Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve

Dave Hutton and Stevie Rice from Kent Wildlife Trust with Dr Pamela Harrison and Michael at the Jeffery Harrison Visitor Centre, Bradbourne Vale Road, Sevenoaks, TN13 3DH
Dave Hutton and Stevie Rice from Kent Wildlife Trust with Dr Pamela Harrison and Michael at the Jeffery Harrison Visitor Centre, Bradbourne Vale Road, Sevenoaks, TN13 3DH

Kent Wildlife Trust and The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) have launched an international competition for the architectural design of a new flagship Visitor Centre for the Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve offering key messaging around nature, health and wellbeing.  You can see full details here.

Today Michael attended a view of the four shortlisted designs (selected from over 200 submissions).

Kent Wildlife say:  ‘The Nature and Wellbeing Centre will be the gateway to Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve.  It will be the first centre of its kind in the country dedicated to connecting people and nature in ways that evidence and demonstrate positive benefits for both people and wildlife. It will also raise awareness about the importance of conservation work on our own wellbeing and that of the planet.@

The Jeffery Harrison Visitor Centre, Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve, Bradbourne Vale Road, Sevenoaks, Kent TN13 3DH is  full of information and activities – why not go and see what is being planned for the future?

Spotting Invisible Wounds

‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.’

A saying that dates back to 1862, passed down through the generations; it embodies those British stereotypes of supressing emotions and stiffening the upper-lip.

Yet old adages contain old ideas, and such sayings standardise a stigma that we now need to move beyond: how we speak about mental health problems.

World Mental Health Day on Tuesday reminded us that 1 in 4 adults and 1 in 10 children are affected by mental illnesses.  The majority do not speak up and do not seek help.

By changing the way we discuss mental illnesses, we can start to provide people the support they need.

That’s why I am proud of this Government’s record investment in mental healthcare; mental and physical health now have parity in law.

Last week, the Prime Minister announced a review of the Mental Health Act to tackle longstanding injustices in our mental health system.  It’s about helping some of the most vulnerable in society.

It’s also about relieving our straining public services.  The NHS’s challenge with mental illnesses is marked by a 43 per cent increase in detainments within the past decade alone.  Around 40 per cent of police business in Kent is concerned with mental health problems.

To deal with this, we’ve increased the number of psychiatric consultants and we’ve taken steps to ensure that many thousands more young people will receive the right treatment at the right time by 2020.

Compared to 2010, 40 per cent more people access mental health services every day.  The number of mental health patients being held inappropriately in police cells is also down by 80 per cent over the same period.

We’re lucky that West Kent MIND, which has provided vital support for years, is based in Sevenoaks.  On Tuesday, they held training sessions for schools and businesses to facilitate workplace wellbeing. On Sunday, they’ll host a fun run in Knole Park to raise further awareness.

Tomorrow, I will visit Sevenoaks Hospital to open the new Wound Centre.  But I will remember those wounds that are often just as serious: the ones we cannot see.