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.
Our Rugby Club doors were open to the public, who were encouraged to come in and talk to us all about Mental Health in an effort to break down the stigma. We’ve done it a few year 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 different! 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 while they’re still archived.)
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.
Click the image to visit our page on the site!
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.
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.
The WATCH Project had a very productive couple of hours in the foyer of Chard Tesco yesterday (22nd November 2017). We raised a total of £104.12 – helped in no small part by the popularity of our mascot, and Jayne’s emotional well-being dog, Sam!
We owe a big thank you to Tesco for hosting us, and an enthusiastic pat on the back (loaded with gratitude) for Jayne, Sam, Sarah, Kevin, Richard, Lisa and Nicola for braving the elements and collecting there on our behalf.
I would name the public one-by-one for their generous donations as well, but that list could end up being very long indeed, so I’ll just thank you all with this blanket sentiment for now: Cheers, everybody! We really appreciate your support.
I know, I know! It feels a little too early to be talking about Christmas but it’s only 9 Project Thursdays away – and our party is even less: The 7th of December (11am-4pm). So please consider this your official invitation and remember to circle the date in your calendar!
Expect good company, party hats, and questionable singing through the always popular Karaoke! (I’ll confirm more attractions as the date approaches.)
As always, there will be a buffet lunch available on the day at a cost of £5.00 per person, so please could you let us know before the event if you require lunch so we know how many hungry mouths to cater for. (In fact, even if you’re saving your appetite for mince pies baked elsewhere, please RSVP ahead of time if you are planning on stopping by. It will save us from asking you to keep repeating your name for the register over all the noise!)
We look forward to seeing you all soon!
[Ps. Christmas is all about nostalgia, so I thought it was worth mentioning that this festive picture of our mascot Sam was one of the first things I ever made for the WATCH website back in 2013. 🙂 — M@thew]