COVID-19: How Headspace Bolton have adapted

The Coronavirus pandemic that we face is a once-in-a-generation event for us all.  No one could have fully prepared for this. Now, more than ever, we need to make sure that we can continue to support vulnerable people.

Headspace Bolton, funded by money raised by Health Lottery North West, offers stand-up comedy training sessions for people affected by mental health issues.  The project – led by comedy professionals – includes writing, performance and leadership skills as well as opportunities for regular performance.  People come together for support and guidance, and to develop connections with each other.

In light of the Coronavirus outbreak, the group stopped their physical sessions.  Instead they took their talents online, continuing the scriptwriting and planning improvisation sessions over Skype to include everyone who is self-isolating. They are also running online podcasting, scriptwriting and stand-up courses for their members.  They remain as determined as ever to ensure their members are supported.

Ginny Allende-Cullen, Project Coordinator at Headspace Bolton, said: “Our members really appreciate the routine and human contact, which is so important to their wellbeing. It’s so important to continue as much as we can during this time. Anyone supporting The Health Lottery at this time is helping groups like us who would otherwise be vulnerable.

Following the government’s decision to stop all but essential activities, Ginny said: “One man who wasn't able to join the group previously, due to having pneumonia, is now able to join in online.  A woman who used to be a member but had to leave is now able to return.  She has been unable to work after having to self-isolate.  It also gives the opportunity for people who may not have had the courage to join at first, to now join in online."

John Hume, CEO of People’s Heath Trust (which distributes money raised through The Health Lottery) said: “This is a difficult time for local people, and for the local charities which do an amazing job supporting them.  Some are using technology and other methods to make sure people stay connected.  But we know that as the virus gets worse, demand will increase greatly.

“We desperately need to be able to keep supporting local charities.  The only way we can do this is if we receive more funds raised through The Health Lottery.  Thank you for your continuing support and if you’re new to this, please consider supporting local charities by playing The Health Lottery.

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