Time to Talk Event 2018

I’m sure you were there and know this already (but if you weren’t, you were sorely missed) The WATCH Project took part in the Time to Change event happening across the country on February the 1st 2018.

Our Rugby Club doors were open to the public, who were encouraged to come in and talk to us all about Mental Health in a continued effort to break down the stigma. We’ve done it a few years now and it’s always proven to be an enjoyable experience, in spite of the heavy subject matter (which is kind of the point) and this year was no exception! We had hot drinks, good chat, a wide variety of biscuits, and friendly conversation with people who entered as strangers and left as friends.

In attendance were our members, volunteers (in some very fetching t-shirts) and a house full of special guest speakers, old friends and the local press too!

In fact, Richard, Natalie and Matthew spoke on BBC Somerset radio with Claire Carter live in the morning and Matthew Faulkner pre-recorded in the evening. (You can listen to those broadcasts here and here.)

The Chard & Ilminster also did a wonderfully detailed report on the day here and provided us with the header image found above.

I’m running out of adjectives to describe what a success the whole thing was, so I will close this post by thanking everybody for their support on the day (whether you showed up, helped out, or braved those big scary doors for the first time) and I encourage you all to keep an eye on this space for our next event! We hope to see you all again soon.

– M@thew


Somerset Mental Wellbeing Service

Somerset Mental Wellbeing Service Logo

Supporting individuals across Somerset to improve and maintain their mental wellbeing through access to community resources and opportunities.

The service is available to those who wish to improve their mental wellbeing to reduce the impact on their lives with meaningful support.

For further information please:

This service is delivered by Compass Disability Service in partnership with Mind Taunton & West Somerset, Mind South Somerset and Chard Watch CIC.

More information can be found in this leaflet.

HRH The Countess of Wessex visits the Balsam Centre in Wincanton and attends the launch of an exciting new initiative, including Chard Watch CIC

Left to right: Bridget Harvey and Sally Dempsey (Heads Up) , Julie Mathews (WATCH Project), Philippa Forsey (Creativity Works), Sue Place (Balsam Centre), HRH the Countess of Wessex. Image by Oscar Yoosefinejad

Left to right: Bridget Harvey and Sally Dempsey (Heads Up) , Julie Mathews (WATCH Project), Philippa Forsey (Creativity Works), Sue Place (Balsam Centre), HRH The Countess of Wessex. Image by Oscar Yoosefinejad

CHARD WATCH CIC is part of Well Wessex, with three other charities and social enterprises supporting people with mental health needs. Our partners are:
The Balsam Centre (Wincanton)
Creativity Works (Radstock)
Heads Up (Wells)

The initiative was initiated by Lucy Nelson (High Sheriff 2015/16) and is supported by Somerset Community Foundation to improve the provision of mental health support services across Somerset helping each of us to work together, share knowledge, and make better use of our shared expertise and resources.

Each of the organisations is engaged in supporting recovery, independence and resilience through work with social and community structures to allow individuals to connect. Together we provide services to the value of around £1million each year.

Our starting point for Well Wessex was simply that we wanted to explore whether we could do more and be better if we collaborated with other organisations working in the same field. We have been meeting regularly for over a year and in that time have built a common understanding and trust that will be a solid foundation for the future.
Unlike other ‘partnerships’ this has not been driven by an external funding opportunity but by our shared ambition to grow our collective impact for the benefit of Somerset by working together.

The initiative was formally launched on 1 November 2017 during a visit by HRH The Countess of Wessex (http://balsamcentre.org.uk/news.html#coming) at the Balsam Centre, Wincanton. We are now working on our first major joint bid for funding as a partnership.

WATCH Christmas Party 2017

In case you missed it, the WATCH Project celebrated Christmas this year with a party so full of life, raffle calling, and rich quality food, one member of staff swears they still have a headache from Karaoke a whole week later – so I think it’s safe to say the whole thing was a rousing success! (Everyone I’ve spoken to since has confirmed as much too.)

I will update this post with pictures as and when I get them (because they can say far more about the event than I can), but for now I think it’s worth observing something about the whole affair:

There are so many messages of ‘thanks’ scheduled to go live on our website today in response to all the support, help, and donations we received, I have had to stagger their release on the Supporters page to prevent spamming you with floods of gratitude all at once! (As far as “problems” go, this is a really nice one to have.)

So whether you helped set-up the night before, donated a prize, simply attended, or spread so much as a little bit of margarine on a single sandwich and failed to get a mention by name, please know that everyone at the WATCH Project is overwhelmed by your support this holiday season – and by extension, the rest of the year. We cannot thank you all enough!*

[*In fact, I have literally run out of different ways to express gratitude there are so many!]

On behalf of everyone in the Project then, I’d like to wish our members, volunteers, staff, readers, and any other friends of the Project a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Next year’s party has a lot to live up to.

– M@thew