Welcome to the ABCD Project, a 9 month project that ended on Saturday 30th January 2016 when hundreds of people attended a huge Winter Wellbeing Festival at Connaught Hall in Attleborough.
Whilst the project is now over, we do want to make sure we maximise the learning we got from it so we have organised an ABCD Showcase & Equality Soup event in Loddon on Thursday 14th April, from 2-6pm at the Lecture Hall, George Lane. From 2-5 we will have a series of short talks from all the different people involved in the project telling you what they learnt (with tea and homemade cake at 3pm) and from 5-6pm we will have Equality Soup with the team from Rosie Lee’s. Everybody welcome.
We had great press coverage of our Winter Wellbeing Festival. It was in the EDP, Norwich Evening News and all the local weeklies.
The original aim of the project was to map the services and support that’s available in the community for people experiencing mental health issues. By the magic of ABCD (Asset-Based Community Development) we achieved so much more than that. ABCD inspired us to take a total community approach to mental health, to recognise that we are all vulnerable to mental health issues and that the best way to tackle social isolation is to build stronger communities. ABCD asks “what’s strong with you?” not “what’s wrong with you?”; “what are your skills, talents and gifts?” not “what’s your diagnosis?”
Our aim became to inspire communities across South Norfolk to be more caring, welcoming places where neighbours looked out for one another during tough times – just like the old days. We gave out eight £250 We Can Wellbeing Awards to people who wanted to promote wellbeing where they lived. We travelled to community events – Wayland Agricultural Show, Mulbarton Fireworks, Diss Christmas Lights Switch-On – and sat in cafes and support groups talking to people. We asked “what keeps you well?” and we wrote everything down on a giant map. We worked with artist Allison Bradnock to draw a map of all the things we discovered. Here it is:
One of the great resources we discovered is the Norfolk Directory – a website where you can find out about all the clubs, services and support in your area. The idea is that people upload the information themselves and make sure they keep it fresh – in this way it should always be up-to-date. The website address is www.norfolk.gov.uk/directory
The ABCD Project was funded by NHS East of England Strategic Clinical Network and the Project Partners are South Norfolk CCG, Together for Mental WellBeing, Healthwatch and Norfolk County Council. Kevin James was our Service User Representative from Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust. The ABCD Project was a co-production – this meant people with lived experience of mental health issues helped to steer the project at every level – and we all worked together as equals.