Kensington & ChelseaNews

Social support organisation celebrates 60th anniversary with exhibition

By Kelsey McCabe

A national organisation that provides a variety of health and wellbeing services this year celebrates its sixtieth anniversary.

Turning Point, formerly the Helping Hand Organisation, provides drug and alcohol, mental health, sexual health and young people’s services across London, with a total of 283 locations nationwide.

To commemorate sixty years of service, Turning Point organised an exhibition titled ‘The story of Turning Point in 60 objects’ at the Clore Learning Centre at Kensington Palace, which ran from June 3 through June 7.

Turning Point held the exhibition in collaboration with Historic Royal Palaces, the independent charity which manages Kensington Palace. Turning Point is one of the charity’s longest-running community partners.

Oduro Achampong, a Turning Point team leader at the Milestone residential mental health service in Peckham (Picture: Turning Point)

Together, the organisations have organised visits to the palaces as well as the Winter Warm Space initiative, a series of community gatherings also held at the Clore Learning Center.

This month’s exhibition displayed 60 personal objects provided by individuals who have been impacted by Turning Point’s services, each of which carried meaning about the participant’s time with Turning Point and the organization’s impact on their life.

The 60 contributors, each selected by a panel from among a slew of object submissions and stories from both individuals and organizations impacted by Turning Point, were all invited to attend the event in person. Photos of the exhibition were also posted on Turning Point’s website for those unable to attend in person.

An attendee examines an art collage made by participants from Turning Point’s Wednesday Creative Workshop (Picture: Turning Point)

Julie Bass, chief executive at Turning Point, said: “For 60 years, Turning Point has worked alongside people to improve their health and wellbeing and their independence.

“The exhibition gives an insight into the incredible stories of some of these individuals whether that be people who have a learning disability or people struggling with their mental health or substance use; the staff that work with them and the ever-changing external environment.”

One of the items on display was a picture of a palm tree that Turning Point team leader Oduro Achampong planted at Turning Point’s Milestone residential mental health service in Peckham 15 years ago.

Each object featured was accompanied by a brief explanation from the contributor (Picture: Turning Point)

At the time, residents decided to create a communal garden at the service, and to commemorate the occasion, planted a small potted palm to symbolise peace, tranquility, and victory.

Today, the tree stands over seven metres tall thanks to continued care from residents at the service.

“The palm tree signifies resilience and people’s determination to progress and move on,” said Mr Achampong, who still works at the Peckham location today and said he intends to stay.

“That was the idea from the beginning. It has grown from a very tiny little palm tree to what it is today.”

Pictured top: The anniversary exhibition was held at the Close Learning Centre at Kensington Palace (Picture: Turning Point)

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