The strains of traditional Andean wind music heralded the start of a relaxing afternoon of music and family fun at the annual Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust Fun Day at historic St Pancras Gardens on Sunday (18 Sept).
Giant stilt walkers mingled amongst groups of delighted youngsters as families flocked to the gardens to enjoy crazy golf, face painting, archery or – for the real daredevils – a ride on the Rodeo Bull.
A flash of eye-catching red was provided by the formal attire of the mayors of Camden, Nadia Shah, and Islington, Kat Fletcher, matching the red of the fire engines from London Fire Brigade that took pride of place near the entrance to the gardens.
The mayors joined Trust Chief Executive Angela McNab and Chair, Leisha Fullick, to officially open and welcome everyone to the Fun Day.
A variety of solo acts provided by charity Key Changes, which promotes positive mental health through music, ensured a captivating musical backdrop and The Silencerz featuring Lee Thompson from Madness, had visitors jumping from their seats to dance.
Staff and service users from the mental health foundation trust were on hand at stalls to help raise awareness and understanding of the range of services it provides throughout communities in Camden and Islington in helping people recover from mental illness.
Sir Keir Starmer, MP for Holborn and St Pancras, and Labour Party leader and MP for Islington North, Jeremy Corbyn, were among the 200 visitors to the garden.
Mr Corbyn, who drew the raffle prizes, made an impassioned speech emphasising the need to break the stigma towards mental health.
First prize in the Trust’s “Life Around Camden and Islington” photographic competition went to Karen Miller for a picture of Granary Square, near King’s Cross.
Many thanks to the following businesses for kind donations of prizes: Engie, energy and services group; Better Gym, St Pancras Square; El Parador restaurant, NW1; Locanda Canton restaurant, NW1; and The Lyttleton Arms, NW1.
C&I has moved the service we normally offer in emergency departments to our 24-hour Mental Health Crisis Assessment Service, at St Pancras Hospital. The service will see people in need of urgent care so that they do not have to go to a hospital emergency department unless they have an urgent medical need. Emergency departments are under unprecedented pressure due to COVID-19 – the illness caused by coronavirus. We are urging people in mental health crisis to telephone our 24/7 crisis line on 0800 917 3333 or contact their usual community mental health team. If service users attend the 24-hour Mental Health Crisis Assessment Service in person we will see you but we urge you to contact the crisis line in advance for advice to ensure you are only leaving home when absolutely necessary.