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Getting people talking

Getting people talking

While #connectwithnature was a central theme for Mental Health Awareness Week this year, the main aim every year is to raise awareness and get people talking and our projects in Bolton organised several successful ways of achieving that.

A conversation with residents at Muamba House led to a decision to organise a pool tournament to bring people together.

The project has a pool table, but new cues were needed. One of the residents went online, priced everything up and the pool cues were ordered. The same resident then made a poster to inform and get together a list of the residents involved. Staff say he isn’t a confident on a computer, so these were real achievements.

Six residents and two staff took part in the tournament and after two-and-a-half hours they had a winner!!. He was absolutely delighted. He was presented with a certificate and was awarded a year’s membership to the Community Grocery Store.  

During the tournament there were residents who don’t usually mix talking and having a good time. It has led to a lot more pool being played since which is a successful outcome.

The tournament winner, Levi, went to the Community Grocery Store during the week with Senior Project Worker Helen Hesford accompanying him for his first shop. He filled his bags! Helen also took charge of a gardening session during the week which saw residents get outdoors and being active.

Later in the week at Muamba, instead of simply asking residents to come to the lounge to talk about mental health, Tenancy Sustainability Officer Carl Hesford had an idea that, as he says: “Even though I am 34 with three kids and don’t really have the time to, how I relax and take my mind off things is by playing on games. In fact, I’m a little obsessed and have bought many retro gaming machines, so I thought I would bring some in and get a conversation going.

“Apart from talking about mental health and coping strategies, it was a lovely nostalgic event. Staff and residents openly talking about growing up and things we used to do, things that we did that kids now don’t, as well as playing some classic games.”

At Fleet House a quiz was organised by Peripatetic Support Worker Adam O’Leary to bring residents together. They competed as teams and ended up tying. Tenancy Sustainability Officer Debbie Southern and My Life Coach Farida Patel organised a mental health talk.

To end Mental Health Week and to help Muslim residents celebrate Eid, a barbecue was organised by Nicola Michaels, My Life Coach, at Muamba House. Nicola says lots of residents played a part. “JK helped me prep food and made the chicken skewers; MA took charge of the halal side of things for his fellow Muslim residents, SL helped light the BBQs and LF and MG did the cooking, which I’m pleasantly surprised at what a fantastic job they did!”

Well done to our staff in Bolton, they did a fantastic job of setting up activities to help residents start conversations and make connections.