A Leicestershire businesswoman who credits Bradgate Mental Health Unit staff with saving her life has brought a ‘touch of home’ for every patient there this Christmas.
Hayley Lawrance-Pope, from Hinckley, who founded the ‘Local Rock’ network of magazines, launched a readers’ appeal, requesting gifts of toiletries, clothing and other essentials for patients at the unit, which provides inpatient care for more than 150 patients who are often admitted at little or no notice when they become acutely unwell.
She was astounded at the response from readers and advertisers – and staff at the unit were delighted when a van packed with clothing, gift sets, toiletries and other essentials were delivered just before Christmas.
Their generosity means that every patient on the wards will benefit over the Christmas period.
Single mum Hayley, who left home at 13 and lived with undiagnosed bipolar and dyslexia until she was 21, says she launched the appeal because she wanted to help others who share her own inpatient experience.
She says: “I lived with undiagnosed bipolar for many years and it had a major impact on my behaviour, lifestyle and my physical health too. I’ve felt suicidal, had risky behaviour, was sectioned for six months and had to be treated as far away as Bristol and Essex.
“Some years ago I was admitted to an acute ward on the Bradgate site and I believe they saved my life and I am still being supported by community mental health staff.
“I know what it’s like for people to arrive on the wards at short notice – it’s happened to me. Sometimes people don’t have the chance to pack a toothbrush or toiletries and I wanted to help. The response to the magazine appeal was fantastic, with some businesses being especially generous, and we/re so pleased it will be making a difference to people this Christmas.”
Rachel Kingman, who manages LPT’s acute, forensic and rehabilitation mental health services, said: “We are so grateful and touched by the generosity of the local community which has certainly given patients a boost. The people in our care are admitted when they are at their most vulnerable and they often do not have anything with them.
“The toiletries have been distributed to the wards to go directly to the patients, the clothing is being displayed in our Involvement Centre where patients can choose from them, and the many wonderful gift sets that were donated are being used as prizes for patients in therapeutic activities organised by our occupational therapy team.”