A mental health charity held a festival to say thank you to all the people who help support it.  

Bicester-based mental health and suicide prevention charity Nai’s House hosted their #BeNice Festival last Saturday, in Garth Park.

Many residents from Bicester and the surrounding area braved the weather to attend the gathering, which was created to thank them for their ongoing generosity and kindness towards the charity.

Bicester Advertiser: Bicester Town Mayor Alex Thrupp and Nai's House founder Gem BarrettBicester Town Mayor Alex Thrupp and Nai's House founder Gem Barrett

Bicester’s Town Mayor, Alex Thrupp, opened the event which featured inflatables, games, a silent disco, jam sessions, stalls, displays by Bicester Arts Network, Cherwell Theatre Company, Bicester Skaters and Bicester ECU Cheerleaders.

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There were also workshops with Little Yogi’s and Kidzzoo arts and crafts. As well as music from Daze, Kit Goff, Danny Morrell, Space Pigs, Grace Healy, DJ K-netic and AC-MC.

Nai’s House founder Gem Barrett said: “It was a brilliant day. For our first event it went amazingly.

“There was a great atmosphere, and everybody seemed to have a great time. I got to walk around and talk to people I’d never met before, who told me how great my team are.

“I even had people coming up to me asking how they could help the charity.

“We’re a very small outfit, and very new, so we can’t get the funding we need. We’re at a precarious stage where we need full time staff who need a salary.

“But the community have constantly got our back. They fund things for us and support us where they can.

“It gets emotional and overwhelming. Personal thank you cards can be hard, so this festival was a way to say thank you to all the community who help us.”

Mrs Barrett’s daughter, Dene, had suffered with mental health challenges from a young age.

After being discharged from statutory care in November 2016, despite being a medium to high suicide risk, Dene took her own life in February 2017, at the age of 22.

Dene was passionate about helping others and was studying to become a psychotherapist at the time of her death.

Mrs Barrett considers Nai’s House to be Dene’s final gift to those she would have gone on to help.

Bicester Advertiser: Nai's House volunteersNai's House volunteers

Speaking on the charity’s future plans, Mrs Barrett said: “We want to get to the point where we have a residential building where we can offer free beds and 24-hour care.

“If somebody needs to be intensely cared for over a period of time, we’d like to be able to provide that.

What’s out there right now doesn’t really work for a lot of people, and we’re always looking for ways to meet the needs of our patients.”


Read more from this author

This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Matthew.norman@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @OxMailMattN1

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