Reflections on 2011

What a year. 2011 has been one of the fiercest and most eventful I’ve ever known, and a big one for Mindapples.

There have been some challenges, to say the least. It’s been difficult for everyone in the voluntary sector this year, and we’ve lost some good people and projects in the cuts and economic downturn. It’s tough watching good organisations cut services that are really helping people, but it’s also been inspiring watching people do more for less, and more for each other. This remains, whatever else it may be, a very creative and passionate sector, and I’ve been amazed by the people I’ve met in 2011, and the new ideas and experiences I’ve encountered.

For Mindapples, this has been a year of growth, and for that I’m very proud. It’s been a difficult transition from a voluntary project to a professional organisation, but we are finishing the year with a set of happy clients, and the beginnings of a very effective organisation, including a core team that I’m always pleased to see in the morning and who always get the job done.

So I think we’ve all earned the right to reflect on our successes and pat ourselves on the back a bit, and end the year taking stock of what we – the staff, funders, advisors, volunteers, partners and customers of Mindapples – have accomplished in these strange times.

In 2011, we have:

  • Engaged over 30,000 people in the Mindapples campaign
  • Toured the country with not one but five new Mindapples trees
  • Run our own tent at a major festival, twice
  • Rebranded, including a new logo
  • Secured additional funding for our NHS pilot work
  • Built great partnerships with Kings Health Partners and the NHS
  • Been kindly invited into numerous conferences and policy conversations
  • Developed our research base and built an evaluation framework for what we do with the Institute of Psychiatry
  • Trademarked our name (thanks Mind and Apple for being nice about that)
  • Learnt more than we wanted to about NHS bureaucracy
  • Got an office (sort of)
  • Hired our first permanent staff
  • Delivered several successful engagement projects, including a big one for our friends at Mind
  • Developed a new training offer and piloted it with some really big name customers
  • Collected over 50,000 mindapples suggestions
  • Given out many thousands of mindapples cards
  • Run our first fundraiser
  • Had some nice massages
  • Played a lot of music

And had a hell of a lot of fun.

Thank you everyone, and particularly to our gardener extraordinaire Esther King, who has been the unsung hero of this year. We know we haven’t been perfect, our communication could be better and there’s always more we could do, but we’ve done our best, and we’re finishing the year on a high.

We’re hoping to have more good news for you, and more ways you can help, in 2012, but for now, thank you everyone, as always, and have a very Happy New Year.