Hip Ops & Hoodies Exhibition (ists)

We need your VOTE!

Our Giggle 4 Gold project has been shortlisted for the Heart of Essex Award run by the Essex Chronicle. I’m not sure how we vote yet but I’ll add another post when I do know as I’d really like to get everyone’s support. If we win the main prize we will be able to run a 12 week programme for people in a care home who are isolated and in need of some stimulation, espeically those with dementia. The programme is designed for this group in mind and will allow participants to be active, have fun, connect with others, gain confidence, self-esteem, learn new skills both creatively and socially and be heard though play and giggles. Over the 12 weeks we will also produce positive creative work which we plan to exhibit later in the year which will allow other members of the community the chance to walk in someone else’s shoes.

If we win the main prize we will run two 12 week programmes- Giggle 4 Gold and Giggle House which works with people who have experienced homelessness.

Both are such great projects that will be a whole lot of fun and will make a huge difference to the people we deliver it to.

The Giggle 4 Gold programme will be delivered in Brewster House in Heybridge, Maldon. If successful we aim to find further funding to enable us to repeat this programme in other care homes too.


Come and join our facebook page!

Cork Madness for Springfield Primary School Class JM.

Vote for your winning scene by clicking on the images then emailing info@mouldingfutures.co.uk with the title CORK VOTE and the group scene you are voting for in the body of the email.


I’ve recently been back to my old school,
And d’you know what? It really was cool.
It was mostly the same but weird for sure,
As I stood in the class that now has a door.
No doors on rooms when I came here,
Which made it hard – too much noise to hear.

This time round is much more fun,
And in the class there sits my son.
I’m standing proud, I’m playing teacher,
Showing off to the class I’m a creative creature.
I loved every minute; top marks I do rate,
And I wanted say – “class JM you’ve been GREAT!”

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Working with EYPDAS

We have developed a programme in partnership with EYPDAS (Essex Young People’s Drug and Alcohol Service) working with a group of young people affected by substance misuse and those who are at risk of doing so. During the course young people will be encouraged to take part in activities and exercises that aim to:
• Increase self-esteem and confidence,
• Develop social skills and connect with each other,
• Learn coping strategies to improve well-being
• And take a break to have some fun.
This is a 6 week programme and includes a drug and alcohol session.

This group has been identified by the staff of the Learning Support Unit at the secondary school who are working closely with us to ensure these young people gain the most out of this experience.

It is run after school once a week and includes a McDonald’s dinner – on the pre-evaluation one of the girls from the group wrote, in answer to “what do you think you will gain most from this group” – McDonald’s.

I’ll add more about this group at the end of the course with a summary of how it went. We have two more sessions to go and they have said they are really enjoying it.

If you know of a Secondary School who would benefit from a programme like this or something similar please let me know or go to http://www.giggletogether.co.uk – this particular programme is not featured yet but after this one has finished it will be added as a course.

Giggle Together at Alec Hunter Humanities College!

Our Giggle Together workshop had a good trial run today as we took part in the Alec Hunter Humanities College Skills day. Year 8 students spent the morning attending workshops on all sorts of subjects to do with Possitive Emotional Health including EYPDAS for Drug and Alcohol Awareness, Smoking, confidence building, Yoga to name just a few. We provided the laughter.
We delivered 4, one hour sessions working with different form groups of the year. What was interesting to me was the difference in reactions to our workshop within this year group. They were all the same age group but I noticed each form reacting different. Of course when you are willing to stand in front of a group of 12-13 year olds and blow raspberries, you do expect some strange looks. I had thought this would be dependant on age.
Our “stiff upper lip” persona certainly starts in secondary education with our strict rules and no-nonsense education system. There is no room for play. It was surprising to see just how results driven our young people are – even when playing.
Our workshop is all about play, being silly but with boundaries. It is great as a stress reliever and can often bring a group together. There were some “too cool for school” characters of course. My teenager inside started to surface for a second to sap away any confidence I had but the big girl in me was quick to get back in the driver’s seat. Going back to school as an adult is just as scary as it was when you were 12-13 if you allow yourself to go shooting back in time.
Now that I’m a big girl I have much more confidence. I have more of a “bring it on” attitude which is why I will blow raspberries at a class of 25 year 8 students to get their attention. After years as a Youth Worker, and having been a teenager myself, your best defense to those who want to shock you is to out-shock them.
So while I was laughing, then coughing up because I had a chest infection, then laughing some more – the groups got carried away with me. All managed to get into it except the last. The Drama Teacher who was helping me out during the session was also the form tutor to the last group. They found the whole thing way off anything they had done before. The teacher told me that his form were the ones that other teachers loved to have. They were the smart kids. A room full of left brain dominated young people trying to take part in a very right brain dominated workshop.
They made comments like, “well that’s not what my laugh sounds like,” “but it’s just not funny” when doing the laughter exercises that concentrate on the process of laughter and what your body does with each laugh. It’s a way to allow yourself to generate laughter without the need for an outside source. They didn’t understand because they all thought more literally. They reminded me of Jamie – my Autistic son. In the end I had to show them. I took a deep breath and laughed my breath out until I had no more breath, then carried on taking short breaths to keep it going. After about a minute I stopped, took a deep breath, looked at the students all staring at me aghast and said, “do you get it now?”. Finally they found this funny and were able to laugh.
I explained to them why they found it so hard – especially as their form tutor was embarrassed and kept telling them to stop showing him up. What it did in fact was illustrate the point beautifully about the left and right side of the brain.
I loved the day – even though I was ill it was amazing! I felt a real Buzz when I left and realised just how good for me – and for everyone – this kind of activity is. We’ll do far more good developing our programmes than we could with any other project.
I also heard on the grapevine from an EYPDAS worker that the students had really loved it too!

Inspiration for Springfield Primary School

When my son had to explain who his inspirational person was earlier this year it was extremely overwhelming to find that he had chosen me to talk about. He explained that “She is the famous best artist in the world and she makes me want to do art too” – Okay so he may well have me way above my station but that’s where I am supposed to be. I’m his Mum. I offered to go into his class and bring in some of my artwork so that his peers could see what he was talking about – or at least see that I can draw. They told him I wasn’t famous because I wasn’t on the TV but I went in hoping not to disappoint after such an amazing introduction. As they were talking about their inspirational people I decided to take in lots of different work – sculpture, poetry, illustrations, abstract paintings, my cork people from the tiny trail, Smile N Smooch characters, mini easel art, etc. A huge variety of different mediums and I based my talk around my inspirational person. My Grandad.

The class were all really great and very impressed by my artwork and my story. Jamie loved having his Mum in his class and was “helping” by holding up pieces of art. He stood by me with a huge grin the whole time and I felt quite honoured. I read some of my Silly Rhymes aloud to the class – the first time they have had a larger audience of me reading them. I really loved it! Teachers came in to look and his class teacher then made me do the whole thing again… and again… not just the poem (although I did read that several times – Smelly feet was a favourite) but the whole talk…

They loved the cork people and I agreed to go back in and run some sessions to show them how to make their own. Can’t wait!

Share a Smile Comedy Night!

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Our Comedy Showcase Comedy night at the Civic Theatre – featuring Gordon Southern, Hal Cruttendon, Terry Alderton and Carl Donnelly!
Fantastic evening had by all – such a shame we didn’t get a chance to sell more tickets the right side of Christmas and tap into all those people wondering around with money to waste on people they would rather not buy a present for. This would’ve been an ideal present!
NEXT time I think we’ll do the whole thing ourselves and see how that works.

Cork Madness!

Moulding Futures has been helping out The Shiny Shed with the Chelmsford Art Trail this year. As an artist it was great to get involved and they wanted me to come up with something that Children could get involved in. This was perfect to continue the Share A Smile theme so I’ve been busy working on small cork scenes. It’s certainly made me smile. The Tiny Trail has been created and will be on display during the Chelmsford Art Trail in september.

Course Licence

I have been busy on a PTTLS course – (Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector) which will give us a licence to teach Government funded courses and our own. I passed and so will be busy developing courses which we’ll be offering next year as part of the Giggle Together project.

Support Hero 2011

This years winner of our Support Hero Award went to Trina Wittaker. She was described by voters to be “A warm hearted, selfless woman” among other great things. I’d already had the pleasure of meeting Trina and knew they were right! She was one of the speakers at our Magazine Awards night so I was really pleased when she won. There were many other great organisations on the nominations list – all containing individuals who put their all into what they do. Trina cried when we announced the winner and this became the highlight of my night. (I do like to make people cry!).

NeuroTalk 2011 Event

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NeuroTalk 2011 brought together organisations who work with or support people with Neurological Disorders. The event was held at Alec Hunter Humanities College in May for an evening of speakers, food and information sharing. Joining us for the event were Dyslexia Rooms, Epilepsy Action, Action for Family Carers, Braintree Rethink, SCANS, SMP Consultancy and Rubicon Training Practices.

The speakers:

Charms – is a registered charity dedicated to help and support people in Essex and surrounding counties who suffer from MS (Multiple Sclerosis), ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis), CP (Cerebral Palsy) strokes or other neurological disorders. There is no known cure for most of these illnesses, so working in conjunction with their medical specialists and with their GP’s consent, it is our aim to provide sufferers with relief from their symptoms and to give what assistance we can to make their lives more bearable. To achieve this aim the centre offers a variety of therapies, but the main treatment available at the centre is Hyperbaric Oxygenation Therapy (HBOT).

Fit 4 Reading – Sue Cook.

Why I learnt neuro developmental therapies

My son who had a mysterious collection of symptoms, was the inspiration for me to learn this system. These exercises alleviated his struggle and I can now completely understand the nature of his behaviour. He was an unhappy child who was clearly intelligent but could not function at all at school, his teachers and I knew there was something wrong.
I researched until I found answers. The assessment enabled me to understand him, and the movements created the right brain circuitry. He is very grateful to me for learning how to correct his problems. It has changed his life and saved him from serial underachievement when his IQ tells us he is well above average.
Before the movements, He was a distressed child who could not fit in to typical environments, like a child’s party, without becoming severely anxious. It has been wonderful to have the opportunity to help him get rid of a problem that hindered him and kept him from living life to the fullest.

Dr Ben Wright – a Neurological Psychologist

The evening went really well with lots of contacts being made and interesting debate.

Our Support Hero was also announced more of that to come…

NeuroTalk 2011 and The Support Hero Award

Local campaigning and awareness organisation Moulding Futures is searching for a local SUPPORT HERO organisation as part of their NeuroTalk event being held on May 23rd at 5.30pm in Braintree. The event celebrates those who live with Neurological Disorders and includes speakers, talks, stalls from organisations, and the opportunity for people to share support and advice. Parents, carers, and adults with neurological disorders are welcome to come along. If parents wish to come and are unable to get childcare we are looking into a crèche for a portion of the evening.
We would like to award an organisation SUPPORT HERO 2011 and nominations close on the 1st May – voting Closes on the 8th of May. The organisation must support those with neurological disorders (or their family/carers) with their mental health and support services. The winner will receive a trophy, be featured in the support guide given out to all those attending the evening, the website and will also win a prize worth £200!
Voters must have used the service and explain why they are their support hero at http://www.neurotalk.co.uk/supporthero Tickets for the event are also available at https://neurotalk.eventbrite.com
“One organisation saved my life at the lowest point in the fight to get my son the he needed – I want to say thank you but also want to give other people the chance to vote for their support heroes too,” says organiser Tracy Shave, founder of Moulding Futures.
We are covering subjects that will be useful for those who in particular have Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia, ADHD, ASD, Autism, Epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, to name a few. There is also holistic treatments and support for carers.
For more information on Moulding Futures and their projects for disadvantaged people please go to http://www.mouldingfutures.co.uk or call 01245 399541.

Magazine Launch and Awards!

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Our project “Psst! Pass it on!” an Open Up Initiative has been completed!! Groups and individuals around the country were invited to apply for funding to run a project that would challenge stigma of Mental Health and it is part of the National Time to Change campaign. When the application form landed on my desk it was one of those “pin me down” moments. I was working on the first “Make it Mental!” event for Involving Essex, which was a very big job. I instantly had an idea for something to do for it and no one stopped me. Not even the inner voice that was screaming at me not to take on any more work but I have loads of practice at convincing an inner voice that something is justified – every time I go shopping I win the battle!
So I put together a team of people who said they would be “interested” in helping, filled out the form and sent it off. I think I may have recieved the application form a few days before it was due, as always, so there was no time to talk myself out of it – or discover the magnitude of what I was proposing.
You can read our project report here:
Project Report
The magazine will be going into schools all over Essex. If you would like a copy, or would like your school to do something similar then get in touch with us at info@mouldingfutures.co.uk. or contact 01245 399541.
You can also go to the website http://www.psst-passiton.co.uk.

Tonight we had the Awards and official launch of the magazine “Oi! Listen!” – held at Bailey’s Bar in Braintree (sponsors for the event). All of the young people who took part at Alec Hunter Humanities College were invited along with those at Chelmer Valley High School, to pick up their certificates. We also gave out some special trophies to those pupils who we felt put in the most during the project.

Psst! Pass it on.. Creative Awards went to:
Harriette Knight
Shannon Roy
Joseph Moore

Psst! Pass it on Junior Reporter Award
Mia Hole

Psst! Pass it on.. Courage Award went to:
Molly Sherman

Well done to you and all of the young people who took part in this amazing project!


Sharing Smile in Chelmsford!

This year, for World Mental Health day, we were in High Chelmer Shopping centre as part of our Share a Smile campaign.
Oh yes – we want you to smile at us and we are willing to stand in a busy shopping centre smiling at people to do it. The whole campaign is to raise awareness of why smiling is so vital – even if you do feel like you will never smile again. Smiling at eachother is also vital in connecting people with their environment and unfortuately this isn’t something that busy Cities do well. During this week we had Giant Canvas’s on display for people to express “What Makes them Smile” – we also launched the ongoing Poetry Competition – send in your poems with the theme of “What Makes You Smile” to info@mouldingfutures.co.uk.
We also had people sign up to our Badge pledge – make a pledge to wear our badge for a length of time you specify.. and we were out collecting smiles!

You can find out more about this campaign at http://www.smile.giggletogether.co.uk

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Fit 4 Reading…

Wow – it’s been a while since I wrote a blog, doesn’t time fly! I do find I’m like this with my journal too – write in it every day for a while then the next entry has an opening line of…”wow doesn’t time fly – I really must write more often”. Now why would blogging be any different?

I’ve been on another planet for a bit, then mega busy but felt I should update on what events have happened and also need to talk about a great one coming up!

ADHD Awareness week – our talk in Chelmsford
An image showing a photo of the workshop

On the 14th of September we held a talk as part of our ADHD Awareness week events where we also had a stall for information in High Chelmer Shopping Centre. The talk was really well attended with over 20 parents/carers/professionals turning up to hear our speaker Sue Cook. She told her story about how she discovered a way to rewire childrens brains who suffer from Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia, Dyslexia, ADHD and Aspergers.
It was a fascinating talk and we had some great feedback. THE bar in Chelmsford allowed us to hold it there so we are really grateful to them for looking after us. (and will bring more cups for coffee next time).
We’ll be doing some more work with Sue in the future and have already designed her logo, and we produced some flyers which we shared cutting the costs and doubling their exposure.
Find out more about Sue and her programme at http://www.fit4reading.co.uk – I’ll add any further events about this to our website as well.

SHARE A SMILE CAMPAIGN… I think this deserves it’s own post so I’ll update that seperately.

VOTE FOR ME… please support me in keeping my top 5 positition in the Community Champion awards by voting for me… http://www.community-champions.org/nominees/59/tracy-shave

Another update will be with you shortly, I think that’s enough for today.

The Share A Smile Campaign Launches!

April 2010

At the All Being Well fair which took place in the High Street, Chelmsford, we had a spot to launch our fantastic Share a Smile Campaign! You can find out more about the campaign at http://www.smile.giggletogether.co.uk.
We were painting our smilie faces on cheeks, stealing smiles and telling people all about the campaign. There’ll be more of this in our Roadshow which will take part in October for World Mental Health day which will run for a week in High Chelmer.

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Buggies are a lifesaver – don’t judge….

What a week it has been. With Autism Awareness Day fastly approaching – oh yes ONE DAY TO GO – we’re launching our campaign called Stand Up 4 Wheels and the website will go live friday. This campaign is all about challenging people’s behaviour when it comes to wheelchairs, specifically Special Needs buggies or even normal buggies with older children in. I remember going on holiday last year and Jamie still had a normal buggy. I’d had to buy it in an emergency while on holiday because there was no way I could cope going out and about with him and staying in the caravan was NOT an option – we do enough staying in at home thank you very much.

So walking around Skegness with a 6 year old boy – who can clearly walk and doesn’t look disabled – I did get some strange looks and comments. I felt like putting a t-shirt on him that said I HAVE AUSTISTIC SPECTRUM DISORDER AND ADHD – YOU try taking me out! (now theres a project!). I’d seen and heard other people talking about the hassels they have on Buses and thought that this year, for WORLD Autism Awareness MONTH (APRIL) we would do more than just having an awareness stand in the town centre. This year we would try to do something more pro-active.

We do have a stand in High Chelmer Shopping Centre – I shall be there FRIDAY 2nd – SUNDAY 4th doing lovely EASTER facepainting to raise money and we’re also launching our website www.standup4wheels.co.uk.

I AM SO EXCITED to also report that FIRST transport who provide our buses here in Chelmsford have agreed to put up our stickers on 500 of their buses in the area and CHelmsford Borough Council are paying for them to be printed!!! What an achievement!

You can go to the website after 1am on 2nd April – add a comment and share your stories.

Let’s understand eachother because you should NEVER judge someone else unless you have had to walk a mile in their shoes through the mud, cobbles and thorns.

Eating Disorder Awareness Week and the Local Press.

Ah… the press – don’t you just love them? We rely so much on the local press to increase the coverage of our messages. This week saw the result of our Eating Disorder Week display in High Chelmer Shopping Centre. Don’t I look lovely with my face painted.  It was a bit disappointing to see that the Essex Chronicle didn’t add in there that it was a Moulding Futures campaign to raise awareness of the eating disorders that are less “press friendly” because you can’t actually see a problem – like bulimia, as well as the others which are normally seen. We were fundraising for BEAT – the Eating Disorder Association with face painting, a raffle and also selling Nikki’s books – and Nikki was on hand to sign them and help out (she is a star! – and had a star facepaint but that was after the photograher left). The paper didn’t mention the face painting though so I just look like an idiot. Quite funny though I guess.  The whole piece is about the statistics but I’m sorry – these are so incorrect. We know it is a growing problem. We know the numbers are high. We also know that the numbers are a hell of a lot higher than those reported because many people don’t even realise they have an eating disorder when they do. THAT was supposed to be our message. Highlight the issue, make people more aware and provide them somewhere they can go to get help and advice. Unfortunately the profile of my story got cut so this information was totally missed.

So – when sending a story to the paper do remember that it won’t actually get printed the way you want it to – they generally do their own thing or get it wrong somehow. Very frustrating but there is nothing you can do about it.  If you would like to know more information about eating disorders go to BEAT at www.b-eat.co.uk

Save the Children… EVERY ONE – (do we as Moulding Futures do enough saving?)

When I see charities like these and the work they are doing to save the lives of millions and thousands of children from dying under the age of five – I wonder what I am doing and that perhaps I should be doing more.  We don’t save lives, well not yet anyway. Mental Health conditions can also take lives and being part of Moulding Futures could be the turning point for some. The difference between a life with little opportunities purely because of lack of confidence, or that negative voice telling you that “no one will ever employ you… why would they?”

So while I may not be saving millions of childrens lives I am raising awaress of it and if I can change even one persons life, change a day from grey to pink and make someone feel that they DO have an important part to play on this planet and that their life really is worthwhile, that they can be creative and that they can also help others – then I shall be happy and we have already done this! If you know anyone who would benefit from feeling worthy, who wants to do something but thinks there is nothing out there because of their illness, circumstances or lack of exams etc, then tell them to get in touch with me because I believe taking part in something like Moulding Futures can save lives too. (or at least guide someone down a different path…).

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