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in Lockdown
There's no health without mental health.

Transforming Communities Together

Su Parker

Bringing People Together Coordinator in the Black Country, Staffordshire, and North Shropshire

What was the challenge you identified?

We used to support churches and other organisations to run Places of Welcome, a network of welcoming coffee mornings, and they closed, so people weren’t able to meet in groups, and now haven’t for nearly a year. We saw people using online platforms for groups to meet and also a lack of knowledge and confidence to run similar groups in some other groups

What was your solution?

We devised a network called Bringing People Together where we train and support hosts to run groups in their area. Each weekly meeting can be joined by telephone, mobile or computer as well as following a set of principles where everyone is invited, welcomed, and offered a place of mutual respect.

What difference has it made?

We now have over 14 groups running in the Black Country, Staffordshire and Shropshire with currently over 100 people finding friendships, laughter and encouragement – all from the comfort of their own home. One person said that the sessions give him a routine and are highlight of his week. He has been able to talk through what has happened to him during the week, and where his mental health is at that moment. He is also learning how to be more polite in social conversations. Another participant used to always a wall flower at the physical sessions, but now tells a ‘joke of the week’, and participates fully in quiz time. He likes being able to keep his camera off as it gives him more confidence.

We started a network called Bringing People Together where we train and support hosts. We now have over 14 groups, where people feel open to talk about their mental health. For some, being online has increased confidence to participate.
Transforming Communities Together, Lichfield