Sharing Our Wellness was a conversation about mental wellbeing.
Though everyone’s mood changes all the time, for many people, feeling confident in themselves, engaged with life, able to cope and to experience a healthy range of emotions is not a given. Some people experience poor wellbeing but don’t call it depression or anxiety. For others, circumstances have compelled them to accept a diagnosis of their problem and to try to improve things. Mental wellbeing can be a difficult subject to broach but at Macc, with our long history of supporting local voluntary organisations, we know about the fantastic work the voluntary and community sector are doing to support local people. Too often, our conversations are about what doesn’t work, what isn’t good and what’s missing. So, rooted in community and in diversity we promoted a citywide conversation in winter 2018 about how to improve mental wellbeing and to find out from the people who know: what works. The results of this projects can be found below and in the links for each organisation.
Sharing Our Wellness mini-grants were awarded to:
Back on Track
Back on Track created a multi-media wellbeing project engaging around 20 people who had personal experience of mental health problems. The group produced a photography and audio project based on the five ways to wellbeing. Back on Track was inspired by taking part in the With One Voice arts and homelessness festival, for which their photography group contributed to an exhibition. Back on Track aimed to inspire many people with their project, which is also available to view on their own website.
They ran an awareness-raising event called ‘Words are Wands - Writing for Wellbeing'. The event featured the work of people who have used the power of the written and spoken word to address mental health issues and challenge stigma and stereotyping. Attendees were asked to write a short piece titled ‘Words are Wands’, which were then performed alongside award-winning dancer Kaite Boltain, who interpreted the poems through an original dance piece. The work and wellness literature produced will be displayed at the library for three months.
Real Food Wythenshawe
Real Food Wythenshawe delivered enhanced horticultural workshops offering fun, nature-based activities that help to build resilience, confidence and cultivate enjoyment of green spaces. The activities were delivered to local people who were experiencing social isolation, loneliness and low mood. The workshops included: mindfulness, outdoor yoga, food growing, art and craft workshops using nature's bounty, walking, and nature and seasonal change appreciation.
A hand-made banner was created made from reclaimed textiles, featuring ways in which being creative can help with mental wellbeing. Over 64 people were involved in creating the banner, including members of the local community and adults who attend the Booth Centre. The project laid the foundation for Stitched up’s upcoming Bee Well Crafternoons project.
They hosted a Christmas lunch for 40 people followed by an awards ceremony for young people at serious risk of permanent exclusion and their families. The event was an opportunity for families to connect and meet neighbours, to celebrate student successes with certificates and prizes and to enjoy a nutritional meal together. At the event, families were also invited to attend the Christmas Service and to share Christmas Lunch together on Christmas Day.
Lifted Carers Centre
Lifted Carers Service held a carers bingo session and a Christmas programme of activities for approximately 50 carers. This included a party and a carer’s lunch at a local restaurant. The bingo sessions provide an opportunity for carers to relax and have fun. The Christmas activities helped to build the carers strength and resilience, helping to ensure they stay mentally well. A video featuring pictures taken at the bingo session was also produced.
They organised a meal for 30 participants of their Love Young Neighbour friendship scheme, which is a one-to-one friendship scheme where a young professional visits an older neighbour for weekly company, conversation and companionship. The meal increased social interaction between otherwise isolated neighbours and was an opportunity for people to come together and to share laughter and friendship, fostering a sense of belonging in the city.
North Manchester Black Health Forum
North Manchester Black Health Forum held an event for 40 socially isolated older people from Black African Caribbean communities, who were living with long-term health conditions. The event was an evening of music, dance and refreshments, helping to bring older neighbours together to share wellness. Volunteers at the event facilitated and captured conversations about different things that can help to lift people’s moods and to help them feel happy and calm.
The Proud Trust
Collaborative music workshops were held for LGBT+ young people to take part in. The workshops were facilitated by a young volunteer and a local musician supported by youth work staff. The workshops were a safe and welcoming environment for young people to express themselves creatively, enabling them to develop skills in song writing and playing instruments, in order to build a sense of belonging with their peers and to reduce isolation and loneliness. The Proud Trust then showcased the findings of their workshops through a showcase and performance during LGBT History month.
The Tree of Life Centre
The Tree of Life Centre hosted a Christmas lunch in their Community Café for 35 people. Attendees had the opportunity to share their individual stories on what worked for them to improve their wellbeing. A wellbeing wall was available for participants to display their wellbeing hints and tips. The purpose of the event was to show how spending time together with others and sharing a meal together can have a positive impact on wellbeing.