Isorropia Foundation, a mental health wellbeing organisation on the Isle of Wight, opened in 2019 and has offered multiple face-to-face activities and workshops to over 1,000 people since inception. The organisation is run by a blend of professionals and people with lived experience of mental health, who together have created a new approach designed to empower individuals to take responsibility for their own wellbeing.
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Isorropia Foundation has prioritised the needs of members as well as the local community. As the country went into the first lockdown in March Isorropia decided to rapidly transform its provision to make their programme and interventions available online and over the phone. Ami Cripps, public and member engagement lead, explained: “As a team, we consolidated our skills to establish and invite our members to a private online Facebook area. Within days we had implemented an online structure, including daily morning videos, topic videos based around managing mental health, daily livestreams and even some interactive fun! We also worked with partners to provide telephone support to community volunteers and the vulnerable people they were supporting.”
In July Isorropia were delighted to receive a grant from WightAID, a local charitable foundation supporting projects which benefit Island people and places. This grant enabled them to build a media studio to professionalise and enhance the online programme and create more content. Charlie Bell, CEO: “We were then fortunate in September to receive confirmation that we had been awarded funding from the National Lottery Coronavirus Support Fund. This meant that we could expand our workforce to help more members and reach further across the Island communities.” To date, the online engagement has exceeded original expectations, reaching over 17,500 people in November alone.
During this time, Isorropia’s online programme has been independently evaluated by the Wessex Academic Health Science Network (Wessex AHSN). Wessex AHSN is part of a national network set up by NHS England to operate as the key innovation arm of the NHS. The evaluation explored how Isorropia managed the transfer of activities from a physical facility to online provision during the pandemic, the impact on members and the adaptations made to how the wellbeing model was delivered. The evaluation member survey showed that ‘73% of Isorropia’s members said they didn’t use urgent mental healthcare services during the lockdown period’ and ‘70% of Isorropia’s members felt that they were receiving enough support’. It suggested that the successful transition to online indicated the potential of a physical facility and online mixed service model in the future.
The daily programme of activities hosted on the private Facebook page (available 24/7) attracted 245 of the 264 members to register online, with an average of 122 members interacting each day during the week and 111 members over the weekends. It found that the adapted online services, as well as supporting existing members, enabled sixty new members to join and benefit from structured peer-led support during the initial lockdown period. The report authors found that ‘Many interview and survey respondents felt transformed by the service provided by the Isorropia Foundation’ and quoted members positively, with one commenting that “The content has really helped me to move forward with my wellbeing and also feeling so connected during a very disconnected time.”
You can read the evaluation report and its findings here: https://wessexahsn.org.uk/innovation-insight-library/97/independent-evaluation-of-the-isorropia-foundation-services
Vicki Haworth, CEO, states “Isorropia Foundation would like to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has supported us so generously. Your encouragement and backing have helped to transform our organisation to meet the specific needs arising from this pandemic, and to improve the wellbeing and resilience of our Island communities disrupted by Covid-19.”
If you, or someone you know, would benefit from mental wellbeing support, speak to your GP in the first instance. The Isorropia Foundation website at www.isorropia.uk contains a number of resources and videos that may help you, and you can find their public Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/isorropiafoundation/.
Please let us introduce ourselves, for those of you that do not know us, we are Charlie and Vicki, the CEO’s of Isorropia Foundation.
Today, on our first birthday, we wanted to say a few things to you all.
The concept of Isorropia Foundation came to life from the awareness that mental health care delivery on the Island needed to change. We had vision of a service that was non-medical/clinical. A service that did not define people by diagnosis or see medication as first line treatment, one that looked to understand the underlying needs and mindsets behind poor wellbeing. A service predominantly run by people who have been unwell and have learnt that true wellness must come from within each individual. People who have challenged themselves and worked hard to understand that they need to take responsibility and action for changing the way they live for the better. A team that have successfully transformed their lives to guide and truly inspire others.
This time last year we were renting a room in a church hall, we had 7 staff, 10 members and were only able to offer extremely limited activities! A year on and we now have 300 members and have worked with over 800 people. We now deliver 17 bespoke wellbeing workshops and an array of various activity groups. As our members reach the end of their time with us, they are invited to join Isorropia Foundations intensive 3-day course called The Gift. We now have two buildings, 7 High Street and Quay House, both in Newport. Isorropia Foundations community umbrella network is constantly developing for our members who graduated from the wellbeing centre. This area is more member led with people now supporting each other to achieve the clear goals and aspirations that they have designed for their futures.
Isorropia Foundation has established a vibrant Facebook community, which continues to grow on a daily basis. Since the Coronavirus lockdown the team have been working tirelessly providing online content for both our members and for people in their communities. We have a private members Facebook page where we are holding live discussions based on daily topical themes and regularly host fun quiz’s and competitions. The team have been developing helpful information leaflets, worksheets and video content for all our various online platforms (including our website isorropia.uk).
Isorropia Foundation have been able to invest into building our team and now employ 20 staff in our wellbeing centres and have a wonderful growing network of volunteers.
We have many more exciting plans for the year ahead, so watch this space. One of Isorropia Foundations greatest ambitions is to be able to offer a self-referral pathway so that anyone on the Island can access the wellbeing centre when they need it. We are working hard to try to secure the funding we need to make this possible.
We would not be where we are now without some incredible people that we would like to thank.
Firstly, to our members. Thank you for taking the leap of faith with us. We understand how daunting it must have felt to have been referred to Isorropia Foundation. Many of you have felt let down over the years and were anxious and cynical about this new service with a funny name. For those of you that gave Isorropia Foundation a chance, thank you. We hope that we have helped you. We know how brave you have been to step into our workshops and to be challenged in a whole new way. Thank you for those of you who have stuck by us. It has been a bit of a bumpy road at times, we have not always got things right, we have learnt a lot and one thing we can promise you is that we are still learning. We are dedicated to constantly improving and evolving the service. Your feedback is paramount to us doing this.
The second thank you goes to our amazing team of staff and volunteers. We are proud to say we work with the most caring, compassionate, hardworking and inspiring people we know. Hopefully, you will have seen some of the team’s personal videos on our website. We hope these stories give you hope.
A massive thank you to Ami, our service manager. Ami’s story is incredible, and we are so grateful for Ami’s support in leading the team and helping us to develop the service over the last year. She works tirelessly and is unrelenting in her determination for Isorropia Foundation to be the best it can possibly be for our members.
Maria is our big hearted lead nurse, alongside the wonderful Colette and Adam our wellbeing nurses. They are fundamental in providing professional safe advice, guidance and support to the team and to our members that need it. Thank you for everything you do.
Cheeko, our charismatic and highly knowledgeable lead therapist at Isorropia Foundation, who oversees all the psychological content and delivery of the workshops, we thank you.
The incredible and inspiring team of wellbeing coaches. Charlie S, Neil U, Neil S, Jemma, Jazz, Layna, Sonia, Vicky, Tom, Marie, Lisa F and newly joined Sarah. We respect, love and thank you all.
Sam, our exceptionally talented website developer and graphic designer. Thank you.
Our fabulous and hardworking Lisa G who is our admin guru, who is supported by the lovely Laura. We do not know what we would do without you. Thank you very much for all you do.
A huge thank you to Dave Logan and Rob Brindley from POA learning for all the time and support you have given for free to our members on a weekly basis. Thank you also, to Roger from CAB for the work you have done with our members, it is much appreciated.
Our wonderful volunteers who are living proof that changes can be made from hard work, desire and engaging with Isorropia Foundation. Tim, Sarah and Josh. Thank you.
We also have new volunteers ready to come on board when the doors to the wellbeing centre are able to open again. Thank you and we look forward to you being with team Isorropia again soon.
We would also like to thank the IOW NHS Trust and CCG for funding us and giving us the opportunity to start delivering mental health services on the Island in a very different way. They both saw the potential of Isorropia Foundation in the early days and gave us the chance to prove ourselves. Without that we would not be here now. There are a few people we want to give our special thanks to: Dr Lesley Stevens, Cathy Budden, James Seward, James Dawson and Sascha Woolford.
One last request from us. If you have any feedback about Isorropia Foundation (good or bad) please share it with us. As we said we are absolutely committed to constantly improving and evolving what we do and how we do it and we need your help to achieve this.
Please stay safe and well during these difficult times.
Thank you to you all and a very HAPPY 1st BIRTHDAY ISORROPIA FOUNDATION!,
Charlie and Vicki
We recently moved into our second location – the old Citizen’s Advice building at the bottom of Newport High Street (opposite the IOW Council offices). We’ve got the essentials up and running and we’re delivering services there now, but we’re going to be making lots of little improvements over time, to make the space as pleasant and comfortable as possible. We’re also getting some signs made, which should brighten up the front. In the coming weeks we may have some video footage showing you how everything’s taking shape.