CASS have produced videos to show the work we do with community groups in Bristol, and the challenges the equalities groups we work with face. Why not have a look on our YouTube page?
Victoria Park Foodbank
Working with the Victoria Park Baptist Church foodbank volunteers has been very beneficial. The volunteers were one of the first groups that I used the new CASS Toolkit documents with, and also used the new CASS booklet. These resources had a very positive response. One mentioned that he had been saying for years that it would be great to have one ‘go to’ document to find more information to help them with their work at the foodbank, as often they have felt lost or unable to help. They were very grateful for the information session, and were amazed by the amount of different services available that they previously had no idea existed.
Staff Training at The Greenway Centre
I worked with the ACE Service and Southmead Development Trust to develop some training for staff at the Greenway Centre. The aim of the training was to support front of house staff (receptionists, café team etc) who come into contact with people with mental health needs. Since the mental health team have moved to the Greenway Centre, inevitably, Southmead Development Trust staff have come into contact with more people with mental health needs, and occasionally, in situations of distress. This training was therefore developed to help staff become more confident in managing situations that may arise, whether with clients of AWP or any other member of the public using the building with mental health needs.
I worked with the different teams in the Greenway Centre to get a picture of what would be useful to them in a training sessions and then collaborated with ACE to put something together that was bespoke to meet their needs.
Feedback from the training was that most people found it useful and relevant. It also offered a good opportunity for staff and management to reflect on the systems that they have in place and consider how they operate as an organisation. This case study shows a good example of responding to the needs of a community organisation and working together with others to provide something that is meaningful and practical for their work.
Southmead Sports Campaign
During the 2016 Olympics, work was undertaken with sports groups in Southmead to promote the benefits of sport for local men, and how it impacts upon their physical and mental health.
The target audience was men; one of CASS’s target equalities groups, as research shows that men are less likely to seek help and support around their mental health when they need it. The campaign aimed to recognise and celebrate the things that are important in peoples’ lives that contribute to their positive wellbeing. The campaign also provided an opportunity for communities to find out about the mental health help and support available to them.
Four local sports clubs were involved – a football club, a rugby club, a boxing club and a circuit training club. A local news organisation posted the campaign on their Facebook page, with links to the full articles on their website, as well as an article summarising the campaign in their newspaper. BBC Radio Bristol hosted CASS and two of the sports clubs on their Saturday morning show.
Through this campaign, members of four local sports clubs spoke openly their wellbeing; one person spoke about his personal struggles with mental health, another spoke about past issues with crime and drugs, others spoke more generally about the benefits that sport brings to their wellbeing. These are honest and inspiring insights into the lives of local men.
The campaign was successful in creating a local buzz and generating conversation in (area of Bristol) and specifically within the sports clubs themselves.
During the week of the campaign, it reached over 18,000 people on Facebook and over 500 people clicked to read the full articles.
The campaign opened up conversations within the clubs as their members took part by engaging with the posts on Facebook and reading the full articles online. Furthermore, these honest and inspiring insights into local people’s lives laid the foundations for the clubs to have more open discussions about what we all need to lead happy, fulfilled lives.
“We are a tough community and the campaign not only showed another side to some of our perceived sporting- hard-nuts, but into the deeper reasons why they do what they do in their time away from work. The campaign still stands out for its very personal approach and for the high numbers of Bristol residents it reached.”
Polish Professionals Network
The meeting I had with the Polish Professionals Network was lively and interesting. We discussed the many different needs of the Polish community and the barriers they face to accessing services. We also discussed how the current provision of services can be improved.
I also promoted the Time to Change Champions Fund and everybody was interested. I explained how to apply, and how important it is to be able to talk about mental health without the stigma attached to it. Later on, I was
informed by the head of the Polish Saturday School in Bristol that their application was successful. Two volunteers from the school held an event in February, delivering information on mental health services in Bristol and holding meaningful discussions.
A Church Group in North Bristol
Last month, I sent out an e-bulletin with a focus on men’s mental health. A person who I had previously worked with through CASS emailed me (8 months after our initial meeting) with interest in the topic. They asked if I knew of any related groups and activities in North Bristol. I passed on some information and offered to keep in touch with other materials on men’s mental health.
This shows that the work we do isn’t just a one-off interaction with a group, but establishing a relationship with a group leader and staying connected through useful and relevant information. It shows the value of our work as a source of information for community, equality and faith groups in developing their knowledge and understanding of mental health.
The Durville Road Neighbourhood Watch Group
The Durville Road Neighbourhood Watch Group has been going for a number of years but, when I met with this group, they told me that they just don’t talk about mental health. No matter what they may be going through, they just don’t talk about it. I explained CASS’s role in relation to Bristol Mental Health and the local community. I also shared a selection of leaflets about local services and general wellbeing.
After the meeting, I followed up with an email containing links to further information and positive stories of people sharing their experiences of mental health. The group leader fed back that this was particularly helpful and meant that he developed a better understanding of mental health. He went on to share this information with another group member who also found it helpful.
I later ran an activity with this group where several people took away leaflets, asked questions and shared their stories. One attendee thanked me for coming and said she had found it informative and helpful.