S21-22 Round-ups: Essex Olympian League (Sat 4 Dec) [EOFL 21/22 6.12.21]

Written by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14] – Non-League & EOFL Writer

Hello all and welcome to my round-up of the action in the Essex Olympian League, on Saturday 4 December. This week, the league action returned on a bigger scale this weekend.. Also includes results from Cup ties involving EOFL sides and a partial round-up from Divisions Four & Five.

Many thanks for reading.

Essex Olympian League Round-up – Saturday 4 December

EOFL Premier Division

In what was another big day of action in the Premier Division, Basildon Town retained their four-point lead at the summit with a 3 – 0 success over Springfield. Graham Harrison scored another two goals here for Marcus Bowers’ side, with substitute Antony Aylett also netting to complete the win. Ongar Town remain second after a 4 – 0 victory against Canning Town at Lakeside Sports Ground 3G. Joe Lilly, Rodney Wilson, Kane Adams and replacement Jack Zielinski all scored for Richard Ponsford’s side here.

Elsewhere, Hutton also are still in the chasing pack in third after a hard-fought 2 – 1 win over Leigh Ramblers at Polo Fields. Stephen Judge and George Ezekiel both scored for Matt Singh’s side who remain two points clear of Rayleigh Town in fourth. Town completed a memorable 7 – 0 win at Old Southendian with Harry Talbot netting four goals alone to take him to eleven league goals this term. Liam Oliver also scored a fine treble to go joint-top of the goal-scoring charts with twelve goals in the league thus far. OS remain eighth.

Also, Kelvedon Hatch went up to sixth place after a 3 – 2 success against Galleywood at New Hall. Joseph Newson, Wayne Semanshia and James Burt were all on the score-sheet for Darren Hunt’s team, to outdo strikes by Thomas Watling and Freddie Bartram for ‘Wood, who stay in 1th. Sungate are up to fifth after they won 3 – 2 at home to Shenfield AFC, with Ben Carroll scoring both goals for AFC in their valiant effort there.

In the match I saw this weekend, Harold Wood Athletic got only their second win of the season as they emerged with a 3 – 1 victory at Catholic Utd at the Len Forge. Half-time substitute Freddy Shepherd, James Pottle and Billy Reed all netted for Gary Willis’ side, with Harley Kee’s penalty little consolation for the Super Hoops as they fell to seventh place – eight points adrift of the top three. If you’d like more on this match, my report is available here:

EOFL Division One

In the second-tier, Chingford Athletic went into the top five after a resounding 5 – 1 win at Snaresbrook. Jed Arthur scored twice for Declan Murphy’s team, with Scout Bown, Eren Muti and Valter Simao all also on target on a fine day for Chingford. Toby are also well in-form after a 2 – 1 success at home to Herongate Athletic. Ben Picton and Marc Porter-Brown both netted for Mark Jones’ side who sit third, just a point adrift of the leaders with matches in hand as well. One other note on Herongate to mention, which is that manager Billy Cove and his coaching staff have all departed the club, I’d like to wish them well for the future.

In other results, Old Chelmsfordians are up to fourth spot after a battling 3 – 2 victory at Epping Town. Joe Rickett and Conor Corrigan goals for Town were not enough to stop OC’s from picking up another victory. Finally, Runwell Sports went to the summit on goal difference after a 4 – 1 triumph over Leigh Town at St Luke’s Park.

EOFL Division Two

In Division Two, there was just two matches that took place due to the weather starting to have its wintery impact on the season. ACD Utd won’t mind too much though as they got another handsome win, as they defeated Hutton Res 9 – 2 at Westlands to go top of the table on goal difference. Jacob Dingli and Michael Wade both got four goals here for Greg Knock’s team, with Shaun Goddard also on target as his side reached sixth goals scored in just thirteen games. That’s some goal-scoring feat.

Elsewhere, Manford Way edged to a 2 – 1 victory at Shoebury Town to rise up to fifth spot. Kemari Hypolite and Charlie Parish got the goals for Manford, with Kirk Hudson responding for Shoebury. One match which wasn’t contested saw Rayleigh Town Res get a home walkover against May & Baker A.

Essex Junior Cup Result

Wakering Sports Res  8 – 1  Springfield Res

Herts Junior Cup Result

Lemsford Res  2 – 1  Bishop’s Stortford Swifts Res

EOFL Division Three

In Division Three, and with leaders Catholic Utd Res not in action this week, nearest challengers Hashtag Utd Development sought to gain ground and crikey, did they do that. They emerged with a comprehensive 17 – 1 triumph over Toby Res at Barleylands. Samuel Pratt led the huge list of goal-scorers for Denis Simpson’s team with six goals here himself, and reach 15 league goals this term. Tony Stevens also netted a treble, with Matthew Gauci, Jake Smith and Chandler Wray all notching doubles here for the Tags’ youth side, with Alex Warren and Jay Knight completing the score-sheet. Meanwhile, Basildon Town Res remain seven points clear in fourth place after a 4 – 2 success at Leigh Town Res. Louis Hill netted a brace here for the Basildon side, with Rhys Willson and Scott Cooper also finding the net for the visitors.

Pitsea Athletic went up to fifth spot after a 3 – 1 triumph at home to Buckhurst Hill U23. Sean Devlin netted twice and there was a goal for Jason Stanhope for Pitsea at Basildon Sporting Village. There was also a win for Hulbridge Sports Res as they won 3 – 1 against Collier Row at Lower Road. Michael Clark, Jake Frost and Henry Hands got the goals as Sports ended a three-match losing run.

EOFL Divisions Four & Five Round-up

In an extended round-up this week, we move into Division Four. Leaders Chingford Athletic Res kept their four-point lead as they powered to a 7 – 1 victory over Shenfield AFC Res at Town Mead. Southend Manor Dev are second after a good 3 – 1 success at Ongar Town Res, with Jack Mead scoring twice and there one for Harry Lincoln as well. Roydon are up to fourth after a fine 4 – 2 win at Galleywood Res. Connor Riddoch, Connor Presland, Karim Francis and Halcyon Griffith all netted for Roydon to overcome strikes by substitute Lee Judd & an OG to secure the win at Slades Lane.

Meanwhile, Old Chelmsfordians Res are nine points clear in eighth after a 3 – 2 win over strugglers Canning Town Res at Lawford Lane. Timothy King, Lee Mulholland and replacement Henry Field all scored for the OC second side there. The other result in this division was Leytonstone Utd’s 3 – 0 win over bottom side Sungate Dev. Utd rise one place to ninth after this win.

Finally this week, in Division Five there was a surprise loss for leaders Leigh Ramblers Res as they lost 5 – 3 at home to mid-table Snaresbrook Res. Charlie Batchelor’s double and a goal for Kai Baker for the Rams was outdone by a four-goal haul for Rajpal Bumbra and one from Liam Adams for the visitors at Belfairs Park.

Other Results in Division Five

AS Rawreth Res  1 – 2  Old Barkabbeyans  | The Warren

Herongate Athletic Res  2 -2  Epping Town Res  | Billericay Road

Wakebury Res  2 – 3  Runwell Sports Res  | Nursery Sports Ground



S20-21 Round-ups: Essex Olympian League (Sat 29 May) [EOFL EoS 20/21 2.6.21]

Written by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14] – Non-League & EOFL Writer

Hello all and welcome to the last edition of my Essex Olympian League round-up articles for the restarted Season 2020-21, looking the action in the  Essex Olympian League divisions on Saturday 29th May. Before we move on, I’d like to reiterate my thanks for the support I’ve received from Managers, players & Club Officials during the season and for their assistance during the season.

EOFL Premier Division 

On the last day of action in the Premier Division, Bishop’s Stortford Swifts secured a fourth-placed finish in the PPG Table with a 3 – 2 win over Harold Wood Athletic at Silver Leys. Ryan Blackman struck twice for the hosts, with substitute Jayden Hocking-Rising also netting to secure the win. Jack Sykes-Brown and Robert Whitnell both struck for Wood but this result they dropped to ninth in the PPG Table, below Rayleigh Town. After this match, both Billy Cove and Alex Goldstone announced their departures from their respective managerial roles and I wish them well for their next role in the game.

Hutton drew 1 – 1 with Springfield at Polo Fields, with Tarik Moore-Azille nettng for Matt Singh’s side, and Jake Clarke responding for Dan Williams’ side. Hutton finish seventh in the modified table, with Springfield ending the campaign tenth after a run of just one defeat in their last seven matches. Elsewhere, Rayleigh Town defeated runners-up Basildon Town 2 – 0 thanks to strikes from Sonny Coutts and a Bailey Moss spot-kick. Rayleigh finish eighth after a run of five wins in their last seven which gives them some foundation for next term. Sungate also drew 3 -3 with Champions Buckhurst Hill, in what was Hill’s first draw of the league season.


Catholic Utd  H – W  Kelvedon Hatch   | Home Walkover

EOFL Division One 

The one matter to resolve in Division One was who would join champions Ongar in being elevated to the Premier Division. Galleywood ended that question with a 2 – 1 win at previously unbeaten Ongar Town, with Matthew Buckingham scoring both goals for the Chelmsford-based side. Aaron Blair notched his 100th goal for the club (Not bad in three seasons!) in response but Town were unable to get through the season unbeaten, but still face a new challenge next term. Nearest challengers Manford Way were just edged out despite a 2 – 0 win at Herongate Athletic, with Billy Rees and Daniel Lopes scoring for Trevor Grace’s side here but they finished two points adrift of the top two in third spot.

Elsewhere, Rayleigh Town Ressies ended their season with an entertaining 4 – 4 draw with Ramsden Scotia. George Vile scored twice for the hosts, with Harry Barham and Ebeneezer Djan also on target for Dave Barker’s side. Richard Bishop struck a treble in response for Ramsden, with Jamie Rivers getting the other goal and they got a point despite finishing with ten men. Town finished tenth, a point clear of the bottom two whereas Ramsden finish eighth, nine points better off.


Chingford Athletic  A – W  Snaresbrook   | Away Walkover

Shoebury Town H – W   Old Chelmsfordians   | Home Walkover

Toby H – W   Runwell Sports  | Home Walkover

EOFL Division Two

The two outstanding matches provided plenty of goals in Division Two but it was Beacon Hill Rovers who secured the second promotion spot with a 3 – 2 win over Wakering Sports at Wickham Bishops Sports Ground. Josh Perry hit two goals here for Stephen Bennett’s side, with Bradley Morgan notching the other. Ben Rowe and Mohammed Sesay got the goals for player-boss Mitchell Gleeson’s team but they finish in fourth in the PPG-adjusted standings. Epping Town got third spot with a thumping 7 – 0 win over Corinthians, in a game that was overshadowed by player-boss Stuart Hoskins being taken to hospital with a serious leg injury, I wish him well in his recovery. Callum Turner led the way with a treble and a brace from substitute Chris Gormley plus one each for Sam Law and Joe Rickett emphasised the scale of the victory here. The Stambridge side finished fifth after a barren run of only one win in their last five matches.  


AS Rawreth  H – W   Ryan     |  The Warren

Laindon Orient  H – W  May & Baker A  | Home Walkover

EOFL Division Three

Champions ACD Utd went into their new challenge next season in Division Two with a 3 – 2 win at Hullbridge Sports A, with player-boss Michael Wade, Billy Rungay and George Munns all on target as they secured their 14th win of a very impressive campaign. Harry Boswell’s second penalty in as many games was allied with Charlie Oakman’s strike to give the youthful Hullbridge side hope but ultimately they finish sixth this term. Meanwhile, Manford Way Ressies celebrated their runners-up spot with a 5 – 0 triumph at faltering Collier Row, with David Hornsby scoring yet another treble, plus Charlie Parish and replacement Joe Marjason also netted here.

Hutton Reserves may have more points but their inferior PPG to Manford Ressies was really costly in the end, and ended their season with a huge 8 – 2 victory at Buckhurst Hill Res. Matthew Price netted a hat-trick, along with doubles for Jack Shaw and substitute Dayne Wood. Carl Dutton also got on the score-sheet again as Bill Stratford’s side commendably played twenty games this term, just two short of a ‘full’ season. Buttrint Lecaj got both goals  here for Hill Reserves but they finish ninth, four points clear of the bottom two.

Toby Res A – W Basildon Town Res   | Away Walkover

EOFL Division Four Results    

Catholic Utd  Res   4 – 2   Canning Town Res  | Prittlewell Chase 


Ongar Town Res    H – W  Chingford Athletic Res  |  Home Walkover

EOFL Division Five Results

Fixtures 29 May

Collier Row Res  1 – 1   Wakering Sports A   | Forest Row Cen (Pitch 2)

Old Barkabeyans 4 – 3  AS Rawreth Res   | Barking Abbey Sch


Epping Town Res  H – W  Herongate Ath Res   | Epping UC Rugby Club (4pm KO)

Runwell Sports Res  A – W  Roydon   |  Away Walkover

Shoebury Town Res  A – W    Newbury Forest Res   | Home Walkover

Thank you for reading this season. That’s you’re lot of these until the new season which is predicted to beginning in August (Source: EOFL website) 2021. When the new constitution is released, I may write something on that, as I might about the Full PPG-enhanced tables & Statistics for this season plus clubs talking about this campaign just finished (ala last season’s “Club In-Focus” blog series), so keep tabs on this site or my Twitter for updates.

For now though, I wish you all a good summer break. Best wishes, Scott

Preview: Essex Olympian League & Senior Cup (Sat 7 December) [EOFL 19/20 5.12.19]

EOFL Crest

Written by Scott W  [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]

Hello and welcome to this week’s preview of Essex Olympian League action, which includes matches from the top four divisions & more on Saturday 7th December. Please note that these fixtures to subject to change due to the recent inclement weather. As a general rule, matches played on 3G or artificial pitches do get played. Thanks for reading.


Saturday 7 December  (2.00pm KO’s unless stated)

Premier Division

Catholic Utd  v Springfield  | Len Salmon Stadium [3G]

Harold Wood Athletic  v Basildon Town   | Harold Wood Park (Pitch #1)

Kelvedon Hatch  v Canning Town     | New Hall

Old Southendian  v  Leigh Ramblers    | Garon Park

Shenfield AFC  v  Sungate   | St Martin’s Sch [3G]


Senior Division One

Chingford Athletic  v  Rayleigh Town Res   | Town Mead [3G]

Herongate Athletic  v  Old Chelmsfordians   | Billericay Road

Manford Way  v  Toby  | London Marathon Sports Ground

Snaresbrook  v  Galleywood   | Nutters Field


Senior Division Two

Corinthians  v  Old Southendian Res  | Stambridge Memorial Ground

Epping Town  v  May & Baker Res   | Stonards Hill

Leigh Town  v  AS Rawreth   | John Burrows Recreation Ground

Rochford Town  v  Laindon Orient  | Rochford Recreation Ground

Ryan  v  Harold Wood Athletic Res   | Wadham Lodge Intermediate Grass Pitch

Wakering Sports  v  Beacon Hill Rovers  | Cupid’s CC (Pitch 1)


Senior Division Three

Collier Row  v  Corinthians Res   | Forest Row Centre

Hutton Res  v  Leigh Town Res   | Polo Fields

Lakeside Res  v  Hullbridge Sports ‘A’  | Lakeside Sports Ground [3G] (2.30pm KO)

Toby Res  v  ACD Utd  | Ford’s Sports Club (Newbury Park – Toby pitch)

Wakebury  v  White Ensign Res  | Shoebury Park


Senior League Cup (1.30pm KO)

Bishop’s Stortford Swifts  v  Hutton   | Silver Leys

Rayleigh Town  v  Lakeside   | London Road


Essex Junior Cup (1.30pm KOs)

Buckhurst Hill Res  v  Wakering Sports Res

Shoebury Town ‘A’  v  Basildon Town Res 


Senior Division Four

Catholic Utd Res  v  Chingford Athletic Development

Galleywood Res  v  Ongar Town Res

Laindon Orient Res  v  Roydon

Leytonstone Utd  v  Forest Glade

Old Chelmsfordians Res  v  Shenfield AFC Res


Senior Division Five

Leigh Ramblers Res  v  Wakering Sports ‘A’

Newbury Forest Res  v  Bishop’s Stortford Swifts Res

Roydon Res  v  Old Barkabbeyans  

Shoebury Town Res  v  Collier Row Res

Springfield Res  v  Herongate Athletic Res

Round-up: Essex Senior League & FA Cup 2RQ (ESL Sides) (Sat 21 Sept) [ESL 19/20 23.9.19]

St M v Enfield (Image - MN 21.9.19 ESL).jpg
Still from St Margaretsbury v Enfield (Image Credit: Matt North)

Written by Scott W  [Twitter: @ScottMHC14] – Non-League & ESL Blogger

Image thanks to ESL Writer Matt North (Twitter: @MattNorth_)

Hello and welcome to this week’s Essex Senior League round-up piece, with a look at all the ESL action this weekend with a mention of the FA Cup action involving ESL sides too. Thanks for reading.

Saturday 21 Sept

Cockfosters 0 – 1  Southend Manor  | Chalk Lane| Att: 56

The weekend’s action started with a rare away win for Manor at Chalk Lane over Cockfosters. New signing Ryan Imbert got the only goal as Manor got a win in new boss Michael Walther’s first game in charge, since his move from the Hullbridge Sports coaching team. The hosts fell to their third loss of the season as they fell into mid-table. The visitors here rise to fifth-bottom.


Ilford  1 – 2  Hashtag Utd  | Cricklefield  | Att: 124

Hashtag emerged with the points after a bruising battle at Cricklefield. Ross Gleed put Utd ahead eleven minutes into the contest, though that lead did not last until half-time as eight minutes prior to that, Tyson Talanya levelled for the Foxes. Recent acquisition Jeese Lassen got the winner for Jay Devereux’s team on 56 minutes as Hashtag rise to third after a fifth consecutive win. Ilf’s third straight loss sees them down into the bottom half.

Sawbridgeworth Town 0 – 6 Hoddesdon Town    | Crofters |

Sawbo are still marooned to the foot of the table after a hefty loss to local rivals Hoddesdon at Crofters. Aaron Ramthor broke the deadlock for the visitors just seven minutes in, before Jordan Halls [31’] and another spot-kick fom Isaac Marfo-Jacobs six minutes after that put the Lilywhites three up at the break. It was four on 56 minutes through Harrison Cage’s strike and Simon Riddle’s side wrapped up a convincing win thanks to Halls’ second of the afternoon midway through the second half and a 78th-minute strike by substitute Cyrus Babaie. Hoddy sit second, above Hashtag thanks to a better goal difference.

St Margaretsbury  3 – 3  Enfield   | The Recreation Ground | Att: 20

St Mags clinched a late draw in a real see-saw encounter at the Rec. New signing Matt Frew characteristically powered home a header on 11 minutes to put the E’s ahead though Napier Brown levelled midway through the half for Tony Wild & Ray Bartlett’s side. The tide turned in favour of the hosts as Andy Greenslade stuck ten minutes after the interval. There was another turnaround in the offing though as two quick-fire goals from Tyler Fowles [81’] and Josh Woodcock [86’] saw Matt Hanning’s side lead again, though another new signing was to have the final say as Ryan Reed levelled on the 90 to extend St Mags’ unbeaten stretch to three league games and see the E’s search for a win go on.  Both sides remain in the bottom three with five points each.

Stansted  1 – 2 Woodford Town   |  Hargrave Park | Att: 45

Woodford got a much sought-after win at Stansted. Georges Kebi struck eight minutes in to open the scoring for Town, before Chris John doubled that lead just shy of the half-hour. The Airportmen halved their arrears on the stroke of half-time through Jack Mitchell though they couldn’t add to it meaning they stuttered to defeat. Woodford sit fourth in the table, five points off leaders Walden, though Town have scored the most goals in the division thus far with 21 (in seven matches). Stansted remain around the mid-table mark.


Tower Hamlets 2 – 3 Saffron Walden Town   | Mile End | Att: 45

Walden came out of a tricky tussle at Mile End for the second straight season with a hard-earned win over Hamlets. Ross Adams, Spike Bell and substitute Greg Strong netted for Jason Maher’s team, while Yoan Edoukou netted twice for Hamlets here. Walden retained their unbeaten run, and the leaders are one of only two sides that are without defeat, the others being fellow title contenders Walthamstow.

West Essex  1 – 2  Clapton  | Mayesbrook Park | Att: 35

Finally in League action, Clapton got their second win this term with a victory at West Essex. Mario Gjini netted ten minutes before the break to give the Tons the lead, before Baseer Ishanzadeh got the winner. Brad Russell got West’s strike with ten minutes left though Kwame Kwateng’s side fell to their league loss this term.


The FA Cup- Second Qualifying Round   (ESL sides)

Hadley  1 – 0  Ramsgate    | Brickfield Lane  | Att: 202

Hadley’s FA Cup run goes on as a solitary Tom Milton strike overcame Isthmian South East strugglers Ramsgate at Brickfield Lane. Anthony Clark’s side were rewarded with a trip to National League South side Havant & Waterlooville in the next round.


Walthamstow  1 – 1  Abbey Rangers   | Wadham Lodge | Att: 245

‘Stow are still in the hat following a hard-fought draw against fellow Step 5 side Abbey Rangers. Marcus Cousins had put Abbey ahead on 14 minutes, though Billy Jones’ cracker six minutes after the resumption put Ryan Maxwell’s side level. Rangers skipper Tom Bentley then got his marching orders though the visitors held on for a replay in midweek. It’s worth noting the crowd of nearly 250 which the club later noted could be their highest in twenty years – the Magic of the Cup and that perhaps…



TOL: CB, MH & desolate thoughts….


Hello and welcome to a rare blog re: Mental Health (MH). I, like a heck of a lot of other souls yesterday (and today) are mourning the loss of Linkin Park singer-songwriter Chester Bennington. The following I write while remembering him, but it is mainly for all the people affected by suicide, the many brave warriors embattled with MH challenges and those who assist, support or care for those said battlers. The following may also shock you so therefore I must add a distinctive trigger warning as well as there are some dark things mentioned.

I don’t often write blogs on MH, my brain jumbles the words up that I half feel like saying in blogs a lot of the time and I consequently get fed up. ‘Oh, keep it simple’, some disinterested wotsits might say in response. It just isn’t that simple, period. Much like the unsympathetic fools that say in response to suicide – ‘Oh, that person is a coward’ for doing what they’ve done. Now, this is my view and I own it, though that viewpoint just mentioned is categorically wrong. There are a lot more things that are cowardly. Giving sheepish PR-like (or false) answers to proper, straight questions for example, and in general that is too prevalent today. And no, for once I’m not going to rant about politicians either etc.

Change may be coming, in a good way. Though as I suspect many reading this will note, it takes a sodding ‘age’ to come. New-fangled ideas get stifled, bottled or just flatly ignored. Or even if they are taken on-board, the likelihood is that they’ll ‘sit on them’ for six months while the bureaucrats figure out what to do. Yep, I dislike PR-style answers, sometimes with a passion. Why? Because it simply doesn’t actually say anything of much note or interest. You might as well stick your hand up to indicate you’re not listening as it amounts to the same. That sort of crap among others will have to change if we are going to see a sea change in how the many Experts by Experience (EBEs) and the like are really going to feel like they can contribute, rather than being told ‘you must do this or that’ or be under threat of something or other. It’s wrong and that must stop.

Looking through a glass darkly, I know my time will come as well. Without being disrespectful to anyone, I’m not sure anyone knows ‘when’. I suppose if you believe in ‘pre-destined’ ideology then that may be different, and that’s fair enough. I have no idea about the pain or anguish that Chester himself may have felt yesterday, what I do know is that there is a long, long road to go before MH is thought of the same as cancer or tonsillitis for example.

Yours bluntly,


Follow me on Twitter at @ScottMHC14

Blog – TOL #1 – 2017…

Welcome to a new ‘peg’ of blogs, or indeed mumblings (probably) called ‘Thinking Out Loud’ or TOL for short. In the first of the new ‘peg’, there’s a little look back on 2016 and some thoughts on the new year..

2016… It’s been some year. Yes, there’s been the irritating back-stories of Brexit, politics as a whole (pretty much, many well-known figures leaving us etc etc.

Though what I’ll remember is that ‘quite a few doors closed, and some opened’. September saw the end of the Mental Health-themed podcast ‘Mental Health Matters’, after 15 episodes and a lot of hard work by all involved. Earlier in the year though, the ‘SUCI’ project started and looking at the ‘big picture’ – I think that project could have some big ramifications for the future of student nursing in the future. In truth, there are many other projects that have graced the year and ‘have their place’ as well.

Then, you have the spectacle of Non-League Football as well, actually going to matches and of course the Saturday Sport show, which somehow I’ve managed to pass 50 episodes now, along with a few other podcasts too.

So, 2017 is nearly upon us. For most of December, it has been loitering in the background like what could be found in an unpleasant ‘trap-door’. So, has pessimism struck once again? You bet it has.

The signs have been there: proverbially whacking my head against the wall at posh (or over-rated) meetings involving CCGs, Mental Health Trusts and the like as they are more ‘style over substance’. It just isn’t worth the frustration (or anger). So as a result, there could be come changes coming soon. And I don’t mean the ‘famed (or what could be Infamous)’ Merger between NEP & SEPT, set to start in April 2017.

If only I could use those Size 13 shoes, though the irony is ‘the orders’ are coming from on-high, so to speak. This article gives you a firm idea: butnhs.wordpress.com/2016/12/29/there-is-a-toxic-culture-at-the-top-of-the-nhs/  (Credit: Steve Smith) Indeed, it’s arguable that CCGs are much the same, though that does not excuse their attitude in both cases (Trusts & CCGs).

Though, it’s not all about the NHS, it’s’ ‘cronies’ & the like. I refuse to let them fill the sky with proverbial red. There are more worthwhile things to do than that.

There are good things that are springing up, like tree roots. # discussions on Twitter, such as #TalkMH, podcasts like Mike’s Open Journal are there, as well as the deserved recognition for campaigner Jonny Benjamin MBE & the likes of him.

Let’s see where this year takes us…

By Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)

NHS Mental Health Trusts: The deepening layers….

By Scott W     (Follow me on Twitter: @ScottMHC14)

Most of us have heard about the debacle that is the NHS Southern Health Trust which led to their Chief Executive resigning after lengthy fierce criticism, then being pandered off to another ‘advisory’ job on the same salary & ‘benefits’. This week the Interim Chairman has also stepped down of the embattled organisation.

Recently, I was at a Conference for members of staff at another Mental Health Trust. Interestingly, the ‘bigwigs’ of the organisation (aka CEO, Directors etc) were mostly absent, for whatever reason.

The day itself went well and featured a workshop that was prepared & run by a five-strong team of ‘Experts by Experience’ which encouraged staff to discuss a scenario, derived from real-life experiences of care. The first thing that struck me was that the ‘bigwigs’ may have benefitted from taking part in this sort of session themselves, if nothing else, to highlight where services could be lacking at present.

The second thing that struck me from the day itself in my opinion was that staff may well see the Board (i.e. the ‘bigwigs’) as another obstacle to deal with, in a world already complicated by the likes of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) & our dear (or not) Government. It makes you think that ‘Do they really need more obstacles?’

I would say ‘No’ to that question. It’s true that staff vary in effectiveness and that can be part-down to the training they get etc. Though parking that thought for a moment, this doesn’t excuse those at Board level from under-estimating both how much the Mental Health (MH) Community can contribute to the future of services, plus how much they need to alter their attitude as they give the impression they like ‘Photo Opportunities’ and PR-related guff among other things. Is this sort of thing really that important?

To them, I say this – Enough with the ‘glory-hunting’, work with your staff and lose the cop-out answers as well. It might just help you in future.

Blog: Volunteers & the MH Arena

Written by Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)

Hello everyone, it’s been a long while since I’ve written a blog. So when I set up this new blogging site, I thought besides Football, it needs to be about something meaningful as writing MH-related blogs are not easy.

I’ve seen a lot in my time as a Volunteer for various projects about how they (Volunteers) are treated, respected & valued (or not, in some cases sadly). We see in the news most days about power-brokers saying “this or that will be sorted” which any cynics will mention is nonsense sometimes – you only have to look at the situation with the NHS & Junior Doctors to recognise that. On a similar note, all this ‘Brexit’ talk is being shoved in and frankly, it gets rather dull & boring, not to mention hiding other more interesting topics that are out there.

Some will say Politics is the same in the boring stakes, though it is undoubtedly a murky & divisive world. I wonder sometimes how those involved in ‘that world’ truly see Volunteers and away from the myriad of Press Releases & public statements (the PR culture), I suspect some of them don’t think highly enough of the army of good people that are out there, improving lives & the like, a far cry from ‘saving money’ and the other turgid things that get mentioned these days.

That brings me to Volunteers in the MH (Mental Health) arena. Some organisations do respect the impact that such people can have, indeed running some peer groups for example & such like because to some (often the big-wigs but not always) such activities can be an after-thought. Also, you have those organisations out there that are rather expectant, which is rather disrespectful in my opinion. It gives you the impression that they don’t really know what Volunteering truly is, which I suspect is pushing its way in, in more areas than it should because of ‘budget cuts’ or just fundamentally not knowing how to respect and/or value people who give up their time & more in some cases to do a lot of good. And whichever way you cut it that is the wrong attitude.

Which in turn brings me back to the said ‘PR culture’ and the ‘big-wigs’. I recall earlier this summer being at an organisation’s mini-event to thank Volunteers which was nice, though when you see the Chief Exec of the organisation walk in to give a speech for a few minutes and then ask for a picture or two with Volunteers & then waltz off soon afterwards, it does make you think. Is it Gate-crashing? Seeking a Photo opportunity? Either way, some of us that were savvy enough to see through it just shook our heads and laughed a tad.

The bottom line is that Volunteering will & should continue until the year dot. I just hope that some attitudes will change in the coming years as a savvy colleague of mine said once “Volunteers should not replace a service, they should compliment it” – and in the current environment, that sort of thinking is being shelved by muppets wanting to take short-cuts.