Author Archives: Dominic

A very royal visit
A very royal visit

Sussex Oakleaf were recently honoured to receive an invite from Rape Crisis Surrey & Sussex to attend a visit from HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, who is a patron of Rape Crisis Surrey & Sussex, learned about Be OK - Sussex Oakleaf's youth mental health service and was truly interested in finding out about the work that Sussex Oakleaf do to support young people.

It was a real honour to meet HRH The Duchess of Cornwall. Working for Sussex Oakleaf has delivered some memorable moments over the years and this will stay with me for a long time.

It was fantastic to be able to talk our the work we do with young people and thrilling to see the genuine interest that HRH The Duchess of Cornwall took in the work we are doing.

We have been working alongside Rape Crisis Surrey and Sussex for a while now and truly value the services they provide so I am very grateful they invited us along for this event.

Martin - Be OK Youth Mental Health coordinator 

You can find out more about Be OK and the support we provide by clicking here.

Green tpkens at Waitrose
Green tokens at Waitrose

For the whole of the month of November, Waitrose in Horsham will be fundraising on behalf of Sussex Oakleaf. 

If you visit the store between now and November 30 then you can help to support better mental health in Sussex by dropping a green token in one of the collection points provided.

By placing a token in the Community Matters box at your local branch you’re helping your community. Since its launch in 2008, the scheme has donated over £30 million to good causes in store and online.

Each month, every Waitrose store donated £1,000 divided between three local causes. The number of coins collected during the month helps to determine how the money is divided up so do remember to drop your coin in the Sussex Oakleaf slot.

Be OK's big day out

Be OK - Sussex Oakleaf's youth mental health service - recently arranged for a group of clients to go on a fun day of outdoor activities at Holmbush near Crawley. From axe throwing to archery, clients had the opportunity to get active and do something fun and new.

Participants even got the chance to do blindfolded off road driving!

It was amazing to hear some of our more anxious and introverted clients talking about the day. They had so much fun and, with the support of their peers, took part in activities they would never have normally dreamed of doing.

The coach was quiet on the way there but was buzzing with laughter and conversation while heading back. As a Recovery Worker it was so rewarding to be a part of the day and see the impact it had on people.

David Floud - Youth Recovery Worker

Be OK is a free mental health service for people aged 16 to 25. We provide confidential support which promotes independence and helps to build resilience.

We can offer you support if you are aged 16 to 25, living in Crawley, Horsham or Mid Sussex and are:

  • Worried about your mental health and need advice or information
  • Have a mental health diagnosis and need help learning to cope
  • At college or university and struggling with your mental health
  • Moving from Children and Young People mental health services to adult services

You can find out more about the service and how to get support by visiting the link below:

Be OK - Youth mental health support 




Community Heroes

Fresh off the heals from winning a Stronger Communities Award from Mid Sussex District Council, Sussex Oakleaf's The Big Mental Health Pop Up has been shortlisted for an award from BBC Sussex & Surrey.

The music and arts award is given to an individual or organisation which showcases local creative talent.

Back in May 2019 Sussex Oakleaf turned a empty shop in the heart of Sussex into a pop up public space offering a mental health themed art exhibition, workshops and information about mental health.

All the artists involved in the exhibition had some experience of mental illness or mental health problems and the exhibition gave them an opportunity to challenge others as well as their own perception of their own limitations.

More that 700 people visited the exhibition which was open for a week and the feedback was excellent. Many conversations were had around mental health and the event got a whole community talking about the importance of looking after theirs and other mental health.

Just being shortlisted is a great result for Sussex Oakleaf. The project was a lot of hard work but the feedback we have received has been excellent. It was great to be able to give an opportunity to artists, many of whom were exhibiting for the first time.

- Dominic Goodeve - Marketing & Communications Officer

Award winners
Award winners

We're very excited to announce that we won the Mid Sussex Applauds Stronger Communities Award last weekend. 

The award, which recognises community groups and organisations which have helped to bring together cultures and communities through a local project or community activity, was given to Sussex Oakleaf following The Big Mental Health Pop Up earlier in the year. We are pleased to share first place with Spire Cafe IT Support who do amazing work improving the digital skills of local people.

The Big Mental Health Pop Up saw Sussex Oakleaf taking over an empty shop in Burgess Hill and turning it into a temporary art exhibition and public space. All the art work came from Sussex residents who have personal experience of mental illness and mental health difficulties. The space also allowed members of the public to find out more about mental health and the support available as well as attend a range of workshops organised by Sussex Oakleaf and partner organisations.

One of the artists involved told us:

“It’s been an incredible opportunity to produce some art around mental health and to speak to an array of people regarding the topic and even speak live on BBC radio.

As someone who suffers with mental illness daily, it was nice to have an outlet to express my views on the issues. It additionally made me realise that I’d love to use my story and my work to advocate for mental health.”

A huge thank you to everybody who nominated us and of course to everybody who helped make the project happen. If you would like to find out more about the awards and every body else who won then please click here.

World Mental Health Day
World Mental Health Day

Organised by the World Health Organisation, every 10 October is World Mental Health Day.

One in four of us will experience a mental health issue in any given year. But that means that every single one us likely knows someone who is struggling right now. In-fact, all of us have mental health, good or bad, and we all need to take the time to look after ourselves.

World Mental Health Day gives us the chance to shout about a topic that is so important to us. Hopefully we can all work together to start some conversations, raise some awareness and help someone to get the support that they need.

Sadly, for some of us, every day is a mental health day and the impact poor mental health has can be truly devastating. Sussex Oakleaf is this year celebrating 25 years of better mental health in Sussex and every year supports many people with their own mental health recovery.

On Monday 7 October we appeared on BBC Sussex to talk about mental health and the amazing work Sussex Oakleaf are doing alongside other organisations as part of the Pathfinder West Sussex project. You can hear the interview by clicking the link below and skipping to 8 mins and 19 seconds.

Listen to the BBC by clicking here.

You can also find out more about Pathfinder West Sussex by visiting there website here.

If you are in Crawley or nearby this Thursday then please come and find us at the Bandstand in the Memorial Gardens where our staff and volunteers will be on hand to answer your questions about mental health and direct you towards the best support. We will also be making and giving out stress balls so please come and grab yours!

Running for Sussex Oakleaf
Running for Sussex Oakleaf

Sussex Oakleaf are hugely grateful to Richard Boreham and his friends and family who are currently raising funds to support us. Richard is currently in training and will be running a half marathon next year, no small feat so well done!

They are already at 60% of their fundraising target which is absolutely amazing so lets helps them get over the line.

Richard said:

Nearly fourteen months ago Anne and I lost a much loved son Ricky through suicide. Our family lost a brother, uncle and one of our grandchildren has to grow up without his Dad. Our wider family lost a nephew, cousin and grandson.

I must admit I have taken a far deeper look at Mental Health since and it is shocking at the lack of funding and the number of people that appear to suffer in silence, in their own darkness. There are charities that want to help but they need funding and need to have their names put out in the public domain more so people know there is someone who wants to listen, who wants to help.

I want to raise money for Sussex Oakleaf in memory of Ricky.

We are very grateful to people like Richard who go out of their way to do something to support others. Together we can create a world where people with mental illness and mental health issues are inspired and supported to fulfil their potential and to live their lives as independently as possible.

To find out more about Richard's story and to make a donation then please just click the link below.

People dancing
The Big Swoove

A group of Sussex-based fitness instructors are joining forces to raise a whopping £40,000 for local charities, including Sussex Oakleaf, this autumn and are challenging YOU to help them meet the ambitious target.

Swoove (Sing, Whoop, Move) instructors and enthusiasts from around the area will embark on a 40-hour Swoovathon at Scaynes Hill Millennium Centre, starting at 7pm on Friday 27th September and finishing at 2pm on Sunday 29th September 2019 and registration for the event is NOW OPEN.

Swoove Fitness founder and creative director Esther Featherstone, who turned 40 in April, wants to celebrate by hosting the 40-hour event, with the help of as many people as possible.

She says:

"Swoove Aid has already raised £64,000 for local charities up and down the country. Another amazing £40,000 would boost the awareness, profile and funds of a further 40 local, small charities, many of which don’t have huge fund-raising manpower and can slip under
the radar.

Those taking part are encouraged to challenge themselves and Swoove for at least 3 hours across the marathon…  or any length of time – even 40 hours if they feel they can do it.”

The entry charge to the event is £25, with participants allowed to Swoove for as long as they like.

To enter and download a sponsorship form, please go to and register your interest.

The Big Swoove Logo
Mid Sussex Applauds
Mid Sussex Applauds

Mid Sussex Applauds Awards aim to highlight the fantastic work of individuals and organisations across the district, recognising our connections and celebrating our community.

The awards will encompass two previous award schemes: the Young Volunteer Awards and the Community Service Awards. In addition there are new categories for those who help keep the community clean and green, support active lifestyles and sport, or work to bring communities together.

Vote for The Big Mental Health Pop Up

During Mental Health Awareness Week in May this year, Sussex Oakleaf turned an empty shop in Burgess Hill into a pop up art exhibition and public space where people could learn more about mental health.

More than 700 people visited the space and we helped get lots of people talking about their mental health.

We would like you to vote for The Big Mental Health Pop Up for the Stronger Communities category of the Mid Sussex Applauds. Just follow the link below and click 'Submit a nomination'.

The Big Mental Health Pop Up was an amazing opportunity for artists of all backgrounds to tell their stories. The exhibition brought together people who have all had some connection to mental illness, whether that was their own personal struggles, or they had connections in other ways.

For me, the exhibition provided an opportunity to come out of hiding and allowed me to finally share my mental health story.

- Holly Tritton, local artist

The Big Mental Health Pop Up

Sussex Oakleaf would like to say a huge thank you to team at NCS (National Citizens Service). They have worked really hard and helped to raise nearly £500 for Sussex Oakleaf!

NCS recruit young people aged 15-17 and bring them together on a four week programme which includes team building and confidence building. As part of the project, participants are asked to select a local cause and develop a project to help support it.

The team from NCS organised a range of activities across Burgess Hill to help raise funds and help raise awareness of Sussex Oakleaf. They got the town buzzing with their pop up 'Bee Magic Cafe' where they sold home made cakes, drinks and held a tombola.

They worked extremely hard and their enthusiasm had a real knock on effect for the residents of Burgess Hill. So well done to all of them and we wish them every success in the future.

You can find out more about NCS by visiting their website. 

If you would like to support Sussex Oakleaf then why not visit our support us page where you can find loads of useful information about fundraising or making a donation.