20 Oct PRESS RELEASE: Oakleaf’s 25th Anniversary Gala – A Rousing Success
On Thursday 6th October 2022, we raised an incredible £55,000 after costs at our 25th Anniversary Gala. Our generous headline sponsor Something Big enabled us to carry out our biggest and grandest event to date at the prestigious Mandolay Hotel in Guildford, with over 150 guests in attendance – a brilliant opportunity to celebrate the past 25 years of Oakleaf whilst raising significant funds and awareness of our mental health support going forwards.
The gala featured a sparkling reception, a delicious three-course dinner and live entertainment from award-winning stand-up comedian, Dave Chawner and local musicians, Graham Russ and George Alfie. We were also honoured to be joined by the Mayor of Guildford as well as Oakleaf’s Patrons Dame Penelope Keith and HM Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey Michael More-Molyneux.
Our clients are at the heart of what we do; we are always encouraging people to share their stories and experiences in the hope it will encourage others to do the same. One of our guest speakers, Russell – once a past client and now a member of staff here at Oakleaf – very bravely shared his experience of mental ill-health with the room:
“At the time I was very withdrawn and suffering from severe social anxiety after a long period of isolation and depression. It took me a little while to work up the courage but eventually I went for a meeting with the Oakleaf team and I am so glad that I did. I cannot thank Oakleaf enough for the services that they provided for me and continue to provide for people who desperately need connection and support.”
We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to all the individuals, organisations and businesses who both supported the evening and donated generously on the night.
We will use the funds to continue transforming lives and building new futures with adults managing their mental health through the provision of support, training and wellbeing activities for hundreds of individuals across Surrey.
“Having been a Patron of Oakleaf since 1999, I have seen at close quarters over many years, how the charity has expanded and developed its services”, said Oakleaf Patron, Dame Penelope Keith. “On behalf of the Surrey community, I would like to extend my thanks to everyone involved with Oakleaf for improving the lives of local people managing mental ill-health. Volunteers, staff, donors and supporters all work together positively to create a truly impactful charity, of which I am proud to be Patron.”
We became a registered charity: ‘Oakleaf Enterprise’ on 22nd September 1997 and have been helping the community manage its mental health ever since. Over the last 25 years, our services and support have grown monumentally; having started with just 40 clients, we now support over 800 people each year.
Our Chief Executive Officer Clive Stone, said: “Having had the honour of leading Oakleaf since its inception as a charity I am delighted and proud of the enormous amount of hard work and dedication my staff team give to supporting Oakleaf clients.”
The demand for Oakleaf’s services has grown 27% since before the pandemic. The need for experienced mental health support has never been greater and we are determined to make certain all who need help receive it in 2023 and beyond.
Notes to Editors:
Jen Clay – Fundraising Manager, Oakleaf
Oakleaf provides support for clients aged 16-67 through a wide range of wellbeing activities and support groups, work-related training and employment guidance as well as counselling and on-to-one emotional support. The charity also acts as a social enterprise, selling services to the public – the income of which is fed straight back to the charity. Their mission is to foster confidence and reduce social isolation by actively training, engaging and supporting individuals with mental ill-health to empower them to participate as active members of society.