How our members adapted

A series of ten films edited by Flexible Films showcasing the ways our members used NSUN COVID-19 funding to adapt their activities through the pandemic and talking through thoughts of the future for user-led groups.

African Health Policy Network (Ffena) 

Maureen Ndawana, Community and Engagement Officer for the African Health Policy Network and coordinator of Ffena, a network of Africans in the UK living with and affected by HIV, tells us about how they have been able to keep their members connected with help from NSUN.

AHPN aims to improve the health and wellbeing of BAME people living in the UK who are disproportionately affected by long term health conditions such as HIV, mental health issues, diabetes, cancer and others. They work to lessen the impacts of these inequalities and challenge intersecting issues of stigma, marginalisation, isolation, poverty, discrimination and racism - which in turn impact health outcomes. Money from the NSUN COVID-19 fund helped them purchase devices for their elderly members to keep them connected throughout isolation.

You can find out more about AHPN and Ffena here.

SM Talking Circles

Jane Salazar, founder of SM Talking Circles, talks about her group for adults with a history of selective mutism that has led to mental distress. She set up the group after her own experiences led to her wanting to join a peer group.

They have been able to move online with an updated Zoom account and have started planning the use of non-verbal platforms like Miro or Jamboard for their group using money from the NSUN COVID-19 fund. They are also creating letter/email templates for members of the group to use to help communicate with services or employers - you can see a previous example here. Members' confidence has been growing online, and they are looking into setting up sub-groups for producing more resources for adults with selective mutism. 

To find out more about the group, you can contact them at [email protected]

Mashriq Resource Challenge Centre

MCRC is an organisation in Birmingham that aims to create a safe and welcoming space for disadvantaged South Asian women with mental health issues. 

Salma Lokat from MCRC tells us about how they also provide culturally sensitive, practical help in the form of hot food and essentials delivered by people who speak languages most commonly used by south Asian women, which is particularly important for women who have no close family or friends around to look after them, or people who do not use technology so can't find assistance this way. This has been continued during COVID-19 thanks to funding from NSUN.

Find out more by contacting MCRC on [email protected] or 077911112708

Talking Sense

Talking Sense is a Hearing Voices Group in London. It was founded by two people, Lauren and Janey, with personal experience of voices, visions and other unusual sensory experiences and is 100% peer volunteer led. They met in the evenings on Brick Lane in London, creating a non-medical space for 9-5 workers, students and night owls to discuss experiences of voices and visions. They start with a check-in that sets the "agenda" for the evening, so to speak, but there's no expectation to talk.

Janey tells us that like many groups, they had to move online during the pandemic, and were able to do this with funding from NSUN. They found they were joined by people outside of London and connected more with people in the Hearing Voices Movement. More services have reached out to them to find out more about their group to spread the word to more people.

To find out more about Talking Sense, click here or follow them on Twitter @TalkingSense_

Wish

Wish is a user-led charity for women experiencing mental health difficulties in prisons, hospitals and the community. 

Kelly Royer, Community Link Worker, tells us that many women have found it very difficult to adapt to sudden changes brought about by lockdown, but the NSUN COVID-19 grant enabled Wish to purchase Zoom to keep their meetings and drop-in service going. On top of this, they were also able to run workshops around managing anxieties, and provided packs to women who couldn't make it to the sessions or didn't have access to IT. They're hoping to run IT sessions for women who are unfamiliar with using technology or are otherwise digitally excluded, and to set up a positive pathways project that focusses on enabling what the women they support want to achieve.

Visit their website here.

Adira

This week we hear from Adira, a survivor-led mental health and wellbeing organisation based in Sheffield supporting Black people with mental health issues. They were able to pay for a Black therapist to do a listening training course for their peer supporters with COVID-19 funding from NSUN.

Find out more about Adira by visiting their brand new website here.


Taraki

Taraki works with Punjabi communities to create spaces where all individuals can access mental health awareness, education, and support to better care for themselves and one-another. They aim to reshape approaches to mental health.

Shuranjeet Singh, founder, tells us about how funding from the NSUN COVID-19 grant enabled Taraki to to continue their groups and engage further members of Punjabi communities in conversations about mental health through Zoom. They've also created social media assets, reports, posters, and more with a Canva subscription to enable new work with graphic design.

Kuljit Brogal, LGBTQ+ Support Group Facilitator, speaks to us about how they've been able to get their website going, aiming to be a one-stop shop for LGBTQ+ Punjabi people to connect with each other. They're also now aiming to extend some groups beyond London. You can find out more about Taraki here.

Traveller Pride

Tyler Hatwell, founder of Traveller Pride, lets us know what additional activity they've been able to do as an NSUN's COVID-19 grantee to support their members, including training volunteers for a new phoneline and providing psychotherapy sessions to Travellers from therapists who have worked with Travellers before and have received some training from Tyler.

You can find out more about Traveller Pride here.


Let's Talk About Loss

Beth French, Founder and Director of Let's Talk About Loss, tells us about the additional activity they've been able to carry out with money from NSUN's COVID-19 grant to extend the offer of support to bereaved 18-35 year olds. 

You can find out more about Let's Talk About Loss here or follow them on Twitter @talkaboutloss. 


Nomad Radio

Mohamed Ismail and Amina Farhan, both presenters on Nomad Radio, the first Somali radio station in the UK, tell us about the work they've been able to do with the COVID-19 grant money from NSUN's COVID-19 fund.

They produced three audio bytes exploring issues of mental health in the community during the pandemic, looking at the impact of things like social distancing on mental wellbeing.

You can visit their website here, or follow them on Twitter: @nomadradio

To see our #NSUNcovidlife film series, where members talk about their experiences of lockdown, click here.

For more information relating to COVID-19 and user-led groups, click here.