Friday, 27 July 2018

Mindful Melody- Our Social Action Project

 Hello! I’m Marti and I’m part of a team of young people currently taking part in the nationally accredited NCS - National Citizen Service programme, lead by Flying Futures. We have previously taken part in a survival camp (which taught us patience, if nothing else), as well as a stay at Harrogate Ladies' College, where we developed our social skills. The programme has helped us grow in unimaginable ways and taught us skills, such as how to survive in the elements with nothing, which we would never learn in school. Through Young Enterprise workshops and inspirational talks by social entrepreneurs, we believe we have learned what it takes to positively impact our local community of Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

After asking members of the public what they believed was the most important issue in the community, we concluded that mental health issues deserved our utmost attention. Throughout the next week, our team will be planning and take part in a fundraiser for Harrogate Mind. Having such a broad topic as a focus area has left lots of room for research and the need to educate ourselves on the issues those with mental illness face. This has been challenging, especially when your day consists of sending twenty emails and making even more phone calls! Our team have been so self-motivated, and are lead by an awesome team leader who is always going the extra mile for us. We’ve had lots of obstacles to overcome as a group, such as conflicting opinions and clashing characters, but have always overcome them knowing that our differences make our team even stronger.
We have been so overwhelmed by the generosity that has come our way and the number of times our requests have been accepted by the community. It’s proved to us that people are passionate about mental health and truly believe in the young generation of today- even if it sometimes doesn’t feel like it! We’ve had raffle donations from big brand names and have even been encouraged by the local police force! Our Facebook page has been steadily growing each day, reaching fifty likes after twenty-four hours, and eighty the next day. Mental health is an issue that affects all of us, either directly or indirectly, which is proven through the endless support we have received.
On Thursday morning, we were invited to a breakfast with Mind, Harrogate. To say that we were impacted by what we saw and what was said to us is a huge understatement. There was such a loving and relaxed atmosphere around the centre and the people there, and though many of them were suffering through personal battles, they were armed with so much strength, and willingness, allowing them to share their stories. Despite this, the visit wasn’t easy. I spoke to one man who shared his story of mental instability disorder with the most beautiful vulnerability. He smiled as he told us that he loves life and wouldn’t change his past for the world. I spoke to another man who told me that he liked magic, On the Buses and Barbara Windsor. I then got up to approach a woman sat alone looking lonely. I didn’t know whether she wanted company or whether she wanted to be alone but figured that the worst that could happen was rejection. As I told a worker at the centre later: I didn’t realise how much that rejection would hurt.
As soon as I reached her side and said ‘hello’, she picked up her plate and stormed past me. She put her plate on the side counter and sat on a sofa, muttering about me. I was hurt. I knew that her actions were no reflection of me, but I could feel her pain inside me. To feel so threatened and upset when others approach you is a circumstance I can only imagine. I can merely imagine the inner pain she was facing. I went outside and prayed for that woman. I think being so highly sensitive was a struggle in a facility where others are struggling, but it made me feel so grateful for my own health. The man I originally spoke to came and sat next to me later and spoke the most truth I have ever heard. He told me that it was bound to be a shock coming to a place like this with no prior experience and that we were doing a good thing.
Our team is planning a number of fundraiser activities next week, including a live music event, talks by users of mental health facilities, a ‘Positive Mental Attitude’ wall, as well as a raffle and more voluntary work with Harrogate Mind. We’re hoping to raise funds to help refurbish a quiet space where members can take time out to talk and invest in facilities for their choir and art group. The people who use Mind drop in all seemed so grateful to have the facility and not one negative word was uttered about it. The project is based entirely on goodwill and donations, with no budget for materials. We are so honoured to have a line up of five bands who have agreed to play free of charge in aid of Mind and to have been encouraged by the local community. It would mean the world to the team and me for anyone reading to spread the message and share awareness of our Facebook page, where details of the event will be held. We are in need of technical equipment so that our bands can perform, as well as publicity.
Any help would mean the universe to us, and help us on our mission to lift the stigma from mental health!
Thank you very much for reading,
Marti Stelling

Logistics and planning :)

1 comment:

  1. I love what you're doing Marti! I think that the generosity of your group, to give your time and effort to such a widespread issue is amazing, and really helps show that today's youth is not as unmindful as first impressions may have people believe! Xxx