Boost to eating disorder unit thanks to ‘Greybeard’ makeover appeal

Boost to eating disorder unit thanks to ‘Greybeard’ makeover appeal

Paul Skott, better known as Greybeard by patients and colleagues, a healthcare assistant at the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust’s Cotswold House, has been raising funds, awareness and spirits with his beard decorating antics.

Being at the heart of the patient-led fundraising effort, Paul was brave enough to offer up his facial hair for decoration leading to the final ‘big shave‘, on Friday (5 Jan), when his multi-coloured whiskers came off for good. The charity effort got underway in November when Paul began growing his big festive beard. While his beard was growing, so too were the many donations to his JustGiving event page.

Having worn his ever changing beard of many colours for a number of weeks, Paul has had a few double takes from the public, but he was delighted by the results of the stunt. Paul said: “The response has been fantastic and we have raised over £700 so far which will go towards activities that are vital here. As well as paying for entertainment for our patients on the inpatient unit, the money will also be put towards art working materials and other creative outlets which are both enjoyable and therapeutic.

“Every part of what we do here at Cotswold House plays a part in saving lives. Promoting self-care and building confidence and resilience are vital to ensure long-term recovery – but this is by no means easy, and the treatment is hard work and the regime can be intimidating. Taking part in this fundraising project has itself been part of our patients’ therapy, allowing them to take back some of the hope and purpose that the illness undermines.

“For moments like that half an hour or so when my beard was getting its glittery multi-coloured makeover there was nothing but fun, laughter and a much needed escape from the eating disorder bully.”

According to Beat, the UK’s eating disorder charity, anorexia alone has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder, with research suggesting that 20 percent of sufferers will die prematurely from their illness. Eating disorders can severely affect the quality of life of sufferers, making the work done on a daily basis at Cotswold House vital to its patients, and those that care for them.

Paul’s JustGiving page remains live for donations.

Published: 9 January 2018