Wales Community Organising for Mental Health
We address the problem of mental health in South Wales in a community organising project, to enable individuals and communities to improve lives and wellbeing. The issue affects everyone’s welfare. Improving it can allow people to become agents for change in their area and unite divided communities.
June 2017 - June 2018
Charity information: Hope Not Hate Charitable Trust
South Wales has very high rates of prescribed anti-anxiety & antidepressants. Social exclusion & deprivation are often manifest in crime, drug & alcohol abuse. Between 2009 & 2011, the suicide rate in Wales increased by 30%. Many feel 'left behind' by the pace of change. People are aspirational but blame new migrants or other immigrants for their lack of opportunity. Instead of working together on community problems, people focus on the things that divide them.
Our campaign will create alliances around a common issue. Because mental health affects so many people within the community it is an issue that can’t be directly linked to immigration or the politics of 'us and them'. Using the skills already within the community, we aim to build the belief and recognition that this community is not ‘left behind’ and holds power through the strength of their collective traditions.
To campaign to improve mental health
Activities» Mapping community leaders, both obvious and not yet recognised, to form a creative working coalition and access service users.
» Organising regular community action weekends, raising awareness of the project and training local change makers to advocate around the issue.
» Using proximity to National Park to organise outdoor fitness activities as an affordable route to improving mental health.
» Accessing vibrant local arts scene for art therapy provision and awareness raising.
Success will be an increased awareness of mental health in South Wales, and concrete examples of improvements in individuals’ mental health.
To unite disparate groups within the community to work together for the common good.
Activities» Host round-tables with identified local leaders before planned events to ensure they are inclusive.
» Community organisers to undertake one-to-one engagements across all demographics throughout the project to increase reach.
» Trained community organiser to attend every event, ensuring disparate groups and individuals are able to share experiences and have their voice heard
Success will be an increased and diverse local involvement in tackling the issue. We will ask organisations across the community to sign up to the movement.
To use legitimate anger at being ‘left behind’ to unite communities rather than see them divided
Activities» Work to find solutions from within the community, highlighting skills from across divides of race, gender, educational attainment etc. to build unity
» Community Festival in June 2018 to celebrate success of project. Formerly divided groups working together to create this.
Success will be a united community working together to solve local problems. The idea that those who seem ‘different’ should contribute ideas and support will be the new norm.
The long term change in South Wales will be the reduction of of divided communities through collaborative working on the common (non divisive) issue to the community, mental health. Awareness of the issues around mental health will be enhanced, and a local group of campaigners will be empowered to feel they are able to make change on this issue and to unite a divided community through this type of campaign. With growth, this campaign will spread to other towns in South Wales.
A risk to organising in this area is to get people involved. We have trained community organisers who have been working on building the profile of HOPE not hate over the last year. This is a long term project, and we are willing to invest staff time and resources into making these changes. We see this work as essential to creating a diverse and tolerant society resistant to hate.
We will be interacting with .vulnerable people, and therefore our team will undergo safeguarding training
We will produce a written report, a spending report, and multi-media content to share.
Budget - Project Cost: £45,000Loading graph....
Amount Heading Description £1,500 Meetings Monthly community meetings including refreshments and venue hire £29,000 Staff Salary and on-costs of community organiser working on project £3,000 Media film & audio footage to publicise & celebrate project £4,000 Events Venue bookings and incidental costs of running events and decided by community groups & colunteers £3,000 Commnity Festival Venue, suppliers & resources for community festival, June 2018 £3,000 Training Safeguarding trainingin issues around mental health for staff and volunteers £1,500 Flyers & posters To leaflet and publicise the project
South Wales valleys, in particular Merthyr Tydfil.
We are already in talks with Newport councillors about doing something similar there too. The aim is to start in Merthyr and grow slowly to the point where we have self-sustaining groups across Wales who can take charge and campaign in their own right.
1. Ordinary community members (through community empowerment and a thriving local campaign)
2. People within the community who suffer with mental health (though community service provision through our allies)
We have a proven track record of community organising across England and Wales. We have extensive experience in training volunteers in community organising. We have been working in South Wales for the past twelve months, and have established excellent local networks.
Read more about the Charity running this project.
Community organiser for Merthyr/South Wales
Lead Organiser, HOPE not hate Wales