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Case Studies

Wellbee-ing Project

Published by Beccy Ashford
Clubhouse Worker and Wellbee-ing Project Lead
Mary Frances Trust
Email beccyashford@maryfrancestrust.org.uk
Telephone 01372 375 400

The Wellbee-ing project is based at the Leatherhead Clubhouse, funded by the Big Lottery Wellbeing fund. The project aims to improve people's sense of wellbeing both physically & mentally by running sessions and groups along with supporting people to access resources in the community.

Wellbee-ing Project

The people we helped are/were...

Members of The Leatherhead Clubhouse and other people in the local community who experience mental health problems.

What they have said was...

" I really enjoy play reading; it has helped me with my launguage and conversation skills and made me feel more confident"

"Having the chance to live the same as the rest of society- making friends, forgetting you have a mental health problem"

"I find cycling relaxing and tranquil, and it's a very good stress relief"

"I've now given up smoking for 12 weeks, I've got more energy and I can breathe more easily"

"It makes me feel a lot better going to the gym, makes me feel happier and more optimistic throughout the day. The gym is a very good environment to be in"

We set up the project because...

The physical health status and mortality rates of people with severe and enduring mental health problems are markedly worse than the population in general. Rates of smoking and obesity are high.? Medications used to treat schizophrenia increase weight gain and can predispose people to Type 2 diabetes. For all these reasons healthy eating and physical exercise are of particular importance to our members. Mental illness can diminish self-confidence and lead to isolation. This means that people need support to access health services and opportunities for exercise. Most of our members are on low income, making access to both leisure activities and a full range of healthy food a considerable challenge.

Stigma is a major problem for people with mental health problems. We intend to work with organisations offering services to our members to raise their awareness of mental health issues.

The change we want/wanted to bring about is/was...

The project aims to improve people's sense of physical and mental wellbeing.

What we did or are doing

To establish exactly what the project was to offer and what was wanted, we asked the Leatherhead Clubhouse User Focus Monitoring Group (consisting of members and staff) to conduct a survey by way of a questionnaire and focus groups. Every member (over 200) was given the opportunity to give their views and ideas on what they would like to see the project offer. We had a very positive feedback from this survey and have used this information to build the project.

 

Members told us that they needed information, on-going support and some specialist advice to improve their eating and their level of physical activity.? They put a lot of emphasis on the value of personal support from both staff members and peers to overcome their lack of self-confidence and motivation.

 

Members also told us that a large variety of activities improved their sense of well-being.? These included art and craft, creative writing, alternative therapies, relaxation and various physical activities.

 

We have plannned our project around these findings and will review with people on an individual basis how well we are meeting their needs and aspirations.? We also plan to carry out a further survey at the end of years 1 and 2.

 

Since the project got started in January this year, we have offered a wide range of taster sessions ranging from?cooking for one to cycling groups. We have also set up groups specifically for men with activities they had identified.

 

We have also produced two quarterly newsletters, providing information? and resources, supported people to access resources in the community, worked with outside partners and organisations, provided specialist advice on mental well-being, healthy eating etc and provided specialist information for men's and women's issuses.

We chose this method because...

As an organisation we are committed to?having a?user-led services.? Our experience has been that involving our members in every stage of developing and reviewing services will lead to services being more acceptable and better designed to meet their needs.? It also means that people have a?greater sense of ownership over the agency which promotes greater involvement and participation.

What's happened is...

Our key achievements have been-

  • Developing a user-friendly induction form for the project in consultation with our members.
  • Engaging 28 members in the project
  • Running some very succsessful taster sessions in, Play reading, Cooking for one, Tai Chi, Brain gym, Walking group, Cycling group and a Beginers' cycling group.

 

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  • We are particularly pleased to have engaged our male members in two men's group fishing days
  • We have attended a complimentary therapy day and taken part in a sponsored bike ride.
  • Our most recent taster sessions have been two 5 week courses for both the women's and men's groups looking at holistic therapies such as Indian head massage and reflexology.

What we'd do differently...

We continue to be struck by two things-

Physical exercise is immensely effective in helping people to manage anger, stress and low mood.? There are consideable differences in what sort of exercise is acceptable between men and women and individuals of different backgrounds.? We have found gym membership both acceptable and immmensely beneficial to some of our male members.

Secondly, many people with mental health issues will need continued support to participate in physical activity (i.e. they are unlikely to continue this on their own and on-going support networks will need to be created at the end of the project).

The lessons learnt as a result of this project so far have been that although both male and female mebers told us that they needed support to exercise, women seem to be predominantly 'social exercisers' and men seemed more likely to be (but not always) 'solitary excercisers' (except for team sports). Also women tended to use excercise to improve their health (and looks) and raise their mood and self esteem whilst men are motivated by health, stress and anger. This has given us some insight into how we needed to design our activities for our male and female members.

Evaluation

The project is being evaluated using User Focus Monitoring carried out by members of The Leatherhead Clubhouse. We are also using individual evaluation forms where people can record their progress with a quarterly goal setting meeting. This information is available on request.

This project helped to deliver...

 

The project is now...

Ongoing

Additional information or comments?

 

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Lead Organisation Mary Frances Trust
Geographical Area Surrey
Outcomes Community cohesion, Developing talent, Improving health, Increasing participation
Beneficiary Age Adults, Older People (Over 60)
Beneficiary Groups People at risk of mental health problems
Type of activity Mental wellbeing, Physical activity & Healthy eating strands
Primary Theme Chances4Change
Secondary Themes Eating for Health Healthy Weight Mental Wellbeing Physical Activity

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