Mar 112015
 

Mental health charity Mind excludes election candidate, mental health service user and disability campaigner, Mick Hardy, from its mental health election panel.

Mind, the largest mental health charity in England, has excluded Mick Hardy, a mental health service user and disability campaigner, from its General Election Panel Event at The Curve, The Forum, Norwich NR2 1TF on Friday 13th March, 2015 between 1300 and 1600.

Mind claims that the event, chaired by national Mind’s Chief Executive, Paul Farmer, is “to give people with lived experience of mental health problems, their carers and support workers, volunteers and Mind staff an opportunity to ask the questions which matter to them and to hear what our parliamentary candidates from the north and south of Norwich have to say about the future of the services they use.” Yet Mind seeks to exclude Mick Hardy, disability rights campaigner and Dandy Party candidate in Norwich North from its event.

Mick Hardy said:

“I couldn’t believe it when Mind refused to have me, a prospective parliamentary candidate in Norwich North and mental health service user, on their panel. I believe this is due to my criticism of the failure of the local Norfolk Mind organisation to speak out against the massive cuts to mental health services at Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) which included the closure of the assertive outreach and homeless teams. Indeed, the local Mind has sought as a ‘service provider’ to profit from the cuts and privatisation of services at NSFT. The Mind volunteers and donors will find this shocking.”

“Mind receives more funding from Norman Lamb’s Department of Health than it receives in public donations. This reliance on government funding means that Mind is compromised when it comes to speaking out in defence of mental health service users. Nothing demonstrates this more than Mind’s attempt to exclude a mental health service user candidate from their panel in Norwich. This breaches Mind’s obligation as a charity to be apolitical.”

“I encourage all those concerned about the crisis in mental health services in Norfolk and Suffolk, which has seen our local trust NSFT rated inadequate by the CQC and put into special measures by health regulator Monitor, to lobby outside the Forum on Friday both before (1230-1300) and afterwards (1600-1630). It is a shame that those holding such views have been excluded from Mind’s event.”

“Mind claims to campaign for social inclusion but seeks to exclude me.”

Notes to editors:

Mind received £3.697m in public donations in 2014. Mind received £5.26m in government grants over the same period, with £4.651m from the Department of Health including £100,000 for the crisis care concordat and £4.262m for Time to Change.

Amanda Hedley, Chief Executive of Norwich Mind has written “As part of the Redesign Process we have tried to play a constructive role in helping to suggest good alternatives provided in the third sector which would provide support for people at a lower cost but achieve similar outcomes…..’ She

also told the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee of Norfolk County Council “…MIND could even deliver some of the services currently delivered through the Trust…”

 

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  6 Responses to “Mind Excludes Dandy Party Candidate”

  1. As an addition to what I have posted above, Mr Lucas from his recovery bed has given me permission to post the following on his behalf:

    “When the Dandy Party first contacted Mind to demand that Mr Hardy be on the panel at my private event they were initially positive with him. When they later spoke to me, which they should have done immediately, I researched the Dandy Party. Why should Mind have spoken to me immeidately? There was a long established rule which we were working to that if anyone rang or emailed demanding to be involved in my private event that they should be asked to given me – given my phone number to discuss – as it was my event. Sometimes things go wrong and I have no complaint with Mind. It was ceratinly not anything malicious on their part.

    I researched the Dandy Party and what I found did not impress me one bit. I therefore went back to Mind and told them that I did not want the Dandy Party to attend and please pass that on to them. Mind had to respect this regardless of their views as it was my event and for me decide who I wanted there. This also happend with 2 other people who demanded to attend – one a County Councillor – they did not get invitations. My first rule in deciding who could come was “those who demand are not they type of people I want there. That is my right as it was a private event.”

    It is clear and unequivocal from this that it was Mr Lucas who did not invite Mr Hardy and not Mind. From the very beginning there has been no basis for the abuse, criticism and lies which the “so called” Dandy Party has aimed at Mind. They are clearly 3 sick, lying, self promoting, evil individuals.

  2. The Dandy Party continue with their lies unabatted and unrestricted by DPAC. This is disgusting.

    Mr Lucas had informed the Dandy Party that their lies, abuse and threats of harassment were putting him at high risk of self harm and worse – it was all making him highly suicidal. Mr Lucas describes himself thus above: a “disabled person with 4 mental health diagnoses and 11 physical diagnoses, 7 of which are classified as disabilities” He is severely disabled.

    Mr Lucas asked the Dandy Party to stop with their lies and continued threats of harassment. They paid no attention and the threats continued. The Dandy Party ignored his request for humanity; humanity toward a severely disabled person such as they claim to care about.

    On the morning of 13 March 2015 Mr Lucas made a serious attempt to take his own life due to the abuse and lies of the Dandy Party and had to be rushed to hospital.

    DPAC should be ashamed that they allow these 3 individuals to continue posted their lies and abuse, abuse aimed at a severely disabled person – Mr Lucas – and a very important charity such as Mind.

    They are nothing but 3 evil, self promoting, sick, lying individuals who are quite happy to push someone to kill himself in order to get some attention.

    I will be endeavoring to highlight the Dandy Party’s evil in the run up to the general election to ensure they get no votes. This is the least someone who genuinely cares about the disabled can do for Mr Lucas.

  3. Dandy Party​ were excluded from the Mind General Election Panel today in Norwich at the Curve in the Forum. Our candidate for Norwich North Mick Hardy was not allowed to attend, never mind speak, despite standing on a disability rights platform and being a Mind service user. I asked to attend and was told it was a private meeting and my name was not down. In a loud and poetic voice to an audience of about 10 people attending the Mind event, plus about another 10 security and Forum staff, and 10 protestors, I read out the reasons why this is a Mind meeting:

    This event is funded, at least in part, by Mind, a charity registered
    in England & Wales with an obligation to maintain political
    neutrality.

    The event is chaired by the Chief Executive of Mind, an employee of a
    charity regulated by the Charity Commission for England and Wales.

    The event is “jointly planned by Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind”.

    The two prospective parliamentary candidate panel members we have
    spoken to thus far believe they have been invited to a Mind event.

    The excluded candidate, disability rights campaigner Mick Hardy,
    believed he had been invited to a Mind event until the invitation was
    withdrawn during a conversation with an employee of Mind.

    The invitations to the event featured the Mind logo and branding, were
    to ‘our event’ and were signed by the ‘National “Voice of Mind” for
    East Anglia”.

    To accept the invitation, the recipient had to reply to a Mind email
    address or ring a Mind telephone number.

    Mind staff and volunteers have been invited to the event as
    participants but employees and representatives of other organisations
    have been invited as ‘observers’.

    About halfway through the above missive, and to be honest even I was getting a bit bored, but nobody stopped me so I just kept going, Mind CEO Amanda introduced herself. I introduced myself and asked to attend the meeting. I asked for an extra chair to be put in place for Mick Hardy. I asked why the only candidate in Norwich who is openly dealing with mental health problems was not allowed to address a Mind General Election Panel.
    Amanda insisted this was a private event, and we were not going to be allowed in. There we go. I made my dissatisfaction known, and I left. We were then escorted outside the Forum where we handed out leaflets and took a few photos, and met many supporters. Thanks to everyone who has been supportive.
    Now Dandy Party are moving on from Mind-gate, we wish them well, we want the best for everyone with mental health problems in the area. But we do think it is very important that people with disabilities are allowed to speak for themselves and are not just spoken to and about.

    Disabled And Not Dead Yet! Mick Hardy, Vince Laws, Eloise O’Hare

  4. Amanda Hedley, CEO of Norwich & Central Norfolk Mind, 12/3/15 said:
    “We have been surprised and disappointed by the Dandy Party’s reaction to the general election panel event taking place on Friday 13th March.

    “This event has been in the planning for several months and invitations were sent out before Christmas 2014 to all candidates for the political parties on the ballot. The Dandy Party did not exist at that point.

    “When Mick Hardy got in touch less than two weeks before the event we explained that unfortunately it was too late to change the arrangements at such short notice. We have been on good terms with Mick and as recently as yesterday we interviewed him about the Dandy Party and his role as their party candidate for a feature in our monthly magazine.

    “The Dandy Party have yet to get in touch with us to voice their concerns. We are sorry if there has been any kind of misunderstanding.”

    Dear Mind
    What a shame it’s come to this. We’ve been given various different reasons for Dandy Party being excluded from the General Election Panel tomorrow, a new one each time. And now Amanda Hedley wants to suggest that “The Dandy Party have yet to get in touch with us to voice their concerns. We are sorry if there has been any kind of misunderstanding.”

    Perhaps you could make clear to Amanda that we have been voicing our concerns and getting nowhere. To suggest otherwise is nonsense.

    If Mick is not allowed to be a on the panel, so be it. We still wish to attend the meeting and question the candidates you have invited. Obviously we find it perverse that Mind, a mental health charity, is not helping a man with mental health problems tell people with mental health problems why he is standing to be an MP in Norwich North. Respectfully, Vince Laws

  5. The Panel Event at The Forum in Norwich on Friday afternoon is my event.

    As a disabled person with 4 mental health diagnoses and 11 physical diagnoses, 7 of which are classified as disabilities, I had the idea in May 2014 to hold this event. Since I am severely disabled organising it myself is a virtual impossibility so I asked Mind to help me organise it, and it is part funded by myself and Mind. I part fund it out of my State Benefits.

    My plan has always been to have a private event which I can manage to what is in my opinion the best benefit of those with mental health issues where those who will be on the ballot form could engage with those with a lived experience. Whilst you may disagree with my view of what is to “the best benefit” it is no-one’s business least of all Mick Hardy’s. As a private event there is certainly no case for anyone or any organisation to expect or demand to be involved.

    The words which Mick Hardy quotes beginning “…to give people with lived experience of mental health problems…” are my words as these come from an invitation which clearly came from me and was signed by me. These are not the words of Mind. It was also clearly stated on the invitation that it was a private event but Mick Hardy conveniently chooses to ignore this.

    It was solely my decision and my decision alone, which Mind respect but clearly you do not, to not have Mick Hardy at my panel event as I checked to see whether he is on the ballot paper and the current status is that he will not be. Therefore I decided that it would not be appropriate for him to be on the panel. This is my right.

    Ergo in criticising Mind you are criticising the wrong people. You should be criticising me. However as a highly intelligent and eloquent individual who has multiple co-morbidities and complex needs I think I am more than adequate at representing those with mental health difficulties on the Panel. That has always been my plan since last May. Challange me if you must but you will be wrong.

    I find the suggestion on the Dandy Party’s Facebook page that people lobby outside The Forum on Friday before and after my event as a call for people to harass those with a lived experience of mental health who wish to attend, as these are the people I have invited. It is abhorrent and hypocritical given that the Dandy Party claims they are disability rights campaigners. I certainly view it as an attack on me personally as a disabled person as invitations to the event most clearly came from me.

    What you have posted is factually inaccurate and has no basis in reality.

    You should check your facts before posting falsehoods about charities which provide vital services and help people with severe mental health issues. To put no fine a point on it Mind locally have helped and supported me to ensure that I have not taken my own life when I have been in crisis and public services provided by the NHS have failed me. On more than one occasion. If you think Mind are worthy of citicism when they similarly support me in trying to raise mental health issues locally through my own panel event then you seriously need to question your motivations and priorities.

    Please correct yourself.

    John Lucas

    • Statement on Voice of Mind’s comment:

      This event is funded, at least in part, by Mind, a charity registered
      in England & Wales with an obligation to maintain political
      neutrality.

      The event is chaired by the Chief Executive of Mind, an employee of a
      charity regulated by the Charity Commission for England and Wales.

      The event is “jointly planned by Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind”.

      The two prospective parliamentary candidate panel members we have
      spoken to thus far believe they have been invited to a Mind event.

      The excluded candidate, disability rights campaigner Mick Hardy,
      believed he had been invited to a Mind event until the invitation was
      withdrawn during a conversation with an employee of Mind.

      The invitations to the event featured the Mind logo and branding, were
      to ‘our event’ and were signed by the ‘National “Voice of Mind” for
      East Anglia”.

      To accept the invitation, the recipient had to reply to a Mind email
      address or ring a Mind telephone number.

      Mind staff and volunteers have been invited to the event as
      participants but employees and representatives of other organisations
      have been invited as ‘observers’.

      The Elections Manager at Norwich City Council says that individuals
      cannot apply to be on the ballot until after Parliament is dissolved
      on 30th March and the process does not close until 9th April. The
      assertion made that Mick Hardy was excluded ‘as I checked to see
      whether he is on the ballot paper and the current status is that he
      will not be. Therefore I decided that it would not be appropriate for
      him to be on the panel’ is true of every other candidate. Mick Hardy
      is no less a prospective parliamentary candidate than any of the other
      panel members.

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