Mid Essex Mind : A culture of trust can make all the difference

“At the heart of any wellbeing project are the beneficiaries, the people who through their involvement with the project can now look at life with a new perspective and replace negative, often self-deprecating thoughts with hopeful, positive and motivating fresh ideas.

The Wellbeing in the East portfolio has engaged with over 30,000 individuals across almost 30 projects aimed at improving the health, well-being and happiness of local people and families. Our projects often meet marginalised, or vulnerable adults and believe in building relationships based on trust and supporting people to make small changes to improve their quality of life.

‘Anna’ saw a poster at her GP surgery for Mid Essex Mind’s ‘Building Balance and Resilience’ project.

She is 22 and has a social phobia. She came along to one of our sessions with her mother but was too worried to enter the building. One of the project staff introduced herself and reassured ‘Anna’ that the session was very informal and friendly. We sat Anna and her mother near the door so Anna could leave if things got too much.

During this first session, Anna made no eye contact and didn’t engage in any conversation. She left the room on a number of occasions but did complete the kite making project we were doing that day. We encouraged her to go outside and fly the kite, and although initially reluctant, she did join the others.

Anna attended many of our workshops, and over the next 18 months learnt cooking, crafts and exercise. She was soon able to hold short conversations, look people in the eye and even joined in some sessions without needing her mother there.

mid essexmindAnna’s mother says her daughter’s wellbeing and confidence has drastically improved and she’s gradually overcoming her anxieties and phobias. She now has cognitive behaviour therapy, which is helping her develop coping strategies. It’s been so satisfying to watch this young lady progress so well.

There are many stories like Anna’s coming to light through our wellbeing projects, stories of hope, courage and self-discovery. These wouldn’t happen without the time and commitment of the wonderful project teams up and down the country, and of course the beneficiaries who take themselves out of their comfort zone and put their trust in a complete stranger.”

Beneficiary case study produced by Enable East’s Well-being in the East portfolio, 2015. Available online: Why a culture of trust makes all the difference, Susannah Howard, Director of Enable East, Big Lottery Fund blog, 15th July 2015 http://bigblog.org.uk/2015/07/15/why-a-culture-of-trust-makes-all-the-difference/

→Further details and references in the Wellbeing 2 evaluation