Creative Minds, a linked charity of South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, have developed a social buddy scheme known as the TwoCan project. It supports those across South West Yorkshire who are struggling with their mental health. It is designed to help address certain issues made worse by the pandemic, causing so many more to be affected by social isolation, low mood, and increasingly poor mental health.
The project pairs Volunteers with those most affected, based on shared hobbies, activities and interests, to connect local people. It reaches out to individuals who have been hit hardest to provide a welcome relief from social isolation.
Project Lead Ben Cross said:
‘Our volunteers will be helping local people in a safe way by sharing what is important and inspiring to them. Everyone who gets involved will make new friends, help those friends gain confidence, overcome anxieties, and share excitement about exploring new ideas and activities together.’
‘We hope that our volunteers will offer an hour of their time per week to support others, but that is just a guideline. Volunteers can give more time, or spread their availability across other individuals if they wish. Interactions between Buddies might begin as a phone call, a few texts per week to check in with one another, or a socially distanced walk where possible. Our aim is get get people talking, making friends, swapping ideas and trying new things.’
Creative Minds have launched a communal storyboard on their website too, known as the ‘Universal Story’. Anyone can access the platform to co-create and share stories, write songs or poetry, or just share thoughts and experiences with one another, or across the Universal Story community.
All of this is so that when we can all take part in face-to-face activities again safely, there will be friendly faces there that we recognise, and can make us all feel more comfortable about reconnecting and rediscovering life outside of social restrictions.
Anyone looking to get involved in the project or would like more information, take a look at the Creative Minds website www.southwestyorkshire.nhs.uk/creative-minds-projects/twocan/. If you would like to enquire about becoming a Creative Minds Volunteer, email Creative Minds at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 01924 316 285.