Our aim is to provide a social framework that can enable Service Users to live as fulfilled lives as possible. We work to combat the personal and social consequences of mental illness, to promote innovative, client-led approaches to recovery, and to facilitate mental well-being through therapeutic activity.
Our key objectives are:
- to combat social isolation through supporting people to reintegrate into the mainstream community;
- to empower Connect clients to work towards greater independence and control over their own lives;
- To assist clients to make informed choices.
In addition, Connect aims to provide a non-statutory first point of contact for adults in need of support with conditions like anxiety and depression. We work with clients to devise solution focused therapeutic approaches that both encourage the recognition of existing strengths and coping strategies, and how to develop these as an aid to recovery. We actively encourage and support social interaction within the context of the project, helping people rebuild their self-esteem and giving them the confidence to get back into the wider community.
Ultimately, what the project is about is promoting ‘Connectedness’
The idea of Connectedness is at the heart of everything Connect does, particularly in our daily interactions with clients. From the moment an individual joins the project they are presented with opportunities to make connections with others. They have the freedom to share experiences with people in a safe environment, to talk openly about the things they have been through or to listen to others articulate their own experiences of mental ill health. Such sharing help to build a sense of mutual trust. In the longer terms, people come to recognise that they are not alone, which helps overcome their feelings of isolation and disconnectedness.
For those who have become isolated and cut off from family and friends as a consequence of mental ill-health, becoming a member of Connect can be a crucial step on the journey towards recovery. The project provides a welcoming and supportive environment in which members can begin to reconnect – through making new friends and participating in a wide range of meaningful activities – with the wider community.
At the heart of Connect is its relaxed café-style environment, complete with its own peaceful, sunlit courtyard. Here, members can sit in peace and quiet, or enjoy company and conversation with others. We offer an extensive range of activities and workshops prompted by the wishes and interests of our members.
Regularly scheduled activities include:
- social evenings
- live music sessions
- gardening at our own allotment
- walking group
- singing group
- football training and tournaments
- monthly day trips: either to places of cultural/historical importance, or more relaxed, fun outings to theme parks, wildlife parks or shopping expeditions
- cycling group
- free wifi
In addition we run a weekly timetable of workshops:
- art and crafts
- cookery (food hygiene & safety, healthy eating & cooking)
- music tuition (guitar, keyboards, drums)
- creative writing
- literacy and numeracy
- ICT and internet skills
- weekly surgery offering advice on benefits, housing, and debt