May 5, 2010

Norwich is one of the hotbeds of anti-stigma activity - there has been a huge amount of work going on there, and in Norfolk more widely, with Time to Change's Stuff Stigma project and Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust fantastic local champions of the anti-discrimination message.

Yesterday's live pledge event at the Norwich Forum was another inspirational effort to engage the people of Norwich in the campaign. The visual pledge mosaic grabbed your attention as you walked into the Forum. Years ago, people would have avoided our stand - but it feels different now. The tide is starting to turn and people are more willing to engage with the issue and open up about their own experiences. We had a great response with lots of people adding their photos and personal pledges to the mosaic or recording video pledges. Well done to Oz Osborne, Stuff Stigma's project manager, and the whole crew who made it happen, not least all those who made their pledge.

After the live pledge event, it was on to Norwich Mind for another inspiring event - happy 45th birthday! At the celebration, the Lord Mayor of Norwich, Councillor Evelyn Collishaw, became the first Mayor to pledge their support to Time to Change. There were some incredibly moving speeches from Mind First Aid associates Amanda and Steve, who spoke so openly and set an amazing example. It's people speaking out in their own communities about their own experiences that are so vital in this movement for change. So thanks to Amanda and Steve, and to all the other media volunteers and champions who have been making change happen by telling their own stories over the last few weeks. You are an inspiration!

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