The tastelife celebration day was held on Saturday 25th June 2017, in the home of tastelife supporter Iona Birchell at Cotswold Farm near Cirencester, The day was held 10.30am-4.30pm, although a number of people chose to take advantage of the beautiful and tranquil location and stayed either the night before or night after, or both. Just under 30 adults attended, with a few childen/young people in tow. It was a mix of trustees, employees (Di and Debbie), course leaders and key friends of tastelife.
The day started with coffee and conversation, and then we had an informative and enlightening session on some fundamentals of counselling led by our guest speaker Dr Sophie Thompson former NHS consultant psychiatrist in psychotherapy who now works in palliative care. Sophie gave us some great tips around building relationship, exploring issues and how to be helpful, and most usefully a hand mnemonic for ways to remember areas to cover. This was useful both for those of us who are leading courses, and for all of us for self-care! In the afternoon Sophie led a further session on self-care, which was much appreciated as a way to understand how to support ourselves when we put ourselves in positions of vulnerability as volunteers/leaders.
The day also included the option for a craft session exploring use of art for therapy, and led to a number of colourful creations. Di’s daughter was unable to attend in person, but spoke movingly by video from her son’s hospital about her own recovery, the resilience it has given her for facing her role as a parent, and her support for what tastelife has achieved.
Both before and after a wonderful buffet lunch we talked about tastelife; its strategy, its hopes and dreams and where it might go in the future. We broke into discussion groups to discuss a variety of current hot topics including next steps in working with the NHS, publicity materials and how to ensure we get a great ‘go live’ rate from training. All ideas were taken back for reflection first by Di and Jean and then at the Strategy Day in July and finally to the trustees meeting in October.
Our day finished as we reflected on the way CAP has grown from a time 20 years ago when personal debt was not acknowledged or discussed in the UK, to the point where it is key ‘go to’ agency for a government that recognises personal debt as a significant issue. We can see signs of the same pattern towards an acknowledgement and awareness of the scale of eating disorders, and their implications. Our dream is that tastelife can grow to help more in filling the gap in support available. We were all excited by the fact we have a central speaking slot at New Wine, and prayerfully grateful and encouraged by the news that New Wine has chosen us as one of its 2017 charities to support.
As we came away, we were all determined to be meet again this time next year, but maybe we will need a bigger venue if we have grown as we dream we might!
Laura Parker 4/07/17