To help make Histon and Impington a mental health friendly community we have just appointed our first Histon and Impington Mental Wellbeing Champion. Annabell Webb started in April 2017 and will be getting to know the community, planning and starting new initiatives that will make a big difference to the mental wellbeing of us all.
Community concern about the number of young people suffering from mental health issues provided the impetus for the creation of the Village Mental Health Forum in May 2015. The Forum organised the first Village Mental Wellbeing Week in April 2016. During the week a survey, completed by 162, people identified the need to increase activity and for a focal point for people of all ages who may have mental health concerns.
The Forum decided to progress a new proactive community engagement role and a working party, including professionals, defined the scope of the ‘village mental wellbeing champion’ role. The main objectives are:
- Increase mental wellbeing awareness and break down barriers in the villages
- Assist with early intervention and prevention through new community initiatives
- Provide signposting and advocate for support services
The approach will be for Annabell to work with the community and existing providers to develop, deliver and coordinate a range of activities and groups in the villages to promote mental wellbeing for all ages. The Forum community stakeholders including doctors, schools, youth and family workers will be closely involved and are essential to the success of the project. The champion will signpost to existing clinical provision as this is not a clinical role.
HICOM, the Histon & Impington Community Welfare Charity, will manage the initiative through a dedicated project group including a volunteer line manager and a local professional counsellor who will provide operational support and advice to the champion. HICOM presently manages the Village Older Persons Coordinator initiative and operates the Village Community Minibus so has experience of managing community welfare projects.
Over the last three months project funding of nearly £30,000 has been secured from a variety of sources to cover costs for a two year period. Histon & Impington Parish Council has led the funding and grants have been received from Comic Relief Communities Charity programme, a charitable fund managed by Cambridgeshire Community Foundation, and the Chivers Baterson Charity. St Andrews Church, Histon will support for next two years plus Histon & Impington Feast and Friends of Histon & Impington Recreation have each donated