Since 2015 Community Restart Team have been delivering more and more sessions from the Care Network Hub. The sessions contribute to the delivery of the Care Network Hub being Blackburn with Darwen’s multi-agency hub and complement Care Network’s vision for a programme of activities which contribute to people feeling less isolated, being listened to and understood, feeling more reassured, better informed, less overwhelmed and better able to cope.

Community Restart Team are now delivering four offers regularly. These sessions are well received by the public and are making a very real contribution to the improvement of the mental health and wellbeing of residents in Blackburn with Darwen.

  • Circles OCD Peer Support Group: A successful monthly session for people with OCD to meet up with others who have gone through similar experience, started September 2015
  • Wellbeing Advice Point: Waj uses the Wellbeing Advice Point to promote the other sessions and to offer wellbeing advice around the principles of co-production and the five ways to wellbeing, two access points every month, started October 2016
  • Polska - Polish Peer Group: Waj has supported volunteers to start a new Polish Peer Support Group, they have designed a poster and are putting them up in the community, and have created name badges and T-shirts, and are also starting a polish breakfast morning at the Bureau. Waj is impressed with their professionalism and says they’re a ‘breath of fresh air’. Started June 2017, weekly
  • Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP): A six week course to help people improve their quality of life. Thirteen people registered on the first course, ten completed. A further twelve people are on a waiting list for the next course. First six week course started June 2017

Wajid Bashir, Community Development Worker at the Community Restart Team has been the force behind the different offers being delivered from the Care Network Hub, he explains why he thinks the partnership is working so well

I think it’s helpful for people just to have someone to speak to, face to face, when does anyone get that these days? My skills and expertise are in mental health and wellbeing, I know the local mental health services and the support available for people and I can help people navigate these services. I also know about housing and employment which can impact on people’s wellbeing. I can also signpost to the different drop in’s that happen at the Care Network Hub, like volunteering.

Waj adds why he believes peer support and shared learning really benefits people

During the WRAP course people realise that they’re not on their own, that there’s others in the same boat. The course participants have started a WhatsApp group and meet up weekly at a coffee shop. I don’t want to run a course and the end of the course is the end of the work, part of their wellness recovery action plan that they’ve developed themselves has been to continue to meet up. This is a continuation of the work they’ve done. I could see the friendships developing - this is a great outcome for the group. It’s not the end, it’s the beginning.

He’s also really happy about the Wellbeing Advice Point

It’s been going well. I’ve supported all ages, a real spectrum of people. There’s a chap who comes in to see me at each drop in. At the last drop in he came and said to me ‘I’ve got nothing to talk to you about today, but I’m really happy, I feel like I’ve got less problems’. For myself and the rest of the Community Restart Team Peer Support and Social Inclusion is so important. The sessions I run from the Care Network Hub all complement this. The team are very accommodating. There’s a feel good factor here, and from a community perspective I feel like residents are being listened to and understood, they have someone to come and speak to directly, which is really important.