Visit to Oakleaf on 3rd March 2016

I was invited to visit this self-funding Charity in Guildford to which we had made a Grant in 2015, to see the work being done on behalf of people suffering from a wide range of mental illness.

I was fortunate in being granted a comprehensive interview with the C.E.O. from which I learned the various ways in which this Charity aims to implement its Mission Statement encouraging and helping clients, by recognising the value and needs of each individual and assisting them to fulfil their aspirations, empowering them to make choices and providing a safe haven and appropriate therapy to grow in confidence and skills.

I was then introduced to members of staff in charge of two of the successful vocational training programmes, part of the range of therapeutic and recreational activities offered by the Charity. I.T. and Upholstery, are training projects, which together with 'on-the-job' Horticulture also provide services to the general public and institutions, thus affording gainful employment and satisfaction to clients, but also financial benefit to the Charity.

I was impressed with the expertise and teaching methods of the tutors, the quality of students' work and their obvious effort and enjoyment in achieving the goals they were setting themselves. There are currently 165 clients in training and 250 clients overall.

Of particular and personal interest to me during my day at Oakleaf, was to visit the project set up in 2015 as a result of funding from our Trust: namely the Art Department. This seemed highly appropriate to the Trustees in view of Dominic's profound interest in art and the remarkable effusion of creative energy of his last two years, resulting in a body of paintings, which are a fitting testimony to his multi-facetted endeavours.

I was able to spend some time visiting this project and was duly impressed by the clarity and warmth with which the tutor explained the task the students were working on and which seemed finely judged in eliciting the best response in terms of stimulation, application and enjoyment.

All in all, what I witnessed during my visit to Oakleaf - Enterprise amply vindicated the funding our Trust had awarded this valuable Charity.

Written by Susanna Beer, trustee

*Image from read more about Oakleaf here.

The Beer-Harris Memorial Trust (formerly The Dominic Beer Memorial Trust) is a registered charity in England (1155652)