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Welcome: Annual Review 2021 – 2022

Manchester at night

It is hard to believe that just a year ago we were still amidst the restrictions brought about as the response to the Covid-19 pandemic. But we were, and for much of 2021/22 were still coping with lockdowns or partial restrictions and then just as things were being lifted, Omicron struck near to the end of 2021. It felt like here we go again with more uncertainty, both about the present and the future, and how we would manage both the organisation and the shape of the services we would provide. Moving through 2022, we have slowly shifted back to more normality, but only then to be hit by a cost of living crisis, which is going to hit hardest the communities most affected by Covid-19 and the previous 10 or so years of austerity. This means for mental health services we are seeing more need for services with more complexity, and what feels like less room for manoeuvre.

2021/22 was the year we started moving back into the offices and getting to grips with what hybrid working would look like and how it would be managed. Those services that hadn’t delivered face- to-face, started to and we also began to assess how our services would be delivered in the future.

At this stage there was no certainty that we would return to “normal”.

We began some new services, strengthened the delivery of others and our systems and reporting improved. This was no mean feat when we also consider the uncertainty that was around for everyone.

We would like to thank all our staff and volunteers for their determination, perseverance, patience and kindness. Without them and their approach we could not do anything. We would also like to thank our funders and the people and businesses that continue to fundraise for us. You are all very kind, you give up your time and often take on physically demanding challenges – we appreciate what you do to allow us to do what we do.

It feels hard to escape the big stuff – Covid-19, climate change, the cost of living crisis and so on – but that is what we are going to try and do in this report – not because they aren’t important – we know they are and they have a huge impact on people’s lives. We also know that change and difference often comes by focusing on the things we have control of and can influence. For us that is our approach, which is built on our values and beliefs.

We are looking more at the little things – because when they mount up – they start to make a real difference and it is something we can all do.

For example, £1.65 million generated by our Advice Team in additional income for people is a big number and makes a huge difference in our communities, but it is made up of a hundred small actions; such as ensuring that appointments are accessible, letting a person tell their story and hearing it, and taking the time to push for additional evidence, putting in extra appointments so that someone will feel less nervous about their up and coming appeal, or gently supporting someone to go to their GP.

So, what follows are some of the stories of the small, and not so small, steps which make up our year. The year 2021/22.

You can read them on the individual webpages or read the full annual review here

Elizabeth Simpson, CEO
Rachel Pearson, Chair of Trustees


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