"Wow! What an excellent start! Can't wait for the next 8 weeks. I now have something I love to focus on. Fantastic tutor.”
What’s Your Story? is a creative writing programme that gives users the space and the tools to analyse, understand and reimagine their life-problems as stories and thus imagine potential solutions.
We launched an appeal back in October seeking your support to help fund a second pilot of the programme running in Leamington Spa in January.
We seem to have hit a nerve with this idea and have been massively oversubscribed and found ourselves with less than half the places we needed for everyone who wanted to attend.
However, I am delighted to say that with the help of Springfield Mind and the WEA
we are now running the programme in Leamington Spa concurrently three times over January, February and March.
The Springfield Mind sessions are free and run on Thursday afternoons and Friday mornings but both of these sessions are now fully booked.
version runs on Monday evenings from 18.00-21.00 and costs £14.50 per week and is slightly more focused on the teaching of script writing skills. There are still places available for this version.
To run the programme three times instead of one means that some of our costs have tripled and even with the grants and donations we have raised so far we will be running at a significant loss.
Which is where you come in! We are committed to running the programme three times come what may but any donations you give will help reduce our loss and enable us to start to roll the programme out across the UK.
The What's Your Story, programme is conceived as a generalised wellbeing programme for a broad audience interested in self-realisation and self-actualisation through creativity. It may also assist users understand and cope with life-problems that arise from mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, stress, OCD, ASD, anger-management, PTSD, addiction, eating disorders, phobias, suicidal tendencies, dementia, the homeless and victims of crime or trauma.
The programme is not a 'treatment' or therapy for such mental health issues but aims to help sufferers of those conditions understand the contexts within which the life-problems that arise from their mental state are occurring and thus to devise potential solutions.
"Amazing learning and amazing tutor. Fantastic."
An initial pilot was run in Stratford Upon Avon in the summer of 2018 and was funded by Springfield MIND, Public Domain Arts & Media and a grant from the Heart Of England Community Foundation.
This initial pilot has been extremely successful and we learnt a great deal about how the programme works most effectively and have modified the programme appropriately.
We are now certain of the value of the programme as a tool for self-realisation and self-actualisation and feel that with the adjustments we have made to the programme this will only be enhanced.
We now need to trial this revised version of the programme as soon as is practically possible and we are seeking funding to help us run a second pilot of the programme with Springfield MIND in Leamington Spa in January.
"I think the therapeutic value of these sessions is huge. Chris and Steve are so passionate, engaging and knowledgeable and the attention and guidance they are giving to each member of the group has the potential to be very healing. It's fulfilling and stimulating on both an intellectual and emotional level and it's been lovely to see how engaged service users have been and how supportive the group feels.”
Mental Health Practitioner FeedbackHow will your donation help?
We have been given a small Community Grant by Leamington Town Trust to help run this second pilot but this will not cover all the costs of the initially proposed single run of the programme let alone for the three runs we are now committed to.
Any funds raised from this second call for funds will allow us to contribute to our volunteers travel costs, pay for the attendance of mental health practitioners, increase the number of users we can accommodate and allow us to fully assess the pilot in preparation for a wider launch of the programme.
Who will your donation help?
What's Your Story? is aimed at anyone facing life-problems arising from a lack of mental well-being.
By 'life-problems' we mean things like debilitating social anxiety, defensive aggression, lack of concentration, lack of purpose and direction, excessive people pleasing, exaggerated fear of people, places or things, exaggerated guilt or shame and above all, the loss of hope.
It is estimated that 1 in 6 people in the past week experienced a common mental health problem and 1 in 4 of us will experience a serious mental health crisis in our lifetime.
Despite the recent candidness of celebrities such as Prince Harry, mental illness still carries a terrible stigma in our society. Individuals often go to great lengths to hide their symptoms and their suffering because of the condemnation and ridicule which often comes with being ‘outed’ as having a mental health problem. In the workplace knowledge of an individuals mental health problem often means the end of a career.
Yet mental health and behavioural problems such as depression, anxiety and addiction, are reported to be the primary drivers of disability worldwide, causing over 40 million years of disability in 20 to 29-year-olds.
Major depression is thought to be the second leading cause of disability worldwide and a major contributor to the burden of suicide and Ischemic heart disease.
One of the unique features of What's Your Story? is that although it is designed as a way for users to examine their life-problems they will also receive a highly effective introduction to creative writing that will give them the skills to pursue further writing training and/or allow them to use creative writing as a tool for their on-going mental health and well-being.