Berryhill hosts charity fundraiser to help young people with mental health issues

More than £1,000 has been raised for a Staffordshire charity at a special fashion fundraiser at one of our retirement villages.

Hundreds of people attended the event at Berryhill retirement village, Stoke-on-Trent, which was organised by The Friends of Joshua Benjamin Smith for the Helping Our Pupils Emotions (HOPE) project to support young people with mental health issues.

Josh Smith of Stone, near Stafford, took his own life almost three years ago after a long battle with mental health and, determined to keep alive the memory of his loving, caring nature, his family and friends campaign for better support for young people with mental health issues.

More than 200 people attended the event which had fashions, cakes and crafts to buy, a raffle and a catwalk show that featured Stinky Boots with men in drag. 

Gary Bell, Berryhill scheme manager said: “It was fantastic to see so many of our customers and their families enjoying the event alongside the family and friends of Josh and the local community. We were honoured to be able to host the fundraiser and help make it a success.”

Josh’s grandmother Janet Wood was a resident at Berryhill until her death six years ago and Josh and his sister Hannah regularly visited her at her flat.

Berryhill resident Olwyn Walker, said: "It was a great afternoon. It was something fun and different for us residents and the charity got to raise some money too, so everyone wins."

Fellow resident Joyce Clulow added: "It was great. We all bought some new clothes and had a good time, the charity hopefully raised some money and some of the visitors asked about the gym and the classes here, so it definitely benefitted everybody.”

Event organiser Sharon Rowlands, said: “There was a brilliant, positive vibe with everyone mucking in like in the days of the fetes we used to have. Everyone cared about each other and were there to support their family and friends. The stall holders we had invited had health issues of their own so it was more about raising awareness and being supportive than making a profit.

“The event was a great deal of hard work – we’d never organised anything like it before – but it was such a reward to see and hear how everyone enjoyed it. I’d like to thank everyone who took part or came along or who donated items or money.”

The HOPE project raises awareness of mental health issues, including suicidal thoughts, and provides mentors to support children and young people and help avoid a problem escalating.

Nine schools in Staffordshire currently have dedicated mental health champions to support pupils with emotional wellbeing issues as well as their families.

1st October 2019 | 2019