September 16, 2013

Time to Change pop up Village in BristolWell, Bristol Village where do I start…amazing weekend all round, albeit exhausting, but a rewarding exhaustion if you know what I mean! Bristol Harbour Festival has always been very well attended, figures of which have increased over the latter years. A good mix of people, in great form and of course the weather really helped in the spirit of things, apart from the one storm on the Saturday of course, but as always, we British remain lifted even when the rain falls! The area in which we set up, was perfect (taking into consideration the crowds) and being in line with Happy City was a great success!

The feedback and response from the public was very encouraging

The feedback and response from the public was very encouraging indeed, many had not heard of Time to Change, but engaged quite readily in conversation, each and everyone having lived with or had experience of mental health challenges with friends and family, some of which really were quite sad. Everyone I spoke with was very impressed with the presentation of the Village, the music was a great barrier breakthrough and the Post Office a huge success, although I did have one guy who enquired as to any information we may have regarding savings accounts - love it! All in all the feedback was very positive. I personally had no negative response, except for one lady who felt the whole Festival be ‘too commercial dear!’ and as for Time to Change… ‘I already have someone to talk to’… fair enough!

The volunteers were great

The volunteers were great especially considering many had not encountered such an approach in public before. I can only speak for myself of course, in that meeting with like-minded people with shared life experience was certainly a great help and highlights the value and importance of the campaign objective -.awareness...time to talk....greater understanding. Every step, no matter how small, is telling of just how much we have progressed during the latter years. Being of the older generation (no comment please!) I have certainly witnessed a huge change. However, I am realistic and realise through my work as an NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) Practitioner and speaking with people over the Harbour Festival weekend, we do indeed still have a long way to progress. With great sadness I did speak with three families, all of which had lost a member of their family through mental health, unfortunately and unbelievably not only was the support not there, but they were all unaware of the pain their loved one had encountered. Courageously these were people wishing to support the campaign further!

Meeting with the founders of Happy City, was a great insight

On a lighter note, meeting with the founders of Happy City, was a great insight -.amazing people having already achieved so much in their short time of being! Again, inspiring, as to how many bodies have joined forces with their cause! Happy indeed! We were delighted that the newly elected Mayor George Fergusson paid a visit to our event and signed a pledge. We very much hope to follow this through with an official pledge signing - it would be great to achieve this! We had an amazing amount of new Champions sign up after the event, which is great news and we are now hoping to follow this up in the Autumn – it would be fantastic to meet and keep the momentum flowing! Thank you all, for your support!

For me, I have met some really interesting and inspiring people along the way and very much enjoyed being part of the Bristol Village group. What was really apparent for me was that people are willing not only to talk but would like to support, or continue further with the campaign. So, as I said at the outset, amazing weekend with a more than encouraging response!

Want to find out more about the Village events that have been taking place this summer?

Take a look at some of the photos from the events.

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What are Time to Change Champions?

Time to Change Champions are people with lived experience of mental health problems (including carers) who campaign to end mental health discrimination in their communities.

Sign up to become a Time to Change Champion and raise awareness by speaking out about your experiences at events and anti-stigma projects.

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Too many people are made to feel ashamed. By sharing your story, you can help spread knowledge and perspective about mental illness that could change the way people think about it.