H2h has evolved considerably since its inception in 2005.
Theresa Nash explains:
“In 2005 I had the wonderful opportunity to be seconded to the WestFocus Health and Wellbeing Network, backed by the then Government to support community-university knowledge exchange. I was exposed to ‘entrepreneurship’ a concept I had never thought of as relating to nursing. I learned from inspirational people such as Martha Mador and David Stokes that great businesses had a 50 year vision and solved people’s problems. As a nurse I had worked for many years, seeking to support young people access healthcare and often felt frustrated at constant structural change, and how the system put people into ‘boxes’, when the human condition remains eternal, the need to be loved and understood.
No one has a looking glass into the future, but having met the most inspiring Professors from seven universities and listening to future technology, plus working with Denise Forte, a nurse specialist in elder care, it struck me there were certain givens: population growth, environmental challenges, technological and digital revolution, increasing life lived with disability but somehow the feel of a less connected society, particularly between generations. Social isolation appeared to be the cross-cutting issue at any age leading to poor health and early death. We were looking for a project that would connect these concerns.
So what could I do as a nurse educator?
It took and overnight train trip to Tiverton & my Mums wish, to go up the Tor (Helen Nash, also a nurse and special needs teacher), eating food with Di Wells in Frome (Lead Nurse Castle Community) & visiting Melinda Manickham (Women’s Life Coach, Street) which led to an accidental Saturday meeting at Castle Cary with Bettie Fernandez (my husband’s friends Mum). Through assisting both Betty and Annie Leadbetter onto a very overcrowded train, the decision to upgrade to first class, that led to a conversation and shared train ride, that created an idea!
Could health and social care students support people at risk of isolation, of any age to climb Glastonbury Tor? With Annie’s, and West Focus support the adventure began. By the end of the train journey, and with the support of Tony Fernandez we agreed to test the idea, the network supported us so the adventure began.
After our first event, we crystallised our ideas, to connect all people through our common heritage, we were told it was impossible! We would never get funding!
Well, our advisers were right, funding has been incredibly hard to gain, but as soon as we stopped worrying about money and focused on our aim to just ‘connect people’ using the UK's amazing resources of nursing, nature, heritage, the arts and the people within our universities, the magic began, including bumping into Craig David and meeting the naked rambler!
I thought I knew about disability, communication and community. Well I was so wrong!
It has been all our community partners, guests and students, plus the many artists and heritage partners we have worked with, that has taught us a new possibility of how to ‘be’ a nurse. A ‘relational expert’, a connector, and collaborator, but one who understands that ‘community’, our ‘web of relations’ is always with us, where ever we are. As one student said recently ‘now I know what it’s like to be in a community, to feel I belong'. This is the experience we want for all people where ever they are being cared or healed.
12 years in, the adventure is still unfolding, I have learned students and colleagues are amazingly creative, and courageous and yes all nurses have an entrepreneurial spirit, but we need systems to light the flame and create environments to work in that are healing, for people, including for those who care. We would love any nurse, health or social care professional from anywhere in the world to join us.
So please just get in touch! We really believe that nurses can heal the planet through connecting people to people!
There are so many people we wish to thank, so please forgive us if your name is not below. We have listed key supporters from the heritage, health and community sector who have influenced are thinking. Plus students who have gone the extra mile and become event co-ordinators, and the youth volunteers who have helped us develop an under 18 programme. Eventually we would like to have all the names of everyone who has been involved as a guest, supporter or volunteer acknowledged below. So far over 1300 people have supported our work.
Our current partners include our H2h buddy nursing students, plus Eli Anderson from StoryAID, Jeshni Amblum from Belmatt Healthcare, Neil Mears from St Philip's Special Needs School, Paty Paliokosta from the School of Education, Mary Holland, retired Neurological Sister, Martha Mador, Kingston University, Mary Chambers, Centre for Public Engagement, Monica Stannard, Pauline Stanley, Alex Adeboya.
Particular thanks go to the first pioneers, who took the risk to travel from Tooting to the Tor and share an extraordinary experience, which we continue to laugh about!
Debs Porter, John Hammond, Ursula and George Hawgood, Rosaline, Patrick and Charles Mansfield, Rosaline Mansfield, Annie Leadbetter, Tony and Betty Fernandez, Chetan, Dinhubai and Madhuben Patel, Lucy and Amy Wetton, Denise Forte, Elise Foulds,Quiyan Liu, Han Liu, Melinda Manickham, Lee Popo Chan, Khaleena, Morissa, James, James, Ly Anh Dhang, Theresa, Claire and Charlotte Seal.
Patience Fordhour, Sheila Seinti,Tracy Duffey, Daniele Raybould, Rachel Holmes, Vanessa Maloney, Maire Kamara, Emily Hill
Ed, Shreena, Shivani, Elizabeth, Darcy, Owen, Brady, Yasmin
National Trust and English Heritage
Heather Smith, Miriam Levin, Peter Carson, Rob Holden, Mick Wilkes, Mac McCormack, Gary Calland, Sarah McGrady, Ruby Cole, Gabrielle Gale, Lucy Abrahams, Rosie Sherrington, Catherine Bloodworth
Project Managers and Masters Students
Liz Aitchison, Kasia Cierach, Jen Kavanagh, Claire Egan
Francis Hobbs, John Cummins, Marc Spinoza
Health and Social Care Colleagues
Tom Clarke, Jim Blair, John Hammond, Marcus Jackson, Mary Brady, Michelle Arnold , John Doherty, Patricia Robinson, Bob Hutchinson, Krishna Maharaj, Lynn Young, Kathryn Yates, Joanne Bosanquet, Tony Towell, Nicky Robinson, Di Wells, Graham Kelly, , Sue Spicer, Amanda Patterson, Paul O’Carroll, Lorna Ashbrooke, Chris Manning, Mark Martin, Paula Steele, Vicky Bourne, Michelle McBride, Carmel Blackie, Neesha Oozageer, Antonio Sama, Harjindher Sehmi, Mario Sobczak, Paula LaCumber, Rashid Layher
Becky Ward, Sam Knowles, Bern O’Donaghue, Ken McCallah, Art Class London
Danielle Gardiner, Adam Winkler
Education Supervisors and Inspirers
Keith Grieves, Ruth Wood, Julie Shaunessey, Jon Nixon, Mike Nolan, Gweneth Hartrick Doane, Colleen Varcoe, Sally Gadow, Margaret Newman, Judyth Sachs, Gary Rolfe, Chris Hart, Josephine Paterson, Loretta Zderad, Dan Butin, John McKnight, Peter Block
Companies who have gifted to us
Greggs every year provide free doughnuts or muffins and the Ham store team get up at 3am so all our sandwiches are fresh! We cannot thank you enough! Gillian Gill of Gillian’s Gift for cooking for so many people for our Leith Hill events, Abel and Cole and Lilly Charitable Donations. And to Zurich Insurance for covering our events and London Ambulance Service who always ensure an extra crew are available, just in case!
Last but not least the Deans and Heads of School that allowed us to just have a go particularly to Val Collington, Fiona Ross and Kath Start who truly got that universities are spaces to ‘think and grow ideas!