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Join the Board
The Cassel Hospital Charitable Trust (“CHCT”) is seeking to appoint a number of passionate trustees to join the Board at an exciting time of its development.
We are interested in hearing from people with skills, knowledge and expertise in one or more of the following areas:
- Lived experiences as a carer
- Events planning and management
About the CHCT
The CHCT has formally been in existence since the year 2000; however it can trace its history back to 1948 when the management of the Cassel Hospital moved under the newly formed NHS. The aim of the CHCT is to promote the effective care and treatment of adults and young people who have long histories of trauma and neglect and who, as a result, find it extremely difficult to establish and maintain relationships, to manage their emotions and to lead fulfilling lives. This group of people often attracts the diagnosis of personality disorder. We achieve our aims through funding research, training & education and buildings & facilities at the Cassel and elsewhere.
Further information about the Cassel Hospital can be found here.
How to Apply
Please download the Role Description (here: CHCT JD Final 1.4.19) for full details of the position. If you’re inspired, please apply with a CV and covering letter outlining why you are interested in becoming a trustee of the CHCT and the skills and experiences you can bring to the Board.
Please email your application to Linda Stradins (email@example.com).
Deadline for applications is midday on Thursday 30th May 2019.
Interviews are planned for early June.
On the evening of Friday 1st February, the Cassel Hospital Charitable Trust welcomed members of the local community and representatives of local community groups and staff, past and present, to a talk launching the Cassel Garden Campaign.
Dr Oliver Dale, Consultant Psychiatrist and CHCT Chair, began the evening by highlighting the theme of the evening: the role of community in mental health. He spoke about the hospital’s primary therapeutic goal of helping patients feel a sense of belonging in their communities and how the hospital attempts to achieve this. John Glyn then talked about the theoretical underpinnings of the work at the Cassel and how psychoanalytic thinking is applied to the whole institution. Dr Kimberley Barlow (Consultant Psychiatrist, Cassel Outreach) and Carolyn Pardey (ex-patient) gave an account of day-to-day life at the Hospital. Through a conversation, they described the therapeutic programme and highlighted the role of activity and working alongside one another in the treatment. This was followed by Sarah Heaton, Cassel Gardener, who explained our ambitions to further develop gardening as a therapeutic activity for Cassel patients.
The evening was a great success and wonderful opportunity to continue to develop the Cassel’s position within the local community. Attendees donated generously and we managed to raise £250 to kickstart the Cassel Garden Campaign.
The Cassel Hospital is holding a public talk in the Hospital’s old building from 6pm – 8pm on Friday 1st February 2019.
This will include talks on the history and development of therapeutic communities and the unique role of the Cassel Hospital, together with the launch of the Cassel Garden Campaign. The talks by staff and ex-patients will be followed by drinks. We hope you can join us for this special evening.
Suggested donation: £20 per person. Spaces limited.
To book your place at this event, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
On Sunday 30th September 2018, a team of nine runners from the Cassel Hospital joined the thousands running the seventh Ealing Half Marathon to raise awareness and funds for the Cassel Hospital Charitable Trust. The team included Linda Stradins (Service Manager), Bex Close (Friend of the Cassel), Camilla (Outreach Patient), Alex Ruffer (Psychosocial Nurse), Paul Stokes (Psychosocial Nurse), Chloe Finamore (Research Assistant), Julia Blazdell (Service User Consultant), Stefan Skwara (Psychosocial Nurse) and Sam Spedding (Clinical Psychologist).
The route through Ealing was lined with well-wishers hollering support, handing our jelly babies and high-fives to the runners as they ticked off the miles and headed towards the finishing line at Lammas Park. Alongside Team Cassel, many fancy dress costumes were spotted, including a three-man caterpillar, Banana Man and Tom and Jerry.
With a lot of support from friends, staff and patients along the way, all runners successfully completed the 13.1 miles. Bex led the group with an incredible time of 1hr37.
Julia Blazdell was running her first half marathon and had a rocky road to the start line having undergone surgery only a few weeks before the race. Julia said “It was great to be part of Team Cassel and wonderful to have such excellent support from patients and staff lining the route. The finishing stretch would have been a lot harder without their good cheering!”
So far, the team has managed to raise an incredible £7,874 for the Cassel Hospital Charitable Trust, with donations ranging from £5 to £3,000 from 98 supporters. The link is still open for donations, so please do show your support for the Team here (https://www.totalgiving.co.uk/mypage/teamcassel2018)
The money raised will go towards the Cassel Hospital Charitable Trust Service User Involvement Fund which has been established to support the development and employment of people with the lived experience of difficulties associated with diagnoses such as personality disorder and complex trauma. The funds will support both current and ex- service users in progressing towards sustained employment by funding activities which support their development as peer support workers or experts by experience. This could include one-to-one support, mentoring, reflective practice and access to education and training. It will also fund the employment of people with the lived experience of personality disorder and complex trauma to deliver and develop training and consultation interventions across the NHS and other providers
A team from the Cassel Hospital – including staff, a patient and friends of the Cassel – are taking part in this year’s Ealing Half Marathon on Sunday 30th September. The team of seven is set to run the 13.1 miles to raise money and awareness for the Cassel Hospital Charitable Trust.
Dr Julia Blazdell works for the Cassel and is a Trustee of the Charitable Trust. She is also an ex-patient of the Cassel. Julia said: “I am fortunate to have experienced the Cassel from many different sides. Firstly, as a patient, then as a trainer and service user consultant and finally, as a Trustee of the Cassel Hospital Charitable Trust. Our mission in the Charitable Trust is geared towards promoting the effective care and treatment of adults and young people with personality disorders and complex trauma. These are aspects of mental healthcare that are notoriously stigmatised and underfunded. So, the arduous hours of training aside, I am delighted to be running in a bid to raise money for the Cassel Hospital Charitable Trust.”
Come down to Ealing on the day to support the team or show your support by donating here: https://www.totalgiving.co.uk/mypage/teamcassel2018
The Ham House Stables fundraising gala at Ham Polo Club took place on 24th June 2018 on a balmy mid-summer evening. The evening was an outstanding event in the beautiful setting of Ham Polo Club. Guests enjoyed a wonderful dressage display and followed by a concert featuring Vic McLean and David Le Page. Guests donated generously to the charity auction to raise funds for the evening’s charities and we were delighted to receive £1,5o0 for the Cassel Hospital Charitable Trust. These funds will be put towards the Eileen Skellern Awards which support the training and development of the Cassel Hospital psychosocial nurses. A huge thank you to the event organisers and guests for their support and generosity.
Cassel Hospital staff, patients and friends welcomed HRH Princess Alexandra to the Cassel Hospital to open a new memorial garden as part of the NHS’s 70th birthday celebrations on Thursday 5 July.
The new Sanctuary Garden is designed to provide a peaceful and healing place for staff, patients and visitors to enjoy. It is the work of local, award-winning garden designer Tom Massey and is dedicated to Countess Mountbatten of Burma, who died last year and was a leading supporter of the hospital for over 60 years. She was the great granddaughter of Sir Ernest Cassel, the founder of the hospital.
HRH Princess Alexandra met patients and staff during her visit and heard about the internationally-renowned work that the hospital does. West London Mental Health Trust’s Chief Executive, Carolyn Regan, planted a time capsule – containing messages from patients and staff – which will be dug up in 70 years’ time, in 2088.
Dr Oliver Dale, the clinical lead for the hospital, spoke about the Countess of Mountbatten’s long association with the Cassel, informed by her own experience of loss and trauma. He also described the unique way in which staff and patients work together to run the community. Former patient Melanie Ball read a poem about her experience as a patient at the Cassel.
Carolyn Regan said: “It’s fitting that we have marked the 70th birthday of our much loved NHS with a special celebration at the Cassel, which itself celebrates 70 years this year at its current site.
“I’m delighted that HRH Princess Alexandra was able to join us to open the garden. While at least one person in 20 is living with personality disorder, the Cassel is the only specialist residential NHS service in the UK for adults and young people with a diagnosis of severe personality disorder and complex trauma.
“The new garden is really stunning and mirrors what the Cassel hopes patients’ journey at the hospital will be, as they move from chaos to safety, to hope, and, ultimately, back into the community”
On 8th June, 2018 the Cassel Hospital hosted a Symposium entitled Keeping Staff in Mind: The Psychoanalytic Contribution to Mental Health Work. Inspired by the recent publication of “Psychoanalysis, the NHS, and Mental Health Work Today”, edited by Alison Vaspe, the day was designed with dialogue in mind and in recognition that we ignore the emotional strain of working in mental health services at our peril. The vibrancy and applicability of psychoanalytic thinking to make sense of these staff experiences was central to this dialogue as were the different ways in which staff’s vulnerability can be heard and responded to.
The book, which has received excellent reviews, gave this Symposium a solid platform from which to explore the challenges staff face in keeping the services we offer from slipping into being overwhelmed by harmful dynamics. The participants came from different mental health services in different parts of the UK, and were nurses, doctors, psychologists, psychotherapists, researchers and managers.
Louise Lyons, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Psychoanalyst, and Director of Quality and Patient Experience at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation chaired the symposium. Through the day, she was able to illustrate how she drew upon her psychoanalytic background and thinking in her role in a number of Clinical Director positions. This experience has helped her to temper, but work with the often anxious demands for regulation that can arise when caring organisations help those in great need.
Oliver Dale, Consultant Psychiatrist and Jungian Analyst, began by setting the scene as Clinical Lead of the Cassel Hospital. He described the Hospital’s development over 97 years; starting as a psychoanalytic hospital and later developing a model of psychodynamic psychosocial nursing within a therapeutic community milieu. The latter being adopted so as to manage and work with the regression that can occur when delivering psychological interventions. He drew a link between this work and his work in a community personality disorder service where he works closely with the psychotherapy department and psychologists in the team. He talked about good care demanding a robust setting for therapeutic intervention and how this inherently demands a well-supported and reflective team and institution.
Alison Vaspe, as contributing editor, introduced the book around which the day was constructed. She illustrated the central role that psychoanalytic practice and theory continue to play in keeping our mental health organisations and the people within them healthy. Drawing on her own experience of working in the field, she outlined the different forms of containment described by Marilyn Miller in the first chapter of the book. She developed these definitions in order to show how staff, who may wish, above all, to work in ways that allow meaningful, compassionate contact with individual suffering, have also to navigate between the need to keep patients and staff themselves physically and psychologically safe, and the need to manage situations that are dangerous and deteriorating. The ‘dilemmas and disappointments’ of this work, to quote from Chris Scanlon’s chapter, can be highly stressful for staff, and psychoanalytic thinking is essential, not just to do good work but if they are also to be kept well in their own minds. Without this attention to unconscious processes, staff may burn-out, resort to abusive or neglectful practice, or suffer ongoing psychological health problems. Financially, the NHS then has to bear the cost of a bill for sickness absence that has increased significantly over the last decade.
Tim Dartington is a social scientist and an organisational consultant. He was a contributor to the book and developed the theme that we are all vulnerable (staff and patients) and presented a paper which weaved his professional experiences with his personal experiences as a carer. One vignette from his work consulting to a clinical team cut to the heart of the matter. This was the painful experience of a junior nurse caring for a dying young man. The nurse could not stay with the reality of such an eventuality and instead clung to false hope, leaving the patient alone and despondent. Developing this idea further he introduced the idea of a service giving micro-climate type experiences of care, each seemingly minor interaction combining to form a whole. Finally, he introduced the idea that all dependent relationships run the risk of slipping from care into something harmful, even abusive. This idea was developed by the participants in their dialogue as a group. They noticed that the motivation behind the “Recovery” model might at times seek to avoid such abuses zealously and in doing so paradoxically also remove the opportunity for care to occur.
The last speakers of the day were Turlough Mills, a Consultant Child Psychiatrist and Emma Sutcliffe, Nurse and ward manager of an adolescent inpatient service. They had also contributed to the book, and together they gave an account of the challenges of working with adolescents in extreme states of regression. The dynamics of power structures within teams became important themes in the subsequent dialogue with race, class and professional roles being examined. Through other examples from education and the criminal justice system, the group explored the reality of being in a position of responsibility for, and over, those who are struggling to manage their destructiveness and stay on the side of life. For staff, this might inevitably require then to act through force (eg force-feeding an anorexic patient), the impact of which must be managed lest it drives all to fragmentation and despair.
Both papers were presented in the “Tavistock Style” in which the audience became a Greek chorus and entered into a dialogue amongst themselves following the presentation of a paper. They were chaired by Lesley Day, previously Head of Service at the Cassel Hospital and Chris Scanlon Consultant Psychotherapist and Senior Professional Associate at the Tavistock Institute for Human Relations. Drawing upon their professional experience as psychotherapists and reflective practice and organisational consultants, this was safely contained even though the group found itself irresistibly striving after fact and reason at times and sought to bring back the speakers into the group discussion prematurely.
As the event was fundamentally structured experientially, this summary is meant only as an attempt to highlight some of the themes and discussion of the day. What did become apparent in the dialogue of the day is that the mandate to those in positions of responsibility and authority for the vulnerable is given with some ambivalence. Whilst there is recognition that there are many vulnerable people in society, the desire for “perfect care” i.e. which guarantees success and is without risk, paradoxically undermines the normal care of everyday life. The limited acceptance that care sometimes fails and that it can also be rough, even brutal at times, means that those in positions of authority and power can act anxiously by trying to keep control and paradoxically undermine the “good enough” caring relationship and the need for some autonomy in its everyday expression.
Providing any sort of care inevitably involves confronting the limitations of both carer and cared for and the ensuing guilt is often discharged through blame when those limitations are exposed. This is not an apology for failure, but casts a different complexion on the last decade in which we have seen a catastrophic reduction in the number of staff who work with those needing help. Our current allocation of resources might be better understood as an intolerance of guilt. If we have no services, there are then no users and no need to worry about. Our challenge is to know when the demands for better care are coming from a place of realistic creativity as opposed to omnipotent destructiveness.
Ham House Stables have announced their annual fundraising gala, “Evening of Music and Horses”, will take place on Sunday, June 24th at Ham Polo Club in support of three charities, including the Cassel Hospital Charitable Trust.
Following its success in previous years, the evening will include a dressage display by Minette Rice Edwards to an original composition by David Le Page. This will be followed by a concert in the Club House by the internationally renowned David Le Page Ensemble.
A charity auction will be held during the concert interval, the proceeds of which will be shared by the Cassel Hospital Charitable Trust.
For more information and to buy tickets, please visit the Ham House Stables website.