It’s been a very busy last 9 months for me as Project Manager. At times, when my anxiety & depression were “ playing out” it has felt like a series of insurmountable problems. It has been a very pressured time – however, the work has rebuilt my self-confidence and esteem which had been all but destroyed just over 4 years ago.
All members of Moving Forward can benefit from regaining confidence through leadership within this amazing community.
During the last year Moving Forward has provided voluntary project support to Mind in Bradford, and Keighley Job Centre Plus.
Our Bradford Men’s Group accepted referrals from the joint Mind & DWP Wellbeing Project following their attendance at a Wellness Recovery Action Plan course.
Starting in late summer 2917 we ran our first 12 week Moving Forward Course at Keighley Job Centre, and provided dozens of 1to1 Sessions with benefit claimants who had been identified as enduring poor mental health.
We identified that we also needed to provide ongoing support to women and our first female Facilitators were identified and trained during October 2017 to January 2018. Bradford District NHS became our partner to provide a training venue and funding for 3 weekly Women’s group meetings.
We provide Facilitator support to 2 other NHS Champions Wellbeing Group projects. Operating with open goodwill makes the formation of partnerships focused on the wellbeing of individuals feel easy, natural, and encourages trust.
Meeting individuals who’s allocated gender does not match how they want to live their life has proved the accepting nature of Moving Forwards membership. Aspiring to provide the best peer support possible has led to the establishment of a peer support group to support mental health in the LBGT community. This is a joint partnership project with the Equity Partnership.
The expansion of membership and a broader range of peer support groups drove the need to increase the times of our venue bookings. This led to some significant challenges particularly due to venue costs. We succeeded in gaining generously discounted venue costs. This is very much appreciated and speaks volumes of the voluntary & church communities within Bradford District, Bingley and Keighley.
We have improved our networking with other mental health charities. We openly signpost and formerly refer individuals to within this local network. Other organisations that we have signposted to, or received referrals from, include;
- Mind in Bradford,
- Bradford Sanctuary,
- Hidden Voices,
- Mosaic II,
- Equity Partnership,
- InTouch Foundation,
- Sharing Voices,
- Andy’s Man Club,
- Kala Sangram Wellbeing Group,
- Keighley Armed Forces Association,
- Cellar Trust,
- HALE Project.
A popular development was the start of our Walking Forward Mixed Group by one of our members. This inspired members to walk 5-6 miles every Sunday morning. The online chat group intended to coordinate the walks has become a well used online support channel that has supported member 24/7 – this support provision has undoubtedly saved lives.
We have received amazing support from Bradford based BCB Radio’s “Recovery Radio” programme. Members have been on air to speak about their mental health, the work of Moving Forward, and their experience of local health care. We call our broadcast project Moving Forward Out-loud and the confidence it builds for participants means we classify it as a support group of its own.
This time last year we had 3 Male only groups per week. Each week we now have;
- 3 – 1to1 Sessions,
- 3 – Women’s Groups
- 2 – Mixed Groups
- 3 – Men’s Groups
- 1 – LBGT Group
- 1 – Walking Group
- 1 – Broadcast Group
- 1 – Project Support Group
Not bad for a bunch of “Mental Men from Keighley!” as stated at a fundraiser on our behalf.
We have some amazing Women on board now and I know that they are going to be a force of nature within mental health in our area.
I feel next year is going to be even bigger! I love my job, I love our little community – let’s crack on!
Paul Skinner BEM