Some of this may seem familiar, as it’s featured in previous blog posts, but I think it’s good to not only issue it as a reminder, but as a call out to those who have already expressed an interest in Making Minds and those that we’ve met since the April volunteers meeting, to actually start delivering.
It’s pretty simple, the more people that get involved at this stage, the quicker we can get to the point of becoming a fully-fledged social enterprise that can start to make a real difference in mental health and the arts in Wales. Making Minds is taking an innovative approach – an innovation that is badly needed in terms of mental health, with art and creativity the ideal platform to achieve our aims. You get a chance to be a part of something new, something different and something which can be a game changer in our communities.
We’ve been invited to get involved in the following events, which are at different stages of their own progress, but nonetheless relevant to the work of Making Minds. I’ll list the potential volunteer roles alongside each one:
1. Cardiff Mind fundraising gig. We should know, later this week, exactly when and where the gig is being held. However, it’s likely to be in a well known venue (or venues) in Cardiff city centre in the middle of August. Time to Change Wales have already offered to provide volunteers to help out, particularly in terms of awareness raising. We are working with the organisers to identify other volunteering opportunities. They could come in promoting / marketing the gig, awareness raising of Making Minds in and around the venue(s). I don’t know whether there is a need for technical support within the venue, during the gig, but there might be some oddjobs to do during the course of the event. It could be a useful consultation opportunity and to sign up other volunteers.
2. Craft of Hearts craft fair. We’ve only just found out about this event. It’s going to be held on August 18th, venue tbc but potentially somewhere in Rhondda Cynon Taf. We’ve been offered an exhibition space, which we could use to not only raise awareness of Making Minds, but to consult with people on the type of services they’d like to see us offer and the types of events they’d like to see us organise. We could also ‘recruit’ new members to the Making Minds network and identify people that need our support. We will need people to work on the stand, to talk to visitors and other exhibitors.
3. World Mental Health Day events. We’ve already been asked to help plan Merthyr Tydfil’s official event for World Mental Health Day, to be held on October 9th, and hope to have a similar involvement in the RCT event, which we believe is being held a few days before. In the Merthyr event, it is possible that we will be asked to run creative workshops and some sort of consultation exercise. We’ll know more after the next planning meeting for the event. However, if you are skilled in running creative workshops we are especially keen to hear from you. The organisers may also be looking to have some sort of entertainment at the event, which could be drama, music, poetry and dance. If you’re up for it, let us know.
4. We’re helping to bring a touring production, that has a mental health theme, to community venues in South Wales. We really can’t say much about this at the moment, but it’s going to be good and will be free for members of the public to attend. It’s likely to be held throughout October. Our role will be to help promote the event(s) to relevant audiences and to help raise awareness of Making Minds at the events. More details as we’re able to publish them.
It’s great to be involved in other people’s events but if there’s capacity (and money), we will also try to stage our own Making Minds event before the end of 2013.
In addition to the events, we also still need help with the following:
– People to put themselves forward for the initial Making Minds steering group. We might look to vote on the roles of chair, secretary and treasurer at the next volunteers meeting.
– Helping with marketing (producing marketing materials, generating media coverage, supporting social media pages and developing website) – if this is your cup of tea, let us know. In terms of producing marketing materials, we will aim to pay you retrospectively for the first piece of work. If we really like your work, we could potentially offer a retainer to produce materials for Making Minds on an ongoing basis.
– Providing creative ideas (let your mind run free, as we look for ideas of events and other activities). We’re looking to stage events, with art and creativity as the vehicle, to help raise awareness of mental health / illness and to help tackle stigma and discrimination. Ideally, these events will maximise social interaction between people with and without direct experience of mental ill health.
– Sourcing grants and contracts. Once we’re constituted, we’ll be applying for small grants to run pilot activities with. Once those activities have been completed and evaluated, we will hopefully have sufficient evidence to go into larger funding and contract bids. If you know of a grant scheme that you think we should be going for, let us know. If you’re experienced at applying for funding, all the better.
– Developing fundraising ideas (as above).
– Supporting research. We are looking for existing groups and organisations to be involved in our ongoing research, that will help to evaluate the health benefits of arts and creativity. It is likely that we will proceed with a feasibility study, once there is funding in place to pay for it.
– Running creative workshops (this could be everything from drama to creative writing, painting to music tuition and so much more). Workshops could be hour-long taster sessions to full days.
– Supporting artists and creative entrepreneurs (this is about one of our key aims – see the ‘about’ section on this blog site for more details).
As another update, we will be working on a revamped bid to the Time to Change Wales Social Leadership Programme. This will be based on using art and creativity to work in the NHS and with patients to tackle stigma and discrimination. Happy to provide more details if required.
If you would like to get involved in any of the above, please either comment on this blog post, with details of what you’re able to do or what you can offer and your availability, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, send us a message on Facebook (www.facebook.com/makingmindssouthwales) or on Twitter @making_minds.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Thanks for reading.