As a member-led organisation, there are great opportunities to get involved with the running of Eight Bells from cooking lunch to being part of the management board. We believe in empowering our members, this creates a great atmosphere within the centre; people feel part of a community. People aren’t told what to do here, rather they are involved in deciding how things are done.
Ray – Chair
I joined Eight Bells in 2015 and was elected Chair of the charity’s Management Board Committee at the AGM in July 2016. I hope to fulfil this role to ensure that the sessions are welcoming to all members and that they enjoy their time with us. My aim is to ensure that all members are treated with understanding and respect, are supported and listened to and I am keen to re-introduce a monthly management meeting.
Rachel – Vice-Chair
I have been a member at Eight Bells for 5 years. Fundraising and cooking are my passions and strengths. I organise street collections and coffee mornings to raise money for our charity as well as bake sales, sponsored walks and runs. I oversee our catering team which organises and cooks lunches for the members. I am a volunteer for the Newbury museum, the Newbury Volunteer Bureau VCme project http://www.volunteerwestberks.org.uk/VCme.htm which helps people with mental health issues into volunteering roles. I also act as a befriender to new and more vulnerable members.
Vickie – Joint Treasurer and Secretary
Hello, I’m Vickie and I am a very proud mum to 3 children ranging from 6-18 years of age with my youngest having severe complex needs. I have been diagnosed with EBPD, PTSD and SAD. When I am not being a mum I am a singer and am learning to play the guitar. I love reading fiction books and I enjoy the countryside.
I became a member of Eight Bells for mental health in March 2016. I walked into this charity feeling very alone and unsupported but within 20 minutes of being welcomed I realised things were about to change. The support and guidance I have received is more than I could ever have imagined. Everyone supports each other in a way I have never seen anywhere else. There is no judgment and everyone either understands or at least try’s too. These people have become my second family. I have had successful help with my finances, help to get into the mental health system where I am now half way through a years DBT course.
Within 4 months of being a member I was voted and took the role of being events coordinator which I thoroughly enjoyed for a year and then this year I have changed roles and am now part of a 2 man team dealing with the daily finances and books.
My life has changed so much in my time with eight bells.
June – Joint Treasurer
I have been involved with Eight Bells for many years and this is my second year as Joint Treasurer. I have lived in Newbury all my life and am aware of the need to support its local people who have mental health issues. I help with the cooking and help organise food, fire and safety training for members. I also organise the ‘Opening UP’ rota for our drop-in centre.
Eric – Events Coordinator
I am very proud of our charity being member-led and giving people the opportunity to help run the organisation and get involved. My role is important because we get no guarantee funding and rely on donations, grants and our own fund-raising events to be able to keep running. Every year we run coffee mornings, market stalls, bake sales and other activities to pay our bills. I also arrange art exhibitions, day trips and evening events such as quiz nights, cinema evenings and bowling which our members enjoy. Its a busy role especially as our membership has grown substantially in the past year but one I thoroughly enjoy.
Trustees, members and our Coordinator come together as a management board once a month to discuss the day to day running of our organisation and future long term ideas and initiatives. We chat about what has been working well and has been popular, any issues which have cropped up, and new and current fund raising projects. It’s a great opportunity for everyone to have a say in what’s going on. Inclusion is the cornerstone of our organisation, it encourages and promotes empowerment and confidence in our members. Written by Brenda Wilson.