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UPDATEs Last Hurrah

October 2015
55 Christchurch Avenue N12 0DG

Tel no: 0208 906 7506 or 07549 152 527


It would be understandable if you had thought that

the UPDATE you received last December had been
the last one, but this one really is (well, at least for
the foreseeable future unless we can get some
sponsorship for it).
Last year I said that although our future was still
pretty uncertain the spirit of Barnet Voice was as
strong as ever. The latter is certainly true and the
future is definitely more certain although not in a
good way.
For those of you who are very observant you might
have noticed that the BCIL logo with working
together we are stronger has gone. This is because
unfortunately they lost the tender for the
Information, Advice and Advocacy contract to Barnet
Citizens Advice Bureau. We were sub-contacted to
BCIL so in financial terms this means that the main
funding coming to the organisation to run an office,
employ staff, etc. ceased at the end of June. We
would hope, though, that as organisations trying to
promote similar philosophies, joint working could be
a possibility in the future.
So with no core funding coming in this meant that
regretfully the Management Committee have to make
me and Jacqui Lynskey redundant at the end of
October. On the up side it means that come the 1st
November I can at last become an official member of
the organisation I set up over twenty-one years ago.
I always felt a bit cheated that staff couldnt be
There have been quite a lot of rumours going around
that Jacqui and I are retiring. We are certainly going
to be taking it a bit easier but there are aspects of
the work that we both love so youll still see us
around as were certainly not ready to hang up our

boots yet, even though we might be on the reserve

bench as time goes by. In addition, with no money
to pay anyone to take over the co-ordination of the
admin side of the organisation, there will have to be
a period of handover to those in the organisation who
have volunteered to take over this role. All that will
take time but, who knows, some day we might both
finally properly retire.
However, there will be changes. The Management
Committee kindly wanted to use the occasion of the
AGM to mark this change that as from the 1st
November Jacqui and I will no longer be employed by
Barnet Voice indeed, the end of an era!
Alison Islin, a member of the Management
Committee has generously offered to provide some of
the food, but a donation will be requested to
supplement this as, for the time being at least, we
will be living off our reserves.
There will also be
some mental health books, available for a donation,
which have sat in boxes in my lounge when we
changed to a smaller room at 55 Christchurch
We will also be raffling one of Lesley
Rogers amazing mirrors. Shes been inspired to call
this one A New Day pretty prophetic really. You
might also want to think about whether you could
help in the office a great way to get back into the
job market.
Currently we have funding for the Space 2B until the
end of the year. Funding bids have gone in for its
continuation. The money to employ a fundraiser was
generously donated by Beattie Baker, the last
remaining member of our first Management
Committee back in 1998. To date we are still waiting
to hear as to whether these bids have been
The support group also has funding
until the end of the year and we are ever hopeful
about that as well.

We warmly invite you to attend our 17th Annual General Meeting


Thursday 29 October 2015

The Royal British Legion Hall
38 Brookhill Road, East Barnet, EN4 8SL
5.30-6.30pm Refreshments
6.30-7.30pm Business
Celebrating Jacqui Lynskey and Elsie Lyons
Followed by: The end of an era - is there life after redundancy? Jacqui and Elsie

Buses for the hall: 184 and 326.

I personally feel very sad, and a bit nostalgic, to

be writing my last UPDATE. Amongst all the
jobs Ive done in Barnet Voice writing it has
become one I really enjoyed doing. I always felt
as if I was talking to each one of you, its
readers, individually it made me feel
connected to everyone out there in a very
personal way.

spoke to the 15 who attended about how

service-user involvement was progressing in
other parts of the country. Most of the 15 who
attended were those who had put themselves
forward to be on the project groups. It was
agreed that we would meet to support each
other in this work and thus started Barnets
service-user group.

The first edition of the newsletter was produced

in September 1994 but let me take you back
a step. I was employed (on 10 hours a week)
to raise the user profile in April 1994 under the
umbrella of Mind in Barnet. Group advocacy was
on its way! As an aside, I know a lot of people
dont like the term service-user but at the
time, around the country, some were reacting
against being called patients, didnt like the
term consumers as they hardly felt like
customers to a service, felt that the term
survivor didnt fit with how they felt but they
were, in fact, using services hence the term.

So, for a while, the newsletter was very

business-like and more like the minutes of a
The first was entitled Report of the
First Meeting of the Barnet User Group for
Mental Health 9 September 1994 and was
posted out to the 70 who had been involved in
the stakeholders days so they would know what
was going on as well. Until November 1994 the
group met fortnightly. At the second meeting
we thought to call ourselves Barnet User
Movement but decided at the third meeting
that, and I quote from the newsletter, After due
consideration, and also the recognition of the
effect the initials of Barnet User Movement were
having on professionals, it was decided to defer
naming our group until we had more time to
think about proposed options. It took us to our
seventh meeting in January 1995 to decide on
Barnet User Forum a name which we kept
until October 97. We then officially changed to
Barnet Voice for Mental Health and developed
our logo which conveyed the sense of a voice
going forth.
Again, some of you might have
noticed our new logo a visual sign that we
definitely intend to be heard.

This request for a service-user group was on the

back of a great deal of work going on in the
borough at that time to develop a new mental
health strategy following the proposed closure
of Napsbury Hospital. In the summer of 94
there were five major consultation events,
called Stakeholder Days, around the borough.
Service-users, carers, front-line staff and
managers were invited to discuss what it was
they wanted from community services following
such a major change to how people with mental
health problems were treated known as Care
in the Community. I spent my first few months
in the job going round all the mental health
settings in the borough encouraging people to
attend the events or getting their views on the
various questions that were going to be asked
the real start of group advocacy! 70 serviceusers attended the stakeholder days. Some
had put themselves forward to join the 5 project
groups that were looking at developing this
strategy, namely:
Access to Services and Services for People in
The Care and Treatment Process;
Ongoing support for Long-term users;
Accommodation and Associated Supports;
Older People and People with Dementia.
Following the consultation meetings I invited all
70 to attend the first Forum meeting at Avenue
House. At this Forum I was supported by a
service-user from Nottingham, Colin Gells, who
was part of the team from the Centre for Mental
Health Services Development supporting the
borough in the development of its strategy. He

The early newsletters also chart how a group of

people really passionate about wanting relevant
mental health services started to develop the
name UPDATE was introduced in September
1995 and over the years it turned into a
newsletter which gave information on the
current mental health developments both in
Barnet and nationally, local activities and, well,
unless youre reading it for the first time, you
know the rest.
I would like to thank those who, over the years,
have used UPDATE as a vehicle for publicising
events and activities, and apologise to those
who have been sending information through this
year which will now never see the light of day.
Id also like to thank my husband Paddy, who
has faithfully proof-read UPDATE often late at
night if I had to meet a deadline and last, but
not least, the band of volunteers who over the
years have labelled, stamped and stuffed
envelopes, photocopied, stapled and folded
but it was a great opportunity to have a good
old chat!

A lot of you who receive UPDATE get it through

the post as you either dont have access to
emails or prefer something solid in your hand to
read. There are two main reasons why this is
the last UPDATE for the moment. The first is
that we cant afford to print and post the 879
copies sent out. We did have the idea of asking
those who would like to receive it that way to
pay a yearly subscription to cover the costs but
at the moment we havent got the capacity to
deal with all the admin that would entail. The
second is that although about 200 copies get
sent by email there isnt time, at the moment,
for anyone to collate and write the newsletter
under the banner of Barnet Voice for Mental
Health. Those who could will be too tied up just
ensuring that Barnet Voice does continue.
However, never say never. There could come a
time when it could be resurrected in something
like its current form.

For the time being, though, if you have

anything you want publicised get on to Jonathan
Ashby of Forward at He
has a team producing a really informative online publication called Barnet Mental Health
News which usually comes out weekly and has a
huge distribution list. If youve got email he
would also be very happy to send to you.

Forgive me for blowing our own trumpet but if

you want to find out whats going on in Barnet
Voice log on to our recently re-launched website I think its great!

Artreach have now moved to Studio One,

Insight School of Art, 122-128 Lancaster Road,
New Barnet. They will be running a -

It was originally designed by Amanda Lyddon of

Artreach but has been tweaked and added to by
our very own Jason whos doing a fantastic job
of tweaking and improving and keeping our
Latest page really up-to-date. We also have a
Links page of very helpful organisations
(including Artreach) and for those who are
into these things (Im afraid Im a bit of a
dinosaur myself) we have our own facebook and
twitter account.
It was also Amanda who won the 50 prize for
our new logo.
Shes a very talented lady!

UPDATE was always the vehicle to publicise our

Forum meetings. Alas, there is no funding for
them either.
If you miss meeting up with
mental health professionals the Mind and Mood
Support Group, which runs every Wednesday
evening from 6.45-8.45pm at 55 Christchurch
Avenue N12, invites special speakers.
If youre interested in finding out more use the
Links page of our website.

Christmas Angel Fair

Harris and Hoole
Barnet High Street,
EN5 5X0
Thursday 3 December 7-9pm
Its a ticket only event which can be bought
from Room 89 Union Street Barnet or from their
Etsy site on their website There will be crafts,
live vintage music, raffle, reading, therapies,
and all for just 3.50.

As mentioned earlier, Barnet Voice started on the

back of major changes in services in 1994. It
somehow feels as if things have gone full circle as
21 years later Dr. Charlotte Benjamin, who is the
mental health lead on the Clinical Commission
Group, (they are the ones who decide how the
money for health is going to be spent) decided
that services needed a bit of a shake up enter
the Breakfast Club!

provide something which promises to be really

There have been three Breakfast Club meetings to
date out of which have developed a variety of subgroups looking at different aspects of mental
health provision in the community.
Im on the
peer support group as thats something Barnet
Voice certainly know something about after all
these years.

Apart from providing croissants and coffee the

Breakfast Club provides a forum for mental health
workers from the Mental Health Trust, the
Network, a wide range of community providers
e.g. Mind in Barnet, JAMI, BCIL, lus other service
users and carers. This means that theres a wide
range of perspectives all coming together to

I would normally have said Watch this Space

alas no longer, but do watch Barnet Mental Health
News as things develop and, as things finalise,
there will be news on our website. If youre
interested in getting involved its not a closed shop
so contact Nicole - Commissioning Lead on 0203
688 1876 or 0786 225 2154. Email:

I was going to keep this to a 4-page edition but

was looking through all the info I had received
since last winter and saw this one on bananas.
Those of us with certain mental conditions are
often referred to as having gone bananas so
how could I not share it with you all!
Bananas contain three natural sugars sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with
A banana gives an instant, sustained and
substantial boost of energy.
Research has proven that just two bananas
provide enough energy for a strenuous 90minute workout.
No wonder the banana is the number one fruit
with the worlds leading athletes.
But energy isnt the only way a banana can help
us keep fit. It can also help overcome or
prevent a substantial number of illnesses and
conditions, making it a must to add to our daily
Muscle Cramps:
In two minutes, cramps are gone thats the
power of that full and amazing fruit.

According to a recent survey undertaken by
depression, many felt much better after eating
a banana. This is because bananas contain
Tryptophan, a type of protein that the body
converts into serotonin, known to make you
relax, improve your mood and generally make
you feel happier.
Forget the pills - eat a banana. The vitamin
B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels,
which can affect your mood.
High in iron, bananas can stimulate the
production of haemoglobin in the blood and so
helps in cases of anaemia.
Blood Pressure:
This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in
potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to
beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food
and Drug Administration has just allowed the
banana industry to make official claims for the
fruits ability to reduce the risk of blood
pressure and stroke.
Brain Power:
200 students at a Twickenham school were
helped through their exams this year by eating

bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid

to boost their brain power.
Research has shown that the potassium-packed
fruit can assist learning by making pupils more
High in fibre, including bananas in the diet can
help restore normal bowel action, helping to
overcome the problem without resorting to
One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover
is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with
The banana calms the stomach and, with the
help of the honey, builds up depleted blood
sugar levels, while the milk soothes and rehydrates your system.
Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the
body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating
a banana for soothing relief.
Morning Sickness:
Snacking on bananas between meals helps to
keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning
Mosquito bites:
Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try
rubbing the affected area with the inside of a
banana skin. Many people find it amazingly
successful at reducing swelling and irritation.
Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm
the nervous system.

Overweight and at work?

Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria
found pressure at work leads to gorging on
comfort food like chocolate and chips. Looking
at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found
the most obese were more likely to be in highpressure jobs. The report concluded that, to
avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to
control our blood sugar levels by snacking on
high carbohydrate foods (guess which!) every
two hours to keep levels steady.
The banana is used as the dietary food against
intestinal disorders because of its soft texture
and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can
be eaten without distress in over-chronicler
cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and
reduces irritation by coating the lining of the

Temperature control:
Many other cultures see bananas as a cooling
fruit that can lower both the physical and
emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In
Thailand, for example, pregnant women eat
bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD):
Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they
contain the natural mood enhancer Tryptophan.
Smoking &Tobacco Use:
Bananas can also help people trying to give up
smoking. The B6, B12 they contain, as well as
the potassium and magnesium found in them,
help the body recover from the effects of
nicotine withdrawal.
Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps
normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the
brain and regulates your bodys water balance.
When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises,
thereby reducing our potassium levels. These
can be rebalanced with the help of a highpotassium banana snack.

Shine on our shoes:

Quick shine on our shoes??
Take the INSIDE of the banana skin, and rub
directly on the shoe...polish with dry cloth.
According to research in The New England
Journal of Medicine, eating bananas as part of a
regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes
by as much as 40%!
Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if
you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of
banana skin and place it on the wart, with the
yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place
with a plaster or surgical tape!
So, a banana really is a natural remedy for
many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it
has four times the protein, twice the
carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five
times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the
other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in
potassium and is one of the best value foods
around. So maybe its time to change that wellknown phrase to: A banana a day keeps the
doctor away!

I got into the habit of ending UPDATE with a poem and looked back into the archives to see when that
started. The first one seems to have appeared in November 1996 from a lovely man called Magnus
with whom I had been in hospital with that year. He wrote about his experience (in the good old days
of Barnet Psychiatric Unit). Id like to take the opportunity now to thank all the people who contributed
poems over the years. At one stage I started compiling a folder it would make a wonderful book
sometime if anyone had the time and energy to pull it together.

Ken Porter Ward in the morning

It is still early in the morning
and as everyone goes to have a piss
the doors bang continuously,
as if designed deliberately to wake us up.
It is pissing off, this constant noise,
to the extent of driving one insane.
How did I end up in a place like this?

As I now have Page 6 to fill, and all that lovely information that was sent to me is now out of date, I
thought I would indulge myself and repeat another one that cant be forgotten! It appeared in the
February 97 UPDATE. This was in the day when we held a monthly First Friday Forum meeting and a
member who was fairly active in the group at that time, wrote and performed the following for us.

Barnet User Forum theme song (sung to the tune of Oh my darling, oh my darling, oh
my darling Clementine)
Medication, infuriation
Drugs superfluous and strong
During temporary incarceration
Your worst troubles may not last long.
When youre working in a user group
Forward movement begins to show
Strategies which seemed ungainly
Slowly take some shape and grow.
Advocacy is the in word
Speak for those who need your skill
Semi-voluntary outreach workers
Play their part of their own free will.
Working for what we believe in
Professionals are put to shame
When we show them more information
We can all make substantial gain
And finally my own contribution to mark the end of UPDATE

An ode to UPDATE September 1994 October 2015

UPDATE closing the gate your days of bounty are over
I so enjoyed writing you
I even enjoyed fighting you
When articles wouldnt fit on a page!
Im sad in your going but glad in the knowing
That you reached a good age at 21 you reached the stage
When life moves on
Also glad in the knowing that other things are growing
To fulfill the role you once had.
We know from the feedback you got through the years
That you really made many feel glad
As you plopped on the mat, many people would feel
That out there, their Barnet Voice cared.
Barnet Mental Health News and our website will fill
a bit of the hole that you leave
so dont be sad it aint all bad there is no reason to grieve.

The views expressed in UPDATE do not necessarily reflect those of the Management Committee or members of Barnet Voice for Mental Health