Mental health charity celebrates kindness in face of Covid-19

A mental health charity in Leicester has held a fun-packed event to celebrate kindness and partnership despite the difficult year the region has faced.

Lamp (Leicestershire action for Mental Health Project) organised an online concert and award with the help of Martin Cullen of Rockstar Promotions and gave out five gongs for kindness, including ‘Kindness in the community’ and ‘Kindness in the workplace’.


An Evening with Lamp & Friends was arranged by the charity after realising they would not be able to hold their annual gala dinner, which last year raised around £30,000.


The lack of event fundraising would be a blow and the team felt they couldn’t raise the same amount via an online event, but came to the realization that they still needed to celebrate the wonderful sense of community across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.


CEO Sue Langley said: “It’s been a tough year for Lamp but we have been astounded by the many acts of kindness that have come our way, through partnership working, pro bono offers and fundraising initiatives so we wanted to say thank you and have at least some sort of get together.”


Businesses from across Leicester attended, with many bagging awards for their charity work and effort in supporting the charity during a tough year.

The list of awards given out and winners are as follows:

· Regonising Acts of Kindness in the Community Award won by Rakesh Chandarana for his fundraising efforts this year raising thousands of pounds.


· Recognising Acts of Kindness in the Workplace Award won by Suzanne Everitt for Mattioli Woods for delivering a strategy a mental health and wellbeing strategy in the workplace.


· Recognising Acts of Pro Bono Support for the Voluntary Sector Award won by Mark Winterflood of Hastings Direct for his overwhelming support over the past few years.


· Recognising Acts of Kindness Champion Award won by Jit Palmer of The Funk Academy for not his fundraising efforts but for raising awareness of mental health through his TALK campaign. Sales have so far brought in £700 for Lamp and Jit says The Funk Academy has won’t be stopping there.


· Lamp’s CEO Award for Kindness won by Jenny Hand CEO of Reaching People for her efforts in connecting people in the voluntary sector.

Jenny Hand CEO Reaching People said; “It was a real pleasure to attend the awards night and see such great artists give up their time for LAMP and all their hard work to raise awareness of mental health stigma and advocacy – music, poems and a beautiful story.


"I was absolutely bowled over to be presented with an award for kindness in the community and still can’t quite believe it. Reaching People is about partnership for lasting change and its critical to have LAMP as a member and partner working alongside other local community and voluntary organisations to create collective holistic solutions for people with most need.”

Jit Palmer from The Funk Academy said: “To be awarded the ‘Acts of Kindness Champion 2020’ award from Lamp really means the world to The Funk Academy and myself. The Talk campaign has been a success.


"The main goal was to reach as many people as possible struggling during the pandemic, so they do not suffer in silence with mental health issues and direct them to support whether it be from friends, family or Lamp.

"The TALK campaign which was set out to be a local Leicester campaign, grew to my amazement from the midlands to Wales, Scotland and as far as Canada in such a small space of time. This just shows how important the TALK message is not only for me but also the people who the message touched.”


Thank you to all the businesses, media teams & influential figures that have helped support the campaign and the generous people who made the campaign what it is by purchasing TALK t-shirts and hoodies and posting selfies across social media. Together, I am proud to say, we were able to raise £700 for Lamp so they can continue to support those in need, and I am sure that we will continue to make that figure grow as we continue to reach more people. I am truly humbled by the support


The online zoom event included six Acts, from comedy poet Rob Gee to Britain’s Got Talent contestant Lorraine Bowen who gave everyone a much needed giggle with her Crumble Song.

Hinckley based music duo Echo Bay closed the night with an incredible ‘Mental Health Messenger’ music video which they created in response to the mental health crisis so many people face as a result of the pandemic.

Singer Adam Smith said: “It was a genuine honour to feature as part of such a remarkable and inspiring evening. We hope our message of strength and love reached the wonderful audience in attendance - the whole night certainly brightened up our November!”


Lamp has seen calls to its helplines increase by 400% since March and its team of advocates has recorded the highest ever number of calls from those with suicidal feelings.


The charity was forced to offer much of its services via phone and video call at the height of lockdown measures and launched a digital wellbeing campaign offering tips and advice online.


Sue Langley adds: “Our online wellbeing tips have seen huge engagement and Lamp’s website traffic has increased by more than 20%.


"This shows us we are finding new ways of connecting with those who need us, as does the success of our online event. It proved that we all need to see each other laugh and smile and to take time to appreciate each other, say thank you and find ways to share joy. A big thank you to the performers and to Rockstar Promotions who gave their time to produce the event.


“Lamp is dealing with some of the most complex mental health cases we have ever been contacted about, as the pandemic affects our lives in so many different ways. But it’s important to say that we are here and we can help. We encourage anyone who has mental health symptoms to talk and to seek help.”


Following the success of the online Evening with Lamp & Friends, the charity is now looking forward to planning new ways to help raise much needed funds.