OUR FIRST THIRTY YEARS

Peter Thompson founded The Matthew Trust in February 1976, to help mentally distressed men and women living in the community and in special hospitals and prisons, at a time when there was nowhere for them to turn for help.

Peter was concerned with mental health issues for most of his life and had personal experience of mental illness. Many people with mental health problems learned about the last-stop agency work of the Trust from having seen Peter on television and hearing him on radio.

The photograph shows the late Lord Longford (5th Dec 1905 - 3rd Aug 2001) with the late Peter Thompson (15th Oct 1933 - 26th Dec 2002) outside the Houses of Parliament.

Peter co-founded the Pakenham-Thompson Committee with the late Lord Longford in 1958, which led to the setting up of the National Association for the Care & Resettlement of Offenders (NACRO), in 1961.

The Matthew Trust set up the first national holistic care conference for mental health service practitioners: A Crisis Unknown - Holistic Care for the Mentally Disordered in Secure Environments, in May 1998. The Trust held a second Holistic Care Conference, in May 2000, which was hosted by Lord (Frank) Longford in the Moses Room of the House of Lords.

During the 1990s, the Trust published a series of five Special Reports including: Victims of Aggression (a commentary on the care of the mentally ill in the Community - 1995) and A Burden Too Heavy (the financial plight of people with mental health problems if all ages - 1997).

The number of organisations with which the Trust works has continued to rise since 1976 and now totals some 698, nation-wide, both voluntary and statutory. We continue to be on the look-out for working partners in all parts of the country, as well as for individuals to participate in the Trust's network of volunteers - now totalling some 156 - especially service user volunteers, whose first-hand knowledge of living with mental health problems is both invaluable, and appreciated by healthcare professionals.