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 is a project to support those around Barnsley who may be struggling with their mental health. It has been designed to help with 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 together Volunteers and those most affected, based on shared hobbies, activities and interests, to make local people feel more connected. It is a way of reaching out to individuals who have been hit hardest, and provide 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. All who get involved will have opportunities to make new friends, help those new friends gain confidence, overcome anxieties, and share excitement about exploring new ideas and activities together.’
‘We hope that our volunteers will offer one hour of their time per week to support others, but that is just a guideline. Volunteers can give more time, or more of their availability to other individuals if they wish. Interactions between Buddies might begin as a phone call, a few texts per week, a socially distanced walk if possible, or video conferencing call. Our aim is to get people talking, making friends, swapping ideas and trying new things together.’
‘We’ve even launched up a communal storyboard, known as the Universal Story on our Creative Minds website. This is so Buddies can have a platform to co-create and share stories, write songs or poetry, or just share their thoughts with another, or as an entire community if they wish.’
‘All of this is so that when we can meet face-to-face and take part in social activities again, there will be friendly faces there that we know and recognise, so we all feel more comfortable about re-connecting and rediscovering life outside of social restrictions.’
Anyone looking to get involved in the project or wants more information, take a look at our website at Creativeminds.org.uk. If you want to enquire about becoming a Creative Minds volunteer, email Creative Minds at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 01924 316 285.