Champion Mark's top tips
- I know it sounds simple but the main job is to plan in advance what your going to do but remember not to overthink, some of the best events are as simple as some Time to Change tip cards and tea and coffee. When organising what you're going to do plan but also delegate. Try not to over stress, if something isn't going right just take time out and refresh your mind even if that means ending what you're doing for that day and starting again tomorrow.
- The main purpose is to get people talking don’t forget that it’s the main aim of the day.
- Be mindful and don't overstretch yourself. Organising an event however big or small takes time and can be not only physically draining but mentally draining too take plenty of time out moments and on the day itself remember your human you’re doing an amazing thing but you are not a superhero.
- Shout about your event to the local news media there are some great press release templates on the time to change website use them and make aware of your event
- On the day it’s always a great idea to have a general tick box list so it will aid you that you’ve done everything you needed to do
These tips are just my help and advice for you but the main thing is enjoy the day and get people talking!! Lastly Good Luck!
When to have your activity
Look at the Mental Health calendar to find out what is going on throughout the year - this may help you decide when to hold your activity.
Create a table with the weeks until your event across the top and the tasks down the side. Give yourself much more time than you think you'll need, as things often can take longer than we think. Work out what needs to be done first and think about all the steps needed for each task. As you complete tasks, you might like to cross them off in some way, so you can keep track of where you're up to and keep yourself motivated!
Finding a venue
The type of venue you'll need depends on your activity.
- Pop-up activities - These are activities where people don't know you're going to be there before e.g. a pledge wall on your local high street. They're great for reaching people who aren't interested in mental health.
Getting permission is really important. Even if the venue is a public place, you'll need to get in touch with the local council and talk through your plans.
Finding people to help out
If you feel like you'd like to do a Time to Change activity, it can really help to work with someone else. You can share your resources and ideas, support and look out for each other, and make things easier by sharing responsibility. Extra help on the day can also really help so you're not doing everything on your own.
Think about whether there is anyone else in your life who might also want to campaign against mental health stigma.
Link up with other Champions by advertising your activity on the event map on the website
Contact email@example.com to advertise your activitiy in the Champions newsletter. Please do this at least 2 months in advance.
If you'd like to find other people to work with first, take a look at the event map on the website to see if a campaign group is meeting or contact your local Community Equalities Coordinator, who may be able to put you in touch with other Champions in your area.
Promoting your activity
Time to Change activities around mental health aren’t aimed at people with mental health problems. This is because we talk about our own experience to change people’s attitudes and this works the best when people aren’t interested in or don't know much about mental health to start with.
Here are some ways to reach people who aren’t interested in mental health:
- Do an activity that isn’t obviously about mental health and then bring the conversation around to mental health – for some more ideas see Champion activities
- Go to a venue that doesn’t have anything to do with mental health e.g. rather than doing an activity at your local Mind, you could attend a Pride event, go to your local shopping centre or pop up at a pub quiz
- Either don’t advertise your event or advertise it without saying it’s only about mental health – mental health events tend to attract people interested in mental health rather than people whose attitudes we want to change, so you could either pop up in a busy area unannounced, or advertise the event as something else e.g. “street party”, “picnic”
You can find easy to edit posters here for advertising your event. You could ask to put these up in libraries, cafes and shops in your local area.
You can advertise your event on the Time to Change map.
If you have social media accounts these can also be useful in advertising activities or emailing contacts you'd like to invite.
Handing out materials
Running a coffee morning
Getting what you need without spending money
You can source some of the things you need for your activity without spending too much or any money at all.
Have a think about what you need for your activity, like a venue, and perhaps some equipment or refreshments. Next have a think about the people you know and the services or companies in your community. You may know someone who works in an office and would be able to print posters to advertise your activity. You may also know someone who is a wonderful baker and would love to make some treats for your fundraising bake sale.
If your activity needs items like pens, paper, tea or coffee, you can try approaching local businesses to see if this is something they can provide for free. Many businesses, even large supermarket chains, will sometimes happily provide some supplies for small local events or activities, especially if you explain it is for a good cause. Identify exactly what you need, have a think about where you can find it, and don’t be afraid to ask for it.
You might find it helpful to fill in this table with everything you need for your event.
Not all activities will need money, but if you need a budget here are our top tips:
- Work out how much money you already have available to spend
- Think about what your activity will include, and how much money you will need to cover everything. It’s a good idea to plan some extra money into your budget, just in case something happens, or something costs more than expected – try to include an extra 10% on top of your final figure
- Keep a track of everything you spend using a table. Download the budget template to get started
- Have a look at the "Getting what you need without spending money" section above
Fundraising for your event, activity or group doesn’t need to be hard: think small and work with what you already have. Just remember to let everyone know that you are raising money so that you can hold an anti-stigma activity, not fundraising directly for Time to Change. Here are some ideas:
A bake sale or food sale - make food yourself or ask others to bring along some treats as well. Ask for a small donation for each item (this is less complicated legally than charging a set amount) and put up labels to let people know how much you suggest
Clothes swapping - ask people to bring along clean, unwanted clothes or household items and make a small donation to take part
A sponsored event - run a marathon, hold a sponsored silence for a day, walk to work instead of getting the bus, or give up chocolate or coffee for a week, or even a month!
Time to Change is currently funding Hubs in the following areas: Birmingham, Bristol, County Durham, East Essex, Halton, Kingston, Leicester, Nottingham, Somerset, Southampton and Portsmouth, Waltham Forest and Worcestershire.
Within each area a £10,000 Champions Fund is available for local Champions to use to run anti-stigma activity. You can apply for up to £500 per activity.
Health and safety documents
If you run a Time to Change activity, one or more of the following documents might be necessary:
- A risk assessment is a document where you think about the risks to the health and safety of any other Champions and the public. You just need to make sure that what you intend to do is safe within the space you have to work in. To learn more, check out the guidance on how to write a risk assessment below, and have a look at this example of a completed risk assessment form. Download and complete this blank risk assessment form for your activity.
- A method statement is a basic description of how you will set up and run your event in a safe manner. It runs through the basic procedures you will take. You’re only likely to be asked for a method statement for larger events. Download a method statement template.
- Public Liability Insurance provides cover for anyone suffering an injury at your event or activity, that there is financial and legal cover. Find out more about Public Liability Insurance.
Writing a risk assessment
There are five basic steps to write a risk assessment:
- Look for the hazards - ignore the small things and concentrate on big hazards e.g. electricity
- Decide who may be harmed and how - e.g. other Champions, visitors, members of the public, people who aren't trained in the role they'll do. And think about possibly having no control over who enters the area
- Evaluate the risks - consider how likely it is that each hazard could cause harm. Decide whether, after all precautions have been taken, significant risks remain and whether the existing precautions are adequate
- Record your findings - the risk assessment must be suitable and sufficient. You are required under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations to assess the risks. You must record your findings should you have 5 or more Champions at an event. In addition a record of your findings will be very helpful when you come to review the assessments
- Review your assessment and revise it if necessary
Not every Time to Change activity will need electrical equipment and there is lots you can do without using it, however some activities might. If you plan to serve hot drinks outside, you will need a kettle or water boiler and if you are doing a presentation or showing films, you will need items such as a laptop, projector and speakers.
At an event that needs electrical equipment it’s important to fully think through what you need. The main things are:
- The power supply you need
- Keeping everything safe and legal
Work out exactly what electrical equipment you will need and check with the venue that the right power supply is available. For outdoor events, you might need a generator and it’s important to tell the hire company exactly what you will be using, as even a kettle or water boiler could need a lot of power.
Things to think about
If you need an electrical supply, the main things to think about are:
- How much power do you need? Check with the venue or generator hire company.
- Do you have enough sockets and cable? It’s always worth visiting your venue in advance to check where the supply comes from in your activity space.
- Ensure that any cable you use is not a trip hazard – make sure it is not trailing in places where anyone could come in to contact with it. This might require you to use cable matting, which some venues will supply but otherwise you will need to acquire some.
- All electrical equipment will need to have a Portable Appliance Test (PAT) certificate. All equipment needs to have a PAT on a yearly basis and costs £5-10 per item. An internet search for Portable Appliance Testers will help you find testers in your area. Once a piece of equipment passes the test, a sticker is attached to it, including the date of the test and you will receive a certificate listing all items tested, which you can show to the venue where your event will take place.
Top Tip: Have a practice run with any electrical equipment before your activity starts to make sure everything is working as it should.
Public Liability Insurance
The Time to Change public liability insurance provides cover for accidental injury to members of the public, or accidental damage to their property. Our products liability insurance provides cover for accidental injury or accidental damage to property resulting from products supplied. Find out more about Public Liability Insurance.
Let us know how you get on
Whether you've had a conversation about mental health while walking your dog, or you've run a big event and had hundreds of conversations, we want to hear about it! Let us know and we'll feature some of your stories on our website and in the Champions e-news.
It also enables us to keep a record of your activity as a Champion, which we can share with you upon request. We report on Champions activities (no names or personal details provided) to our funders which helps them understand the impact people with lived experience have on changing attitudes towards those of us with mental health problems.