Community Hub
Tel: 07940 458127
The fab team behind the Facebook page Win it by R.J.R have picked the following charities to donate to with raising funds for all below, all charities will get £1000 each:
Happy Days Nursery
Willows Animal Sanctuary
Y suffer in silence
St Andrew’s School (hub)
Robertson Road Respite Centre
Fraserburgh Mens Shed
People First Fraserburgh
We are just overwhelmed with all your support and kind messages from the group and the donation of £1,000 – this is an amazing gesture.
Follow them to show your support for future fundraisers – Win it by R.J.R
If you work in the charity sector then please fill in this quick survey to show the current landscape during COVID-19.
Click on this link to participate: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/ImpactCov19