The Good Times December 2019

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Read about two inspiring initiatives that are tackling loneliness and despair

The Extinction Rebellion campaign has gathered pace in 2019. Find out about their aims.

South Yorkshire, Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire

The Good Times December 2019

Welcome Dear Reader For many of us the festive season is all about spending time surrounded by family and friends. Despite this, Age UK estimate that around 200,000 people over the age of 65 will spend Christmas alone this year. Whilst loneliness amongst the elderly is a sad fact and Age UK’s 'No one should have no one to turn to' campaign is to be applauded, there is a growing recognition across the sector that loneliness and isolation affect people of all ages and at all times of the year. In this edition we describe two different projects that are promoting social connectedness for people at all stages in their life. The Wolfpack Project is combating loneliness through a buddying scheme in Nottingham and Chesterfield's Men -Talk is responding to soaring rates of male suicide by providing opportunities for men who are living with, or at risk of anxiety and depression, to open up and share their problems before their mental wellbeing declines further. The success of these two initiatives pays testimony to the passion and commitment of their founders. Whether you’re a fervent environmentalist or like me, feeling rather guilty about only just waking up to the enormity of the climate emergency, Zoe Roberts of XR Sheffield provides a useful recap of the aims of the campaign and what they are trying to acheive. At the start of 2020 many of you will be looking at ways to improve your impact, as well as to stay afloat in increasingly uncertain times. Community Chesterfield, a three year project which launched in 2019, is providing much-needed support to build the capacity and resilience of the charity and voluntary sector across the Chesterfield area. We put Centre Manager Jennifer Raschbauer under the Spotlight. Last but not least, charity guru Jo Boardman provides a steer for charities that want to improve their fundraising next year. We hope you find it an informative and inspiring read. Wishing you all a peaceful festive season and every success in the coming year. Kate Dawson, Editor

Contents p 4-5 Men -Talk: Providing opportunities for men to share their problems and benefit from peer support P6 Spotlight on: Jennifer Raschbauer, Centre Manager, Community Chesterfield 2

Cover image: XR red rebels and fellow climate protestors in Sheffield

P7 Hot Topic: Zoe Roberts explains what the aims of the Extinction Rebellion campaign are.

p8-9 The Wolfpack Project: Providing opportunities for the lonely in Nottingham to form new connections.

p10 Top Tips: How to up your fundraising game in 2020, by Jo Boardman


Jennifer Raschbauer is Centre Manager at Community Chesterfield, an initiative to support the voluntary and charity sector across the Chesterfield area. We put her under the spotlight on p6.

Zoe Roberts, member of XR Sheffield, explains the aims of the movement on p7.

Jo Boardman has over 20 years’ experience supporting the charity sector around governance, income diversification and planning. On p10 she gives her top tips for improving your fundraising efforts in 2020.

THE GOOD TIMES is produced by Kate Dawson, a freelance communications consultant working as Well Read PR. The opinions, views and values expressed by contributors to THE GOOD TIMES are those of the authors of that content and do not necessarily represent my opinions, views or values. Nothing in the magazine constitutes advice on which you should rely. It is provided for general information purposes only. I do not accept liability for products or services offered by third parties. Links to third party websites are provided solely for your convenience. THE GOOD TIMES has not reviewed these third party websites and does not control and is not responsible for these websites or their content or availability. We therefore do not endorse or make any representations about them, or any material found on them, or any results that may be obtained from using them. If you decide to access any of the third party websites linked to THE GOOD TIMES, you do so entirely at your own risk.


Men-Talk: Helping men to open up rather than suffer in silence

by Kate Dawson

My way of coping was to throw myself into my work; I was pretending everything was okay, when really I felt at an all-time low.”

Some 15.5 in every 100,000 deaths in men in England are caused by suicide. It is the biggest cause of death of men under the age of 45 and the rate of death by suicide amongst those aged 10 to 24 is at a 19-year high, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Early in 2018 Jason and Frazer were given the green light to host a monthly group for male employees at Royal Mail in Chesterfield. During the sessions people were able to share their worries, anxieties and problems in a confidential environment and offer peer support to one another. The feedback was so positive the duo were commissioned to deliver similar groups at the company’s Sheffield, Bolton, and London offices.

There are many reasons why people commit suicide, commonly people will be experiencing depression or some other form of mental ill health, more often than not triggered by a traumatic event, financial loss, substance abuse, discrimination or relationship breakdown.

“Before the group began the men had been bickering with one another, morale was low and there was a lot of sick leave. Through Men-Talk colleagues began to see each other differently and understand the challenges others were facing at home, for example one participant was caring for their wife who had cancer but had never told anyone until then.”

The Men-Talk project, launched in Chesterfield in 2019, is providing a forum for men to open up and talk before they reach crisis point. Kate Dawson met with Jason Cotton, who co-founded the project with Frazer Longford, to find out more. "Frazer and I hatched the idea for Men-Talk following the suicide of a colleague in late 2017. He was an outgoing person, the frontman in a band. He was happily married and had worked at Royal Mail for 20 years. No-one could have predicted he would take his own life,” explained Jason. “Frazer gave a powerful talk to colleagues and said that no-one should feel on their own. It really resonated with me, as I’d recently been through a difficult separation and was battling for access to my daughter.

in 2019, following the success of the Royal Mail initiative, Jason and Frazer set up a group for the wider community, which meets at the Parish Centre, Stonegravels, Chesterfield every month.


"During each two-hour meeting we talk, we listen, and we also laugh. We’ve heard some right stories! People tell us that they feel better afterwards. We have helped people escape domestic violence, seek further help, and simply feel better about themselves.”

“One participant had been struggling with depression. He had had a history of self-harm and was unable to take his children swimming because of the scars. We supported him to get tattoos to disguise them. It was a small thing but really gave him a boost.” The initiative’s Facebook group has some 13,000 members, a closed chatroom which has attracted some 800 people, as well as oneto-one messaging for those requiring direct support.

A spin out group dedicated for women, FemTalk, has also been running since October 2019 with mentoring support from Jason. Further projects are in the pipeline to support men affected by domestic violence in partnership with the Elm Foundation, as well as Shaun w a group for men with eating disorders working tumble with First Steps.

"We try to get back to people as soon as possible. We aren’t trained counsellors, so we signpost anyone that we think needs professional help to one of around a hundred partner organisations, which includes the Borderline Personality Support Group, Samaritans and with Women’s Florence, 10 years xxxxx Aid." During the course of the year the project has scooped a number of awards, namely Derbyshire Times Business Excellence 'Community Contribution' Award; Chesterfield and NE Derbyshire Volunteer Centre’s 'Most Innovative Project' Award; BBC & South Yorkshire Community Foundation 'Outstanding Champion' Award and Peak FM’s 'Community Hero' Award. With the wind in their sails Jason and Frazer have been busy exploring ways to extend their reach to particular groups of vulnerable people, by forging new partnerships. “Derbyshire County Council and Derbyshire Voluntary Action have provided funding to help get us off the ground and we’re now diversifying our offer by working with others. So far, we’ve established Men -Talk groups with Chesterfield FC’s 16-18 Football Academy, Ashgate Hospice, Chesterfield College and the inpatient mental health unit, 5 Hartington Unit, at Chesterfield Royal Hospital.”

Jason Cotton, co-founder of Men-Tallk

Jason shares what he’s learnt in the process of setting up the project: My background as a DJ and promoter has come in handy. Social media is great, but eye-catching flyers can attract people who might not be actively seeking support online When we launched our public group in May 2019 the local media went a bit ballistic. Make sure you’re happy to be in the limelight and squeeze the pips out of the attention! Engage with council departments and other charities that have particular expertise. You are stronger together.

If you’re interested in working with Men-Talk please contact Jason via or join the Men -Talk community on Facebook

Spotlight on... Jennifer Raschbauer, Centre Manager, Community Chesterfield

Jennifer heads up the recently established Community Chesterfield, looking at ways to build the capacity and resilience of voluntary sector organisations across Chesterfield. We put Jennifer under the Spotlight to find out more about the initiative. 1. How did Community Chesterfield come about and how is it funded? Derbyshire Voluntary Action and the University of Derby’s College of Health and Social Care came together to look at how their shared assets could be used to strengthen communities in Chesterfield. We were fortunate to receive funding from the National Lottery Community Fund over three years to take forward our idea.

Community Chesterfield is helping voluntary sector groups to work in a more strategic and less reactive way. All of the people we have met are passionate about the work that they do. I feel very fortunate to be leading on this project and to be working with so many awesome groups. 4. What added value does the voluntary sector bring to statutory provision? We have an ageing population and increasingly people are living with long term conditions and complex needs. Only 10 per cent of the factors contributing to a person’s health relate to access to healthcare services. The other 90 per cent is about a person’s home, lifestyle, employment, education, social connections and community support networks. These are all vital to maintaining good physical and mental health and it’s here that our sector is worth its weight in gold.

2. How does the partnership with Derby University support you? Derby University has a strong civic agenda and our proximity to students working in Health and Social Care means we can easily tap into their expertise to benefit voluntary sector organisations working to support people with particular health or care needs. We are organising shared events, volunteers, placements and free training and meeting rooms for voluntary organisations. 3. What support and capacity building do local community and voluntary organisations want? Marketing, help with evaluation and demonstrating impact, and building capacity are key priorities. Some of them have also asked about long term resilience and support with recruiting new Trustees. As well as providing skills development opportunities,

5. Is there a particular book, person or philosophy that inspires you? I am really inspired by Octavia Hill, (1838 – 1912) a pioneering social reformer. She was ahead of her times and always had the welfare of working people at the top of her agenda.


For more information visit

Hot topic :

Extinction Rebellion Extinction Rebellion protestors have prevented planes from taking off in protest at the expansion of Heathrow, brought Westminster to a standstill and staged demonstrations up and down the country in support of the Global Climate Strike. Here, Zoe Roberts, from XR Sheffield, explains the key demands and aims of the growing social movement, Extinction Rebellion. 2050, to have a 50 percent chance of Extinction Rebellion is an international remaining below 1.5°C of warming above social movement, which uses non-violent pre-industrial levels. But we argue that a civil disobedience to draw public attention 50:50 chance of preventing catastrophic to the climate emergency and to disrupt breakdown is not good enough, as even 2°C business-as-usual, in order to compel our of warming would render parts of the global governments to take action on climate and ecological breakdown. Extinction Rebellion South too hot for human survival, significantly increase the length of droughts has grown enormously over the last year, mobilising 30,000 people to march through and drastically reduce crop yields in Africa. As developed nations are responsible for 70 London during the October Rebellion. percent of historical emissions, yet Unlike other climate movements, we have developing countries suffer 98 percent of managed to achieve widespread news coverage relating to the climate emergency climate-related deaths, rich countries like ours must reduce emissions more rapidly through using highly visible and disruptive than poorer countries to ensure climate tactics which ensure that our protests justice. cannot be ignored. This has drawn the A national citizens' assembly combined attention of politicians, the media and the with local citizens' assemblies across the public to the climate crisis, leading to the UK country, could help to repair democracy Parliament declaring a climate emergency. through bringing people from all We are pushing for governments to ‘Tell the backgrounds together for informed Truth’ about the climate emergency, by discussions on how to address the climate communicating the scale of climate crisis in a just and equitable way. breakdown to the public. We will continue to put pressure on the We are also demanding that governments government, which is currently captured by must ‘Act Now’, to implement policies and the vested interests of fossil fuel companies, legislation to rapidly reduce greenhouse to take action on climate change. gas emissions to net zero by 2025. The International Panel on Climate Change Please join us in taking climate action in (IPPC) has evidenced that global emissions Sheffield, Chesterfield and N.E Derbyshire. must halve by 2030, and reach net zero by Please join our mailing list to we can keep you up to date with our work.


The Wolfpack Project : combating loneliness in Nottingham by Kate Dawson

Loneliness may be caused by a social anxiety which prevents you from joining in social activities. Certain life events can also be the trigger for loneliness, for example a bereavement, starting university or a new job where you feel distant from co-workers. You may also be at risk of loneliness if you have a disability, ill health, are on a low income or have experienced sexual abuse and are unable to form close relationships.

In a city such as Nottingham with a population of over 300,000 people, two leading universities and a thriving cultural scene, it’s hard to imagine that loneliness is a problem. Yet the findings of the annual Citizens Survey (2018) revealed that across the city up to 20 per cent of respondents felt lonely all the time and in the area comprising Mapperley, St Ann’s and Dales this figure rose to 26 per cent – double the amount in 2016.

The effect of loneliness is an increased risk of mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, sleep problems and increased stress. Research shows that loneliness, living alone and poor social connections are as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day (HoltLunstad, 2010).

Loneliness is not just a problem for the elderly.Florence, Damien10 Reynolds, Head of years with xxxxx Partnerships for The Weather Lottery and father of one, admits that despite his busy job and family commitments by the of 2018 he felt isolated and alone. In January 2019 Damien set up The Wolfpack Project, a charity which works in partnership to address the loneliness epidemic across his city.

"The Commission for Loneliness, founded in the name of murdered MP Jo Cox, helped start the conversation about loneliness and began to address the associated stigma."

"The recommendations of the government's Commission for Loneliness was a rallying cry for me; I couldn’t just stand back and do nothing.”

“Lots of established charities have picked up the baton, in particular those working with older people, but I knew I could use my skill of building partnerships to develop innovative ways of helping anyone over the age of 16 years to make meaningful connections,” said Damien

“We’re increasingly being lost to a world of noise cancelling headphones, iPhones and social media. Despite communicating more than ever digitally, there’s less meaningful interaction. People are actually becoming less sociable,” explained Damien.


The vision feedback Damien’s has involved burning the from this young candle at both ends, but in little under a year person says it all The Wolfpack Project has become a registered charity operating a successful ‘Buddy Scheme’ which acts as an informal befriending service, usually starting with a chat in a café and building up to other social activities, such as a trip to the cinema or a walk in the park, depending on each person’s interests and individual need. So far 35 people have benefited from the support on offer.

Lottie with animal care assistant Richard Grainger L-R: Ehsan Shammasizadeh, franchisee Wolf Italian

According to YouGov a quarter of students experience mental health problems (77 per cent of whom have depression and 74 per cent have anxiety) securing Nottingham Trent University as its RAG (charity) partners for 2019/20 is especially pertinent.

Street Food, Nottingham with Damien Reynolds

Other support has come in the form of grant funding, most notably from the Awards for All scheme, and an ongoing JustGiving Animal care is integral to learning at Turner Farm campaign.

Florence, 10 years with xxxxx Florence, 10 , showsaims Sandra, 91 some wild flowers “The University to raise £6,000 by

September next year which would be amazing and crucially, would enable us to achieve our goal of supporting over 250 adults across the city who are feeling lonely or disconnected by the end of next year, many of whom will be young adults or students” said Damien

Damien shares what he’s learnt Animal care is integral learning at Turner Farm setting uptothe charity: Just put your mind to it. You might need to work around the clock, but if you know you’ve got an idea that will make a difference, just do it! Make sure you recruit a strong Trustee board - people with the same passion as you, as well as the right connections will set you in good stead. Remember that corporate partnerships Animal integral to going learningout at Turner arecare notisall about with aFarm begging bowl. Cause - marketing is good for business.

Since its inception Damien has built a strong referral network that includes the YMCA, the Renewal Trust, British Red Cross and Nottingham City Council. “I think the fact that we’re not a talking shop in a dusty church hall has made us distinctive. We’ve been fortunate to capture the attention of local MPs, as well as local businesses such as Wolf Italian Street Food, who see the benefit of partnering with us."

If you are interested in working with the Wolfpack Project please visit


Top tips for upping your fundraising game in 2020

For those of you who haven’t capitalised on the season of goodwill, or whose fundraising effort has been disappointing this year all, is not lost. Did you know that after December, May and June are peak times for giving? Here charity fundraising expert, Jo Boardman, shares her top tips for planning a fundraising Appeal any time of the year and how to build a long term relationship with your supporters. 1. Demonstrate your impact

Remember fundraising is not just for Christmas! It should be an all year round activity. You need to start connecting people with your cause from January, providing specific examples of where donations go. 2.

Keep it simple Keep the thrust of your Appeal (your 'case for support') succinct to avoid people switching off and have a deadline to create a sense of urgency. This may help motivate people to make a donation now, rather than put it aside to think about later (and forget about it).

3. Utilise digital and social media Use multiple channels - email, social media and traditional media - to get your message out to as many people as possible. Research the best times to post on social media when people are most likely to be on particular platforms : generally speaking lunchtime for Facebook and early morning for Twitter and Linked In.

4. Be creative with content Keep your supporters and donors interested by offering them beneficiary stories, testimonials, fundraising inspiration and compelling statistics. Posts with video and strong images depicting the positive impact of your work or featuring stories 'from the horses' mouth' will provide shareable content for your supporters.

5 Say thank-you

Tell people about the impact of donations and thank everyone for their support. Get your CEO / Chair of Trustees to post a video on social media saying how much donors' support means. Keep sharing stories about your work and impact on social media and plan your next campaign for six months later.

Jo has over 20 years’ experience supporting charities and social enterprises with governance, income diversification and planning and currently works all over the UK. Visit her website at: 10


""Tis better to light a candle than sit and curse the darkness" attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt,Confucius and Adlai Stevenson, amongst others

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