Handing over and moving on

Following the Mental Wealth Festival in October, and the celebration of a decade of projects delivered by the Good Mental Health Coop, it’s sadly time for the organisation to close down. Last week we held our Annual General Meeting, and Coop members were able to hear three proposals from other local organisations to take on some of the work we have developed.

This is an extraordinarily difficult time for community support services of all kinds, and many small organisations like the Good Mental Health Coop are finding it a big challenge to fund the core costs needed to run a professional and effective service. As ever though, there are new models and ways of thinking being developed, and these are the initiatives which will be taken forward in 2024:

The Nexus Women’s Creativity and Wellbeing Group – the running of this weekly group will be taken over by Creatful CIC. Founder Nancy Fellows already runs groups and events in the Havant and Waterlooville area, and she will be getting to know members of the Nexus group in the New Year with a view to taking over the group fully in April.

The Mental Wealth Academy – Co-founder of the Good Mental Health Coop, Dr.Sandy Walker, has set up a new social enterprise Sanpau CIC, with partner Paul Williams. They plan to use the Buckland United Reformed Church as a base with a continued focus on self-management, creative, skills based and personal development courses and workshops. These will be delivered by community groups and social entrepreneurs outside of the formal health and social care services.

Books Alive! – Sarah Haskett of Creative Mental Health also has a long association with the Good Mental Health Coop, and has developed innovative online approaches for mental wellbeing. Sarah is keen to develop Books Alive! as a livestream podcast of people sharing their stories, and also find ways to use Playback Theatre as an exciting way to use drama to bring stories to life.

Mental Wealth Trialogues – these discussion events were a regular feature of Coop activities across Hampshire from 2015 until the pandemic. Creative Mental Health would like to continue this form of open dialogue communication using video conferencing with groups, potentially across the world.

Stories of Asylum from WW1 – Creative Mental Health will also continue to host this innovative exhibition and associated creative activities on her website. This includes a short film inspired by Emily, a novel written by one of the researchers on the Stories of Asylum project, and Sarah is keen to encourage more film making and other art forms inspired by the exhibition in future.

To view more of the work of the Good Mental Health Coop over the past 10 years, click here to watch a short You Tube video commissioned for our Mental Wealth Festival keynote event.

The Good Mental Health Coop may be closing down but we feel good that the values, principles and ideas that we have developed will continue, and morph into new creative projects. Wishing you all the best of mental health!!

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