Idea 1: HardWorking Hand cream… a natural cream with no nasties made with love and care from local ingredients. (Fiona)
It is made from herbal infused oils, beeswax and water… thats it. The herbs are chosen for their scents and theraeutic uses…eg lavender, rosemary, calendula, lemon verbena. The herbs are all grown organically in my garden and I infuse the oils myself. The beeswax comes from the Essex Bees brothers. I struggled with the oils but eventually sourced English grown and cold pressed oil from Staffordshire. NOTE: I realise vegans wont use beeswax products and I am working on a vegan recipe.
Why is this Idea important? I care about what I put on my skin and I believe others do too. I also care about locally sourced and produced ingredients with traceability. I don’t want to create an empire, I just want to make a product that works and that people can use knowing it is made from herbs grown in my garden and beeswax and honey from a group of local brothers who really care for their bees and are equally passionate about their products. I intend that a large share of the eventual profits with go towards Southend in Transition projects.
How would funding help? It would enable me to buy in bulk supplies of the oils I need and hopefully a new hand blender as my kitchen one is rather aromatic (lavender scented soup anyone?)
What’s happening 6 months from now? I hope to have launched the Hardworking Hand cream and be selling it. This money will enable me to experiment with other recipes and create a range of products. I already have a pile of recipes.
Idea 2: Tea & Empathy Cafe (June)
Opening a ‘Tea & Empathy’ cafe for local people to meet up with others. The cafe would offer tea, cake, snacks, soup? etc but also a listening ear (maybe even hugs!) for anyone who wanted to come in and meet up, and they could chat to staff if they wanted to. We would offer empathy and be non-judgmental to their situations. We would have to have policies and look at risks of being taken for granted and we would have to put in boundaries; we don’t want to be taken advantage of and become a babysitting service for example, but we could guide the parent into finding babysitters. I would like to offer holistic therapies and counselling at the back of the cafe or upstairs depending on the nature of the building, for people that might want extra help, support or some ‘me’ time.
Why is this Idea important? It would bring the community together. Many people are isolated and lonely with families not being as close (and supportive) as they once were, many elderly people live alone and grandparents may not have family living near – getting generations together would help the community. It can be quite scary feeling alone and not knowing where to go or ask for help. Coming along for a tea or coffee and meeting people in a warm setting would hope to get people together. I am a qualified counsellor, and know the people that often want this service can’t afford it, I would like to offer the services at an affordable rate, or on donation?
How would funding help? I have no money to start this project, I’ve had the idea for 5 years but not known what to do with it!
What’s happening 6 months from now? It will be offering a warm, kind environment for people to come and meet with each other, meet new friends or come and chat to the staff, we could pinpoint other services that may help single parents for example. I would hope therapists would be happy to spare a few hours a week to come and offer Indian Head massages, reflexology. I’d offer counselling, and will be paid from any donations we received. Getting the community together to learn from each other, older people teaching knitting to others for example.
Idea 3: Just Listening to You. Peer support for mental wellbeing (Bernie)
Just Listening to You is a community group is run by members for members. The group listens and supports members in any way we can; we empower the individual to make decisions to create the improvements and life changes they seek. We provide self-help guides and training based on our own personal experiences of surviving mental health. Where needed, we obtain advice from professionals, and we also research, seek advice from professionals and utilise the Books on Prescription Programme.
Founder Bernie Bentley has experienced mental health issues since the age of 16; exacerbated by a stroke in 2007, she has clinical depression. The stroke caused a number of ongoing physical problems, but the most challenging is the depression and anxiety. Bernie’s journey has provided a raft of opportunities to meet others and make a positive difference to their lives. She is now completing Level III in Counselling and due to embark on Level IV in September. Bernie is a qualified Listener.
Why is this Idea important? Bernie insists that she and others like her are survivors as she believes it implies strength of character that mental health creates; she inspires other members to believe that survival is great but to live is fabulous and this is what the group aims to do; encourage their members to live life to the full.
The vision of Just Listening to You is a world where anyone living with mental or physical health problems is provided with opportunity, genuine friendship and a world free of stigma. Our mission is to provide a safe haven for conversations, enabling members to connect with other survivors and services, providing them with advice, blogs or training sessions to equip them to deal with life’s up and downs. Fundamentally and most importantly the group LISTENs, the group has BIG EARS.
The group runs every Friday in Wickford. Sometimes we simply drink tea and coffee; eat Bernie’s infamous serotonin bomb cake and chat. Some days the group has common issues to share and may work on a topic as a group.
How would funding help? Bernie funds the group personally. Funding will be spent on specialist professionals delivering specific training sessions for members; for example Anxiety, What is your trigger and how do you create a coping mechanism. Assertiveness training, career planning and cv writing etc. Volunteers would receive professional training in spotting bi-polar which is very different to depression; drinking or drug related lives, or perhaps being on the end of abuse.
What’s happening 6 months from now? We do see ourselves growing, and providing this service in a community centre and not a home depending on how big we get; also growing in each town as required; we currently provide a service to members in Southend, Wickford and Rayleigh.