Mental health awareness in the boroughs of Hackney and Islington will receive a boost, thanks to a new one-year project led by Peter Bedford Housing Association in partnership with Volunteer Centre Hackney. Change Together will train and support 36 volunteers with mental health problems to host conversations with 1200 members of the public, through a series of workshops and events at locations across both boroughs.

The project is funded by Time to Change, England’s biggest programme to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination. The programme is run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness and funded by the Department of Health, Comic Relief and the Big Lottery Fund.

Clare Norton, Chief Executive of Peter Bedford Housing Association said:

‘We are delighted that Time to Change has chosen to fund this project, and we are excited to be working with  Volunteer Centre Hackney to deliver it. We have bold plans to transform the way people in Islington and Hackney see mental health problems, by encouraging conversations and offering them the chance to find out more about mental illness.

‘Just a few small words can make a big difference to someone with a mental health problem and talking about the issue can really help to break down the stigma and discrimination.’

Sue Baker, Director of Time to Change, said: ‘We know that one of the most powerful ways to change attitudes is when people take the lead in driving change within their own communities.  What works in one community may not work in another, so through the grants scheme we are putting the power to make change happen locally in the hands of the experts – the people who know their communities the best.

‘We were impressed by the Change Together project’s proposal and we hope to see some excellent work coming out of their local community.’

Peter Bedford Housing Association tenants, participants and members of the public are invited to volunteer with the project. Further details about how to apply are available on our website.