Archive for the 'Events' Category

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!

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.

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 Tickets for the event are also available at
“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 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 or contact 01245 399541.
You can also go to the website

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!

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
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

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.

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